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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

Wine Roads Less Traveled

As summer fast approaches and wine enthusiasts make plans to trek through wine country, it just might be time to take stock of old assumptions and broaden the horizons of wine country as we know it, or think we know it, to explore beyond Napa, Sonoma, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany and other more or less familiar wine destinations.

Technical ...Read more

10 Delicious Wines for Dad

The last two weeks, my inbox has been peppered with suggestions for the perfect Father's Day wine. Whether it's Father's Day or Mother's Day, my advice is essentially the same.

Mom and Dad know your budget and won't necessarily be impressed by a wine that is beyond your means. I suggest identifying a price range and choosing one of the best ...Read more

The Big Winners

The 15th annual Critics Challenge Wine Competition, judged exclusively by prominent wine journalists and staged in San Diego, California, in May, boiled down to one knotty problem: too many very, very good wines. As problems go, this is a good one to have, but it made deciding the recipients of director's awards something of a challenge.

...Read more

Grilling Up a Thirst

Memorial Day officially kicks off the grilling season. I'm thirsty already.

Allow me to explain. As the grillmeister at my humble abode, I am well-acquainted with the rigors of cooking over hot coals. The proper way to grill, I have learned over the years, is to place a grilling tool in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. For perfect ...Read more

Winery to Watch: Limerick Lane

It would be a stretch to call Limerick Lane an up-and-coming winery. Its original vineyard was planted in 1910, and newer plantings in the 1970s established it as a star in the emerging California wine industry. In short, it is a historic California winery with a sterling reputation.

Nevertheless, it is a winery to watch. When brothers ...Read more

Picnic Time

As the days grow longer and temperatures climb, picnic season is upon us. And as every devoted wine enthusiast knows, no picnic basket should go out the door without a nice bottle of wine tucked inside.

The perfect picnic wine for me is easy to drink, refreshing, food-friendly and not too expensive. All of that can be accomplished with a ...Read more

Ordering a Wine First

I'm what I call a reverse diner. While most everyone else sizes up a restaurant menu upon being seated, I ask for the wine list first. Once I've decided which wine is calling my name, I take a peek at the menu and build a meal around the wine.

This is especially useful when visiting a restaurant with exceptional wine offerings. I'm there for ...Read more

Bordeaux 2017: The Sweet Spot

BORDEAUX, France -- The annual En Primeurs event in Bordeaux, which previews the most recent vintage of Bordeaux wine for trade and the press, often proves a chore, as everyone muscles through hundreds of young, tannic wines in an attempt to assess their quality and potential.

It may come as a surprise to some, but tasting barrel samples is ...Read more

Bordeaux 2017: Weathering the Storm

BORDEAUX, France -- Although Bordeaux produces the world's most expensive and arguably most sought-after wines, the journey from bud break to harvest is often fraught with peril for the region's vineyards. The 2017 vintage was fairly typical, a roller coaster ride starting with an early spring, followed by a devastating frost, followed by cool...Read more

 
 

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