Uncork Some Wintry Wines

November 17, 2005

Phelps Le Mistral

Some winter wine suggestions

I am not a fan of cold weather. Shoveling sidewalks and scraping windshields holds no great fascination for me and I would much rather eat a meal served poolside than by a fireplace. But, when you live in the Northeast, winter weather is inevitable and you make due with whatever pleasures you can find until the crocuses return.

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Choosing A Wine For Thanksgiving

November 16, 2005

Chapoutier Belleruche

Some Rhone wine suggestions for your Thanksgiving feast.

The classic meal of roast turkey, stuffing and cranberries offers a variety of flavors that expands, rather than limits, the types of wine that can be served. Ideally, the wine should have good fruit flavors, refreshing acidity for balance and not be too tannic or oaky. Champagne and other sparkling wines work wonderfully as would an aromatic Pinot Noir, a crisp Riesling, a fruity Beaujolais Nouveau or a spicy Zinfandel. This year, however, I am recommending a Cotes du Rhone.

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Wedding Gifts For Wine Lovers

October 27, 2005

Bollinger La Grande Annee

Some Wedding Gift suggestions.

The invitation has arrived and you are wondering what to get to get the engaged couple. A check seems too impersonal and a toaster or tea set seems too boring. For a couple that enjoys wine, there are a number of interesting and exotic wine gifts available. As always, a knowledgeable professional at your favorite store is an important asset when choosing wine as a gift.

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Wine Aficionados Gather To Help Feed Hurricane Victims

October 19, 2005

Dalla Valle

Charity wine events are enjoyable ways to support good causes.

Tasting wines while supporting a worthwhile cause makes a doubly enjoyable evening. Members of the wine industry who share their expertise often attend such charity events, and frequently, there are opportunities to purchase rare and exotic items usually not available to the general public.

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Winemaking Beckons Successful Types To Try Their Hand

September 21, 2005

de Lorimier Lace

Winemaking as a second career.

Some say the way to make a small fortune in the wine business is to start with a large one. Subject to the vagaries of weather, insects and capricious consumer tastes, winemaking appears to be a guaranteed way to lose money. Despite these issues, many people who have become successful in other endeavors find the lure of making and selling their own wine irresistible.

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Loire Valley White Wines Well Worth Investigating

August 17, 2005

Domaine Girard Sancerre

A look at some Loire Valley white wines.

Wine drinkers often end up in a rut. Claiming to like only a certain taste, they limit their purchases to a few select brands and rarely venture beyond their comfort zone. Problems develop when they serve the same wine with every meal; their favorite California Merlot will not work well with oysters. The world is full of terrific wines that vary in taste, aroma, texture and price. This great variety of flavors facilitates matching food and wine for those willing to try something new. Good values are equally plentiful, allowing a wine-drinker to be adventurous without being extravagant.

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Diary Of a Second-Tier Wine Writer

August 1, 2005

Second Tier

Sure, life at the top has its perks, but life near the top isn’t so bad either.

Not being Robert Parker has its benefits. That’s pretty rarified air, up there on the first-tier of wine writing. People like Oz Clarke, Karen MacNeil and Jancis Robinson must thrive under stress. There’s a lot of pressure when your comments can make the next cult wine or destroy an entire region’s economy. Everything the first-tier folks write is widely scrutinized, and some of their readers invariably get upset, either because their wines weren’t mentioned, or perhaps because they were. And can a first-tier writer just once go to a dinner without having some lout try to stump them in a spontaneous blind tasting?

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California Winemakers Reclaiming The Chardonnay Grape

July 20, 2005

Frank Family Vineyard

A look at some recently released California Chardonnays.

It is ironic that Chardonnay is an extremely popular wine while it is also among the most scorned. In California, more acres of Chardonnay are planted than any other varietal. Paradoxically, a large number of consumers subscribe to the “ABC” theory of wine selection: “Anything But Chardonnay.” Chardonnay’s appeal appears to have been its undoing. The surge in consumer demand during the 1980s led to increased production, often without adequate attention to quality. Many producers ascribed to a cookbook approach, twisting the wine to fit biochemical specifications instead of allowing the natural flavors to develop. Others believed that grapes grown in warmer California should be treated in the same fashion as grapes grown in the cooler Burgundy region of France.

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Bright, Refreshing Summer Wines

June 16, 2005

Rodney Strong Chardonnay

Some summer wine recommendations.

Summer is the time to put away the heavy, winter wines and pick up wines appropriate for the warmer weather. Look for white wines that have bright flavors balanced with enough acid to make the wine crisp and refreshing so it pairs well with warm weather foods. Summer red wines should have great fruit flavors without a lot of complexity or power.

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