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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Don’t Cry For Argentina: Winemakers Produce High-Quality Vino

April 20, 2005

Zuccardi Winery

Some wine recommendations from my recent visit to Argentina.

Much like a grapevine that produces its best fruit under “stressful” growing conditions, Argentine winemakers have weathered that country’s significant political and economic upheavals to produce world-class wines. The country’s Mendoza region, where the Andes supply both water and protection from the Pacific winds, has a long history of winemaking. During the past several years, many of these wineries have invested in state-of-the-art equipment and refined their winemaking techniques to take advantage of a unique regional climate. Add to this the current favorable exchange rate and low production costs, and the result is high-quality wines at very good prices.

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Kosher-For-Passover Wines Are Not Just For Sedarim

April 7, 2005

Dalton Winery

A review of some recently released Kosher Wines.

“Good kosher wine” is no longer an oxymoron. Due to increased demand for alternatives to the traditional sweet wines, the quality and variety of kosher wines has steadily improved. The wines available for this year’s Passover demonstrate that this trend is continuing. For a wine to be designated kosher, the wine-making equipment can only be utilized for kosher wines and only kosher materials can be used during production. Shabbat-observant Jews supervise the entire process and no artificial colorings or preservatives are added. Kosher wine which will be handled by non-Jews is briefly heated to make it meshuval. Using current techniques, this does not affect the quality of the wine. Wines certified “kosher for Passover” do not come into contact with any unleaven materials during production.

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The ‘Sideways’ Effect: Pinot Noir Wines Get A Cinematic Boost

March 16, 2005

Sideways Miles

A look at some recently released .

While it may not have won the Academy Award for Best Picture, “Sideways” has had a profound effect on the way Americans view wine. The film features Pinot Noir wines, of which the lead character says: “Its flavors are the most haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling and ancient on the planet.” The result has been a dramatic surge in demand for Pinot Noir with sales increasing as much as 135 percent in some areas.

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Australia’s Clarendon Hills Winery Uses Old Vines, Techniques

February 16, 2005

Clarendon Hills Astralis

A review of recent releases from the Clarendon Hills Winery.

Like Curt Schilling in the World Series, winemaker Roman Bratasiuk is at the top of his game. The owner of the Australian winery Clarendon Hills is a Ukrainian émigré and former biochemist. The winery, located in the McLaren Vale region, was started in 1989. Bratasiuk bases his wines on old — some as old as 75 years — low-yielding vines and even older winemaking techniques. The grapes are grown close to the winery, and the yeasts are indigenous as well. He does not filter or use other techniques to refine the wine, depending instead upon new oak barrels and long maceration times to allow the wines to develop their characteristic flavors. The results are flavorful, complex wines that have subtleties often associated with the finest French wines — which is exactly what Bratasiuk is trying to achieve.

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Que Sirah, Sirah: Wines Earning Well-Deserved Respect

January 19, 2005

Concannon

A review of recently released Petite Sirahs.

Petite Sirah is the Rodney Dangerfield of grapes. A big, bold wine with cherry and berry like fruit and a mild peppery spiciness, it is frequently added to other varietals for color, body and flavor. Seldom does Petite Sirah get the respect that it deserves. However, this perception is slowly changing as the number of California winemakers producing quality Petite Sirah steadily increases.

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What’s For Dessert?: Sweet Wines Growing In Popularity

December 15, 2004

Chambers Rosewood Muscat

Dessert wines are an under-appreciated treasure.

Dessert wines may well be the next American wine craze. It seems only natural that a country that has donut shops and ice cream parlors on nearly every corner will learn eventually to appreciate the wonders of a well-made “stickie.” It is a mystery why dessert wines are not more popular. They are a great way to end a meal with more flavor and fewer carbohydrates than a slice of cheesecake. Good dessert wines have a noticeable sweetness balanced by other components, and the best examples have an amazing complexity of flavors. Most are served slightly chilled from half-bottles, or splits, which can serve up to 12 guests. If you are looking for a gift for a wine-lover, a bottle of dessert wine always will be appreciated.

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Dessert Wines For Gift Giving

November 25, 2004

Yarden Heightswine

Sweet dessert wines are perfect gifts for wine lovers.

There are many ways to choose a wine to give as a gift. Some people pick based upon the appearance of the label, thinking that a cute animal or pretty picture somehow translates into a drinkable wine. Others select wines that they have previously tasted while some choose based solely on the price, or color, or country of origin. This results in chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet as the most commonly selected gifts.

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