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Napa and the New Kid in Town

Napa Valley has been awash with nervous energy for the past week. And it has nothing to do with the nearly magical reprieve that Mother Nature seems to have granted the 2011 harvest after unseasonably fierce rains.

On the surface, everyone pretends it's just another week in wine country, but behind closed doors and in hushed tones over beers in the local bars, everyone seems to be talking about the handsome young stranger in town (see picture).

This past week, for the first time in more than 25 years, the wine critic Robert M Parker, Jr did not make an annual pilgrimage to taste the wines of Napa Valley, choosing instead to send a young man named Antonio Galloni.

When Robert M Parker, Jr announced to his subscribers this past February that henceforth he would no longer be reviewing California wines, and was instead passing this responsibility to his colleague Galloni, the news quickly rippled through the American wine industry.

Reactions to the news ranged widely.... Continue reading this article on JancisRobinson.Com.

This is the first of my monthly columns to be published at JancisRobinson.Com. Like all good deals, the first one is free there, but all subsequent columns will be available only to subscribers. As part of a special arrangement, until Midnight Pacific time on October 31st, Vinography readers can get their first year's subscription to JancisRobinson.Com for a price of only $70/£44 (instead of the normal $108/£69). Use the promo code: "THANKSA&J" to receive your discount when you sign up.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud