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Wine Spectator Announces New Tasting Lineup For California Wine

July 12, 2018

After 37 years, the dean of California wine tasting is ready for his next assignment. James Laube, 66, who has led Wine Spectator’s reviews of California wines since 1981, will now step back from tasting new releases and turn his focus to cover stories and columns for the magazine, as well as vertical and retrospective tastings. Concurrent with Laube assuming a new role, Wine Spectator has named a new lineup of California tasters as it moves to build on Laube’s legacy and strengthen coverage for the future.

“Nobody at Wine Spectator has made a greater contribution over the past 37 years than James Laube,” said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator.

Based in Napa Valley, Laube has reviewed thousands of new releases annually over the past three and a half decades, and also has published three books on California wine. “I want to devote more time to writing and take a different approach to reviewing wine,” Laube said.

Moving forward, Wine Spectator veterans Kim Marcus, 59, and James Molesworth, 47, have been charged with taking over Laube’s tasting beats. Marcus will review California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while Molesworth will review Cabernet Sauvignon.

Marcus is a California native who served as editor of the St. Helena Star before joining Wine Spectator in 1988. He moved to the New York office in 1993 and became managing editor in 1999, then transferred back to California in 2017 to become Napa bureau chief. His other current tasting beats include Argentina and Chile. Marcus recently wrote the cover profile of Napa’s Mark Aubert for the July 31, 2018 issue.

Molesworth joined Wine Spectator in 1997 after working in wine retail and as a sommelier. Since 2010, Molesworth has been the lead taster for Bordeaux, giving him a solid background in wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon. His current tasting beats also include France’s Rhone Valley and Loire Valley, South Africa, Port, and New York.

“We are proud of our tasting team’s experience and expertise,” Shanken said, “and we believe that our blind tasting methodology delivers fair and credible reviews. Currently, nine senior editors review more than 16,000 wines each year; among them, they count nearly 175 years with the publication. James Laube has been key to Wine Spectator’s success, but this transition will make us stronger for the future.”

Wine Spectator was first published in 1976. Today, it enjoys an AAM-audited circulation of more than 392,000, with a global readership of more than 3.5 million, making it the most widely-read wine publication in the world. For more on this story, click here. —Marvin R. Shanken

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