It’s been my mission to make Champagne and sparkling wine something not-too-special. And by that I mean that it’s so good, you won’t—and shouldn’t—wait for some “special” occasion or holiday to drink it! Having said that, I DO recommend that you pop open a bottle for Valentine’s Day. It’s the perfect start to a meal, perfect for a date, perfect to liven any conversation, and there's an almost infinite number of types, styles and prices of Champagnes and sparkling wines to choose from. How about a Cava, from Spain? Or a Prosecco from Italy? A traditional Champagne? Or an American sparkling wine from California…Long Island…or New Mexico? Valentine’s Day and sparkling wine, a great combination. Skip the gas station roses…

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New Year’s Eve is always a great occasion to enjoy some sparkling wine—of course any night is. And it’s a good time to try some things beyond Champagne, such as Cava, or perhaps Prosecco.
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Try some different wines for Thanksgiving-Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Ports for dessert. Leave the Chardonnay and Cabernet on the shelf.
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There is bad wine. Some wine is not good, which means it’s bad—poorly made, and it has flaws. It might be cheap, but it might also be expensive.  It doesn’t make you a snob to think a wine is bad.  Not all expensive wine is good. You aren’t a low-class rube if you don’t drink $100 bottles all the time.  There is good wine that isn’t over-the-top expensive.  It’s not all about price.  Some good wine is expensive. It is occasionally about price.  Some good bottles do cost a lot. But $$$ doesn’t make it good. Sometimes you just need a beer.  Wine drinkers drink a lot of wine.  Just have a beer some nights.  You’ll be glad you did.…

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Sparkling wine is viewed all too often as a luxury, a “wedding wine,” or something to be saved for a special occasion.  What’s wrong with Friday night?  Or after work on Tuesday?  After all, sparkling wine, including Champagne, is just "still" wine, (literally) that has just been fermented twice. And while my friends in the wine business tell me that New Yorkers have really jumped into sparkling wines and Champagnes and drink them all the time these days, even if that's true I don't think it's the case for the rest of the country.  There's a mystique about these wines that's both good and bad for the people who work hard to produce them from around the world—Champagne and Crémant…

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The world of Italian wine might be more complex and mystifying to most Americans than any other wine region, including France or Spain. Yet it’s only been the last 25 years or so that Italian wines have really taken off here, due in large part to a couple things—one, a revolution of a sorts in modern winemaking, and two, the introduction of the so-called “super-Tuscans”, wine based on the Sangiovese (Chianti) grape, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot added for structure and body.  That actually points out one of the things that’s typically been a stereotype but true about Italian wines; they’ve always been known for their finesse, moderation and balance, true food wines, rather than blockbusters. And of course, that…

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There's a chill in the air and it's probably time for many if not most people to break out some reds. But maybe one last bottle of Rose will go down nicely, sitting on the deck after a football game this weekend.  Just got a bottle of Banfi's Centine (Chen-teen-eh) Rose 2012 and snapped open the (yes) screwcap last night. This pale salmon-colored wine delivers strawberry and melon flavors, a nice balance and a long finish, and I don't really find that real hint of sweetness that others do, which suits me just fine. Maybe there's a skosh. A great fall wine with appetizers and wings before the game, too. For some food and Rose wine pairing ideas, go here…

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German wines carry an "A.P. number," which can give you a lot of information if you're so inclined to parse the number and do the research. Frankly, I'm not. But if you must know, the AP number is like an Internet IP address, but with five sets of numbers rather than four, separated by spaces rather than dots. The first number indicates the region, the second the village or town, the third number is the estate, the fourth is the barrel or bottling, and the last number is the year that the wine was tasted before bottling. Of course, you have to know what all these numbers mean, or else it's like E.T. looking at a can of beer. And we…

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People ask me all the time about screwcaps on wine. Now, most people don't think much about the science of wine; they just want to know one thing: can a bottle of wine with a screwcap be any good? Simple answer? Yep. Lots of really good wines today are closed with a screwcap, including so-called super premium wines, which can fetch $100 a bottle or more. But I’d like to qualify what I'm saying with a few points. First of all, the jury is out on whether or not screw caps will work effectively and enable some wines, particularly big, bold reds, to age in bottle for 10, 20, or even 30 years. We just don't know, because screw caps…

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I built this website to help you de-mystify the world of wine, so that you can try new stuff at your local retailer, or order confidently in a restaurant. And this little article should also give you some gumption when you attend your first, or 20th, wine tasting. So - you're invited to a formal wine tasting...and you want to go. After all, it's for a worthy charity that you know, and they've got some wonderful cult California reds and brilliant French white Burgundies. Yum. So you register, and pay your $75, and you show up with anticipation. You're new to the world of wine, and the only "tastings" you've ever attended are at a friend's house. And we all…

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