Villa Maria: From Humble Beginnings To Superior Wines

June 4, 2012

Villa Maria Pinot Noir

A review of the recently released Villa Maria Estate Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

In 1961, George Fistonich planted grapes on 2 acres he leased from his father’s farm located in the upper region of New Zealand’s North Island. He released his first wines in 1962 and now is celebrating his 50th vintage as founder and CEO of Villa Maria Estate. Known as New Zealand’s most honored winery, Villa Maria won its first awards in 1963 when two of its red wines were prizewinners at a prestigious New Zealand event. Over subsequent decades, Villa Maria has continued to garner numerous local and international accolades for its consistently superior wines.

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Spring Brings Outdoor Recreation, Rosé Wine Season

April 25, 2012

montes cherub rose

Wine recommendations for picnics and outdoor concerts.

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is a true national treasure. The almost 5 acres of available picnic space, an extensive and wide-ranging performance schedule and a liberal alcohol policy allowing patrons to bring their own wine and beer assures a wonderful experience without the over-charging for beverages found at other concert locations. It is the ideal venue to enjoy wines suited to picnicking in the warmer weather.

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Customer Service A Top Priority For Department of Liquor Control

April 4, 2012

Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control Emphasizes Customer Service

After Prohibition, every State and many local jurisdictions established their own rules regarding the sale and distribution of alcohol. Many Americans bristle at the thought of additional layers of governmental oversight and the agency that regulates wine, beer and spirits is often subject to criticism. However, these local boards can also provide their constituents with some specific benefits.

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Burgundy and Japanese Cuisine Prove A Perfect Paring

March 7, 2012

Becky Wasserman

Red Burgundy is an ideal wine to serve with Japanese Cuisine.

Sake is the classic accompaniment to Japanese food. Often called rice wine, it actually is “brewed” from rice that has been “polished” to expose the underlying starch. Quality varies depending upon the amount of polishing and whether or not alcohol is added to develop underlying flavors. But there are other choices. One of my favorite pairings with Japanese cuisine is a red Burgundy. However, it wasn’t always that way.

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Napa Valley Family Produces Award Winning Wines

February 1, 2012

Meiomi Pinot Noir

A look at the Wagner Family wines.

The Wagner family has been making wines in California’s Napa Valley since 1915. Its first winery flourished until 1920 when it was closed by Prohibition, and the family turned to farming, eventually growing grapes and making wines at their home. In 1972, Chuck Wagner and his parents Charles and Lorna Belle, established the Caymus Vineyards winery, naming it for the 1836 land grant that included the area encompassing their farm.

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Bubble Trouble Turns Into Elegant Sparklers

December 29, 2011

Pol Roger White Foil

A sparkling wine review including the Pol Roger Brut Reserve “White Foil,” the Mionetto, Lunetta, Voveti and Lamberti proseccos, JJ Vincent Cremant, Champalou Vovray Brut, Trapiche Extra Brut, and the J Vineyards Brut Rose and their 25th Anniversary Brut.

Bubbles in wine were once considered a fault, especially when the increased pressure caused the bottles to explode. The early Greeks attributed the presence of bubbles in wine to either astrological influences or malevolent spirits. It is likely that the French monk credited for “discovering” sparkling wine, Dom Perignon, was trying to find a way to prevent the bubbles from occurring. And it is equally likely that the development of stronger glass bottles by the English and their use of cork stoppers is what led to the subsequent success of the French Champagne region.

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The Wines of Madeira Age Gracefully

November 30, 2011

madeira bottles

A review of the Blandy’s 10-year-old Malmsey and the Blandy’s 5-year-old Alvada Madeiras.

The wines of Madeira are among the world’s longest lasting, with examples more than 100 years old still exhibiting youthful freshness and balance. Located 400 miles off the coast of Morocco, the island began winemaking in the 1400s when Portugal’s Prince Henry had the sweet Greek Malvasia grapes planted upon the hillsides along with Sicilian sugar cane.

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Port, An Ideal Sipper for Fall’s Cooler Temperatures

October 26, 2011

Fonseca Port

A review of several vintages of Croft, Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca Ports

Port, produced in the northern Portugal region of the Douro Valley, is created by adding a neutral spirit to stop the wine’s fermentation while there is still some residual sugar.

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For the Love of Lombardy’s Lovely Wines

September 28, 2011

Monte Ciogna Don Lisander

A review of wines from Italy’s Lombardy region.

Italy’s Lombardy region has been producing wines for centuries. Bordered by the Alps to the north and the Po River in the south, Lombardy is a cool-climate location for wine production dotted with lakes that modulate the local temperatures. The area is best known for its aromatic cheeses, and many of its grapes and wines are spirited off to be consumed elsewhere.

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