Monthly Archives: September 2010

There's Only One 'Mayacamas'

Winery owners and regional winery organizations are very protective of not only their estate names, but also of the names of their geographic locales.

And with good reason. Reputations are built on producing quality products, first and foremost, but also on names that are associated with quality. That’s why some red wines from Bordeaux can command very high prices even if the name of the chateau doesn’t roll off the tongue. History has shown that many red Bordeaux bottlings are among the finest wines in the world…

Posted in Wine Region Profiles

A Napa Valley Legend That's Still Going Strong

In 1900, when Georges de Latour’s wife Fernande first laid eyes on the land that would become their original Rutherford vineyard, she named it “beau lieu,” or “beautiful place.”

Shortly thereafter, de Latour sold his thriving cream of tartar business, bought the four-acre ranch and founded Beaulieu Vineyard with the vision of making Napa Valley wines that would rival those of his native France.

De Latour quickly made a name for himself by importing Phylloxera-resistant rootstock from Europe to the recently-ravaged, fledgling California wine industry. He also began selling wine to the Catholic church, establishing a strong relationship that would allow Beaulieu Vineyard to become the only Napa Valley winery to remain in business during Prohibition…

Posted in Wineries of Distinction

2 Valleys… 2 Days… Endless Possibilities

Some of the greatest wines on Earth come from two American Viticultural Areas in California’s Sonoma County: the Dry Creek Valley and the Russian River Valley.

Through the years, the wine clubs of Vinesse have featured dozens and dozens of wines from those two AVAs. Dry Creek is particularly noted for producing spicy, berry-bodacious renditions of Zinfandel, while the Russian River area is most famous for its very Burgundian bottlings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

But as the talented vintners of northern Sonoma County demonstrate vintage after vintage, numerous other varieties also shine in Dry Creek and Russian River…

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

When Bad Things Happen to Good Wine

At its least glamorous, stripped of its mysterious and romantic qualities, wine is a processed food.

As such, there are times, rare though they may be, when things go wrong.

The good news is that there’s never a reason for wine-gone-bad to even touch one’s lips. Unlike the recent salmonella incident with eggs, which saw hundreds of unsuspecting consumers fall ill, virtually every “problem” that a bottle of wine could have is easily detectable and, thus, avoidable…

Posted in Editor's Journal

How to Make Food and Wine Pairing Less Complicated

When matching wine with food, flavors are important. That’s fairly obvious.

But because there are literally thousands of possible combinations, learning them can be a daunting task. We’ve found it’s much easier to deal with flavor “types,” which pares the pairing possibilities to a much more manageable number.

Here are four very basic tips that cover probably 90 percent of food-and-wine matching situations…

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes

Another Reason to Love Guacamole: Wine!

A few years ago, the Mayor of Chicago was answering questions about trying to have more healthful dishes available at the annual “Taste of Chicago” walk-around event in the downtown Grant Park.

You know, things that attendees could gobble up besides giant turkey legs, deep-dish pizza, cheesecake and fried you-name-it-on-a-stick…

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes

Resort Offers 'Autumn in the Vineyards' Package

Vermont and the other New England states do not have the market cornered on fall colors.

Michigan also offers plenty of leaf peeping opportunities, particularly on the Leelanau Peninsula, where numerous wineries craft some of the Midwest’s finest wines out of traditional Vinifera grapes, hybrids and various fruits other than grapes…

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

Grape Stomping 101

Bet you didn’t know that there are “rules” associated with stomping grapes. Well, there are – if you’re entered in the 17th annual Calaveras Grape Stomp, that is.

The event will be held in conjunction with the Gold Rush Street Fair in Murphys, Calif., on Oct. 2. And you can’t enter by yourself; competitive grape stomping in Calaveras requires two people – a stomper and a swabber.

The stomper, of course, stomps the grapes that are placed in a barrel. The swabber stands outside the barrel and catches the juice in the buckets provided…

Posted in Wine Buzz

The 'New' Way to Pour Champagne

Could the French be wrong about the way Champagne should be poured?

Yes, according to Professor Gerard Liger-Belair, who recently conducted a series of tests utilizing thermographic equipment at the University of Reims.

The amount and persistence of bubbles in the glass is a key factor in the enjoyment of Champagne. So the goal is to “protect” those bubbles – i.e., to preserve as much CO2 as possible…

Posted in Wine in the Glass

When Is a Zinfandel Not a Zinfandel?

Wine servers have been trained to ask the question when a customer who seems a little shaky on their wine knowledge asks for a glass of Zinfandel.

“Do you mean WHITE Zinfandel?”

In most cases, they do. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Zinfandel’s identity crisis…

Posted in Wine in the Glass
Members-only Wine sampler specials delivered straight to your inbox via our Cyber Circle newsletter.