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Corkscrew

Wednesday September 2, 2009 04:00 am EDT

This refreshing rosé blend made from grenache, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and dolcetto (an Italian grape) smells like sweet, perfumey fruit. On the tongue, itís soft íní elegant, with cranberry, sweet cherry, ripe strawberries and fresh, lively acidity. Quite perfect, really. Perfect for any occasion, even happy ones. Sw= 2. $17 retail. 5 stars.  

Available by the bottle at 4th and Swift in...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday September 2, 2009 04:00 am EDT
What to do during life transitions | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday August 26, 2009 04:00 am EDT
My first Wineries that Wow entry is Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, a family-run business that has finally turned a corner. I haven't been impressed with them in years, until I tried this fantastic pinot noir from their estate vineyards. Elegant with lush, dark cherry earthiness, excellent tart acidity and ripe plum with a flirty, sweet raspberry and strawberry finish. Luscious and worth the... | more...

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Wednesday August 19, 2009 04:00 am EDT
A look at what people are drinking | more...

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Wednesday August 12, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Pair grilled meat with a hearty white wine | more...

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Wednesday August 12, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Made from vineyards grown in a cooler, high altitude region to achieve lively acidity, yet also to gain ripeness crucial for breathtaking chardonnay. Soft and medium-bodied with layers of creamy vanilla, mango, butter-sautÈed peaches and a refreshing citrus finish. Sw=2. $18. 4 stars.

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column - White wine with steak keeps you cool. Taylor Eason is...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday August 5, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Top 10 best wines for the money right now | more...

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Wednesday August 5, 2009 04:00 am EDT

This red zinfandel backs up its cutesy name with character. It’s not bold and alcoholic like many zins but medium-bodied with chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla spice, black cherry and blackberry. Available at many grocery stores. Sw=2. $11. 4 stars.

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column - Drink Well, Save Dough: Top ten best wines for the money right now.

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Corkscrew

Wednesday July 29, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Forget the tango - malbec is fast becoming the beloved icon of Argentina. I wrote about this humble red grape back in 2006, when it was creeping into the spotlight, but since then its popularity has spread like the macarena at a redneck wedding. And no wonder - malbec is practically perfect.
This disrespected French grape originally hails from Bordeaux, where it slaves for the hallowed...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday July 29, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Malbec is the new merlot, elbowing its way onto wine lists and into retail shops. This incredible example smells like luscious raspberry jam youíd spread on bread. This impressive medium-bodied wine has a lot going on ñ layers of blackberry, black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, cranberry, velvety oakiness and spicy black pepper. Excellent acidity with a rich, tongue-pleasing... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday July 22, 2009 04:00 am EDT

The snooty side of food pairings preaches "no wine with salad." I fed on this falsehood for years, following the widely-held mantra like an evangelical wino. Then one day a miraculous salad and vino combo made me rethink my reliance on traditional not-so-wisdom.

Not that I was always so cool and contrarian. Before my re-awakening, I lapped up all the drivel wine magazines and writers spit...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday July 22, 2009 04:00 am EDT

One of the best, under-priced wines Iíve tasted in months. Floral aromas with softness on the palate, lively acidity, fresh apricot, stereotypical riesling diesel fuel, and a tart green apple, lemon-lime, wet slate finish. Sw=2. $10. 4 stars.

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column - Lettuce Surprises You: Pairing wine with salads.

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Corkscrew

Wednesday July 15, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Maybe I have a seasonal affective disorder, since I always veer away from red wine during the hot months. It’s hard-wired into my DNA, and I find it more thirst-busting to lace my fingers around a chilled glass of rosé or white wine when the mercury hits 85. But there are a lot of red-wine-etarians out there and I occasionally desire something ballsier, even as sweat drools down my face. Enjoy... | more...

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Wednesday July 15, 2009 04:00 am EDT

The name, Las Hormigas, translates to 'the ants' since the vineyards are covered with critters that eat everything except the vines themselves. The protected fruit results in a wine oozing with mouth-filling black cherry, plums, licorice and soft leather. Itís dry with medium tannins and a lush, earthy finish. Sw=1. $10. 3.5 stars.  

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column - Red...

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Wednesday July 8, 2009 04:00 am EDT

This fresh, rich, citrus-infused gem relies heavily on the sémillon grape to give it a distinct soft roundness. Also laced with melon, lemon curd and chamomile. Simply delicious. Sw=1. $19. 4.5 stars.  

