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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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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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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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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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 Land Down Under Produces Wonderful Wines

December 19, 2007

tait

A review of some recently released Australian wines.

Look to Australia when choosing a wine to complement a winter meal or for snuggling beside a cozy fire. Many of the latest Australian releases have a remarkable complexity along with their characteristic bold fruit profile. While some (like the 2006 Craneford Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2006 Oliverhill Petite Sirah) require several years of cellaring to achieve their peak, all the wines listed here are drinking perfectly now.

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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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Portuguese Winemakers Offer A Mix Of Old And New

October 17, 2007

Quinta do Monte D'Oiro

A look at some Portuguese table wines.

Known for centuries as the home of exceptional Port and Madeira, Portuguese winemakers are making some very good table wines now. Mirroring their Spanish counterparts, Portuguese wine producers have made major investments to modernize their facilities and to plant new varietals. ‘‘We needed to show the world that we could make quality table wines,” Jose Bento dos Santos, owner of Quinta do Monte D’Oiro explained at a recent tasting. ‘‘So we made wines from grapes people already know. Now that they see what we can do, they are more willing to try the wines from native grapes such as Touriga Nacional.”

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