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Gallo Dazzles at Sommelier Challenge

Throughout the weekend of the eighth annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Challenge in San Diego, California, the judges made a point of noting an improvement in the quality of entries from the previous year.

The results reflected the initial impression as the assembled professional sommeliers, which included Master ...Read more

Merlot Madness

October is international merlot month. Think about that for a moment. Merlot is the wine everyone loves to loathe. So it gets an entire month to call its own? Something must be wrong with this picture.

Everyone from vintners to consumers has been dismissing merlot for as far back memory serves. During the emergence of California wine in the ...Read more

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


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