Wine-Flair Wine of the Week is Don Zoilo Williams & Humbert Oloroso Sherry, 12 Years Old. Many Americans have heard of Sherry but relatively few have ever tasted it, and I’ll wager that most of those few have only as “cooking Sherry,” found on a grocery store shelf for $3.99, and something that ends up in their Coq Au Vin, if they’re had that.  Which is too bad.  Not the Coq au Vin, I mean. Sherry, authentically in Spanish “Jerez,” (or Xérès) isn’t like any other wine you’ve tasted. Although Sherries are a fortified wine like Port, which means grape spirits are added that up the alcohol content, most aren’t sweet, except for Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel. Sherries are made…

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Ok, an unusual name for this Wine Flair Wine of the Week! A play on prohibition, evidently (I was not there) in the '20s you could get access to booze in a Speakeasy through a strong-willed woman, a "Whisper Sister." In this case, it was a real person, Bertha Beringer, through whose efforts Beringer outlived our country's ill-advised dry decade+, from 1920 to 1933.  Beringer, one of the few to survive, is Napa's longest continually-operating winery, back to 1876. And, this is one of the best, high-value Cabs you're gonna find. It's got that Napa boldness and richness, but it's nicely balanced, with tannins that give it structure but don't grind your gums. You can get it from Wine Chateau…

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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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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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Wine and food pairing is more an art than a science. So VIEW OR DOWNLOAD the Wine-Flair Wine & Food Pairing Chart 2020.  Pairing is one of the most frequent questions I get and if you want to really immerse yourself, there are lots of books available--I have one called What to Drink with What to Eat--but if you're putting together a dinner party or at a restaurant and you need a quick and handy guide (just email the PDF to yourself) you'll get some tried and true ideas here. You may or may not agree with them, and you'll find pairings you like from friends and family, but mostly from your own experience.  This is just a starting place,…

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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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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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I don't know about you, but a quick scroll down my Facebook page a moment ago brought up ads for no fewer than 13 online wineries or wine clubs: Buy Wines Online - Dry Farm Wines - Duckhorn Vineyards - Empathy - Firstleaf - Justin Vineyards & Winery - Last Bottle Wines - Naked Wines - Soujourn Cellars - Tasting Room - Twisted Vine - Vinesse - Winc - Winetext.com A couple, such as Duckhorn and Soujourn, may be names you already know as "traditional" wineries; others such as WineText.com are relatively new, and a bit different--in this case, just sending a text to order once you've signed up. Some are private-labeled proprietary wines while others offer either a selection,…

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Italy is (a) wine country. So of course, surely, you’ve heard the names of these wines and the (grapes) from which they're made: Amarone (Corvino, Molinera, Rondinella), Barolo and Barbaresco (Nebbiolo), Barbero, Brunello (Sangiovese), Chianti (Sangiovese), Montepulciano, Negroamaro, and Primitivo (Zinfandel in California!). Less well-known but equally delectable white Italian wines include Arneis, Chardonnay, Cortese (Gavi) Greco, Moscato, Soave (Garganega) and Vermentino. So perhaps you've had one, more, or many, depending on the restaurants you frequented before Covid19 hit, and maybe once, years ago (or last fall) you had a very lousy cheap one at a college party where a brave soul put $7 on the line for a bottle of sweet, watery, insipid and essentially undrinkable Lambrusco. And yet,…

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