Wine Flair's Wine of the Week,  an Australian number called Beyond Broke Road Pinot Gris 2018, is probably one that creates a little confusion.  That's because Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape, genetically. So why the name difference? And what's the difference between the wines? Well, and I'm going to generalize here: the main differences are where the grapes are grown--typically Italy and France but also in USA and obviously, Australia among other places--when they're harvested, and the styles of the wine. Pinot Grigio grapes are often harvested earlier and fermented differently, rendering the wine more acidic, more austere, with less fruit, and lighter-bodied. Wines designated Pinot Gris (the grape originated in Burgundy, France and was then…

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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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California Cabernets, especially from Napa, are well known for their power, richness, tannin, high alcohol...and too often, astronomical price. Those in the "cult" category such as Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate can fetch hundreds of dollars or more per bottle, and are difficult or impossible to get unless you're a "VIP" customer and on the allocation list. Don't get me wrong: there are some outstanding Napa (and Sonoma, for that matter) Cabs at "fairly reasonable" prices and they, too, have a devoted following, albeit among us normal folk. And given that I'm a #1 fan of Bordeaux, years ago I discovered "Meritage" wines, produced by a group of American vintners that formed The Meritage Alliance in 1998 to produce and…

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When I received an invitation to the Slow Wine 2020 US Tour stop in New York City, I asked myself if I understood when “Slow” means with regard to wine. I didn’t. I still don’t. But I went to the show on February 24 and enjoyed a great seminar and tasting of Cerasuolo (“Cherry”) d’Abruzzo Rosé wines, ones I’d never had and had barely heard of. And then I went around the tables and sampled about another 10 or 12 supposedly “slow” wines. At least I did the tasting...slowly. When I got home to Jersey, I clicked on the link to the Slow Wine Tour website. And I still didn’t—and don’t—know what they’re trying to say. On the page that’s…

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On January 27 I spent a couple hours at NYC's Gotham Hall at Broadway and 36th for Benvenuto Brunello, a grand tasting of Brunello Di Montalcino wines. Put on by The Consortium of the Brunello of Montalcino Wine, established in  1967 on the day that the region gained DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status, the highest in Italy's wine regions, guests chose from and tasted wines from among 40 providers, each of which offered between two and six wines, mostly Brunellos and Rossos, their younger siblings. Brunellos are always 100% Sangiovese, as are Rossos, but other wines come from Montalcino (Mount Lucina),  though that name translates into different things depending on whom you ask.  Far as I know,…

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This is an old Wine-Flair.com post but it offers a lot of good advice for people looking to visit a winery this winter...which is a really fun thing to do since you probably aren't going to the beach (or as we say in Jersey, "down the shore. No matter where you live--in places as diverse as Ohio, Virginia or New Mexico--you'll probably have your own version of "wine country," often with some unique offerings, for sure some local flavor and color (in both the literal and figurative senses) and places to take family and friends for a fun outing that's much different from a ball game, a sports bar, or the movies. Soooo: Take a look and do some homework,…

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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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