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Corkscrew

Wednesday July 8, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Picture a winery lab lined with brimming beakers. A racy sauvignon blanc white wine in one, an earthy sémillon in another. Like mixing up a monster martini, winemakers blend single-varietal wines together to find their signature cocktail. The painstaking process adds complexity to the final product and squeezes maximum flavor out of a vineyard. Getting the right combo, however, isn’t obvious —... | more...

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Wednesday July 1, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Albariño is a sadly unfamiliar grape, but Iím hoping people will embrace this crisp, acid-forward, grapefruit-ful wine. Hailing originally from RÌas Baixas in northwest Spainís coastal region, it pairs well with that regionís seafood-centric cuisine. Bodegas Montecilloís version definitely has grapefruit, lime and generous acidity but also the sweet tang of pineapple and a flinty finish. Super... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday July 1, 2009 04:00 am EDT

After my annual Fourth of July party, the recycling bin brims with a mountainous pile of wine bottles. I imagine the recycling guy considers me a lapsed Friend of Bill, but it doesn’t matter — our nation’s birthday is the day to enjoy everything. In honor of our America’s independence, here are some creative tips to prepare for the celebration.
 
Introduce the Box
Ignore the naysayers who...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday June 24, 2009 04:00 am EDT

The six-month dream job of Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent at Murphy-Goode Winery has been blowing up the blogosphere. $10,000 per month to live at the winery in Sonoma Valley, write, and ride the social media wave. It’s a sweet gig for whoever gets it.

And I threw my glass into the ring.

Initially, I learned about the opportunity from my father-in-law who lives 9,167 miles from home in...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday June 24, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Possibly the best value from Argentina today, this luscious red blend has malbec, merlot, syrah and cabernet. Crafted by legendary winemaker Michel Rolland and it tastes like it. Rich and jammy with loads of fruit and flavor like soft leather, blackberry, blueberry, candied cherry, bittersweet chocolate, sweet vanilla and coffee. Simply stunning for the price. Sw=1. $16. 5 stars. Available at... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday June 17, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Summer just isn't summer without refreshing pink wine. From Randall Grahm’s infamous Bonny Doon winery comes a grenache-based rosé that smells like a fresh spring day. Zesty citrus, steely raspberry and orange blossom flavors with a clean, refreshing, red apple finish. Sw=2. $15. 4.5 stars.

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column - Rose Rising: Why pink wines should be in your...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday June 17, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Despite a weakening economy, the Nielson Company revealed an almost 25 percent jump in U.S. rosé wine sales in 2008. Since I’ve harped on the greatness of pink for the past five years, I’ll take at least a sliver of that celebratory pie, thank you very much. I’m rejoicing that Americans have finally begun to embrace the beauty of rosé wines.

With the red fruit and tannin of red, and the cool,...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday June 10, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Like the violin I misused as a tot, wine requires practice. I don’t read many books about it, although I definitely should; I don’t study it much anymore, although that might make me sound smarter. But I drink. A lot. Not to alcoholic levels — though the thought has fluttered in my throbbing, hungover head — but enough to become intimate with countless grapes. It’s important since habitual... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday June 10, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Patz and Hall makes a series of single-vineyard chardonnays from around California, displaying the difference location can have on the grapes in the bottle. This one from Carneros is lean, medium-bodied and bright with green apple napped in butter and pumpkin-pie spices. Fantastic, lingering acidity that complements the roasted hazelnuts, fresh peaches and caramel flavors. Sw=2. $45. 4.5 stars.... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday June 3, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Humble beginnings birth beautiful things. Obama. The Simpsons. Angelina Jolie. And McLaren Vale, a tiny town in South Australia with soft yet powerful wines.

