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Red Wines for Sipping

A friend came to me recently seeking wine recommendations, which is not unusual. She specifically targeted red wines that would be smooth or easy to sip.

"I'm not a cabernet kind of girl," she said. "I've heard that red wine is healthier for you than white wine so I'm looking for some red wines that would be easier to sip than cabernet. Would...Read more

The Merlot Myth

No doubt some would be surprised to learn the Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot retails for around $100 a bottle. They had it on good authority, having watched the hit movie "Sideways" a time or two, that merlot was swill and a waste of time.

For all the good that "Sideways" did for pinot noir sales, propelling the noble Burgundian grape to ...Read more

10 End-of-Summer Beauties

The long Labor Day weekend serves to remind us that the end of summer is on the horizon.

It's time to drink up and enjoy those lighter (Can you say rose?) summer wines that we prize for their refreshing style. This week's "Wine Talk" recommendations are dedicated to 10 gorgeous white, red and rose wines that have what I choose to call "summer...Read more

Winery to Watch: Acumen

In the world of fine wine, where status is typically established over decades of success, Acumen, founded in 2012 by Eric Yuan, is the new kid on the block and quite the sensation. With more than 100 acres of vineyards planted on the slopes of Atlas Peak at the southern end of the Napa Valley, Acumen is dedicated to the Bordeaux grape ...Read more

Older Wines: Risk and Reward

Anyone with even a passing interest in wine has no doubt heard that fine wine improves with age. I emphasize the word "fine" because no amount of time in the cellar will magically transform a bad wine. Wines produced from exceptional vineyards, however, often morph over time into something so sublime that wine enthusiasts will pay a handsome ...Read more

California Dreaming

I must confess: I turn a blind eye to most wine-related press releases unless they contain news of a sale or a death. There are exceptions, such as this week's dispatch from Washington State Wine Commission, a trade organization that represents most, if not all, of the wineries in Washington.

The pitch was the launch of an advertising ...Read more

Wine by the Half-Glass

The waiter approached and pointed at the empty wine glass, as if to ask if I would like another. "Yes, I would," I said, "but, no, I won't." We both laughed. It was a workday, and I was about to return to the office. If only they offered a half-glass of wine, I thought, before asking for the check.

Restaurants have upped their game on wine-by...Read more

The Ice Bucket Is Your Friend

It is often said, though usually with tongue in cheek, that a wine's first obligation is to be red. Even when uttered in jest, this mantra is problematic during the dog days of summer. There are days when it's just too hot for red wine.

Or maybe not.

Though excessive heat certainly accentuates the tannins and higher alcohol level typically ...Read more

Winery to Watch: Domaine Du Mont-Epin

When Richard and Stephane Martin purchased Domaine du Mont-Epin in 2015, they had a simple goal: Make wines that are fresh and pure at a good price.

Situated in the commune of Clesse in the Maconnais region of southern Burgundy, Domaine du Mont-Epin specializes in chardonnay, the grape of Macon. Far from the glitz and glamour of the premier ...Read more

Trust the Sommelier

As much as I relish the opportunity to choose a sensational bottle of wine from a truly great wine list, there are times when it's best to turn over the wine decisions to the sommelier.

Such was the case during a recent visit to Northern California, where I dined at La Folie in San Francisco and La Toque in Napa. On both occasions, I opted ...Read more

Cuvaison Looking Good at 50

The Napa Valley winery Cuvaison is coming up on its 50th anniversary, which makes it one of the earliest pioneers in the modern era of California wine. Founded in 1969, Cuvaison long ago made its mark as a purveyor of fine Napa Valley chardonnay and pinot noir. It was purchased in 1979 by the Schmidheiny family of Switzerland and has been in ...Read more

Affordable Luxury

What are you willing to pay for a good bottle of wine? The answer, I assume, depends on your budget.

The occasional splurge wine aside, the sweet spot for the vast majority is somewhere between $10 and $30. In that price range there are a surprising number of excellent options provided by wineries that aspire to overdeliver.

I've identified ...Read more


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