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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High Quality, Affordable Prices Make Chilean Wine An Excellent Choice

June 15, 2005

Montes Alpha Syrah

Some Chilean wine recommendations.

Boasting breathtaking scenery and friendly people, Chile is a visitor’s paradise. Long and thin, it is more than 2,700 miles long and at most, only 150 miles wide. Its climate varies from desert in the north to snow in the south. In between are some of the world’s most eye-catching grape growing valleys. Cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean arrive from the west, while the volcanoes of the Andes Mountains lie to the east. The resulting broad variations in climate, soil compositions and altitudes allow Chilean winemakers to experiment with varietals and growing conditions.

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Party Wines

May 26, 2005

Gloria ferrer Brut

Some wine recommendations for your next family gathering.

So, the entire family is coming into town for your simcha and that includes a dinner at your house. Besides figuring out what everyone will eat, you also want to have the right wines to serve without breaking your budget. Fortunately there are a large number of wines from around the world that your guests will enjoy that also are excellent values.

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Wine Writer’s Tour Reveals Choice Chilean Vineyards

May 18, 2005

Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc

Wine recommendations from my recent visit to Chile.

One of the nicest people to share a bottle of wine with is Alfredo Bartholomaus, founder of Billington Imports. His generous nature and depth of knowledge impressed everyone on a recent wine writer’s trip he led to Argentina and Chile. The gregarious poetry lover with a warm smile and an easy manner emigrated from Chile 20 years ago to establish a company dedicated to bringing South American wines to the U.S. market. His portfolio now includes wines from Chile, Argentina, Spain and New Zealand. He searches for high-quality, value-priced wines, and both new and established wineries seek his guidance.

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