Recent Articles

Time to stop beating up on domestic chardonnay

Time to stop beating up on domestic chardonnay

Overheard at least 5x yesterday at the tasting tables of the Pebble Beach Food & Wine show: “I CAN’T STAND American chardonnays, because they are too…oaky, syrupy, monodimensional, unbalanced, (enter adjective here)…”  Also heard at least 5x by servers of chardonnay(with insecure, apologetic tone):  “Our wine is more BURGUNDIAN in style , unlike those other [...]

Why is it so hard to find an awesome $10 bottle?

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Pick a random $100 wine at Costco and you are likely to get a very memorable bottle. But if you walk further down the aisle and pick a random bottle in the $10 range, I’ll estimate your chances of finding an outstanding wine to be about 1 in 50. (And Costco is great, BTW. Your [...]

NYC perfects the recession-era wine list

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I was in New York last week.  You can definitely feel the recession’s pinch on Manhattan’s food scene. But as usual, restaurateurs are rising above the challenge. Their latest invention: the perfect recession-era wine list, featuring a wealth of carefully chosen value wines from around the world. The key words here are carefully chosen.  It’s one [...]

Wine medal competition study reveals…randomness!

My first bout with Lafite can only be seen as wasted opportunity!

I’m pretty transparent about my pet peeves about the wine industry, and near the top of that list is wine medal competitions.  It’s because, with few exceptions, I haven’t been able to correlate  gold-silver-bronze with my personal experience.  And because, I see many people rely too heavily on such medals. But recently, I’ve felt vindicated.  [...]

Winery clubs are for suckers

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Winery clubs are a brilliant marketing invention.  They are a way to seize the buzzed moment in their tasting room to forge a deeper relationship with the customer, and sell a lot more wine at a much higher profit margin than they can through distributors. To this, I hope you would say:  “Great for the wineries, [...]

Buy wine online? Yes, but stick with what you know

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Online wine shopping is better than it’s ever been, but still has a lot of room to grow.  To echo previous posts, I believe your most important wine merchant is the shop your hometown — which is where you should do 80% of your buying. But online buying should always be in your mix, even [...]

Residual Sugar Roulette

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Regardless of the law, I think it’s crazy for U.S. and international producers not list residual sugar levels voluntarily. By not doing so, new customers are playing “Residual Sugar Roulette,” a game in which the producers and marketers will certainly lose.

Hello, Central Otago (New Zealand)

Bordeaux Map.

Did you know that the word’s been out on Central Otago wines of New Zealand for at least a few years?  I didn’t. So when my wife and I made our honeymoon trip to New Zealand, we planned a day of wine tasting with hopes of discovering other varietals and lesser known regions.  And that [...]

A New Spin on Wine Awards

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Wine competitions have been around for ages, and until recently, not much has changed in the methodology behind how wines are assessed and evaluated. If you’ve ever looked at the results of one of these famous wine awards you will notice that the winners tend to be the big, bold, super-intense wines. And if you [...]

Inaugral blog post: My ’82 Lafite Massacre

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The most prestigious bottle I have ever tasted was my first: a 1982 Chateau  Lafite Rothschild, which I expertly poured out evenly across five dirty margarita glasses and slugged back in two gulps with four of my wine-ignorant friends. We ‘pounded’ it, as 21-year-olds said back in the day. I soon realized that the ’82 [...]