Category: Wine Articles

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, …

Seconds Anyone?

Seconds Anyone?

Looking for a good yet reasonably priced Chardonnay or Cabernet is getting more and more difficult these days. It seems that the average price for these popular wines from leading producers is close to $20 to $25 a bottle. That’s pretty steep for an everyday wine or when you’re entertaining more than six. The popularity of these two varieties is one of the major reasons. The old supply/demand rule is at work. In fact, as Merlot and even Zinfandel gain in their appeal, their prices are also beginning to soar. So what do we do when we have …

Good Cheap Wine

Good Cheap Wine

Summer-wine, summer-wine, sum-sum-summer-wine. Thats what this feature is all about. Red wines for summer sipping, backyard barbecues, and picnics in the park. Usually at these events, we just want to relax, lay back, and enjoy ourselves and give into cravings for plain ol simple stuff. And, unless your with a Martha Stewart devotee, fancy gives way to plain and complexity succumbs to simplicity.

I know that when Im scarfing down that third burger with sweet relish and ketchup, I really dont want to take time out to pay homage to the winemaker or to think about vintages. …

Wine or Beer with Chinese Food?

Wine or Beer with Chinese Food?

Whether dining in a restaurant or doing take out, the question of what to drink with Chinese food seems to be a problem for many of us. However, the answer may depend simply on how you eat this wonderful cuisine. If you approach the table (or the carton) with a ravenous appetite and shovel in the food, you might do better with a good Chinese beer like Tsing Tao. It has a wonderful plummy flavor that goes well with the mildest of Cantonese or the spiciest of Schezuan offerings. Go ahead; scarf the food, …

The Seduction of Pinot Noir

The Seduction of Pinot Noir

No wine can seduce like Pinot Noir or Burgundy. Sure you can be overwhelmed by a rich full-bodied Cabernet or teased by a coy fruity Chardonnay or even tickled silly by an unctuous, honeyed Sauternes. But none, at least in my experience, has Pinots sensuousness: the perfumed nose of red berries and violets, the ruby red colors, the silky body, the rich tastes of raspberry, strawberry, black cherry, and vanilla. And, if youre lucky, a finish that makes you long for more.

It may be for this reason that wine makers struggle with this most …

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 …