Ten Wine Rules…NOT a “Manifesto”

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.…

Read More

Great Wine Books for Summer Reading!!

One of the ways I've learned about wine, oddly enough, is to read wine books. And here are some great book for Summer Reading. Of course you can read lots of technical books - on home winemaking, wine courses such as Jancis Robinson's, or tasting books such as Hugh Johnson's.  And for those who  get into wine geekery like me, there are books such as Clive Coates' The Wines of Burgundy, or Vino Italiano - The Regional Wines of Italy, that can take weeks to read and are more appropriate for people studying for their MW rather than casual wine drinkers and even dedicated tasters.For my money and yours, though, I recommend that you have some fun while you learn,…

Read More

The Power of Parker?

I get lots of newsletters from wine merchants, including some big names in USA, Europe and the UK. I don't buy a lot of wine from them, but I do enjoy keeping up with prices of wine around the world, especially new releases and futures. One thing that's easy to notice is how much these guys depend on Robert Parker to do their marketing. So that leads me to ask the question: Does Parker single-handedly determine what we buy, what we pay, and really, what we all want to drink? Lots of people think so, including many in a position to know. Tomas Clancy of Ireland's Sunday Business Post has written: "His (Parker) ratings, along with his florid tasting notes,…

Read More

When A Wine “Award” Is Not An Award

A couple years ago, The New York Times writer Amanda Hester noticed that it wasn't real tough for restaurants to get a wine list "Award of Excellence" from Wine Spectator magazine.  I want to mention it here because it illustrates a point that needs making when you're thinking about what wine to order in a restaurant (or in a retail store for that matter), and why. Hester wrote: "...with such a large number of winners, perhaps competition is too strong a word. Of the 3,360 awards granted this year, from a pool of 3,573 entrants, 2,808 received the basic award. Only the winners of the Grand Award, the magazine's top award, of which there are 89 this year, are ever…

Read More

Buying Wine…Made Easier

Your first step is to figure out how much you want to spend. So take a few minutes to consider how much wine you want and what you'll use it for (yes, to drink, but...). For example, you may want to stock up for a holiday party, or you'd like some bottles to make up some wine gift baskets. Or perhaps you just want the convenience of having a case or three in the basement so you don't have to go back to the store every few days. Or maybe you're having a dinner party for eight and want to pair some wines with the courses you'll serve, a great idea! The biggest challenge to the novice wine buyer is…

Read More

Whine Costs

This morning's Decanter online has a story about what seems to be the collapse of the high-end Bordeaux wine market, including En Primeur, the method by which certain European producers offer wine for sale while it's still in the barrel. In other words, you pay for it 12 to 18 months before you can even get your hands on it. You're paying, of course, for the promise of a great vintage (or the heartbreak of a bad one), the prestigious names on the labels, and the cachet of getting a wine that's not for sale in any store. En Primeur applies only to certain wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhone and Port wines. In the U.S. and other places, though,…

Read More