Musings on Wine and Spirits by Louis Marmon

As seen in:
Washington Post, Gazette Newspapers, DC Examiner, The Wine Report
Washington Jewish Week, LA Times, Jewish Exponent, Capitol File Magazine and in other cities in the US and Canada

Latest Article

Mix Wine Or Gin With Fruit And It’s Summertime

August 18, 2014

Some summer cocktail suggestions.

Summertime is always fun. The abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs inspire us to shake up and expand our cooking, and also our drinking. Summer wine cocktails may seem sometimes to be a bit of work, but are so worth the effort. There are, obviously, numerous recipes in books and online, but summer means not having to do any homework (right?), so instead try releasing your personal creativity and dream up your own concoctions.

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The Ideal Wine For Pesto

August 13, 2014

A review of the Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and some news about American whiskies including Jim Beam.

One of us has a summer garden that has produced an abundance of basil. A leafy herb initially cultivated in India, basil migrated both west and east becoming a featured component of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. There are many different types with the “sweet” variety customarily featured in Italian dishes while the more pungent Thai, lemon and “holy” basils are utilized in Asia.

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The Taste Of Rocks

August 6, 2014

A look at the concept of “minerality” in wine with reviews of the Dalton Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Bruichladdich, Islay Barley, Rockside Farm, 2007, Unpeated Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Several of the wines we have recently recommended have a notable “minerality” as part of their flavor profile. At first glance, minerality seems to be a strange example of wine jargon since no one really expects a grape-based drink to taste like rocks. But one of the wonders of wine is the way it can express its local growing conditions, what the French call terroir, including the composition of the vineyard’s soil. Thus the Kimmeridgian limestone and fossilized seashells found in the ground of Chablis are perceived within the region’s wines.

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A Wine For Those Lazy, Hazy Days Of Summer

July 31, 2014

A review of the Domaine Pascal Bouchard “Le Classique” Chablis 2009 and a look at Tequila.

There are few greater pleasures than sitting on a beach toward the end of a lazy summer evening with a great bottle of wine to share among friends. Crisp, refreshing white wines are ideal for such occasions, such as a lovely Chablis.

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How America Caused – And Cured – A Winemaking Crisis

July 28, 2014

A review of Castel Rosé du Castel 2013 and Isle of Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Among the plethora of pests that winemakers must contend against, none has been more devastating than a sap-sucking insect named “phylloxera.” This tiny aphid-like bug destroys vines by feeding off the roots, thereby choking off the supply of nutrients to the plant and leaving it susceptible to fungal infections. Initially limited to the United States, the phylloxera menace was inadvertently introduced to Europe in the 1850s by Victorian English botanists returning home with American vine specimens. Phylloxera destroyed nearly 95 percent of the continent’s vineyards.

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Taplin Cellars

July 21, 2014

A look at Napa’s Taplin Cellars Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Taplin Cellars is a Napa winery with bicoastal roots. A great-great grandfather of the present-day owners moved his dairy farming family from Vermont to San Francisco in the mid-1800s. They eventually found their way to the Napa Valley where they purchased land to grow fruit and walnuts. Farming was considerably challenging in the late 18 and early 1900s, especially in ground described as “9 parts rock and 1 part dirt.” Yet the family persevered and was able to keep ahold of the property through the Depression, Prohibition and two World Wars. In the mid-1970s they replanted to Cabernet, just in time to ride the growing interest in California wines.

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Out Of Isolation, Chilean Wines Prosper

July 17, 2014

Reviews of the Lanzur Sauvignon Blanc 2013 and The Macallan 18 year old (1996 vintage) Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Chile is the source of some of the world’s best wine values. The country boasts over a dozen distinctive wine producing regions that extend hundreds of miles from the northern Copiapo valley to the Austral region, the southernmost location where grapes can grow.

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Start Summer With Sangria

July 14, 2014

Summer libation suggestions including various Sangria recipes and some Ruby Port based cocktails.

Sangria is a refreshing accompaniment to summer parties. A mixture of wine, fruit, sugar and traditionally a bit of brandy, Sangria reportedly originated on the Spanish peninsula where it was named after the word for blood-letting, due to its distinctive deep red color. It remains hugely popular in Spain and Portugal, and as of this year is even protected under EU statute so that Sangria from Spain or Portugal will be allowed to be bottled and labeled as such – but why buy it pre-made? So much more fun to make it yourself.

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Summer Wines

July 9, 2014

Reviews of some enjoyable value-priced summer wines.

The US is now the world’s leader in wine consumption. The latest figures show that Americans enjoyed 329 million cases of wine in 2013, an 18% increase over 2005. This easily put the US past the traditional European frontrunners including Italy and France. The US also bettered China which recently was the fastest growing market for wine. There are likely numerous reasons for the steady growth of the US wine market. The growing availability of value-priced, flavorful wines, combined with imaginative marketing which has made wine appear less mysterious and elitist have certainly contributed to the growing wine culture in the US. While there are those who can easily shell out hundreds of dollars for a bottle, nearly 90% of the wine sold in the US costs less than $12. As long as wineries keep making good, inexpensive wines, the outlook for the continuing growth of the US market remains positive.

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