The US wine author and wine critic James Laube has been working for the renowned magazine Wine Spectator since 1980. He is considered an absolute California specialist who is said to have a similar influence on wine style as Robert M. Parker. Critics accuse him of a preference for high alcohol, full-bodied wines matured in barriques, which (allegedly) proves the unusually high number of such wines in California. His California bias is also evident in his books California's Great Cabernets and California's Great Chardonnays, as well as California Wine, which describes some 700 producers and won him the James Beard Award for best wine book of the year in 1996. Laube is said to have an unusually high sensitivity for recognising the wine defect cork taint. His criticism of a wine from Chateau Montelena that was faulty in this respect made waves. The editor Steve Heimoff of the competing magazine Wine Enthusiast wrote in an open letter to the newspaper "San Francisco Chronicle" that one should not unsettle consumers who, for the most part, would not be able to recognise such small amounts of TCA.