Tireless pioneer Thomas Hardy planted grapes in McLaren Vale around 1840 and winemaking in the region thrived, until the turn of the century when exports dried up and the demand for bulk port swelled. Around the 1960's, wine tourism...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday June 3, 2009 04:00 am EDT
McLaren Vale's graceful, feminine wines are known for soft tannins, intense berry ripeness, and fruity, perfumey aromatics. This one is dark n' meaty with leathery black cherry, fresh green tobacco, cedar and a gorgeous, silky mouthfeel you sense in your toes. I poured the '04 at my wedding so, yea, I like it. Others to look for: '07 RosÈ, '07 Roussanne, and '06 Shiraz. Sw=2. $22. 4.5 stars.... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday May 27, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Stains are the mundane bane of many red wine drinkers. Inevitably, juice dribbles down the shirt, drips on the carpet, or spills on the clean — mostly likely new — white tablecloth. It’s inevitable and a buzz kill. One of my cream-colored couches, which I bought long before wine controlled my life, is now dotted with pinkish splotches, whispering tales of half-drunken accidents that weren’t... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday May 27, 2009 04:00 am EDT
It's not often you find a really, really good Aussie shiraz for two fivers. Paringa can do it year after year since they own their vineyards and therefore can keep costs low. The 2007 effort tastes like an Australian fruit salad: blueberry and blackberry followed up by a smidge of eucalyptus and a wash of soft leather. Dry and medium bodied with good acidity. Outstanding value. Sw=2. $10. 3.5... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday May 20, 2009 04:00 am EDT

One of the best vintages in years in Spain's Campo de Borja and Calatayud wine regions was 2007, so you owe it to yourself to pick up a few of these. At $10, why not? Itís a big, bold, hefty red not lacking in fruit. Savor the lush raspberry, roasted cherry with plush yet leathery tasting tannins and balanced acidity. Perfect with grilled beef. Sw=2. $10. 4 stars.

This wine is featured in this...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday May 20, 2009 04:00 am EDT

This time of year, states north of Florida lead the good life. Just in time for the Memorial Day holiday, Mother Nature ushers in mild weather up there while she shoves torrid 90 degrees/80 percent humidity down my throat. But it signals the official beginning of grilling season and that’s always a good thing. So grab what you got in the fridge and get cooking.

Which might be chicken sausages...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday May 13, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Western Australia's cool climate Margaret River produces bracing and grassy sauvignon blancs and austere yet spicy shiraz. Leeuwin remains a favorite from this region, offering this zesty, herbaceous, green apple and lemon/lime white blend. The addition of semillon gives it a slightly mineral, white pepper finish. Sw=1. $20. 4 stars.

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column -...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday May 13, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Listening to the pre-trip food-poisoning, bug-eating horror stories, I expected to lose weight. But far from the miracle Dexatrim solution I’d envisioned, my recent vacation in China proved to be an incredible culinary adventure.

China is far more modern, clean and sophisticated than I ever imagined, at least in the cities. Its citizens are warmly hospitable and enthusiastically curious about...

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Corkscrew

Thursday April 30, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Seeing double | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday April 29, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Like other wines from Italy's Tuscany, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano consists mostly of the sangiovese grape — Italian law requires at least 70 percent. The wines tend to have a characteristic tartness and dusty cherry that can be divine when matched with food. This one is full-bodied and meaty with dusty cherry, earthy prunes, sweet vanilla oak tannins and refreshing acidity. Sensual on... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday April 22, 2009 04:00 am EDT
The older I get, the more I realize the details of life matter most. Not the car I drive — although my Mini Cooper is so freakin’ cute it’s sinful — or the life- and time-saving gadgets that organize my scattered brain. What matters is appreciating the gushing sweetness of the season’s first strawberry, the soft touch of my cat’s fur or the first sip of a perfect white wine on a warm spring... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday April 22, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Spring presents perfect weather for sauvignon blanc. From the king of New Zealand comes another reliably charming wine ñ capped with a screwtop, no less. Its green grass aromas give way to dry, crisp acidity, ripe Granny Smith apples, zingy lime and plenty of refreshing grapefruit. The 2008 trumps previous vintages. Sw=1. $13. 5 stars.

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column -...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday April 15, 2009 02:47 pm EDT

Cool climate Carneros delivers up some great pinots and chards, and this refined Artesa beauty delivers value too. Soft, elegant tannins and subtle acidity break into bright, luscious red cherry, raspberry, apple pie spice and a long, dusty finish. Surprising price on a pinot of this quality. Sw=2. $22. 4.5 stars.  

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column - Craft Projects for...

