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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A Night To Remember: Fine Food And Fabulous Wines

March 19, 2008

Chateau Calon-Segur

Great food and spectacular wines make for a wonderful charity dinner.

The format is simple: Invite some generous friends to a great restaurant that will include the corkage in the price of the meal. Send out the menu beforehand so everyone can select appropriate wines to bring. The guests not only pay for their meal, but also make a donation to a charity the organizer selects. The inevitable result is a nearly guilt-free evening of excellent food, wine and conversation – followed quickly by plans for the next one.

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Science Geek Winemaker Aspires To Mouth-Feel

January 23, 2008

Tandem Pinot Noir

A look at the wines created by Greg La Follette.

In a temporary looking office of a converted apple processing plant, a beaming Greg La Follette holds an elongated glass tube in purple-stained hands. ‘I just finished tasting the lees,” says the noted winemaker while offering the tube for further examination. ‘‘Andre Tchelistcheff taught that it was the way to know what was going on in the barrels. Not many people do it though,” he adds. That is not surprising since the lees are comprised of dead yeast, grape skins, seeds and other fermentation detritus.

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The Antidote To Boring Wines

November 27, 2007

Martinelli Pinot Noir

A look at the wines of the Martinelli Winery.

Inside a red barn along Sonoma’s River Road is the Martinelli Winery tasting room. The Martinelli family planted their first vineyard in 1899 on a site known as ‘‘Jackass Hill,” a location reportedly so steep that only a fool would harvest there. During the ensuing century, the family has acquired several other prime vineyards and now their portfolio includes excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Syrah, many of which are available only through their mailing list.

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Burgundy Available At Less Than Exorbitant Prices

September 30, 2007

Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny

A look at some reasonably-priced 2003 Burgundies.

France’s Burgundy region — comprised of the Chablis, Cote ’Or, Cote Chalonnaise, Maconnais and Beaujolais districts — has 400 types of soil and hundreds of small vineyards, and is subject to unpredictable weather. Only a small amount of land along the slopes is used to grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Pinot Blanc and Aligote.

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Lighten Up For Summer With Whites And Rosés

June 20, 2007

Simi Roseto

Some summer wine recommendations.

Now is the time to put away the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in favor of lighter wines to complement the summer barbecues and salads. The best warm weather wines have distinct fruit flavors, crisp acidity for balance and a nice clean finish. The whites and rosés are served chilled, and even the reds can benefit from a half-hour in the fridge before opening. Here are some suggestions:

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Pinot Noirs From New Zealand Peaking In Popularity

May 16, 2007

Amisfield Pinot Noir

A review of some fine New Zealand Pinot Noirs.

New Zealand is on a roll. Known for high-quality Sauvignon Blancs, Kiwi winemakers are hitting their stride with Pinot Noir, particularly the 2005 vintage. Plantings of Pinot Noir have increased almost tenfold in the past decade with a remarkable 1,100 percent increase in exports during the same time period. While some of the best examples are in limited supply, many very good New Zealand Pinot Noirs are currently available in the U.S.

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California Dreamin’: Wines Enhance the Holidays

December 20, 2006

Ferrari-Carano Siena

California wines for the holiday season.

With the holidays around the corner, it is time to choose the wines that will be served with the festive meals. Since the menu and head count often vary, it is best to generalize the wine choices rather than try to match them perfectly to the food and guests. Ideally, the wines should have solid fruit flavors that are true to the grape varietal. Balanced acidity is important to allow the wine to hold up to rich fare, and so is a good finish that will keep things interesting. For this year’s celebrations, I recommend wines from the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

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Grapes From Cool Climes Produce Subtle Wines

July 19, 2006

Omrah Shiraz

A review of some cool-climate grown wines.

Grapes grown in cooler climates have significantly different flavor profiles than those from warmer areas.‘‘Cooler-climate wines are not fruit driven,” says importer Robert Whale. ‘‘They are more subtle. While still expressing the essence of the varietal, these wines have elegant flavors and are more food-friendly.” Whale, a tireless advocate of cooler-climate wines, insists that ‘‘there is more to Australian wine than big fruit bomb Shiraz from the Barossa.”

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