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. …

Mission Impossible: Red Wine for Thanksgiving

Mission Impossible: Red Wine for Thanksgiving

This year I decided I wanted to have red wine with my Thanksgiving dinner. In the past, I’ve usually opted for whites and, indeed, even on this site have unabashedly recommended them. Look, for instance, at my past feature, What To Serve With Turkey. And if you absolutely need to have whites or you positively eschew reds (you know those headaches), indulge yourself. Go for a good Riesling or a Pinot Blanc, maybe even a more fruity white from the Loire. Or why not just open that bottle of Champagne you’ve been saving for …

Reflections of Friendship

Reflections of Friendship

 

I have a young friend who’s extremely adept in craftwork. Pottery is her forte, but almost anything she makes, be it jewelry, sculpture, or cloth work, demonstrates her artisan’s hand and is strikingly unique. Recently she chose to give me a friendship bracelet. You’ve probably seen one before: six strands of variously colored embroidery thread tightly knotted to form an attractive pattern. I am quite touched by this little gift, whose charm lies in its simplicity and whose value in its intimation of the maker’s affection for me.

As I sat down to write about Dolcetto d’Alba, …

It’s Greek to Me. . .

It’s Greek to Me. . .

I’ve wanted to write about Greek wines for quite a while. After this year’s Grand European Wine tasting back in March, I thought it would be my next feature. Needless to say, it wasn’t. After a meal at a local Greek restaurant in April, I thought it would be a good piece for spring, but once again, didn’t do it. As June rolled around, I thought why not write about Greek white wines—perfect for summer. Needless to say, I chose another subject: California Cabernet. Was it a mental block? Could it have been my …

Barbecue Wines: Think BBQ

Barbecue Wines: Think BBQ

Almost everyone has his or her idea about what constitutes real barbecue. Across the states, indeed around the world, barbecuing styles, techniques, sauces, and even the cuts of meat differ vastly. The recently published Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen covers the subject thoroughly, traversing six global barbecue zones, and even attributes the birth of civilization to this type of cooking.  Barbecue is also popular on the web, where the most comprehensive site appears to be Barbecue’n On the Internet.

When I use the term “barbecue” in this feature, I am referring to plain old backyard-style barbecue …

Salad Days Wine

Salad Days Wine

On a hot summer afternoon, my aunt, who hailed from a small southern Italian town, would on occasion make for herself a salad of thinly sliced lemons drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with coarse salt, and sprinkled with chopped parsley. As a child, I wondered how anyone could ever eat lemons straight. Even today, though my culinary tastes have become more urbane, I still wonder. But I shall never forget her contented look as she indulged in that simple plate of citrus.

My recent examination of Portuguese Vinho Verde made me think of the many idiosyncratic pleasures …

California Cabs for Under $10

California Cabs for Under $10

Cabernet Sauvignon. Even the name sounds classy. In fact, I remember how pleased I was with myself, more than 30 years ago, when I ordered my first bottle in a restaurant and the waiter understood my pronunciation. (My having pointed to the wine on the list, however, may have helped just a little.) Back then, the major Napa producers were Beaulieu Vineyards, Charles Krug, Louis Martini, and The Christian Brothers. And although ordering a California Cabernet may have appeared rather avant-garde at the time, it was by no means an extravagance.

Over the years, as …