Sicily’s Wines Are Well Worth Sipping

February 24, 2010

Planeta Syrah

A review of several wines from Sicily including Planeta, Cottanera, Tenuta Rapitala, and Morgante.

Sicily has a long history of winemaking, mostly from indigenous grapes like Nero d’Avola and Grillo. The island’s complex geology, a combination of volcanic and African soil types, has led many producers to make wine from better known “international” varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay. The results of both approaches have shown steady improvement.

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Musings on Food and Wine Pairing

February 11, 2010

DC wine &food festival

Wine and food pairing is not very complex.

We all know the rules. Wine and food are meant to compliment each other. But the complexity of multiethnic cuisine and the subtlety of much of modern gastronomy have invalidated the traditional convention of “red with meat and white with fish.” There is really only one iron-clad rule: Drink what you like! Don’t be swayed by scores, prices or the presence of animals on the label.

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Winning Wines From Maryland Well Worth Exploring

October 28, 2009

Elk Run Cabernet Franc

A look at some award-winning wines from Maryland.

Wine is now being produced in all 50 states, even in Alaska where some daring souls in Homer, Kodiak and Anchorage are using fruit and purchased grape concentrate to create them. Often starting with meager resources, as well as ample enthusiasm, winemakers located in lesser-known wine-producing areas struggle for acceptance even as the quality of their product continues to improve.

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Italian White Wines Should Not Be Ignored

September 23, 2009

St Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio

A look at some Italian white wines.

Home to many of the world’s finest red wines, Italy also produces many excellent whites from sites all over the nation. Using some familiar grapes like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon as well as indigenous varietals, Italian winemakers are crafting some true beauties. Although the producers’ names may be difficult to remember, or pronounce, it is worth searching for these enjoyable, food-friendly wines.

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Hail To The King Of California White Wines

August 26, 2009

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay

A look at some recently released California Chardonnays.

Despite the appeal of other varietals, more than half of California’s white wine acreage remains planted to Chardonnay. Stylistically as diverse as the geography of the state itself, the recent releases offer many choices to enjoy as the hot days of summer slip into the fall. Here are some recommendations.

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An American Winemaker in Burgundy Feels the Squeeze in Economic Turndown

July 8, 2009

blair pethel

These are tough times to be a winemaker. Consumers are buying but overall sales are down, and the demand for the higher-priced wines has nearly evaporated. The larger producers are better positioned to withstand the economic downturn, but even the giant wine conglomerates are laying off employees. For smaller producers who make limited amounts of the world’s finest wines, these conditions are potentially disastrous.

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Chile Nearly Perfect For Wine Making

October 7, 2008

Casa Silva Carmenere

A look at Chilean wines.

Chile’s 13 different wine regions benefit from the Andres Mountains in the east and the cooling ocean breezes coming inland from the west. Each district has a distinctive geology and micro-climate. The northernmost Elqui Valley, at 6,500 feet above sea level, has long hot sunny days, while the southernmost Bio Bio and Malleco valleys run the risk of frost and heavy rains. In between are wide variations in daily temperatures, maritime influences and soil conditions. Truly delightful wines result when the specific location is matched with the appropriate varietal.

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Great Days In Burgundy Features Regional Vintages

April 16, 2008

Champy Pommard

A visit to Burgundy during Les Grand Jours de Bourgogne.

Les Grand Jours de Bourgogne, a six-day exposition that highlights the wines of this fabled region, draws importers, merchants and Burgundy aficionados from around the world, occurs every two years. This year, mostly 2006 vintages were featured, with some of 2005s and older ones thrown in for comparison.

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Four Cups, Four Wines – Why Not?

April 10, 2008

Goose Bay Pinot Noir

Some suggestions for Passover wines.

The four cups of wine served at Pesach gives each guest the opportunity to expand their wine horizons. The significant increases in quality kosher wine producers around the globe and their willingness to try different varietals have enhanced the choices available for this year’s sedarim. This improvement is most readily apparent in Israel, which has been the recent recipient of some very favorable wine press. But it can also be seen in the kosher wines from locations as diverse as California, Spain, Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand.

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