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7 gifts for your favorite drinks fan

Recipes / All About Wine /

Wondering about holiday gifts for your favorite drinks fan? Here's a list of things he or she probably doesn't have already. Keep in mind that I haven't tried them, but they seem pretty clever.


Guys (well, girls too, if it applies), don't you just hate it when you take a big gulp of beer and fill your mustache with foam, ...Read more

Make spirits bright with these 5 cocktail, wine-themed books

Recipes / All About Wine /

Every year about this time I write a column of mini-reviews of wine and spirits books as suggestions for holiday giving. I've come across some good ones this year. So let's get right to it.

-- "Wines of South America: The Essential Guide" by Evan Goldstein (University of California Press, 2014, $30 hardcover). Sure, we know that Chile and ...Read more

Be thankful for these 11 wines

Recipes / All About Wine /

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

You owe no greeting cards, no gifts. You're not particularly expected in church, synagogue, mosque, lodge hall, etc.

You can stuff yourself silly, drink too much wine, then pass out in front of the TV, opening an occasional eye to check the score.

By the time you ...Read more

Can you top these 9 food and wine pairing ideas?

Recipes / All About Wine /

Maybe the proudest day of my wine fan life was when I took a bottle of dry gewurztraminer to a pig roast and was stunned to receive a round of applause.

The honeysuckle aromas, the tart flavors of grapefruit and lychee, the alcoholic heft interacted perfectly with the sweet fatness of the pork to create a whole that was gloriously greater than ...Read more

Merlot's reputation is returning, post-'Sideways' burn. Try these 10

Recipes / All About Wine /

Like Sally Field, the red grape called merlot can stand up and say, "You like me. You really like me."

It's true. Americans drink more merlot than any other red wine except cabernet sauvignon, according to The Wine Institute. It's the most widely planted grape in France. And there are 600,000 acres of it worldwide.

At its best, it can be ...Read more

The perfect wines for summer picnics

Recipes / All About Wine /

Singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney says it nicely: "It's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime!"

Memorial Day is a memory, school is out, days are long and warm -- it's time for the unserious but tasty wines of picnics. You could go until Labor Day without spending more than $20 on a bottle of wine. With all the nice ...Read more

With duck, go bold

Recipes / All About Wine /

Save your timid reds for other birds, duck demands a wine that's bold. Chicken and Cornish game hen can be paired with pinot noir and Beaujolais, maybe a Chinon or a Bourgueil from the Loire Valley. But for a duck, don't be shy. Leave your mild-mannered reds behind and rustle up a bottle of syrah, grenache, malbec or tempranillo.

Most duck ...Read more

As weather cools, warm up with comfort food, wine

Recipes / All About Wine /

Cool weather's here -- albeit in some places it's a relative term.

Up north, in some places, the first snows are flying.

In South Florida, the average high has plummeted from July's 91 degrees to a snappy 88 in October. We stash the flip-flops, dig out the sneakers.

Up north, leaves change color, fly away.

In warm weather states, the ...Read more

Southwest France's wine in a league of its own

Recipes / All About Wine /

As the wine world homogenizes into the "international" style invented by America's wine critics and imposed on the globe by our potent buying power, it's nice to come across a wine region that sticks to its guns and the native grapes it's been growing since before the birth of Christ.

Southwest France is like that.

It's a beautiful area 300 ...Read more

For those managing diabetes, wine can help, study says

Recipes / All About Wine /

People with Type 2 diabetes get an earful of grim lectures about their health prospects and endure much hardship to manage their condition well. But new research offers those who do so a rare reward. A glass of wine every day not only won't hurt, says a new study -- it can actually improve cardiac health, help manage cholesterol and foster ...Read more

How carmenere was lost and found (plus 4 to try)

Recipes / All About Wine /

A good wine should have a good back story. Carmenere has one, and it's worth hearing.

Back in the 1990s, grape growers in Chile puzzled over why some of the vines in their merlot vineyards got ripe so late, and why their leaves were so different, turning bright crimson late in the season.

So in 1994 they brought in a respected French botanist,...Read more

A crisp white is just right with smoked fish

Recipes / All About Wine /

Smoked fish can make an entrance as hors d'oeuvres or a plated first course for a dinner party, or as part of a brunch spread. It could be trout you caught in the Sierras and cold-smoked over applewood or a side of smoked salmon a friend from Seattle brought as a gift. It might be smoked sturgeon from a deli or a plate of satiny smoked Tasmanian...Read more

Think today's wines are too boozy? Here's a primer on low-/high-alcohol wines

Recipes / All About Wine /

Ever get the sense that American wines every year get bigger, less subtle and more alcoholic?

South Florida reader Linda Embry does.

"As I've grown older, I've preferred wines with an alcohol content lower than 13.5 and 14 percent. Can you recommend some good red wines and white wines with low alcohol content, for example, 9 or 10 percent? I ...Read more

Seeking the perfect blend? Try these 9 wines

Recipes / All About Wine /

Taking my turn hosting dinner for my all-male amateur cooking club recently, I finally worked up the courage to attempt the Boeuf Bourgogne recipe from legendary chef Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." It involved 19 ingredients, 16 steps and two days' work, but it was, I blush to confess, superb. Rich, complex, assertive, ...Read more

The right red wines to uncork with your barbecue

Recipes / All About Wine /

Who doesn't love barbecued ribs? When that craving hits, there's nothing to do but give in to it.

Object of desire: a massive slab of pork ribs suffused with smoke and char. So they wrap it up for you and you tuck the bag tenderly into the backseat of the car, careful not to spill any of the extra sauce. Riding home, the smell of those ribs ...Read more

Do more expensive wines taste better? Readers share blind tasting results

Recipes / All About Wine /

Could you tell a $40 wine from a $10 one in a blind tasting? This is the challenge I threw out to readers in a recent wine column.

I listed several high-price, low-price wine pairings and asked fans to set up experiments to see if they could tell the difference.

Sid Kaskey, a good sport from South Miami, Fla., took me up on it and invited six ...Read more

Chardonnay, naked or clothed, brings a wide array of flavors

Recipes / All About Wine /

Can one drink a naked chardonnay in polite company?

Certainly. Naked, in this context, merely means a chardonnay that hasn't been "clothed" in oak flavors by being fermented and/or aged in oak barrels.

Therein lies a tale of California chardonnay.

Up through the 1960s, most California wines tended to be unsophisticated -- anonymous half-...Read more

7 tasty, fun, inexpensive Portuguese wines to try

Recipes / All About Wine /

Riddle me this: What wines come from Portugal but aren't port? And what Portuguese wines are called "vinho verde," which translates as "green wine," but aren't green?

If you get the answer right, you can discover a couple of new kinds of wine that are tasty, fun and inexpensive. Light, crisp, fruity whites that are great with food or just by ...Read more

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