Welcome to the Wine-Flair Wine of the Week!  Yes, I know it sounds like a disgusting cheese. Or maybe a quiche from Germany. It's actually a delicious red wine made from a grape that's originally from upper Styria, now Slovenia, once part of Yugoslavia. The grape itself is also called Lemberger, but it's also known as Blaufränkisch, meaning blue Frankish. The wine's mix is 85% Lemberger, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Carmenère, and 5% Mourvèdre. It's obviously an almost-unheard of grape and wine, with very little made and not easy to find unless you're in Austria. But I wanted to mention it because it's a great wine, and one to try if you can. The best producer I know of is…

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I know you can get this at Wine.com, but I think (and hope) you can find it at many more outlets. If you do, buy some. Especially if you haven't tried French wine, and specifically Bordeaux, but would like to...out of curiosity, if nothing else. So try this Wine-Flair Wine of the Week! Bordeaux wines come in two broad categories: left bank, based on Cabernet Sauvignon, and right bank, based on Merlot. "Bank" refers to the rivers Garonne and Dordogne, which meet northwest of the city of Bordeaux and flow into the Gironde estuary, which extends for about 75 miles into the Atlantic. There's more to it, and if you want to know more, go here. Anyway, every classified Bordeaux…

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OK so this Wine-Flair Wine of the Week is about a 50-buck wine. And it's a classic Napa ballsy Cab: rich and concentrated dark fruit, balanced, lovely tannins and a long finish. Some (including me) may detect a little residual sweetness right out of the bottle, but after I decanted it became more subtle, and I recommend doing that. Plus it's always more fun pouring a great wine out of a crystal-clear decanter. So it is indeed rich but not crazy over-the-top, though it does have over 15% alcohol. While it might overpower some foods, it will match with any beef dish and went great with steak frites. But it's still very young, and could stand some cellaring. Probably quite…

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This wonderful white wine is the product of Randall (Randy) Graham, the quirky and unique founder of Bonny Doon, an enterprise that he created to produce American versions of the best Rhône wines. He's run into some tough times in the last few years, a visionary winemaker but self-described not-so-good businessman, and in January sold the brand to WarRoom Ventures LLC after 35 years at the helm. Thankfully, he'll remain as winemaker and on the board of WarRoom. Other labels he relinquished earlier include favorites Big House Red and Cardinal Zin. Picpoul, or in the French way, "Piquepoul" (sometimes Piquepou de Pinet) means "lip stinger" on account of its bracing acidity. It's typically grown in the south of France, but…

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Wine Of The Week

Conventional wisdom is that Primitivo was brought to California around 1968, and scientists at UC Davis declared it the same grape and wine we call Zinfandel in the US. But as far as I can tell--and there are at least a half-dozen versions of the "truth"--this "Italian" grape's origins are actually from the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, the grape's true name is Crljenak Kaštelanski, and it came to both the US and to California much earlier. The UC Davis website says "Although the origin of the Zinfandel in California remains uncertain, the most plausible source seems to be the Austrian Imperial Nursery collection in Vienna, from where an amateur horticulturist named George Gibbs brought the grape to Long Island, New…

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I walked onto a mediocre liquor store in New Brunswick, New Jersey the other day. Staring me in the face was a rather poorly-configured display of Cupcake "LightHearted" wines which, according to Travel + Leisure Magazine, "locks in at less than 80 calories...eight percent alcohol by volume, and less than one gram of sugar...It’s also gluten-free and vegan." I was intrigued. And it was a "ghastly" nine bucks. So let's look at low-alcohol, low-calorie versus "traditional" wine. Well, I bought a bottle of the Cupcake (I wine I've never written about and about which I'm not terribly fond, in full disclosure) 2019 Rosé, took it home, and pitted it against a $14-$16 Ferrari-Carano 2019 Rosé...I label I know, and a…

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I couldn't say goodbye to a month characterized by miserable heat waves (Or were they really? Maybe we just did too much testing with too many thermometers?) without mentioning these two amazingly refreshing white wines. Assyrtiko is one of my favorite brisk, citrus-y whites and the Zacharias 2019 doesn't disappoint...at under $15 no less. The Zacharias winery is a young but growing producer in the Nemea region of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula, and put out its first vintage of Assyrtiko only in 2002. For a white, it has a noticeable body and brisk acidity, but is nicely balanced and has a very long finish. Bone dry, it loses nothing from its youth, ready to drink right now. And I did.…

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I don't actually know the answer to that today. This Black Box Sauvignon Blanc Chile 2019 is the first boxed wine I've ever bought, though I have tasted a few from time to time at events and at private homes. It's three-liters, the equivalent of four standard bottles, and at an average $20 it would appear to be of great value. I took a small taste last night, but I want to taste it over time, to see if it changes in any way, and if the bag inside keeps the wine fresh and bright over time. The packaging boasts 70 Gold Medals, but doesn't say which ones or when they were awarded, so as far as I know at…

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There are roughly nine weeks left of “traditional” summer—Memorial Day to Labor Day—and hopefully you’ve been able to buy and enjoy some lovely wines.  I’m betting that you’ve quaffed a few Rosés, ideally some of them with some aroma, fruit, and character (and not those watery, pale and insipid ones). Anyway, I’m hoping you’ll make a pledge to just this once, stay away from the big 4: Chardonnay, the Queen; Pinot Grigio, the rook; Sauvignon Blanc, the knight; and Riesling, the King. There are so many other wonderful whites out there, so please give them a try. Look at them as varietal treats during the Pandemic: if you can’t get out and about, stay in and luxuriate!  Here they are,…

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It’s June 16th, which means I’m supposed to be at the beach house of my friend Chucky, in Freeport, Bahamas. Between the scourge of Covid19 and last September’s horrible, terrible, tragic, and destructive Hurricane Dorian, which parked itself over the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island for almost three days, that trip didn’t happen this year. So, nevertheless, I’m contenting myself on my couch, with my handsome Pitbull boy Popeye looking at me warily, holding (I am, not Popeye) a lovely cocktail that I was introduced to during my first visit there four years ago: The St. Germain. This is about as simple as it comes—a base of sparkling wine, with a dose of St. Germain, a spritz of sparkling water…

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