An American Winemaker in Burgundy Feels the Squeeze in Economic Turndown

July 8, 2009

blair pethel

These are tough times to be a winemaker. Consumers are buying but overall sales are down, and the demand for the higher-priced wines has nearly evaporated. The larger producers are better positioned to withstand the economic downturn, but even the giant wine conglomerates are laying off employees. For smaller producers who make limited amounts of the world’s finest wines, these conditions are potentially disastrous.

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The Right Bottle Of White For A Hot Summer Day



frank

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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Rose Wines For Summer Sipping

June 10, 2009

Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare

Rosés are a perfect wine for summer’s warm weather.

Real wine lovers drink pink. Not the semi-sweet mass-produced “white” California travesty or the stuff from the squat oval bottle we boomers made into candle holders. The pink wines worth drinking are the Rosés made by serious winemakers for a more discerning public. Their fresh fruit flavors, refreshing acidity and reasonable prices make Rosés perfect for this summer’s warm weather.

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Heart’s Delight Features The Impressive 2006 Bordeaux

June 3, 2009

Rausan-Segla

At look at the 2006 Bordeaux courtesy of “Heart’s Delight.”

Among the featured wines at the annual Heart’s Delight wine tasting and auction, a benefit for the American Heart Association held earlier this month in the District, were the 2006 Bordeaux. Coming on the heels of the much-heralded 2005s — considered a nearly perfect vintage — late September rains helped dampen expectations. But the 2006s have not received the notice they deserve. The Bordelais know how to blend varietals to maintain their specific style, and the Chateaux that managed their vineyards carefully and controlled yields created impressive wines. Several are surprisingly ready to drink, while others need at least five years to reach their potential.

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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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