Unlike any other wine in the world, Madeira will remain virtually unchanged from the time you open the bottle until the time days, weeks, months, years later when you decide to finish it. This is a long-term relationship.
I'll be honest with you. I didn't know anyone who loved Pedro Ximenez. Poor Pedro Ximenez. It smells a bit like a sugary root beer. Lucky for our friend Pedro, however, once upon a time someone clever dreamed up a special sundae.
Stash a bottle under the bed, or hide it in the basement, or make a cool dark cave in the back of your coat closet where it can hibernate... come next season, it'll be an even better surprise than finding a $20 bill in your pocket.
I pay careful attention to the wine that disappears first at a party. When you have a mess of bottles open and one of them is emptied well in advance of the others, you know people liked it.
"I brought you a Juhfark," a friend announced when she arrived at a party. "Umm, what??" I asked, unsure if she'd just said something inappropriate.
Lagrein has been planted in Alto Adige for over 500 years. Despite the long history and ample plantings in the region, up until the last couple of decades this dark and rustic red wasn't really ever taken seriously.
Cork taint is just one wine flaw you can learn to identify; here's our guide to seven of the most common. Knowing what to look out for will help you drink much better.
I headed to Alto Adige, in part, to find inspiration again. I'd maneuvered a tough summer, and to be honest, I didn't care about wine much at the moment. "Try to relax and enjoy your trip," my friend told me before I took off. "Italy can do magical things," she promised.
How do you know if you like high acidity? Answer these questions: Did you love Sour Patch Kids as a child? Do you prefer your lemonade more tart than sweet? If you answered "yes," you probably love acidity in your wine. (Welcome to my club. Perhaps we will make punk-rock-inspired T-shirts for ourselves.)
There's a reason this "aromatic, high-acid Greek variety" has, as Wine Grapes mentions, "seen a surge in popularity and plantings in the last twenty years": it's delicious.
Look for this bottle. When you find it, buy it. In fact, buy two. I promise it won't be long before you're crushing on Elisabetta Foradori and Teroldego, too.
This acid-driven white wine grape has been at it for over 500 years, and has changed gears, reinvented itself and worn any number of hats. Its future looks bright—and long.
I opened two bottles of Vidianó last night, because: what the hell. Because I had them, because I was in love with Oakland, because Vidianó seemed as appropriate as anything to celebrate with.
In many people's minds, the wine world dead-ends right around the eastern borders of Germany and Austria. What lies beyond is just a hazy tangle of Eastern European countries and, somewhere beyond that, Russia, the Middle East and Asia. No wine there.
There's more to the story of Ribolla Gialla, particularly in the Napa Valley.
I want to think that a beautifully packaged bottle from an interesting-sounding grape made in a picturesque Mediterranean region would sell like hotcakes. On the other hand, I have to wonder what Liatiko's fate would be on a wine list or store shelf if no one is there to point out what a great deal it is and how fantastic it will be with duck confit.
Rent control, shment control, it seems. I have to find a new home. In less than 30 days. So I "celebrated" one of my last leisurely days (a.k.a. drowned my sorrows) in my near-and-dear Dolores Park with a bottle of Assyrtiko.
Finding a perfect wine to drink with with pesto is a real challenge. You need something punchy enough to stand confidently against sharp herbs and garlic, yet textured and salty to complement all that Parmesan and the creaminess of the pine nuts.
I'd been hiding this quirky, slender, delicious looking bottle in the fridge for a special occasion. I don't mean a fancy dinner or holiday, or even an evening with important company. I mean a special occasion... Enter: the northern California coast, where there are fresher-than-fresh oysters available just footsteps away, doled out by the bag-full with little accompaniment besides sunshine and a shucking knife.
Basque locals traditionally drink the stuff out of a bulbous, pointy spouted, awesomely crowd-friendly pitcher called a porrón held high above one's head.
Frankly, I'd rather not tell you about this wine. I actually don't want you—or anyone—to know about it because I am fearful that then the prices will inevitably go up and the availability will go down, and I'll be left (poor) with wicked withdrawal symptoms and resentment.
"Semillon is not a fashionable variety," announces Wine Grapes. "Nowhere outside Sauternes," the book continues, "does there seem to be a groundswell of enthusiasm for this noble variety." Time for a re-write, Wine Grapes.
Confession: I love a recipe from the Campbell's soup website. It calls for simmering chicken breasts in creamy stock, balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, oregano, and kalamata olives. You sprinkle the whole thing with feta cheese and serve it up over orzo. I've eaten this dish with plenty of different wines that were all... fine. California Pinot Noir was overwhelmed; a northern Italian Barbera was bright but not bold enough; New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made it feel like everything was fighting. But last week, I found the perfect match.
When things got tricky last week, I sought comfort in three stalwarts of hope: my dog, a recipe for my Italian great grandmother's tomato sugo, and wine. The wine I pulled out was from a grape called Sagrantino, grown in an area called Montefalco in Italy's Umbria region. What struck me in reading about Sagrantino was this line in Wine Grapes: "The variety had become almost extinct in the 1960s." Yet here I was with three different bottles at my table.
I sat with a group of wine professionals, tasting a lineup of rosé wines blind, and we balked at the scarlet letter. "You've got to wonder what they were thinking when they made this," a fellow taster chided. And they hadn't even seen the label yet.
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