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The Grilling Season

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the grilling season, and there will undoubtedly be those who've forgotten the essentials since the last ember went cold at the final barbecue Labor Day weekend.

First, and probably most importantly, the grillmeister must be kept properly refreshed from prep to plating. There is no scientific evidence grilled ...Read more

Cognac on the Rocks?

If you've ever ordered a cognac at a trendy restaurant, you've no doubt witnessed the bartender making a show of heating a snifter with hot water before filling it.

It's a dirty little secret (at least it was) that the renowned cognac house of Hennessy prefers to serve Hennessy X.O on the rocks. I learned of this firsthand a number of years ...Read more

The Accidental Winemaker

Early in his wine career, Felipe Stahlschmidt tended vines for one of the properties owned by the renowned Catena Zapata winery in Mendoza, Argentina. He held a degree in agronomic engineering from the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza and was well-respected for his work in the Catena vineyards -- so well-respected, in fact, that when one...Read more

Italy Has Its Day in the Sun

Banfi, one of the most important names in Italian wine, and Vecchia Romagna, the most renowned producers of Italian brandy, gave a distinctly Italian twist to the outcome of the annual San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge earlier this month.

Banfi, with a platinum award for its 2012 Brunello di Montalcino, 10 gold awards and three...Read more

Bordeaux Vintage 2016: The Medoc

BORDEAUX, France -- This is the third and final installment of my series of columns on the exceptional 2016 vintage in Bordeaux. I saved the best for last. The Medoc, the area northwest of the city of Bordeaux toward the Atlantic Ocean, is the sweet spot of vintage 2016.

Nowhere else in the vast Bordeaux region was the quality of the vintage ...Read more

Quality You Can Take to the Bank

Over the past several months, I have recommended a number of exceptional wines from Merry Edwards Winery, regarded by many as the queen of California pinot noir.

Although Merry Edwards launched her career making top-notch cabernet sauvignon at Mount Eden in the Santa Cruz Mountains, she really found her mojo when she relocated to the Russian ...Read more

A Rare 100-Point Wine

It isn't often that I award a wine a perfect score of 100 points. I don't keep track, but over the past 25 years and the thousands of wine samples that have crossed my desk, I'd guess I've unloaded a 100-point rating a dozen times -- two dozen at most.

I remember a vintage of the Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico from Italy and the Stelling ...Read more

10 Great Whites for Spring

The snowstorm that blanketed New York City and much of the northeast this week notwithstanding, there is good reason to think about the white wines we want to drink when the warmer weather of spring finally arrives. For one thing, nothing says spring like the move to daylight saving time, no matter what the thermometer of the back porch is ...Read more

Better With Age

Years ago, on a trip to Bordeaux to taste samples from a new vintage, I had the opportunity to have dinner at Domaine de Chevalier. The host, Domaine de Chevalier owner Olivier Bernard, used the occasion to raid the Chevalier cellar for a couple of seriously old bottles of wine.

If memory serves, the vintage was 1927, or thereabouts. There ...Read more


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