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After Dinner

A number of years ago, while covering the annual Bordeaux en primeurs tastings in France, I decided to decamp for the week at the lovely Cordeillan-Bages, a Relais & Chateaux hotel in Pauillac. The attraction for me was the restaurant, which had one Michelin star at the time.

Over the course of en primeurs week, I had the opportunity to dine ...Read more

Gift Ideas for Wine Lovers

With Thanksgiving squarely in the rearview mirror, it's time to turn our attention to the gifting season. There is a common perception that buying for a wine enthusiast presents a tremendous challenge. But why go through the anxiety of choosing the perfect wine for your friend or loved one?

There is a better way. Gift that person something ...Read more

The Thanksgiving Table

The annual Thanksgiving feast is the best of times for a wine enthusiast.

The combination of sweet and savory flavors on the typical Thanksgiving table opens the door to a multitude of options. Add to that the versatility of a roast turkey all by itself and a person almost can't go wrong no matter the wine selection.

As for me, I want it all...Read more

The Wines of Bibiana

When Bibiana decided to quit her university studies in Columbia, she set out for France with little more than a backpack and a dream.

Her full name is Bibiana Gonzalez Rave, and she was born and raised in a middle-class family in Medellin, Columbia. Since her early teens, and against all odds in a country bereft of a strong wine culture, she ...Read more

The Verde Valley Wine Trail

SEDONA, Arizona -- There are a number of good reasons to visit Sedona. The stunning and picturesque "red rock" country alone is a magnet for tourists. Proximity to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon also rank high on the list. Then there is the perceived spiritual and healing aspect of a Sedona vortex; the Native American culture and history; and ...Read more

The Sonoma Fires

The Kincade fire started Oct. 23 near Geyserville in northern Sonoma County. Fueled by gusts of wind clocked at as fast as 100 mph, it has since burned more than 60,000 acres and driven tens of thousands of residents from their homes. At this writing, containment doesn't seem to be in sight.

The area affected covers one of the most storied ...Read more

Time to Chill

On a brief vacation in the mountains of Arizona, I took the opportunity to taste a flight of three Arizona wines from the Verde Valley in and around Sedona. The restaurant presented a rose, a chardonnay and a red the server described as a grenache blend.

The first taste confirmed my suspicion that this could be an up-and-coming area for wine,...Read more

The Coming Wine Crunch

A headline in the San Francisco Chronicle wine section caught my eye this week: "California wineries, fearing recession, cut grape output. Farmers are worried."

Setting aside the reality that farmers are always worried, my takeaway from the article by Chronicle wine editor Esther Mobley is the fact that there is a looming wine glut. Huge ...Read more

Wisdom of the Somms

When the Sommelier Challenge was conceived in San Diego more than a dozen years ago, the profession was undergoing a renaissance. The image of a snobby sommelier full of condescension (never really an accurate portrayal) was melting away as a generation of young, eager wine professionals embraced the quest for advanced and master sommelier ...Read more

20-Year Aged Sherry Impresses Somms

Sherry, a fortified wine from Spain, is produced in styles ranging from dry to remarkably sweet. Master sommelier Robert Smith sat on the panel that evaluated the sherries entered at the 12th annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition Sept. 21-22 in San Diego, awarding a platinum medal to the stunning 20-year-old Don ...Read more

The Amazing V. Sattui

It would be difficult, perhaps even impossible, to overstate the brilliance of the Napa Valley's V. Sattui Winery. Situated along Highway 29 in Saint Helena, in the heart of the Napa Valley, the V. Sattui picnic grounds have been a magnet for wine enthusiasts over the past few decades. The idyllic setting aside, the wines of V. Sattui are, and...Read more

Harvest Destinations

Throughout these United States, wherever wine is made (and that's just about every state), harvest is underway. There is no better time to visit wine country. Harvest is a feast for the senses, with the smell of fermenting grapes in the air, warm days and cool nights, and the up-close-and-personal view of the new vintage.

Whether you are in ...Read more


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