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Showing posts from July, 2017

Why Fast Food Wines Are Here To Stay

“The consumer doesn't know. They think it comes from a guy who farmed his land and made it in his small barrels in his little winery.”
I'm not sure when it happened, but somehow cheap, generic, homogenized commodity wine, is riding a new found wave of popularity. I've seen it blowing up in various social media platforms, tremendous enthusiasm for bathtub purple swill. What is driving this phenomenon, I'm not completely sure, but I do have some ideas. In my mind, there must be something in it, besides fermented grape juice, ah yes, there is, residual sugar. 
When I see folks tweeting, Facebooking, Instafaming, about mass produced [commodity] wines, like Chateau Two-by-Four [Kendall Jackson or La Crema] Chardonnay, for example, I cringe. The reason being, there's so much wine diversity out there, why, oh why, settle for the predictable commodity wine? Is it marketing appeal, familiarity, the price, or the cute critter on the label. 
Let me go a step further in regards t…

Sagrantino di Montefalco: Umbria's Jewel

"Let me tell you now, something’s got a hold on me (Oh, it must be love)" ~ Etta James. 

Ms. James, a beautiful talent, whose music I really adore, perfectly sums up for me, my feelings and impressions about one of my latest epicurean excursions into the Italian wine scene, one found via this bottle of Sagrantino from Antonelli.
I was fortunate enough to be invited on a wonderful trip into the heart of Umbria and Campania [2012] with the International Wine and Tourism Conference which was held in Campania that year. Part of the trip was spent, getting to know, the amazing [sadly flying under the radar] Sagrantino DOCG. After uncorking this beauty [seen above] more than a few moons ago, it really brought back the crisp, vibrant memories of that trip.  
I had the good fortune to hang out with some of the very best food and wine writers [bloggers] in the U.S. and also at the same time, the experience of being trapped in freak snow storm [bonus] it was late January, and early 

Adventures in Champagne: Louis Roederer Champagne Uncorked

"A single glass of Champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced; the imagination is stirred, the wits become more nimble." ~ Winston Churchill
I will admit to feeling a bit of exhilaration, during my visit to Champagne, especially when I looked at the itinerary, seeing a visit to Louis Roederer Champagne had been a last minute addition. When no one was looking, I jumped in the air and clicked my heels together. [I apologize in advance if you now cannot get that image out of your mind]. But again, hey it's not every day you get an invitation to visit Champagne and meet some of the big-time movers in shakers in the world of Champagne. So please I beg your indulgence once more as I finish up my notes about the visit to LRC. A visit which literally blew my mind. I think it's worth noting, that not even one bottle of their bubbly was oxidized, not even the tiniest bit. 

First up in the tasting notes is this sinfully elegant dream, a classic Blanc de Bl…

Right Bank Bordeaux: Vintage Retrospective

Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us, dim secrets that startle our wonder, as to who we are... ~ RW Emerson 
Like music [which is nearly always playing in my home] wine too, whispers its secrets, but you have to slow down long enough to hear what it's saying, and if the wine has a song to sing, in my opinion, Saint Emilion is its composer. Since returning from my trip to Bordeaux, I had become smitten with its flavors and finesse. The wines of Bordeaux, in general, offer so many different expressions, and it would seem to me that those impressions are timeless, but I also found them to be evolving. In my opinion, until you take the time to slow down, taste its textures, flavors, and breathe in its aromas, you may have a hard time understanding what it is, I'm attempting to communicate here.

On my wine journey [if you will] early on, when I became exposed to wine, I was no way ready for Bordeaux, I needed easier to understand wines, which required little thought…

Wine and Dine: How to Speak With a Sommelier

“Wine is like the incarnation–it is both divine and human” ~ Cliff Hakim

Here's a wonderful post on about interacting with the Sommelier whilst dining out, written by guest contributor Jolan Turkington. She is the Director of Communications for a wine-making franchise called Vintner's Circle, she is a certified Sommelier.

Having worked as a sommelier in the fine dining world for quite some time, I learned a lot from my customers. I learned common preferences and common qualms, how to recognize if someone is intimidated by the wine list, and how to deal with rather cranky tables.

I learned that wine is an integral part of enjoying a meal and that the happiest customers walk out not only having had great-tasting food and wine but having had service that made the evening go so much more smoothly.

I’d like to share some of my experience with you, to help you get the most of your money’s [and time’s] worth when eating out. A quick note: Sommelier is pronounced “sum-all-YAY” [I especi…

Travel Tuesday: A Visit to Dry Creek Vineyard

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." - Robert Louis Stevenson
Do you consider yourself an explorer? If so, do you sometimes wonder where the spirit of wine exploration has gone? It's a thought on my mind these days; as I now quietly sit behind this computer screen recalling the fond summer memories discovering a region I'm sure most of you are familiar with but do you really know Dry Creek?  When is the last time you just drilled down deep into a wonderfully diverse sub-appellation known as the Dry Creek Valley? 

I think it's one of the best ways to discover new and exciting wines, winemakers and places to hang out in these regions. Many of you locals may know [seen below] this already, but I found this great spot to enjoy lunch, a short drive away, with shade, where you can hear the not-so dry creek babbling in the background and perhaps even get a look at a few fish swimming by on a lazy afternoon. Dry Creek Vineyard…

Wine of the Week: Clos Magne Figeac Saint-Emilion 2010

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” ―John Keats

I was once asked the question, do you do Bordeaux? Do I "'do" Bordeaux, ha, did Debbie do Dallas? Hell yes, I do Bordeaux and in my ever not so humble opinion, if you're not into Bordeaux it's only because you don't understand it yet. Possibly, you're new to wine and are not able to appreciate its subtleties. It was true for me, in the beginning of my own wine journey. The beauty of Bordeaux was lost on me. If you are a vinosapien raised up on California wine, Bordeaux is a shock to the system, leaving most folks befuddled by a word not often found in New World wines, restraint.

My wine of the week comes from Clos Magne Figeac Saint-Emilion 2010, and fortunately, this vintage is now widely available. This wine did come to my attention via CIVB, who had it sent my way as a sample. It comes from producers whose vineyards had been or…