Spain’s Great Match: Castilla Y Leon

Every year I look forward to “Spain’s Great Match,” the day-long tasting, seminar and tradeshow in NYC meant to educate tradespeople on the great wines of Iberia, from Sherry to Bierzo to Cava. I don’t make it to the party every year, but thrilled that I could this year.  It was a beautiful day in Manhattan, and although I couldn’t get into my friend Ana Fabiano’s Rioja class, I was able to sit in for two seminars – one on the Castilla Y Leon region, as well as one on Cava, Spain’s answer to the delicious wonders of Champagne. Each was hosted by Marnie Old, who packs an astonishing amount of information into an hour, and who talks fast enough…

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Cava…is Cool

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 “A.P.” Number on German Wine

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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Like to Cork…or Screw (cap)?

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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Wine Tasting: You’re as Good as an Expert

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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Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier: Best Chefs, Northeast!

Well - those people at the James Beard Foundation FINALLY figured out what's what and recognized my cousin Mark Gaier and his partner and co-owner/Chef Clark Frasier of Arrows Restaurant of Ogunquit, Maine as Best Chefs - Northeast! Many more! Read what the Portland Press Herald says. Seacoast Online says. And check out Guyot-Top 40 Restaurants in the Country. Guys, heartiest congratulations, and Christine and I had a great evening.

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Please Help Haiti

I figure that if I can afford to drink wine - even bottles costing only ten or twelve bucks - I can certainly send at least that much off to The Red Cross to help the victims of this terrible disaster. So I just did, and I hope my fellow wine lovers will, too! Please do. Even at a time when things are tough in this country for a lot of folks, we have more than the best-off Haitians have ever had. OR: You can just text HAITI to 90999 on virtually any mobile phone. You can give to Doctors Without Borders You can donate to CARE

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Happy Birthday Marines!

The United States Marines celebrate their 234th birthday today, November 10, 2009. Resolution of the Continental Congress: "That two Battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, 2 Lt. Colonels, 2 Majors, and Officers as usual in other regiments, that they consist of an equal number of privates with other Battalions, that particular care be taken that no person be appointed to Officer or enlisted in said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so aquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea."

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Wine-Flair Updates

Real quick: 1. There's a new Search tab up top to help you find content. Use it - please! 2. Content on this front page will move to an archive folder after a week or two. Scroll down the right sidebar to "Previous posts." 3. New material in "Fun Stuff" such as Sustainable Winegrowing report and State of the Wine Industry. If you're really into wine this is for you. And don't forget our Wine Label charts and Wine and Food pairing chart to help you buy what you want, and enjoy what you buy!

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Wine-Flair’s New Look

As you check out the new Wine-Flair.com, please take advantage of the resources on this site. First, click the Fun Stuff tab and take advantage of a wine and food pairing chart; a wine notes sheet for recording your impressions about wines; and tables that list the grape varieties found in a number of red, rose and white European wines. Two other places to get useful information: The Wine FAQs tab, where you'll find a glossary of wine terms written in language you can understand, and some Q&A; around the questions we're asked most. And you might enjoy the periodic columns in Words of Wine, some of which you can download and listen to at your leisure from the Podcasts…

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