I know, I know, the wine name is absurdly long.  But trust me, it's great wine. Valpolicella is the region where the wine is made in northeastern Italy called the Veneto.  The grapes are three - possibly three you've never heard of: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Sometimes called a "baby Amarone," the secret to this wine is the Ripasso method—a technique that passes the juice over the skins and seeds from an Amarone fermentation. This sets off another fermentation, taking the cherry fruit flavors of Valpolicella and creating a much richer, spicier wine with more tannin, and a bit more alcohol. You get lots of blackfruit, coffee, figs, and raisins, and much of the intensity and pleasure of Amarones at…

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Wines to Party on the Cheap California Sparkling Wine Suggestions Charles Krug: The First Mondavi Winery Real Men Drink Port A French Wine Region Changes its Name Europe's Wine Regions Oppose EU Expansion

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Indian Women Driving Up Wine Demand New Zealand Targets the U.S. Market Wine Selection: Clos du Bois Marlstone 2006 (Bordeaux Blend) Wine Category: Cabernet Franc from Long Island The Varietal Character of Red Wines Wine Shopping: What's in a Label? Step up to Sangiovese (Chianti)

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Good Chard under ten bucks is almost unheard of.  This is one of them.  And it's a pretty good wine to serve before, if not with, the Thanksgiving meal. Now if you're a real fan of big, sweet, caramel-y, high alcohol Chardonnays you probably won't be impressed.  Because this is a crisp, virtually unoaked, almost Chablis-like wine, with citrus and pineapple aromas and flavors of lemon and a hint of vanilla. This is not from Burgundy, of course; it's from the Languedoc-Roussillon in the very southeast, bordering on the Mediterranean, and the wine is classified "Pays d'Oc".  That means, mainly, it's good table wine from a fairly large region. And it also is an amazingly good, remarkably inexpensive wine that…

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For thirteen bucks, you really can't do much better. That's my opinion, and it's also the opinion of a bunch of wine Judges at the Ultimate Wine Challenge in NY City this past May. Normally I don't put too much stock in wine contests, but this one I liked, especially as the tastings were blind and the top scorers were were then tasted by a whole different group of judges. And they put a lot of emphasis on affordable and value wines.  This is certainly one of them. Anyway, what a great food wine: medium bodied, with flavors of black and bing cherries, a hint of leather, nice acidity, and enough tannin to chew on but not overwhelm you. Most of this is Sangiovese,…

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  On April 25 I was privileged to enjoy an evening with Christian Moueix ("Moo-ecks") of Petrus and Dominus fame, as a guest of Sherry-Lehman CEO Chris Adams.  Monsieur Moueix hosted a tasting of his Dominus and Napanook wines, with paired cuisine from Manhattan's Hotel Plaza Athenee.  I've been drinking his wines all my adult life and so I felt like I'd known Christian ever since I'd read Napa: The Story of an American Eden. In that book, one of my five favorite wine books, we hear about how Christian, who'd studied winemaking and viticulture at UC Davis, was first approached by Robert Mondavi who was in Bordeaux for the 1981 harvest, and had met with Christian and suggested that…

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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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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…

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