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What's in a Wine Glass?

To the casual observer, what's in a wine glass is infinitely more important than the glass itself. To a large extent, that's true. Yet the glass ultimately plays a huge role in the level of enjoyment you get from the wine.

With apologies to Georg J. Riedel, the Austrian glassmaker who promotes the belief that virtually every different wine ...Read more

A Labor of Love

The upcoming Labor Day weekend is the grillmeister's annual swan song. In most parts of the country, the grill goes undercover and the tools are stored for winter after one last hurrah on this holiday. I am determined to end the season on a bold note rather than a whimper.

Of course, I refer to the wines for the Labor Day finale. I have ...Read more

The $9 Solution

When the Dark Horse wines were in the planning stages a few short years ago, inside the brain trust at E. & J. Gallo Winery the concept was commonly called the "20-7 project."

Throughout its history, Gallo has been sensitive to the consumer need for quality value wine. Consider the cost, for example, of putting a modest $20 wine on the dinner...Read more

Oasis in the Desert

My summer break took me on a two-week journey through the picturesque Southwestern United States. The tour launched from San Diego, California, by car and included stops in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Red Rock country of Sedona, Arizona, and finally Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a couple of memorable evenings at the stunning Santa Fe Opera House.

...Read more

Robert Mondavi the Man

The top selection this week in the Wine Talk reviews is the 50th anniversary wine from Robert Mondavi, probably the most renowned winery in California's Napa Valley.

The 50th anniversary is an important milestone to be sure, but longevity alone is not what makes the occasion significant. Many among the current generation of California wine ...Read more

Inside the 'Wine Talk' Reviews

Regular "Wine Talk" readers know that most weeks I offer a selection of wine recommendations. What may be less well-known is how I choose which wines to highlight.

Over the course of the year I taste thousands of wine samples for review consideration. A small percentage of those are flawed in some way and easily dismissed.

The vast majority ...Read more

Age Before Beauty

The ability to age is one of the accepted tenets of wine appreciation. That may seem oddly disconnected from reality given that the vast majority of wines are consumed within days, if not hours, of purchase. Yet, it is a truth that yields spectacular results for those with the patience and wisdom to wait.

That truth was driven home to me ...Read more

California Wine's Best Kept Secret

South Coast Winery in Temecula, California, recently pulled off a feat no other California winery can claim: winning its fourth Golden Bear Trophy at the California State Fair earlier this month.

The trophy is awarded to one California winery each year, chosen from the hundreds that enter the state fair's annual wine competition. Considering ...Read more

Texas Winery Shines at San Diego Challenge

A number of eye-popping performances were put on at the 2016 San Diego Wine Challenge.

Italy's Castello Banfi served an impressive Super Tuscan and a sensational Brunello from a so-so vintage.

Australia's Mr. Riggs did what Aussie wineries often do: It dominated with delicious wines at price points typically reserved for second-tier wines.

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Making the Case

As director of the international San Diego Wine & Spirits Challenge, I encounter many tasks too mundane to mention in this space, with one glaring exception. During the course of the SDIWC and the other three wine competitions I manage, I make a point to taste each of the wines awarded a platinum medal.

For practical purposes, I typically ...Read more


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