Category: Wine Articles

Back to School Wines

Back to School Wines

Remember those college wine and cheese parties of the late sixties and seventies, where almost no one cared about vintage or varietal? Where hearty Burgundy, Chablis, and cold duck were better known than Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Merlot, and names like Mateus, Ingelnook, and Almaden were more familiar than Mondavi, Beringer, and Caymus? Where screw caps were more popular than corks–except for straw- covered Chianti flasks, which were prized more for use as candleholders than for their contents.

Of course there was the food: cubes of Swiss, cheddar, and Gouda were mandatory, as were Triscuits and Ritz …

Pretty & Pink: Dry Rosés

Pretty & Pink: Dry Rosés

As we make the transition from summer to autumn, some of us might not be totally ready to give up our estival whites and turn to our hibernal reds. But on those weekend afternoons in early fall, you might make a compromise and try a dry rosé. These wines can be refreshing and crisp like a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, yet can offer a unique fragrance and subtle sweetness that are particularly enjoyable. And then theres the colorafter all, why should we limit our admiration of beautiful hues to leaves.

Take a moment and admire …

Wines for Winter Stews

Wines for Winter Stews

After the fancy and the schmancy of holiday entertaining and as we approach the last days of winter, a hearty homemade beef or lamb stew seems to be the best bet for a family supper or even for an informal dinner party. Maybe it’s because of a nostalgia for hearth and home that many of us share these days. Or perhaps it’s simply the communal spirit that comes from everyone helping themselves from a big stew pot at the center of the table. I’m not quite sure why, but somehow a stew’s warmth appears to go …

Sinful Zins

Sinful Zins

For some reason, I always associate zinfandel with autumn. It seems that as soon as the leaves start to turn and the first chill sets in, I get a craving for this rich red wine, usually high in alcohol content, with bold tastes of red fruit, chocolate, raspberries, and pepper. These characteristics make a good zinfandel the perfect accompaniment for a roasted leg of lamb or as the braising liquid for a hearty beef stew. (Obviously, I’m talking about real zinfandel and not the white impostor.)

So what makes a zinfandel good? First off, it should be full …

Perfect Wines For Pizza

Perfect Wines For Pizza

About 10 years ago, caught up in the hedonism of the eighties, I once recommended (albeit somewhat in jest) drinking champagne with pizza. Its yeastiness and effervescence, I argued, made it (I think “it” was Veuve Cliquot) a fine accompaniment for the pie. In the “cents-ible” nineties, however, where mortgages and children’s college tuition have taken precedence over Guccis and Rolexes, that argument would probably not go over too well. If you want the bubbles, go for a good cold beer. But if you’re a wine drinker read on.

Choosing a wine for pizza can depend …

Chardonnay, Anyone?

Chardonnay, Anyone?

I dont like the music of Kenny G. I dont like the acting of Doris Day. I dont like the style of white-on-white shirts. Guess how I feel about chardonnay. For some reason, this best seller has never been one of my favorite wines. If I must drink a white, give me a sauvignon blanc, a riesling, or even a humble chenin blanc. They are, for me, far more interesting and serve as better accompaniments for food. But because chardonnay is such a popular wine, I thought I should dedicate at least one page to it.

Because of …

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

Probably it’s the bubbles, but I always find it difficult to conduct a champagne tasting and then even more difficult to write about it. No matter how hard I try to be objective and disciplined while I’m tasting, I seem to lose it after just the third or forth sip. I simply can’t spit it out and go on to sample the next wine. A certain pleasure takes overand that’s it. Like the renaissance world view of a great chain of being that connected all levels of creation to God, champagne links so many pleasant memories to the …

What To Serve With Turkey?

What To Serve With Turkey?

AUSTERE SPLENDOR: LES VINS D’ALSACE

Although their pairing is almost oxymoronic, the words “power” and “finesse” seem to follow each other whenever anyone discusses Alsatian wines. But I can think of no other two that characterize these luscious, quaffable wines as accurately. “Power” is often used to differentiate them from German wines to which they are frequently and perhaps unfortunately, compared. They are definitely fuller bodied and dryer, making them perfect accompaniments to fish and white meats. “Finesse” suggests the aromatic charm of their floral and fruity bouquets.

Alsatian wines are labeled after the grapes …

Chianti…Remembrance of Wines Past

Chianti…Remembrance of Wines Past

As a child growing up in an Italian-American family, I was forever fascinated by the straw-covered flasks of Ruffino Chianti (the only Chianti my father would drink). When it came time to go to the cellar and choose a wine for dinner, I was the first to volunteer and always returned with Chiantieven when it was not the most appropriate wine for the dinner. After all, in our home, Chianti (except perhaps for some Riserva Ducale) was only for family meals, often for Sunday dinner when the menu was pasta with my aunts red sauce and …

The Sensible Wines of the Loire Valley

The Sensible Wines of the Loire Valley

Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, once wrote of the Loire valley: “The wind is mild without voluptuousness, the sun soft without ardor; the whole landscape pretty, varied in its monotony, light, gracious, but of a beauty which caresses without captivating, which charms without seducing, and which, in a word, has more common sense than grandeur and more spirit than poetry. It is France.” He might just as well have been writing of the wines from this region, which perhaps may never compete with the grandeur of Bordeaux or the seductiveness of Burgundy, …