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Natural Wine

Nature is a thing of beauty, as is wine. When the natural approach to making wine is enlisted, a rather unique and expressive version of fermented grape juice is the result. While it is currently on an upward trend among buyers and consumers alike, this style of wine making is not new, and it can even be traced back to the eighth century BC. Natural wines are, in short, a result of minimal intervention from the winemaker, and they are quite unlike other wines on the market. Moreover, in drinking these wines one may even feel as if the juice [...]

By | 2019-09-12T21:33:19+00:00 September 12th, 2019|

Tuna and Peach Poke

Simplify pairing wine with food by attending less to the texture, flavor, or weight of each and more to elements such as salt, sweet, acid, and fat. For instance, foods with salt (as the tamari soy sauce here) really appreciate wine that is high in acidity. Acidity enlivens, cleanses and balances. Poke is pronounced "poh-kay," rhymes with "okay," and means "chunk" in Hawaiian. Its recipe always carries salt and always benefits from wines high in acidity.  HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:• 3/4 pound #1 ahi tuna, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (on special at Marczyk Fine Foods this week for $27.99/lb (reg $29.99/lb))• 2 Ela Family [...]

By | 2019-08-28T16:23:30+00:00 August 28th, 2019|

Sweet-savory Scallops and Camembert

A spoonful of sugar makes more than the medicine go down; it makes everything taste better. But sweetness can be a bugaboo to tasty wine pairings. When a dish is sweet — as here with the peach chutney or the milk of the cheese — but the wine is dry, in the way most wines are, then it's the wine that will taste like medicine. The best partners to sweetness in a food are a bit of sweetness in the wine or a marked fruitiness (as is the case with all three wines this week) wrapped tightly with acidity. Because [...]

By | 2019-08-24T18:19:12+00:00 August 24th, 2019|

Lambrusco

Tis’ the season for pink bubbles. With so many options regarding style, format and price point, there is plenty of reason to branch out and dive into Lambrusco.  The word Lambrusco may conjure thoughts of sweet, cloying, syrupy wine that is dense and one-dimensional. On the contrary, Lambrusco can be made into rather elegant wine that both treads lightly and delivers depth. While these wines do possess a fizz, their bubbles are not quite as alive and animated as those found in Champagne, Cava or even most Proseccos. Specifically, Lambrusco is the type of grape, which encompasses over 60 different [...]

By | 2019-07-31T21:20:10+00:00 July 31st, 2019|

Beaujolais

The word Beaujolais can evoke a whole range of thoughts and associations: Thanksgiving, Nouveau, Gamay. The latter is the only grape used in this esteemed wine-making region of France, while the former is widely regarded as the season to consume said wine. Caught in between is a word that might make devout wine drinkers cringe, especially those who prefer the finesse of old-world, terroir driven wines, but there is an occasion for everything. Beaujolais is a small (we’re talking less than 40 miles long and less than 10 wide) area that is due south of the famous Burgundy region, and [...]

By | 2019-05-14T19:32:42+00:00 May 14th, 2019|

Italian Wine Labels by the Alphabet

DOC and DOCG Italy’s law of Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) regulates the production and labeling of a significant share of Italian wine. The law intends to give purchasers of a DOC wine a reasonable expectation that a wine labeled as, say, Barbera d’Alba will be both a Barbera d’Alba in fact and in style. That is, it will look, smell, taste, feel and age like a Barbera d’Alba—because it is. The words Denominazione di Origine Controllata roughly translate as “the name [of a wine] is governed [or set] by its place of origin.” The underlying idea of DOC is [...]

By | 2019-05-14T14:41:39+00:00 May 14th, 2019|

Margaux

Margaux has the distinction, among the Médoc’s six winemaking communes, of being both the largest in area and diverse in style. It alone sports estates at all five levels of the 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines. Too, the soil is the poorest of the Médoc; the amount of gravel, the highest; the climate, the warmest; and the yield per acre, the lowest. The 4th century Latin poet, Ausonius, while in residence across the Gironde from this area, wrote of the Gallo-Roman thermal baths here, the termes mauojaliques, also known as “Marojallia.” Hence, over time, the name “Margaux.” While unquestionably a [...]

By | 2019-05-14T14:41:30+00:00 May 14th, 2019|

Pinot Noir

La bête noire As a wine grape, Pinot Noir is the bête noire of its family, Les Pinots—Blanc, Meunier, Gris and Noir. Pinot Blanc makes respectable wines from Alsace and Northern Italy; Pinot Gris, from the same places. Pinot Meunier is a mainstay in Champagne. But while Pinot Noir grows more widely, it does so much more unsteadily. In a sense, it is the Mae West of the famille Pinot. When it's good, it's very, very good. But when it's bad, it's as bad as bad gets. Pinot Noir mutates capriciously (over 230 strains exist, some polar opposites). It benefits [...]

By | 2019-02-04T17:45:09+00:00 February 4th, 2019|

Wine & Cheese Pairings (Mad about ewe – and cow and nanny, too)

Perhaps the ultimate match of food with beverage is wine and cheese. They’re nearly twins. Both date to ancient times. Both are fermented. Both are governed, all over the world, by appellation and quality standards. And, most important, each reflects the place where it is born, its terroir. One translates its terroir via a vine. The udder, by an udder. Matching cheese with wine is the same as matching any food with wine. Matches work – or don’t – because of what’s in the wine and in the cheese, things such as acidity or fat. Region Many people follow the [...]

By | 2019-02-04T17:41:47+00:00 February 4th, 2019|

Riesling

Every wine professional, always and everywhere, adores Riesling. (It is possible to make such a claim because it is true.) So why doesn’t everyone else? In fact, so why do so few others? The World’s Greatest White Wine Winemakers, wine writers, cooks high and low, serious amateurs—people in the know about what makes a grape great—cannot slurp enough of Riesling’s purity of delivery, its juicy flavors or super-taut acidity, the latter quality its best feature at table. Dry, sweet, German, Australian, Austrian, it does not matter—many call Riesling the world’s greatest white wine. But certainly not the world’s most popular—that [...]

By | 2019-01-27T00:06:00+00:00 January 27th, 2019|