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Corkscrew

Wednesday April 15, 2009 04:00 am EDT
I’m a consummate, almost rabid, recycler. Every plastic or paper bag, aluminum and paper scrap gets either reused, recycled or both. It hacks me off to see bottles in the trash, as I envision a massive garbage heap bloated with items rejected by Mother Nature. People have declared with disdain that it costs more to recycle wine bottles than to dispose of them, but generating an avoidable giant... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday April 8, 2009 04:00 am EDT
This wine was formerly labeled Vinetta and they transitioned to Meritage for the '06. Although I've largely ignored Mondavi in years past since the quality wavered, I came across this softie in a blind tasting and was impressed. It's a low tannin cabernet sauvignon blend oozing blackberry, black cherry, sweet vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and earthy tobacco. Complex enough to please the snobs... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday April 8, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Although many foodies deny it, we all eat at chains, occasionally ... in dark times ... perhaps forced when the in-laws visit. I confess an occasional hankering for the divine Saucy Shrimp at Bonefish Grill or the crack-laced lettuce wraps at PF Chang's. I need a drink to drown my guilty pleasures, but one thing lacking at most chains is a palatable wine selection. Most bulk-buying chains craft... | more...

Corkscrew

Thursday March 26, 2009 04:00 pm EDT
Stocking up for nearly every occasion | more...

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Wednesday March 25, 2009 04:19 pm EDT
Also labeled Fume Blanc, it denotes the same grape. More elegant and supple than many of its brethren, this sauvignon blanc refreshingly lacks the grassy, saliva-producing tartness of others. I could drink this smooth, melon and soft citrus sipper all day long. And have. Mouth-filling gulps of kiwi fruit, lime and nectarine flow into a long-lasting, mellow finish. Good value. Sw=1. $14. 4 Ω... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday March 25, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Lately, and I have no idea why, all things Italian intrigue me. It’s a passionate country with rich history and a population who adores food. What’s not to like? But their complicated — and archaic — wine laws confound me. Grape varieties number in the thousands. Wine can be labeled by region or grape variety, making it confusing for the uninitiated. Tuscany in particular deserves some love,... | more...

Corkscrew

Tuesday March 17, 2009 04:00 am EDT
The founder of this stalwart, family-operated winery, Louis M. Martini, weathered Prohibition in the 1930's by producing sacramental wine and selling "home winemaking kits." In 2002, facing tons of crushing, well-funded competition in Napa cab land, the family sold to Gallo Family Vineyards. Now with access to more fruit and resources, they've crafted this gorgeous, well-balanced cabernet with... | more...

Corkscrew

Tuesday March 17, 2009 04:00 am EDT
Gina Gallo talks about the success of her family's business | more...

Corkscrew

Tuesday March 10, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Navigating the wine world's vernacular can be tricky. Here's a glossary to help you survive among the latest linguistic landmines.

Malolactic Fermentation. Even Microsoft Word swiggly-lines "malolactic," a scientific word previously confined to a winemaker's lab. Malolactic fermentation, or "Em El" (get it, M-L?) in wine circles, got released to the wild when Americans fell in love with...

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Corkscrew

Tuesday March 10, 2009 04:00 am EDT

Sauvignon blanc is a bit of a chameleon. In a cool region, it's green and grapefruity, but grow it in a warmer climate and blend in a bit of softer, creamy sauvignon musque and you get this wine. Soft, elegant and honeyed, with a green herby follow up. Lovely and lively with a tart finish. Sw=2. $22. 4 stars.

This wine is featured in this week's Corkscrew column - Traversing Wine Geekdom.

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Corkscrew

Wednesday March 4, 2009 04:00 am EST
Bouchaine is the oldest continually operated winery in the Carneros region, an AVA spanning both southern Napa and Sonoma Counties. They make dense, rich pinots and chardonnays. This pinot is bold and assertive. Loaded with sweet black cherry, blackberry jam, fragrant violets and velvety tannins. A smidge of black pepper on the finish. Good price for a wine of this quality but mostly sold at... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday February 25, 2009 12:04 am EST
Supply and demand is a beautiful thing. Guarding the secret of a juicy wine discovery allows you to skip to the store and snatch it up for practically nothing. It worked this way pre-Sideways, when you could practically steal domestic pinot noir. But then people, mesmerized by the movie's romance, flocked to the wine and moved it promptly to the overpriced shelf. But, shhhh — like an... | more...

Corkscrew

Wednesday February 25, 2009 12:04 am EST
The Cigales region is better known for its rosÈ wines, also made primarily from tempranillo, but the climate and soil are apparently perfectly suited for robust reds like this one. Made from old, gnarly vines, its aromas of sweet, smoky cherry follow on to the tongue that adds in toasted vanilla, subtle tobacco, soft couch leather, mild tannins and, oddly enough, ripe strawberries. S, T . $18.... | more...