Cabernets From Down Under Emphasize Elegance, Cost Less

May 4, 2009

Rosewood Show Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

A review of some Australian Cabernet Sauvignons.

Australian Cabernets have more finesse than many of their California cousins and closely resemble Bordeaux in balance and structure. This reflects local climate variations and the longer hang time before harvest in California. While these differences are best appreciated with the higher priced Australian Cabernets, like Parker Terra Rossa and the single vineyard Clarendon Hills wines, many fine examples from Down Under cost much less.

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This Summer, Go Green, And Frugal, With Portuguese Wines

March 25, 2009

Vinho Verde Wines

A look at the wines from Portugal’s Vinho Verde region.

A search for food-friendly, value-priced quality wines leads directly to the white wines of Portugal’s Vinho Verde region. Translated as “green wines,” and pronounced “veen-yo vehrd,” their name is not derived from their standard yellow to golden color. They are called “green” because they need to be consumed young while still fresh with bright flavors. The name also could be a consequence of the lush, verdant countryside that extends north and west from the city of Porto along the Costa Verde toward the border with Spain.

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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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Much Maligned Merlot Merits Reconsideration

February 25, 2009

Twomey Merlot

A look at some recently released Merlots.

A victim of its own popularity, Merlot has been unfairly criticized. Several vintages ago, the skyrocketing demand for an easy-drinking red wine enabled less conscientious producers to release oceans of weak, bland and unappealing Merlot to an unsuspecting public. It’s no wonder Miles from the movie “Sideways” vowed never to drink it again.

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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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Wines Sparkle For More Than Special Occasions

January 28, 2009

Chandon Reserve Brut

Some sparkling wine recommendations.

Resist the temptation to assign unused bottles of holiday Champagne and other sparklers to next year’s festivities and look for reasons to share them now. The balanced acidity of sparkling wines makes them food-friendly, and they come in sufficient styles, flavors and prices to fit most budgets and tastes.

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New Year’s Resolution: A Frugal Cellar

January 1, 2009

Domaine A et P de Villaine Bouseron

Suggestions for a “Frugal Cellar” from Becky Wasserman-Hone

I love wine. I love expensive wine and I love value-oriented wine.Unfortunately, the latter does not always garner the attention it deserves. But given the economic challenges facing us for at least the immediate future, my New Year’s resolution is to readjust my wine expectations.
The pursuit of trophy wines and dreams of first-growth Bordeaux must take a back seat to stocking my cellar with well-made wines at reasonable prices. There are numerous delicious, good-value wines being made, but they take a bit of effort to and, because the best examples
are often from unfamiliar producers or are created from unheralded varietals.

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Wine Lovers May Appreciate More Thoughtful Holiday Gifts

December 17, 2008

George Roullet Cognac

Some wine-related gift suggestions for this holiday season.

A grape-bunch patterned tie or a Santa shaped bottle stopper may not be the best choice for the wine lovers on this year’s gift list. Here are some alternatives.

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Great Beer For Turkey Bowls

November 27, 2008

Stella Artois

A close look at some Belgian beers including Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe Brun.

By now the wines for the Thanksgiving feast have been carefully selected. But what does a self-respecting wine lover drink during the other activities of the day, such as watching football? Cider and eggnog are too unidimensional. Wine is all about aromas, flavors and texture. So it is no surprise that many wine drinkers also enjoy the better-made beers, particularly those produced in Europe.

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