Happy Birthday United States Marines!

   The United States Marine Corps Celebrates its 239th birthday today, November 10, 2014   As we enjoy our freedoms and a lifestyle envied the world over, please remember that U.S. Marines are fighting and dying in wars that our nation sent them to fight.     The Original 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…

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Valentine’s Day Bubbly

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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Wine of the Week: Covey Run Gewürztraminer 2010

This off-dry, which naturally means slightly sweet, white wine is the perfect pairing for spicy food and Asian food. And of course spicy Asian food (not all of it is).  It goes great with Indian and Thai food, and lo and behold, they're Asian. It's pronounced "guh-vertz-trah-meen-er" by the way. It's got enough acidity to balance the sweetness, despite being known as a grape that lacks acidity.  It's got honey, melon, and pear flavors and a really lovely floral nose.  Two glasses made an OK meal at P.F. Chang into an absolutely wonderful lunch.  Need I say more? Covey Run is in Washington State's Columbia Valley, but there are many excellent wines (Trimbach, and Hugel & Fils to name two)…

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Champagne Dreams With Chantal Bregeon-Gonet

As I write this I’m sipping a glass of Pine Ridge’s 2009 Chenin Blanc/Viognier.  But make no mistake, this piece is about Champagne. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Chantal Bregeon-Gonet, who with her brother Pierre Gonet run the Champagne House Philippe Gonet. This house specializes in Blanc de Blancs made entirely from Chardonnay, and their annual production is only about 200,000 bottles or about 17,000 cases. That may sound like a lot of wine, but to give you a reference point, one of the “Grand Marques” – Moet et Chandon – produces about 26 million bottles, or 2.2 million cases each year. You probably already know and have tasted wines from one of these big producers –…

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Hollywood & Wine: Wine Movies!

Movies about wine are relatively few, and good ones are as rare as a 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle. Here's an overview of a couple worth seeing, and some educational ones, too. Bottle Shock Bottle Shock, which was independently released in the United States in August of '08, is available on video. The movie is supposed to tell at least part of the story of "The Judgment of Paris," that game-changing event in 1976 when a Chardonnay from Napa's Chateau Montelena and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars beat some of the top French wines. In a blind taste test. In Paris. With some of France's top wine experts as judges. Mon Dieu! Problem is, lots of stuff shown…

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Wine of the Week: Marques de la Casa Concha 2008 Cabernet

Chilean wine has come a long, long way from the $3 plonk I drank in college. This very good value bottle comes from Concha Y Toro, a winery run by people I've come to really appreciate. Concha is actually a huge operation with a slew of labels-including Casillero del Diablo, Don Melchor, Cono Sur, Terrunyo, and Los Robles-but they're very focused on quality, and in many ways resemble a collection of boutique wineries rather than a major production house. The 2008 Marques de la Casa Concha Cab is one of those wines that could easily have become an overripe, over-tannic, high-alcohol fruit bomb. Instead, it's nicely structured and well balanced, just moderately powerful and lush enough. There's a little mint…

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WINE OF THE WEEK: Zolo Torrontes Mendoza 2008

This is a grape - and a wine - that few people in North America have heard of, let alone tasted.  But it's well worth your time and taste buds to do so!    Torrontes is widely considered to the the "signature" white of Argentina, and as far as I can tell it's the only country that produces it.  We believe the grape is hybrid of Muscat of Alexandria and Criolla Chica, called the Mission grape in California.   This isn't a white wine for the Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio-drinking set, mind you. It has character, powerful aromatics and real body - delivering up enticing floral aromas and flavors of lime, white peach, and white melon.  Not to step on the toes of Old Spice, but this wine…

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Help Liberate the Grapes!

House Resolution 5034, introduced by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), is supposed to be heard in June before the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Michigan’s John Conyers. If you don’t know, Michigan was the losing plaintiff in Granholm v. Heald, the 2005 case that liberalized wine shipments, and the NBWA was one of Rep. Conyers’ top five donors in the last two elections. HR 5034 would exempt anti-competitive and discriminatory state alcohol beverage laws from most federal review, including capacity cap laws. In other words, states could freely write laws making it difficult or impossible for consumers to get direct shipments of wine from wineries within and outside their state. If it passed, HR 5034 would be a complete reversal…

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