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Jordan True to His Roots

You could say John Jordan was born into the wine business, although he spent most of his adult life avoiding it.

His parents, Tom and Sally Jordan, were dedicated Francophiles. They signed the deed on their Alexander Valley wine estate in May 1972, the same day John was born, so the story goes. John and his sister Jenny grew up amid the vines...Read more

A Trio of Luxury Pinots

Though tasty budget wines for Thanksgiving occupy a huge niche in the wine market, there is strong demand for luxury wines as well. Thanksgiving is, after all, a special occasion, so if not then, when exactly would be the right time to uncork the best wines in the cellar?

If you're thinking about putting on the Ritz this Thanksgiving, a high-...Read more

The Thanksgiving Table

While some wine lovers may view the annual Thanksgiving feast as a daunting challenge, I see it as an opportunity. The beauty of the Thanksgiving bird, in my humble opinion, is its versatility with wine. A roast turkey is a blank slate, equally delicious with a variety of red or white wines and also amendable to wines that show a hint of ...Read more

Holiday Party Wines

Although the holiday feasting season is upon us now through the end of the year, it is important to remember not every gathering of friends and family is a formal occasion. 'Tis also the season of spontaneous conviviality. The good host always wants to serve tasty wine but is ever mindful there are budget considerations when a crowd gathers ...Read more

Hitting the Sweet Spot

There is a widely quoted statistic that about 75 percent of all Champagne consumption in the United States occurs in the final two months of the year, over the prolonged holiday season.

But there is one other category of wine that is even more of a holiday novelty: dessert wine.

Americans don't give premium dessert wines, aka stickies, much ...Read more

Deja vu All Over Again

With apologies to the late, great Yogi Berra, last week's bombshell announcement that Australia's Treasury Wine Estates had purchased all of the U.S. wine properties owned by drinks giant Diageo had the feel of deja vu all over again.

Treasury is a relatively new company. It was formed from the carnage of the Foster's Group misadventure that ...Read more

Wines for All Seasons

As the threat of snow looms next week in the eastern United States, my wine cravings are turning to heavier reds and richer whites. The conventional wisdom, too, holds that we find lighter, fresher wines appealing in warm weather but move toward richer, heavier wines when there is a chill in the air.

No doubt there is some truth in the notion...Read more

2 Tips for Tailgate Sipping

Now that football season is in full swing and weekend tailgate parties are as common as the falling leaves, it is my solemn duty to share my two most important tailgate tips for those rare wine enthusiasts in the beery football crowd.

These two tailgate tips are the result of years (actually decades) of experience with some elaborate tailgate...Read more

Bargain Gold

It's not much of a surprise that a small-production Napa Valley merlot -- Kalaris, $52 -- came away with Wine of the Year honors at the seventh annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition, held Sept. 12-13 in San Diego. Such wines are made to impress.

Truly surprising are the many high-volume commercial wines that are rightly ...Read more

The Platinum Parade

As director of the three international wine challenges -- Critics, Sommelier and Winemaker -- it is not only my duty but also my distinct pleasure to taste many of the wines chosen for platinum awards.

A platinum recipient is simply a gold-medal wine that the judges believe has another gear. Platinum wines at the challenges are wines that ...Read more

Grilling Season Bon Voyage

For most of America, the summer grilling season ends Labor Day weekend. So with the aroma of barbecued meats and fish in mind, a few wine suggestions for America's grill meisters would seem to be in order.

During a trial run last weekend, I grilled up leg of lamb, salmon and sweet and savory sausage for about 20 guests on a warm summer ...Read more

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