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

Harvesting a Liquid Dessert

August 31, 2011

Hafner Icewine

A review of the Hafner Gruner Veltliner Icewine 2002 and the story of the “Hot Toddy,” a classic curative cocktail.

There are times when you need to have something sweet. Cookies, cake, ice cream and even fruit usually quench that craving. But for a less caloric and often more interesting alternative, consider a late-harvest wine. More commonly known as “dessert wines,” late-harvest wines are among the world’s most desirable and expensive, with many bottles costing hundreds of dollars. Dessert wines are created in a number of fashions but most include harvesting the grapes after a prolonged growing season. Over time, the sugar levels increase and the flavors become more concentrated- and the results can be ephemeral.

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Merlot Finally Gets Its Due

August 24, 2011

Jameson Irish Whiskey

A review of the Herzog Special Reserve Merlot 2006and the Jameson 12 year old, the Bushmill’s Original and the Kilbeggan Irish Whiskies.

Merlot is no longer the unwanted stepchild of the wine world. The previous lack of respect did not stem from anything inherent to the varietal. Rather, it was an offshoot of overplanting in response to increasing demand, resulting in a multitude of characterless wines. Thankfully, the grape has been rescued by conscientious winemakers who have resisted over-commercialization, and instead carefully crafted some delicious merlots.

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Snow Phoenix: A Cascade of Tastes

August 17, 2011

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix

A review of Tierra Salvaje Carmenere 2010 and the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix.

Carmenere is Chile’s signature red wine varietal. Brought to South America from France’s Bordeaux region (where it was used primarily as a blending grape), Carmenere was first planted near Santiago in the 1800s where it was believed to be a clone of merlot. For many years the two varietals were harvested together which gave Chilean “merlot” a significantly different taste than merlots grown elsewhere. It took until the 1990s for the Chileans to recognize Camernere as a separate varietal and to appreciate its unique flavors. Rather than limiting it as a blending component, Chilean winemakers have embraced Carmenere, featuring it in some remarkably enjoyable and distinctive wines.

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Ultra-Vintage Scotch Is Delish, But Is It Worth It?

August 10, 2011

Glenmorangie Pride 1981

A review of the Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut and the Glenmorangie Pride 1981.

Champagne is usually associated with celebrations and secular holidays. Served chilled, Champagnes and other sparkling wines are very food-friendly and refreshing, especially during the warm summer months. Although other countries and regions have tried to expropriate the name, true Champagne is produced exclusively in the eponymous French appellation northeast of Paris. The principle grapes used to make Champagne are pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier and they must be grown in specifically designated areas within the region. Production and quality are strictly regulated to assure the high degree of quality expected from this most regal of sparkling wines.

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Wine Is Fine, But Summer in DC Is Daiquiri Time

August 3, 2011

Terrenal and Barcardi

A review of the Terrenal Yecla Valley Tempranillo 2009 and the tale of the Daiquiri.

Spain continues to be a source for wine values, particularly with their signature grape, Tempranillo. This grape typically produces medium-bodied wines displaying spicy red and dark fruits including cherries, berries and plums often accented with tea, vanilla, tobacco, or leather notes. A very good, value-priced example is the kosher Terrenal Yecla Valley Tempranillo 2009 ($7), which opens with cherry and red berry aromas that lead into raspberry, dark cherry and blackberry flavors with hints of earth and chocolate.

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