Category Archives: wine

Evolution of a wine lover

I heard it again today. Someone told me they are into white wines and have not graduated to reds yet. What is with this weird, but true process many wine aficionados go through?

Why do whites appeal to the uninitiated so much? I have been asking around and the answers are as varied as the opinions on our national debt crisis. Some like sweeter wines (Riesling, white zin, dessert wines), some like cold wines, and many are just not ready for tannin. I feel bad for some of these folks. Many are missing almost the entire wine experience. In fact, as you chill a wine all of the flavor profiles close up. This works great for flawed or inferior wines like white zinfandel. I just do not get why people would want to drink this way. Is it purely for the buzz? If so, have a margarita!
Be sure to grab a spare cap and gown the next time you hear someone tell you they have yet to graduate to reds. There is nothing wrong with white wines. Just don’t drink them because you are afraid of reds.


You don’t have to be rich…

Americans are drinking more wine than ever before. In fact, we have passed country after country in wine consumption as scores of gen Xers and now gen Y’s start to sniff, swirl, and taste.

I think this is just great!

Today, more than ever, consumers crave a story. They want to go beyond pure consumption and even conspicuous consumption. People want to be engaged with the brands they align with.

Wine has been a direct beneficiary of this phenominum. Think about all the back labels you have read. Some stories are trite (think kangaroos, penguins, etc.). Others are more meaningful. Each story helps us go beyond the wine as we step into the vines, touch the dirt, and smell the air.

Finally, wines are more affordable than ever! Check that, QUALITY WINES are more affordable than ever. We have our choice of country, varietal, etc. You don’t have to be wealthy to be into wine. In fact, it is an inexpensive vacation for many of us.


More new packaging concepts for wine

Just got my first peek at a new, ummm bottling, of Cliff Family Winery “climber pouch” wines. The wines are not at all in a bottle. Instead they are packaged in a resealable, enviro friendly pouch. Each pouch looks to equal 2 bottles.
I have not tried this wine yet, but I will. In fact, for my every day wines I have no problem with boxes, bags, or pouches unless they are in a material that has toxicity (think BPA). That’s my main concern with wine that is not sold in glass. Sure they tell us it is safe, but that’s what they said about canned goods until BPA came on the scene.
Anyway, I’m OK with drinking some wine from these innovative packages for right now. They are good for the planet, easy on the wallet, and stay fresh longer once opened.
What do you think???


Chill Out!

That is what I sometimes say to people who switch from reds to whites as soon as the thermometer goes over 80 degrees outside.

It is OK to give your reds a light chill before serving.  This goes double for red wines that may have slight flaws because colder serving temps can hide some imperfections.

I like to stick my reds in the fridge for a bit prior to serving and then pour them a few degrees below the temp I want to enjoy them at.  It is OK if you go a tad too cold because the wine will warm up in the glass fairly fast.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.



Do the French know best?

Fruity with a hint of…Palmolive?

It’s been a while since my last post and I was inspired to post this because I noticed a soapy residue flavor during a recent tasting I attended at a local wine retailer.  The experience reminded me of the all too common mistake many people make by washing their wine glasses with detergents.

I prefer really hot H2O and a special crystal stemware cleaning device I got from Wine Enthusiast.  For really stubborn stains like lipstick you can use the steam off the spout of a tea-pot, just be careful not to burn yourself!



Risky Business…

What is more risky, buying an expensive wine from a well know, high-end label or buying a few inexpensive wines ($7-$15 range) from lesser known or larger quantity producers?

I recently found myself wondering this after a disappointment while tasting a $35 bottle of California red from a very well know and usually very good producer.  Sure this could have been an off bottle, but I did not detect any of the common characteristics of a corked or poorly stored/transported wine.  I think my experience was simply an example of a so-so wine being marketed at a high price because of name recognition.

Sure this is risky for the producer because their very name and reputation is at stake with each bottle.  Perhaps they are still willing to chance it in hopes consumers will convince themselves that the wine is good?

What about less expensive wines?  I love to scan the shelves for unfamiliar label or varietals in hopes of finding my next “house wine“.  For me this is exciting.  Almost like traveling to distant wine regions without leaving crummy NJ!

Of course, most of the time these wines will not transport your taste buds to that magical place that a Petrus or Quintessa will take you.  However, most of us can’t buy those wines anyway!

More times than not I am pleasantly surprised with what I find.  Years ago this was not the case.  Cheap wine usually meant bad wine.  In today’s market we are blessed with a highly competitive market with wines from many regions around the globe.  We also have new technologies like packaging (boxed wine & lighter bottles) that shave the costs even more.

So, what is more risky?  Do you personally go with one big named, high-priced “trophy” wine in hopes of experiencing flavorful bliss?  Perhaps you like to spread the risk across a broad selection of less expensive wines?  Tell me, I want to know!