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The New Wine Snobbery

Once upon a time, French, Italian and German wines monopolized the discussion of fine wine in the United States. California, New York, Oregon and Washington wine production hadn't yet blossomed, so most fine-dining wine lists and big-city wine shops were populated with wines only the well-traveled could pronounce.

That exclusivity fostered a ...Read more

Rose Revolution

Following a monthlong food and wine tour through France, I came home with dry rose wines on my mind. It is the pause that refreshes the French at this time of year, particularly those who flock to the beaches along the French Riviera in late summer.

To my pleasant surprise, in the stack of wine samples that awaited me upon my return there ...Read more

Postcard From France: Paris

PARIS -- The City of Light has everything a wine lover could want and more.

Start with the ubiquitous cafes and tabacs that seem to line every boulevard. If wine and food are your thing, you're never more than steps away from a verre de vin blanc and a baguette with cheese and butter.

At the humble cafe, your wine of choice is likely to be ...Read more

Postcard from France: Provence

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France -- There are a number of reasons tourists flock to Provence in summer. There are the pristine beaches that line the glistening blue Mediterranean waters. The ancient Roman and Greek ruins are an attraction, too. For art lovers, many of the quaint villages of Provence and the Cote d'Azur were the inspiration for Van Gogh...Read more

Postcard From France: Cote d'Azur

NICE, France -- The French Riviera is a mixed bag for the wine enthusiast willing to travel thousands of miles to a foreign land in search of exotic wine and food experiences.

Here, in the heart of the Cote d'Azur, the most exotic wine experience at the beginning of my personal Tour de France came at a rustic French cafe, La Femme du ...Read more

10 Summer Value Wines

It's summertime, and the living's easy. So, too, should be the wines you drink. May they go down easy, and be easy on your wallet as well.

I've selected a handful of superb wines that, in my humble opinion, over deliver for the price. Some of these are perennial favorites, such as the Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, and some are recent...Read more

The Big Chill

There used to be a saying among wine aficionados that "a wine's first obligation is to be red." Indeed, there is a significant body of wine enthusiasts that clings to that mantra and only drinks red wine -- as an aperitif before dinner; with dinner, even if fish or shellfish are being served; or after dinner, as a nightcap.

To each his own. But...Read more

All-American Bargain Wines

If ever there were a holiday that cried out for an all-American theme, it would be July Fourth.

For that special occasion, not all the fireworks need be in the sky. Those planning a holiday celebration for hordes of family and friends can sip splendid U.S.-produced value wines that were recently vetted by professional wine journalists at the ...Read more

The Magnificent Seven

The prestige and importance of any major wine competition relies to some extent on the quality of the entries, particularly the presence of top-notch wines from other parts of the world. The annual Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits competition typically attracts strong global representation, which makes an award a bit more ...Read more

Rose Revolution

In the near quarter century that I've been organizing commercial wine competitions, I have more than 60 under my belt, and the rose category has been one of my greatest disappointments.

Once upon a time, most of the rose wines entered were on the sweet side and of little interest to professional wine judges, so medals were few and far between...Read more

Coppola Dazzles at Critics Challenge

Noted film director Francis Ford Coppola has been a celebrity presence in the California wine industry going on four decades. Despite the celebrity, there was never any question about Coppola's passion for wine, or his savvy about the business.

After he purchased the Napa Valley's historic Inglenook estate, Coppola promptly made his mark with...Read more

Summer Whites

It's summertime, and the sippin's easy. For most wine lovers that means breaking away from heavier wines that have a strong influence of oak and turning to wines with a bit more fruit zest and crisp acidity.

There's a simple reason for this seasonal shift in taste: It's refreshing. When the weather heats up, demand for white wine, refreshing ...Read more

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

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