Category: Wine Articles

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 …

The Three Faces of Pinot Grigio

The Three Faces of Pinot Grigio

Perhaps it’s the conviviality we frequently feel when dining in an Italian restaurant that distracts us from the wine–especially the white wine. All too often, when faced with selecting a white, many of us opt for one of the old standbys: Soave, Orvieto, Verdicchio, Frascati, or Pinot Grigio. After all, Italian whites have, albeit undeserved, a reputation for being rather innocuous and not too flavorful.

Indeed, it seems that whenever I’m at a neighborhood ristorante with a reputation for good food and have asked the owner or a waiter to recommend a white, it’s …

Did Somebody Say Beaujolais?

Did Somebody Say Beaujolais?

With wine snobbery so rampant these days, Im not surprised that I recently found myself caught up in it. The other week, a member of our Wine Club posted a reply to a message that had requested a reasonable alternative for Merlot. He suggested Beaujolais Villages. I, perhaps too quickly, responded, asking how anyone could consider this simple carafe wine an alternative to the noble grape that made up some of the most expensive Bordeaux wines from Pomerol and St. Emilion. He defended his position and said simply that he did not regard Beaujolais-Villages as a …

Turkey of the Sea

Turkey of the Sea

If the word “Thanksgiving” doesn’t conjure up pictures of swordfish prepared in a tomato sauce with fennel and hot pepper and served with spaghetti, you’re probably not alone. But since we’ve just concluded our TableWine Challenge, which asked readers to prepare this dish and find the perfect wine to go with it, we’re devoting this feature to the contest. (If you’re looking for wine recommendations for traditional Thanksgiving fare, I suggest you check out our earlier features like Mission Impossible: Red Wine for Thanksgiving or What to Serve with Turkey. Both contain plenty of great wines …

More Matter and Less Art?

More Matter and Less Art?

Not long ago, I sat down with some friends to taste some French Burgundies and California Pinot Noirs. As we evaluated the wines, the one point we agreed upon was that the French wines had a pleasant rusticity about them that was lacking in their California counterparts. Don’t get me wrong. The Pinots were excellent wines, yet they appeared overly polished and almost too perfect next to the Burgundies, whose rough edges only added to their appeal. The Burgundies were like the Pinots in terms of flavor, body, and structure but, as one friend commented, …

Francly Speaking

Francly Speaking

While walking my dog the other day (and wondering how I would begin this month’s feature), I noticed that leaves had already started to fall and the trees were just beginning to show some color. It’s really Autumn, I thought, so why not write about how the varietal we’ve chosen to feature this month, Cabernet Franc, is the perfect wine for Fall.

Our menus typically change with the seasons, so why not our wines. Even though we may not think of wine as seasonal, many of us do seem to prefer cool whites in summer and warm reds …

The Rape of the Grape

The Rape of the Grape

It may seem a bit extreme to claim that Riesling has been raped. But in a way, it has. This noble variety and contender with Chardonnay for being the best white wine grape was exploited for years by mass producers of run-of-the-mill Rieslings or wines masquerading as such. Consequently, Riesling came to be associated with cloying sweetness and/or vapidity. Indeed, a close friend recently cringed at the mere suggestion of having a Riesling to accompany her baked Virginia ham. “Ugh,” she sneered, “I detest sweet wines” and would hear no more.

“What a shame,” I …