James Laube is an American wine critic, writing for Wine Spectator since 1980, a full-time staff writer since 1983, with expertise on California wine. Laube has published the books California's Great Cabernets, California's Great Chardonnays, and California Wine containing nearly 700 winery profiles with chapters on California wine history, grapes and wine styles,[1] which won the 1996 James Beard Award for best wine book of the year.[2]

TCA taint controversyEdit

A Wine Spectator report by Laube that Chateau Montelena wine was tainted by TCA,[3] was followed by a great deal of controversy, and the contention that Laube is able to detect TCA at much lower levels than most people.[4][5] In a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, Steve Heimoff, an editor of a competing wine magazine Wine Enthusiast, wrote that Laube's position as a critic in a prominent magazine should be more cautious about branding wines as being tainted when most wine drinkers do not have the same level of sensitivity to detect anything wrong with those wines.[6]

Influence on California wineEdit

As the lead reviewer of wines from California for Wine Spectator, Laube's influence over the California wine industry has been compared to that of the Wine Advocate's Robert M. Parker, Jr.. Laube's preference for high alcohol, full bodied wines that have been aged in oak has been charged by some critics as a possible reason for the high numbers of that style of wine being produced in California.[7][8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Prial, Frank, The New York Times (December 13, 1995). "Wine Talk".
  2. ^ 90pluswines.com James Laube Archived December 19, 2010, at WebCite
  3. ^ Laube, James, Wine Spectator (November 2, 2004). "Chateau Montelena and TCA". Archived from the original on December 19, 2010.
  4. ^ Emert, Carol, San Francisco Chronicle (September 9, 2004). "Montelena joins the list of tainted wineries". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010.
  5. ^ Yarrow, Alder, vinography.com (February 10, 2006). "Let a Computer Chip Do The Sniffing For You". Archived from the original on December 19, 2010.
  6. ^ Heimoff, Steve, San Francisco Chronicle: Letters to Wine (September 23, 2004). "Critic Laube cautioned on the power of his palate". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 17, 2010.
  7. ^ Gray, W.Blake, San Francisco Chronicle (June 15, 2007). "Are ratings pointless? The highs - and lows - of the 100-point scale". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  8. ^ Darlington, David, The New York Times (August 7, 2005). "The Chemistry of a 90+ Wine".

External linksEdit