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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ZAP Shows Off California’s Best Zinfandels

July 16, 2008

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel

A look at some recently released Zinfandels.

The Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, ZAP, were recently in D.C. to showcase examples of California’s quintessential wine. Genetically identical to the Croatian grape Crljenak, and related to the Italian Primitivo, Zinfandel was brought to West Coast during the 1850s Gold Rush; by the end of the 1900s, it was the most common varietal planted in California. Prohibition led to the destruction of many of the vineyards, but the 1970s saw a renewed interest in the grape by winemakers and consumers. Zinfandel’s popularity has rebounded with new plantings and efforts to preserve any of the remaining older vines prized for their intense flavors. Zin is now the second most planted red wine varietal in California, behind only Cabernet Sauvignon.

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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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Gifts To Warm A Wine Lover’s Heart

June 5, 2008

Makers Mark

Gift suggestions for wine lovers.

If you are invited to a birthday or anniversary party for a wine enthusiast or are looking for a gift for the hosts of a dinner party you’re attending, there are many new and interesting items to make your search easy. Here are some suggestions:

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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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