Yet another US magazine reviewing and rating wines, and yet another website plugging the product by way of excerpts from the current and past issues. Subscribing to the magazine costs a hefty $112 for European readers, but the website, updated every two months, has an extraordinary number of high-quality articles for free. The site itself is simple, easy to use and fairly quick to access. As well as staff writers, The Wine News numbers some big names such as Clive Coates amongst its contributors.
Cover Stories is the major feature from the most recent issue, reprinted in full. These pieces are extensive and well-written articles of genuine interest. For example, ‘New Zealand Refines Its Winemaking Niche’ is a very considered look at the contemporary wine scene on the islands, including interviews with the movers and shakers and wine recommendations.
Past Issues is slightly hidden away. Scroll down towards the bottom of the home page to find the link. Here is the hidden gem that earns this site its five star rating. What at first appears to be an index of features from back issues, turns out to be an enormous repository of complete articles. All the listed features link to the original article, reprinted in full with photographs. There is a huge range of subjects covered, from ‘Smitten by Shiraz’ to ‘Serving a Champagne Brunch’ to ‘The Quintessential Wines of Italy’. There is truly something for every wine lover here. An excellent resource.
Commentary is another full length article from one of the magazine's columnists, usually an opinionated piece on some aspect of the wine industry. For example, 'Raising the Bar on Wine Scores' is a piece by US writer Norm Roby decrying a tendency for wine critics to award too many high scores to average wines.
Feature Story is a full-length feature, perhaps a major tasting event or in-depth examination of some wine-related area.
Cuisine is a feature story on food, with an eye on wine. This is another substantial extract from the magazine, usually including a comprehensive report on some aspect of food or dining, several recipes from in-house and guest chefs, and wine-matching suggestions.
Buyline is the tasting notes section of the website, with an extensive extract from a current issue of those wines that are recommended buys: usually several dozen current releases are reviewed and rated.
Includes Complimentary Taste, an offer of a free trial issue, but unfortunately the offer is limited to US citizens. Writers introduces each of Wine News' contributors with a short pen picture.