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

Wines Fit For The Grill

June 27, 2013

A review of the Recanati Syrah Reserve 2011 and several Glenglassaugh Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

It’s grilling time, and we could not be happier for there are few summer pleasures more gratifying than preparing meals outside. Whether you are a charcoal devotee or a fan of propane, rarely are there foods that don’t do well cooked on a grate. The imparted roasted, smoky flavors are truly irresistible. Besides the usual culprits (steak, burgers, dogs) we have grilled nearly every vegetable from artichokes to zucchini and even some romaine lettuce. You can grill cheese, make pizzas, roast veggies, bake bread and create unique desserts. Try slicing a firm nectarine in half, remove the pit and place it on direct heat for a few minutes for a delicious ending to a summer meal. Selecting a wine to pair with grilled foods is relatively straightforward. Stick to reds and avoid the lighter wines like pinot noir by opening something more robust with complementary flavors. One of our favorites is syrah (also called shiraz), a dark-skinned varietal that likely originated in France’s Rhone Valley. It ranges in style from deep and brooding to very fruity and alcohol laden with flavors that can include floral, berries, coffee, earth, chocolate, dark fruit, spice and pepper.

Read more>>

Brane-Cantenac Continues Legacy Of Perfection

June 12, 2013

Reviews of some of the outstanding wines of Chateaux Brane-Cantenac.

In 1855, Napoleon III decided that the Bordeaux wineries represented at the Exposition Universelle de Paris need to be classified. Ranging from “First Cru” (growths) to “Fifth Cru,” these rankings have endured, despite significant changes in the size of many of the vineyards, with only a few modifications — among the most famous being the elevation of Mouton-Rothschild to “First Cru” in 1973. This is no mere list because the winery’s Cru classification has a direct effect upon the prices their wines can command. The cost of a bottle of the prestigious “First Growths” (Lafite-Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion, and Mouton-Rothschild) is frankly astronomical and out of reach for many wine lovers. Thankfully there are other classified wines of the Medoc whose excellent quality is associated with a more approachable price. Not to say these other Bordeaux are inexpensive. But for those who wish to experience some memorable wines, it is certainly worth collecting a few friends to buy a bottle or two to share.

Read more>>

  

A Variety Of Varietals

June 4, 2013

A review of the Balma Venitia Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2006 and several bottlings of Bowmore Single Malt Scotch.

Most casual wine drinkers are aware of only a few grape varietals such as Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec and Shiraz. Others may have tried a Riesling, Pinot Gris or Petite Sirah. But there are literally hundreds more varietals that have been made into wines that are stylistically different and extremely enjoyable. All it takes is a willingness to explore the shelves of a well-stocked store and a sense of adventure.
An example is the Muscat, a floral and somewhat spicy, light-bodied varietal that is grown in nearly every wine producing country and may be the oldest domesticated grape. In Italy it becomes Moscato and it is made into Moscatel in Spain. These muscat wines are best enjoyed when young and chilled and they pair wonderfully with lunch and other light fare or as an aperitif.

Read more>>