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jim white
Napa Valley, California
A former foreign correspondent in Africa, I have been a food and wine writer 40 years. Twice I was named "Best Food Writer in North America," by a panel of peers. In 1982, I earned the award for a series of 30 articles I wrote as one of the first western food writers to uncover the tasty dishes of post-Maoist China.
Interests: Food, wine, chocolate, Madeira, oh, and did I mention wine and food?
Recent Activity
A review of napaman's favorite wines of 2018. Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2018 at
Vive la révolution! Under the direction of new winery President, Cleo Pahlmeyer, daughter of founder Jayson Pahlmeyer, there is a slow, subtle tweak coming to one of Napa Valley’s premiere cult wines, Pahlmeyer. Successfully tweaking the personality and profile of... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2018 at
We opened, on average, more than 1.5 bottles a night this year, which means we drank 550 bottles; we probably bought another 50 in restaurants; we probably attended tastings, professionally and in winemaker’s homes, and drank another 150 wines. So,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2017 at
This could be the ultimate wine tasting experience – Napa Valley’s Signorello Estate, damaged in last month’s catastrophic wild fire, has determined that while it rebuilds, it will bring its phenomenal food-wine pairing event to your home – to any... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2017 at
I've known about my "latest" wine discovery for 10 years and am just now revealing it -- one of my favorite Cabernets of Napa Valley! Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2017 at
The smiling man above is Ray Signorello Jr., an energetic, passionate, friendly guy who just happens to produce exceptional wines, which I’d never tasted until this week. I ask myself how is this possible? I have driven by the main... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at
The photo that started it all. Last week, I drove through Berkeley and stopped at one of my favorite lunch spots, Iyasare, which serves a trendy (and did I say very tasty?) version of Japanese cuisine with a California touch.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2017 at
The Island of Madeira -- Thirteen intrepid wine enthusiasts boarded planes last week and flew to this tiny island in the mid-Atlantic to discover, learn about, and taste some of the world’s rarest wines – some of them 150-years-old and... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at
An overview of the best wines which napaman had the pleasure to taste in 2016. Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2016 at
A round up of napaman's favorite restaurants in 2016. Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2016 at
That’s an anagram above – the letters of “Mel Taub” rearranged to spell “Mutable.” Mel Taub Anagrams are the key to solving my favorite-ever crossword puzzles, the ones on which I grew up, created by a remarkable wordsmith, Mel Taub.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at
The headlines and obituaries will note that Margrit Mondavi, a pioneer of modern-day California wine, and wife of Robert Mondavi, died today. But Margrit was much more than that to me. She was a friend and, as Robert’s wife, the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2016 at
Attention passengers! We are now entering the tiny, grape-growing region of Napa Valley known as Coombsville, a somewhat hilly, bucolic region, dotted with small family wineries producing wonderful wine. Population: Who knows? Typical Coombsville vineyards While five million visitors annually... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2016 at
The highlight of just one tasting panel featured wines dating back to 1968, including the very last bottle of 1969 Cabernet Reserve at the winery. Some 150 special guests assembled for an extravagant celebration over the last three days to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2016 at
The highlight of a two-day Madeira tasting in Seattle, WA, this past weekend was a 1795 Barbeito Terrantez. There aren’t many left in the world. To call this a transformative experience is an understatement; once you’ve had a wine of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2016 at
What do US Presidents Andrew Jackson, Abe Lincoln, and Grover Cleveland have in common? They were in office, respectively, when each of three wines I just tasted were made – in 1834, 1863 and 1885. And each of these wines... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2016 at
How is it that you can open hundreds of bottles of wine over a few months and not find a single candidate for Wine of the Year.... and then one night, with a juicy, braised leg of lamb, you open... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2015 at
As we come to the close of the year, I am in a reflective mood (color me Nike headband). “What were your best meals of the year?” you ask. Surely, you assume, they might have been Italian, for napaman spent... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2015 at
When you go to Africa, where I lived on and off for years as a photographer and foreign correspondent, I often hired a guide to go on safari. I figured the same might be required on my recent trip to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at
What a black Christmas it’s going to be for staff and patrons of what is one of Napa Valley’s iconic restaurants, Tra Vigne, in St. Helena. In what is a personally sad story to have to report, Tra Vigne will... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2015 at
Remember how they gossiped when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married? Everyone conjectured that their kids would be stunning, runway model gorgeous. Well that’s what we’ve been expecting in wine country, after two of Napa Valley’s super stud wineries,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2015 at
Every once in a while, napaman strays from his wine-country beat to discover a hot new restaurant, or bar, in San Francisco. Call me Wanderlustman . Or SFman, if you must. Until now, my three, all-time, favorite SF restaurants (in... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2015 at
It was a dream assignment: Napaman was invited last night to a private dinner in Yountville at Bottega, one of northern California’s top Italian restaurants, to celebrate a singular Italian wine from a singularly good vintage: We’re talking about the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2015 at
This is the story of an inexpensive Italian Chardonnay which drinks like an expensive White Burgundy. I’m talking about Cavallotto Chardonnay, from Piemonte, Italy. Last June, on a trip to Italy, my good friend Josh Eisenhauer, who is head sommelier... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2015 at
Hall Rutherford, 750 foot above the valley floor The price of winery tours in Napa Valley has nudged north like the price of premium Cabernet itself. Back in the early 2000s, you could take a great winery tour for $20,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at