Varietals Make South African Winemakers Shine Brightly

May 26, 2010

Rust en Vrede

A review of some South African wines courtesy of the “Drink Well, Do Good Tour.”

As host of this year’s soccer World Cup, South Africa is showcasing its first-rate vineyards and wineries. The South African wine industry traces its beginnings to its first harvest and crush in 1652. Not long after the British acquired the colony, production surged; the wines were popular in 19th century Great Britain. But a change in British trade regulations devastated South African wine imports and the industry remained essentially moribund until the end of apartheid. The subsequent lifting of trade embargos and ending of consumer boycotts renewed interest in South African wines, resulting in increased investment and modernization of facilities and techniques.

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Value-Priced Wines Come From Around The World

March 31, 2010

Greg Norman Estates Shiraz Cabernet

A look at some wine values from Chile, Australia, Spain and California.

Underlying every wine purchase is the question: Is this bottle really worth the price? Does some fundamental aspect of the $200 Cristal Champagne make it better than a $15 Spanish sparkler? Maybe to a hip-hop artist, but to most of us, discovering pleasurable wines that cost considerably less is more pleasurable. Fortunately, many of the world’s wine regions still produce reasonably priced wines. Each of the following recommendations costs $15 or less.

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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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The Right Bottle Of White For A Hot Summer Day

July 8, 2009

Some summer wine recommendations.

Chardonnay is not the only chilled glass of white wine to treasure in the summer heat. Many other varietals offer the invigorating crisp flavors and balanced acidity enhance warm weather meals. It is also worth exploring the shelves to find treasures and the occasional bargain from less familiar regions.

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Fruity Roses, Whites and Reds End Summer On A High Note

August 20, 2008

Marques de Caceres Rose

Wine suggestions for the last days of summer.

Wines with vibrant fruit flavors and refreshingly brisk acidity are ideal choices for these last days of warmer weather. Roses are perfect examples. From Oregon, the delicious, cinnamon-scented Soter Pinot Noir Rose 2007 ($20), with strawberry and cherry flavors, is crafted with a little Pinot Gris and Chardonnay to give it a bit more body. It remains supple enough to work well with typical summer fare.

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Israel’s Dalton Produces World-Class Wines

May 21, 2008

Dalton Winery

A visit and tasting at Israel’s Dalton Winery.

Londoner Alex Haruni recognized that Northeastern Israel needed a new economic base. During a visit to the area — which had been a fiscal sinkhole for years, with unemployment approaching 60 percent and families leaving in droves — Haruni had some surprisingly good wine made from local grapes. An examination of the vineyard convinced him that the Upper Galilee could produce world-class wine.

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Shuffling Around At California Wineries

February 20, 2008

Sbragia Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon

Lots of changes underway in California.

The winds of change are blowing through California’s vineyards. After more than 30 years at Beringer, winemaker Ed Sbragia has left the Napa winery to focus his efforts on his family’s project in Sonoma. The Sbragia Family Vineyards have been producing quality wines since 2004 and release 6,000 cases a year. Sbragia will get to work more closely with his son Adam, and their goal is to increase production to 10,000 cases annually.

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With A Name Like That, It’s Gott To Be Good

July 18, 2007

Joel Gott Zinfandel

A look at the wines created by Joel Gott.

Joel Gott comes honestly to the business of winemaking. He’s the grandson of the president of Inglenook Winery, whose mother created Montevina Winery and whose father started in the cellar at Sterling Vineyards (eventually becoming CEO). Gott himself is a partner in the Three Thieves wine brand and owns a piece of a Napa Valley custom winemaking facility. A fifth-generation farmer, Gott and his brother own the gourmet burger restaurants Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in St. Helena and San Francisco (with another on the way in Napa). The father of three young children, he is married to wine consultant Sarah Gott and runs their family winemaking business.

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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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