One of my favorite get-togethers with friends is a "small plates" party, with little portions of everything from Spanish potato omelet to spicy shrimp to soy-glazed salmon chunks to my guilty pleasure, the all-American cocktail weenie. Oh, and squid salad, just to see who likes an adventure.
To go with everything, I pour a white wine, a red ...Read more
True story: I was treating my wife's 20-something nieces to dinner one night in an expensive restaurant, where the wine list started at $30 and went up like a rocket. The young women were up to drinking some wine in the happy family setting, and I could see they knew little about it and were not going to pay much attention to what they drank.
It's spring! Time for spring cleaning. Time to swab out the garage and wash down the patio.
It's also time to spring clean your wine cellar. Time to tuck those heavy Amarone and Barolos in the back and bring forth the light, crisp wines that go with warmer weather.
Chardonnay is a good example. You can put away those august chards that taste ...Read more
Shakespeare was wrong. Custom can indeed stale our palates when we drink the same wine every day through lack of attention or hedonistic laziness. Don't get me wrong. I love chardonnay. So do you, on average; it's been America's favorite white wine in every survey for years.
But our over-reliance on chardonnay has even led to an ABC (Anything ...Read more
Traditionally, the Easter dinner groaning board bears the weight of big chunks of ham or lamb. But that doesn't mean it has to become stale and routine. And the same is true for the wines that go with it.
A majority of Easter recipes for ham include some sweetness -- whole hams crosshatched, even spiral-cut, glazed with unctuous toppings ...Read more
Bordeaux red wines aren't cheap. You can pay $900 a bottle or more for a recent-vintage Domaine de la Romanee-Conti or Château Lafite-Rothschild.
No surprise -- these are some of the world's finest wines. Unfortunately, most of us are priced out of tasting them, even once in a lifetime. It's why I always advise young hedonists to make friends ...Read more
The year 2015 should be good for U.S. wine fans, whether they're buying $100 California cabernet sauvignons or $6 grocery store jugs and boxes.
That's my take on the Annual State of the Wine Industry Report for 2015 by Silicon Valley Bank, a high-tech commercial bank with offices in San Francisco and around the world.
Some of the best news is ...Read more
A few years ago around St. Patrick's Day I was doing a wine tasting with my friend Fred at Miami's old 1800 Club. We were sipping and sloshing and spitting, eager to tease out the subtlest scents from the delicate wines.
Then happy hour happened, and they brought out a mammoth platter of corned beef and cabbage and plopped it onto the table ...Read more
Bread or wine? It's a question Brandon Sparks-Gills wrestled with for a few years. He was fascinated by both, and, for a time in Colorado, he split his days between baking and viticulture. That meant getting up in the middle of the night to be at his baking job at 2 a.m., then driving an hour in the afternoon to work at a vineyard beneath the ...Read more
I had a wine friend with a 20,000-bottle cellar. It held a stunning variety of wines, including some of the world's finest and most expensive.
His everyday wine, his "house" wine, was a $10 cabernet sauvignon from Chile. Oh, and he bought it by the case to get the 10 percent discount.
"I don't like to waste money," he shrugged.
It was his ...Read more
I pick on cabernet sauvignon. I say it's too powerful for many casual wine fans, with too much tannin, too much muscle, too much heft.
I pick on cab a lot, because it's such an easy target. So big and powerful. When I'm feeling silly, I liken it to the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder's postulate that elephants are terrified of mice.
But it's...Read more
When Ted Baseler took the reins at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2001, intent on growing it rapidly, he looked around at other big wine empires and decided not to follow their example.
"Frankly, they were growing big and mediocre," says Baseler, the company's president and CEO. "They would buy wineries and consolidate production into one huge ...Read more
U.S. presidents are pretty sophisticated people, we like to think. But how savvy are they about wine?
It varies. Wildly. In honor of Presidents Day Feb. 16, let's check some out:
-- George Washington toasted his inauguration with Madeira wine and kept a good supply at Mount Vernon, paying for it with flour from his plantation. Madeira, a ...Read more
"Hygge" (pronounced HEW-gah) is a Danish word that translates roughly as "well-being." It describes the purposeful creation of a cozy indoor atmosphere, with candlelight, glowing hearths, close friends, good wine and food that help them through their long, dark winters.
Around the world in the north, it's the season to drink hearty wines, ...Read more