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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

Thanksgiving will soon be here, and you're probably starting to put together your menu. Well, if you're not...get on it!  No matter what you're having, you'll want some great wines to go with the big meal. And this year, think about ditching the "standard" stuff -- Cabernet and Chardonnay -- to expand your horizons. Your guests will love it! Vouvray/Chenin Blanc:  This is among the best wines in the world for Turkey. Vouvrays are Chenin Blanc-based wines from France, and come in a variety of styles, from dry to off-dry, semi-sweet and sweet.  South Africa makes great Chenin Blancs, too, which they call "Steen": try Raats Family, Indaba or Cederberg.  And Napa's Pine Ridge makes a wonderful mixture of Chenin…

Read More

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…

Read More

 The world of wine has a lot of terms, and an awful lot of them aren't too familiar even among frequent wine drinkers. Some are downright silly.  Some are helpful. But in any event, I've built a pretty extensive wine glossary to help you unravel the mystery...and to find it, go HERE!

Read More

I recently had the pleasure of tasting a bunch of Spanish wines, courtesy of Wines from Spain USA.  More Americans are drinking Spanish wine these days as far as I can tell just from what I’m served in friends’ houses, what I see on wine store shelves, and what people who talk about wine are, well, talking about. That’s good for Spain (and for consumers) because not too long ago, the only Spanish wine that American really knew was Vino de Jerez—Sherry—and a lot of it was cheap cooking wine you bought at the A&P. That itself was a shame, because good Sherry is a delicious and unique type of wine, produced through the Solera system in which some new vintage…

Read More

The Spanish take their wine aging very seriously--they are truly concerned with not releasing a wine "before its time."  So much so that they've written it into their wine laws: A Spanish quality wine labeled Crianza (red wine) must be aged a minimum of 2 years, with at least six months in barrel (barrica de vino). In Navarra, Rioja, and Ribera Del Duero, the minimum time in barrel is a year. White wines must be a year old, with at least six months in barrel. Reserva wines (red) must be aged at least three years, with one year in barrel. Whites must be two years old, with at least six months in barrel. Gran Reserva wines (red) must be aged…

Read More

When you think of Italian wine—and I’m just guessing here—you probably think of reds. Dr. Hannibal Lecter aside, Chianti is the wine everyone knows best, made from Sangiovese grapes grown in Tuscany, and it’s a truly great food wine.  Amarone, one of my favorites, is lush and powerful, with a hint of sweetness, made from partially-dried Corvina grapes, and works best with rich food. And Barolo and Barbaresco wines, made from the Nebbiolo grape, are among the greatest red wines of Europe.  And of course there are the Super-Tuscans, fairly expensive wines often (but not always) made from a base of Sangiovese, and then "suped-up" with Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot.  The most famous of these, Sassicaia, actually has no Sangiovese at all, and can…

Read More
New Year’s Eve is always a great occasion to enjoy some sparkling wine—of course any night is. And it’s a good time to try some things beyond Champagne, such as Cava, or perhaps Prosecco.
Read More

German wines carry an "A.P. number," which can give you a lot of information if you're so inclined to parse the number and do the research. Frankly, I'm not. But if you must know, the AP number is like an Internet IP address, but with five sets of numbers rather than four, separated by spaces rather than dots. The first number indicates the region, the second the village or town, the third number is the estate, the fourth is the barrel or bottling, and the last number is the year that the wine was tasted before bottling. Of course, you have to know what all these numbers mean, or else it's like E.T. looking at a can of beer. And we…

Read More