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After Dinner

If you're one of the millions in the planning stages of an over-the-top holiday feast, allow me to throw another log on an already roaring fire. What comes after dinner?

At my holiday table, there is almost always a dessert that's too good to pass up, and often an assortment of cheeses, too. Many hosts will take the path of least resistance ...Read more

10 Luxury Wine Gifts Under $100

A gift of wine this holiday season is special on its face because it's personal. It's also a minefield for those choosing the gift. Those with little wine experience will have doubts about the quality or the price. Even those who know what they like in a wine might be reluctant to assume others will share their enthusiasm.

I will attempt to ...Read more

All That Sparkles

Chances are good that sometime over the next month or so, someone will put a glass of bubbly in your hand and offer up a Champagne toast.

What's in the glass might be Champagne. Or maybe not. No matter; it's all good. 'Tis the season, after all. What's important is the festive spirit inspired by sparkling wines served during the holiday ...Read more

10 Great Wines for the Holidays

Whether you are throwing a party, looking for a gift or planning a holiday dinner, great wines for all occasions will be top of mind for many throughout this holiday season.

Rest assured, there is an abundance of great wine to go around. This week's "Wine Talk" is dedicated to wine suggestions aimed primarily at those looking for gift ...Read more

The Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving dinner, with its unique combination of sweet and savory dishes, would seem to pose a challenge to even the most knowledgeable wine enthusiast. Oddly, exactly the opposite is true. It's a no-brainer that even a novice could manage.

Over the years, I've developed a three-stage approach to the Thanksgiving feast. I typically serve a...Read more

Late Bottled Vintage Port

This week's "Wine Talk" tasting notes feature a delicious late bottled vintage port, or LBV, from Dow's, a prominent port house. As the days shorten and evenings bring a chilly blast of cold air, a glass of port or a port-style wine by the fire offers great appeal.

Port, as most wine enthusiasts know, is an after-dinner dessert wine fortified...Read more

A Word About Price

How much should a bottle of wine cost? I pose the question because I was intrigued recently by an online rant from a professional sommelier, who shall remain nameless, incensed that anyone would pay more than $300 (retail) for a bottle of Opus One.

The angry somm vowed to never put Opus on his wine list -- even if customers clamored for it. ...Read more

Three Harvest Hot Spots

Harvest is a special time in wine country. Trucks loaded with grapes chug down narrow country roads, optimism and anxiety are abundant in equal parts, and wine lovers flock to the scene to observe history, and wine, in the making.

The heavy lifting of the 2018 harvest in the northern hemisphere is all but over except for the handful of late-...Read more

The Somm Cheating Scandal

There is a simple solution to the cheating scandal that rocked The Court of Master Sommeliers last week -- simple but difficult.

When the CMS board of directors voted unanimously to rescind certification of the 23 candidates who passed the rigorous tasting exam in St. Louis last month, earning the prestigious master sommelier title, it did so...Read more

3 Grapes to Know for Fall

As autumn leaves drift past my window, I am reminded it is time to visit the wine cellar and dust off a few bottles that were tucked away for summer.

The changing seasons typically require a shift in priorities away from the lighter, easier, more refreshing wines of summer to something more substantial and robust as the days shorten and ...Read more

Somm Challenge's Biggest Winners

Despite the fact that all wines are tasted blind and judges are shielded as much as possible from any form of bias (other than their own stylistic preferences), the cream nearly always rises to the top at a major international wine competition.

Such was the case at the 10th annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition ...Read more

The Magnificent 7

The 10th annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition was staged over the past weekend in San Diego, and it was my distinct pleasure as executive director to taste many of the wines that impressed the 14 professional sommeliers from across the United States who had been invited to serve as judges and evaluate the more ...Read more

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


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