I've recently written about wines from Bolivia, but in looking for them recently I came upon some spectacular ones from Uruguay--Tannat, yes, but also Marselan, also the name of the variety and the varietal, and both from Bodega Garzón. The massive winery has a capacity of 2.2 million liters (581,000 gallons or agout 2.9 million bottles, and is the first sustainable, LEED certified (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) winery outside North America, following the strict requirements set by the United States Green Building Council.  And in November 2019, Bodega Garzón reached milestone, obtaining the National Energy Efficiency Award in the Tourism category. But this isn't about the awards, or the building. It's about the wines. Fabulous they are. I…

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  This piece is a few years old, but I'm re-running it because I think #Champagne is the PERFECT drink for the holiday season--Christmas, Kwanza, and Chanukkah all. I'm a subscriber of Last Bottle Wines, and a few days ago they sent an email offering a Brut from this Champagne house. So I bought some, which I'm eagerly awaiting, and wanted to tell you all about this producer and their great wine. Some time ago, I 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…

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One of the ways I've learned about wine, oddly enough, is to read wine books. And here are some great book for Christmas. These are a few years old but I really enjoyed them. NOTE: COMING SOON--Reviews of "The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine," AND "The Widow Cliquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It," AND "Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure."  All are available on Amazon.  You can of course get dozens of tasting books, and there are many more about pairing wine and food.  And for those who  get into wine geekery like me, there are books such…

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Viognier is among the world's most aromatic whites, with a rich, viscous fullness, often a relatively high alcohol content and even some distinct spiciness on the palate. If, for example, you're used to light, innocuous Pinot Grigio, this wonderful grape might just knock you over - it makes one of the most distinctive white wines on the planet. And depending on where and how it's made, you'll get flavors or aromas of almonds, fennel, citrus, honey, apricots, white peach, pear, and so much more.  In fact, this wine is so rich you may perceive some residual sugar even when there isn't much. Most Viogniers are made to be dry table wine, but there are several late-harvest dessert Viognier wines, too,…

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I’ve never really thought much about Bolivian wine. Ok, I’ve never thought about Bolivian wine at all, until the other night, when I heard the tail end of a story on NPR in my car, and the one word that registered was “Tannat.” So I started to do some research. And I found that a year ago The New York Times a whole year ago told us that Bolivia’s got wonderful wines but its “vineyards total only about 1.5% of the 550,000 acres in neighboring Argentina—the world’s sixth-largest wine producer—and Bolivia’s annual production of 8.3 million liters is a molecule among the world’s 25 billion liters.” So not so much wine coming out of there. Well, who cares how much…

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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 sometimes about price...or more accurately, some good bottles do cost a lot. But $$$ doesn’t make it good just because it's costly. Sometimes you just need a beer.  Wine drinkers drink a lot of wine.  Just have a beer some…

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Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, which represents about 11% of all wine exports from Spain, has just upped its game with a new classification—an ultra-premium offering called “Cava De Paraje Calificado.”  There were already three classifications of this sparkler that use grapes you’ve probably never hear of, traditional Cava, with 9 months aging in bottle; Cava Reserva, with 15 months; and Cava Gran Reserva, with at least 30  months in bottle.  This new classification goes to a whole new level, with strict rules that require hand-harvesting, limit the yield per hectare/acre, require minimum aging of 36 months in bottle and vinification on the estate, and can only be made in the Brut/Ultra Brut style—no sweet wines need apply. And the…

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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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Looking for another New Jersey winery to visit last weekend presented me with a lot of choices, but I narrowed it down to one the moment I saw the name: Working Dog Winery, in Robbinsville. As someone who volunteers at the Sammy’s Hope Animal Shelter in Sayreville on weekends, the winery’s name and logo were already enough to get me there. A couple days before, I’d emailed to ask if I could meet the winemaker and perhaps get a tour. Lo and behold, a very genial guy named Mark Carduner called me, said he was the winemaker and would be glad to host me. And when I walked in, he was the first person I saw, at the front of…

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Well, they had me at hello at the Fox Hollow Vineyards. To be specific, Frederic, the winery’s handsome Berger Blanc Suisse (shepherd dog) got my attention as I walked through the door, sitting at the feet of his master, Joe Casola, the winemaker and vineyard manager. A winery dog is a wonderful thing! To go back a moment, as I turned off Holmdel Road onto a long, winding gravel road I drove for what seemed like a mile, with what looked like, not vines, but an orchard on my left. I came to a stop at the cavernous new building in Holmdel, New Jersey that serves as a combined winery, tasting room, and barrel aging room. It’s open, airy and…

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