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Kim Marcus and James Molesworth Assume New Tasting Responsibilities for California Wines

Napa Valley/New York (July 11, 2018)—In a move to blend continuity and change in Wine Spectator’s reviews of new-release California wines, Napa bureau chief Kim Marcus will become the lead taster for the state’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, while senior editor James Molesworth will become lead taster for Cabernet Sauvignon.

These categories were previously reviewed by senior editor James Laube, who joined Wine Spectator full-time in 1983 and has long been the lead taster for the wines of California. “After 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, who is based in the Napa office, will continue to review wines, applying his experience to verticals, retrospectives and other special tastings. He will write columns, features and cover stories, as he has in the past, and remains a source of leadership for our staff.

“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.  “We are proud of our entire tasting team’s experience and expertise. Currently, nine senior editors review more than 16,000 wines each year.”

Marcus, who joined Wine Spectator in 1988, is a California native who worked as the editor at the St. Helena Star before joining the publication. After spending two decades in our New York headquarters as managing editor, he became Napa Valley Bureau Chief in 2017. His current tasting beats include California Merlot, Chile and Argentina.

Molesworth joined Wine Spectator in 1997, after working in wine retail and restaurants. As our lead taster for the wines of Bordeaux, he has deep experience with Cabernet-based wines. He will remain based in the New York office, and will travel frequently to California for blind tastings in our Napa office and to visit wineries. Molesworth’s other tasting beats include France’s Rhone Valley, Port, New York and South Africa.

Wine Spectator’s adherence to blind tasting methodology for all reviews of newly-released wines, combined with the expertise and experience of our tasters, results in wine reviews that are unbiased and credible. We are confident that these transitions will help us maintain our leadership with these important categories of California wines.

About Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches more than 3.5 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the Web’s most comprehensive wine site (, mobile platforms and a series of signature events. Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 16,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Comm., Inc., also publishes Cigar AficionadoWhisky Advocate, Market WatchShanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.


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