Wine Archive

  • One of the most common, thought-provoking, and debated questions in wine is “What makes a wine great?” In my experience writing about wine and attending countless seminars and tastings over the past fifteen years, this question is almost always looming. Sometimes it is the specific topic of discussion; other times it is the basic question underlying the stated topic.

    J.L. Chave Seminar Demonstrates Greatness in Wine

    One of the most common, thought-provoking, and debated questions in wine is “What makes a wine great?” In my experience writing about wine and attending countless seminars and tastings over the past fifteen years, this question is almost always looming. Sometimes it is the specific topic of discussion; other times it is the basic question underlying the stated topic.

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  • Paso Robles is the largest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in California. It is also the name of the main town of about 30,000, whose original name was El Paso del Robles (“Passage of the Oaks”). But, after my recent visit to the area, I think Paso could just be short for “passion.”

    Paso Robles Emerges As World Class Wine, Food, Travel Destination

    Paso Robles is the largest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in California. It is also the name of the main town of about 30,000, whose original name was El Paso del Robles (“Passage of the Oaks”). But, after my recent visit to the area, I think Paso could just be short for “passion.”

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  • Semillon “is one of the unsung heroes of white wine production.” So it says in the definitive Oxford Companion to Wine. Unsung presumably because although the grape is widely cultivated, there are very few places where it produces wines of distinction. But where it does those wines can be glorious.

    Understanding Hunter Valley Semillon

    Semillon “is one of the unsung heroes of white wine production.” So it says in the definitive Oxford Companion to Wine. Unsung presumably because although the grape is widely cultivated, there are very few places where it produces wines of distinction. But where it does those wines can be glorious.

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  • As my favorite wine, I naturally drink a lot of Zinfandel. One reason is it’s quite versatile with food. The more elegant styles are great with red meat, especially lamb. The more assertive styles easily compliment spicy foods like Italian and Indian. But I really like it with barbecue and grilled meats like burgers, sausage and barbecued chicken. And even chocolate! I mostly love Zinfandel because it captures the essence of exuberance and zest in a glass.

    Dry Creek Valley Dominates Zinfandel Tastings

    As my favorite wine, I naturally drink a lot of Zinfandel. One reason is it’s quite versatile with food. The more elegant styles are great with red meat, especially lamb. The more assertive styles easily compliment spicy foods like Italian and Indian. But I really like it with barbecue and grilled meats like burgers, sausage and barbecued chicken. And even chocolate! I mostly love Zinfandel because it captures the essence of exuberance and zest in a glass.

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  • Hotter weather means lighter reds means its time to rediscover Beaujolais. In the heat of the summer, a light, refreshing aromatic white hits the spot much better than a big, buttery Chardonnay. There are many good candidates—Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc. Right now I’m drinking a lot of Pinot Gris (and Pinot Grigio). Pinot Gris. Ironically pink wines are under appreciated in this country while the popularity of blush wines has reinforced the perception that these aren't real wines.  Europeans, on the other hand, have known for a long time the joy of drinking a good pink wine.

In the heat of the summer, a light, refreshing aromatic white hits the spot much better than a big, buttery Chardonnay. There are many good candidates—Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc. Right now I’m drinking a lot of Pinot Gris (and Pinot Grigio).

    A Red, White and Rose Summer

    Hotter weather means lighter reds means its time to rediscover Beaujolais. In the heat of the summer, a light, refreshing aromatic white hits the spot much better than a big, buttery Chardonnay. There are many good candidates—Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc. Right now I’m drinking a lot of Pinot Gris (and Pinot Grigio). Pinot Gris. Ironically pink wines are under appreciated in this country while the popularity of blush wines has reinforced the perception that these aren't real wines. Europeans, on the other hand, have known for a long time the joy of drinking a good pink wine. In the heat of the summer, a light, refreshing aromatic white hits the spot much better than a big, buttery Chardonnay. There are many good candidates—Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc. Right now I’m drinking a lot of Pinot Gris (and Pinot Grigio).

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  • The Temecula Valley is southern California's wine country. The first thing I noticed about the valley was its rather convenient location for tourist visits, being close to the suburban housing developments nearby. It also is just 60 miles northeast of San Diego and 90 miles southeast of LA. If you are taking your kids to nearby Legoland, visiting friends in the area or just want a wine country experience other than Napa and Sonoma, the Temecula Valley is a worthy option.

    The Temecula Valley

    The Temecula Valley is southern California's wine country. The first thing I noticed about the valley was its rather convenient location for tourist visits, being close to the suburban housing developments nearby. It also is just 60 miles northeast of San Diego and 90 miles southeast of LA. If you are taking your kids to nearby Legoland, visiting friends in the area or just want a wine country experience other than Napa and Sonoma, the Temecula Valley is a worthy option.

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  • This summer when you prepare for a picnic, don’t forget the wine. While most people still turn to beer or margaritas to beat the heat, to my palate, there is no better environment for wine than a leisurely picnic or a backyard barbecue. One general guideline I follow is to match modest wine with modest foods. And I extend that to include modest circumstances, like picnics.

    Summer Pairings for Picnics

    This summer when you prepare for a picnic, don’t forget the wine. While most people still turn to beer or margaritas to beat the heat, to my palate, there is no better environment for wine than a leisurely picnic or a backyard barbecue. One general guideline I follow is to match modest wine with modest foods. And I extend that to include modest circumstances, like picnics.

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  • There must be something in our nature as human beings that drives us to a fascination with greatness. Whether it is athletics, business, politics, science, music or art, we seem to be preoccupied with the best of human endeavor. This certainly is true with wine connoisseurs.

    What Makes a Wine Great?

    There must be something in our nature as human beings that drives us to a fascination with greatness. Whether it is athletics, business, politics, science, music or art, we seem to be preoccupied with the best of human endeavor. This certainly is true with wine connoisseurs.

    Continue Reading...