Wine Spectator Announces Changes in California Wine Reviewers


New assignments include Kim Marcus for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and James Molesworth for Cabernet Sauvignon

Photo by: From left: Greg Gorman, David Yellen, Michelle McSwain

Longtime lead California taster James Laube will be transitioning his new-release tastings to Kim Marcus (center) and James Molesworth (right) by the end of the year.

In a move that blends continuity and change in Wine Spectator’s comprehensive coverage of California wine, senior editor and Napa bureau chief Kim Marcus has been appointed lead taster for the state’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, and senior editor James Molesworth will become lead taster for Cabernet Sauvignon.

These categories were long reviewed by senior editor James Laube, 66, who joined Wine Spectator full-time in 1983 and who during his career with the magazine has reviewed every category of wine made in California, as well as wines from around the world. “After more than 30 years of tasting thousands of wines annually, I’ve decided to step back from reviewing new releases,” Laube said. “I want to devote more time to writing and take a different approach to reviewing wines.”

Laube will remain based in our Napa office and will continue to apply his experience to verticals, retrospectives and other special tastings. As always, he will contribute columns, features and cover stories and provide leadership for our staff on both coasts.

Marcus, 59, who has been with Wine Spectator since 1988, is a California native who served as editor at the St. Helena Star newspaper before joining M. Shanken Communications. After spending two decades working from our New York headquarters as managing editor, he was named Napa Valley bureau chief in 2017. His recent tasting beats include California, Chile and Argentina.

As lead taster for the wines of Bordeaux, Molesworth, 47, has deep experience with Cabernet-based wines. He will continue to be based in our New York office and will travel frequently to California for blind tastings in our Napa office and to visit wineries. Molesworth’s other tasting responsibilities include France’s Rhône Valley, Port, South Africa, New York’s Finger Lakes and more. He joined Wine Spectator in 1997 after working in wine retail and as a sommelier.

Wine Spectator was first published in 1976. Today, it enjoys an AAM-audited circulation of 392,000, with a global readership of more than 3.5 million, making it the most widely read wine publication in the world. Wine Spectator’s adherence to blind tasting methodology for official ratings of all newly released wines, combined with the expertise of our tasters (see our full list of tasters and tasting beats), results in reviews that are unbiased and credible. We are confident that these tasting beat transitions, complete by the end of this year, will ensure our continued leadership in journalistic coverage of the wine world.

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