A Giant of a Wine and a Kiddush-Table Favorite

July 20, 2011

Balvenie Caribbean Cask

A review of the Brobdingnagian Syrah 2009 and the Balvenie Peated Cask 17 year old and Caribbean Cask 14 year old Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Large estates in California, France, Italy, Spain, South America and Israel produce tens of thousands of cases of single varietal and blended wines. These vast operations are also great incubators for wine-making talent, providing ample opportunities to learn each aspect of the field. Many now-famous winemakers started their careers as cellar rats washing tanks and cleaning floors.

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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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With Wines, Old Is New Again

February 26, 2009

Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The pleasures of older wines.

I prefer “Chinatown” to the “The DaVinci Code,” “On The Waterfront” over “Gladiator” and will drop everything to watch “Casablanca.” Angelina Jolie certainly has her attributes but Ingrid Bergman has a vulnerable sadness. Older movies have a captivating elegance and charm that is often lacking in the more recent Hollywood blockbusters. A similar satisfaction can be found in various older wines.

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Wines To ‘Steak’ A Claim With

January 29, 2009

Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon

Wines perfect to pair with a grilled rib-eye.

One of the ways we coax our son to visit us from college is to prepare his favorite meal: a grilled rib-eye steak prepared with CharCrust Hickory rub. And now that he is 21 years old, we also have to find the perfect wine to match the steak. Rather than figuring this out for myself, I solicited expert advice from the folks responsible for the wines at several of Washington, D.C.’s finest steak restaurants.

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Choose Young Wines For Feasting

November 20, 2008

Helfrich Reisling

Wine suggestions for Thanksgiving.

Think young when choosing a wine for the Thanksgiving feast. The meal’s complex variety of aromas, flavors and textures are best complimented by a fruity, youthful wine with refreshing acidity. Resist the temptation to serve an aged treasure to family and friends since the typical fare can easily overwhelm their subtle flavors and make more tannic wines such as Cabernet taste unpleasantly astringent. The half-hour rule applies; remove the white wines from the refrigerator and refrigerate the red ones 30 minutes before serving to bring out their best characteristics.

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Local Wineries Deserve More Respect

October 14, 2008

Black Ankle Crumbling Rock

A look at some Maryland wineries.

Many regionally produced wines are as good as their West Coast cousins, although consumers often overlook them. With wine being made in all 50 states, it is fitting that attention be paid to the accomplishments of these small wineries.

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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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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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California Winemaker Hails From Maryland

June 18, 2008

JC Cellars Zinfandel

A look at some of Jeff Cohn’s wines.

Jeff Cohn did not expect to become a winemaker, although he started in the food industry at age 16. After earning a degree in hospitality management, the Maryland native took a series of jobs including a stint on a Caribbean cruise ship. He ‘‘learned to appreciate wine” at a friend’s wine store on the island of Martinique. Upon returning to Maryland, he worked at Sutton Place, ‘‘which also had a great wine department,” as well as at the Boordy Vineyards outside Baltimore while completing the prerequisites to study oenology at Fresno State.

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