Make The Most Of Your Oregon Wine Trek

March 27, 2014

A look at the delightful wines from Oregon’s Sokol Blosser and R. Stuart & Co. wineries.

If the drive from Portland to McMinnville in Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country only takes you an hour, then you have missed several opportunities to taste some of the region’s exquisite wines while enjoying spectacular views of the surrounding vistas and valley.

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Plan Your Pinot Perusing Vacation Early

January 8, 2014

The International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville Oregon is a winelover’s dream vacation.

The answer to where a discerning wine lover should go on their next vacation has become extremely easy to answer. Plan a trip to Oregon, specifically during the last week of July, for the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration. Held in the picturesque Willamette Valley on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., IPNC is among the finest wine and food experiences anywhere in the world. In fact, before you read any further, go to their website (www.ipnc.org) and register for this year’s event before they sell out.

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Further Gift Ideas For The Wine Lover On One’s List

December 18, 2013

Some more holiday gift selections for the wine lover’s on your list.

The holiday catalogs abound with numerous gifts ideal for the wine-lovers on your list. In addition to a nice bottle of bubbly or a Pinot Noir from Oregon or the Russian River Valley, consider some other ideas that will not spill or require decanting. Continuing with last month’s literary gift theme, the first suggestion is the latest edition of “The World Atlas of Wine, 7th Edition” by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. A perfect synergy of entertainment and detail, this volume is an absolute must for anyone passionate about the fruit of the vine.

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Wine Labels: A Sticky Situation

October 24, 2013

Wine labels are unnecessarily confusing. A few changes would make them more consumer friendly and help facilitate sales.

Wine labels are funny things. With the hundreds of unique winemaking varietals, numerous different methods and an entire world of distinctive regions, you would think that wine labels would be designed to be models of clarity in order to assist a consumer in making an educated purchase. If only that were true.

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Alinea: Connoisseur’s Dream Is Just A Short Flight Away

September 9, 2013

The artistry at Alinea extends to their wine pairings.

Inventive, exciting, imaginative, fascinating, thrilling, exceptional, delicious, amazing … the list of superlatives used to describe dinner at Alinea is nearly as long as the drive from O’Hare to the restaurant’s location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park district. At Alinea a refined, exquisitely prepared meal is transformed into performance art where the chef, staff and diner are each intimately involved in the entire experience. It is no easy feat to match wines with ingredients as varied as rabbit, cherry blossom, wasabi and smoke. The courses dance from light and airy (green apple taffy balloon) to multifaceted and profound, each designed to require the diners to interact with the preparations. This makes the wine pairings even more difficult since there are often multiple options within each course that provide different intensities and sequences of flavors. Not surprisingly, the talented team at Alinea made outstanding wine selections that both complemented and enhanced the evening’s multiple dishes.

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Still Time For Summer Wine Recommendations

August 7, 2013

Summer wine recommendations include whites from Alto Adige, some Sauvignon Blancs and a few American Gruner Veltliners.

This year’s summer wine recommendations begin with a visit to northeastern Italy along its border with Switzerland and Austria. In the Italian Alpine region of Alto Adige visitors can enjoy views of snow-capped mountains as well as lush vineyards which produce ideal wines for warm weather enjoyment. The climate is surprisingly mild with more than 300 sunny days annually and the vineyards are protected from most of the chilly northern winds by the Alps, yet remain open to the warmer southern Mediterranean maritime breezes. The resulting temperature variations ensure that their grapes characteristic flavors are well balanced with bright acidity. Nearly 60 percent of the Alto Adige vineyards produce white wines and their principle varietals include the familiar Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer along with some less well-known, but quite interesting grapes such as Müller-Thurgau, Sylvaner, and Kerner.

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Petite Sirah A Somewhat Undiscovered Gem

April 10, 2013

Reviews of several Petite Sirah wines from California.

Petite Sirah has seen dramatic changes since our last look at this underappreciated varietal several years ago. Its classic dark berry and cherry flavors accented with mild peppery spiciness make it easy to praise as an ideal wine for grilled foods and hearty winter fare. But for many years Petite Sirah was either relegated to a blending role or, if bottled solo, required at least an hour of aeration before consuming to allow the wine to become enjoyable.

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Gift Guide For Wine Connoisseurs Offers Good Words, Good Cheer

November 21, 2012

Iconic Spirits

Some recently published books that would be perfect gifts for the wine-lovers on your list.

A veritable feast of new publications are this year’s recommendations for holiday gifts for wine lovers, beginning with “Iconic Spirits — An Intoxicating History,” by Mark Spivak, the former host of NPR’s “Uncorked” and a prolific writer on food, wine and spirits.

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Israeli Label Yarden Shows Much Promise

August 22, 2012

Yarden Chardonnay

A review of Yarden wines from Israel’s Golan Heights Winery.

In 1972, oenologist Cornelius Ough identified the Golan Heights as an ideal location for grape growing due to its altitude, cool climate and volcanic soil. More than a decade later the award-winning Golan Heights Winery was established and it is credited with invigorating Israeli winemaking by dramatically improving the quality of the country’s wines. Its early successes led to the search for a winemaker that would build upon these accomplishments. In 1992, a young American graduate of UC Davis, Victor Schoenfeld, arrived in Israel to become its new head winemaker. It could be argued that advanced Israeli winemaking really began that year.

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