Snooth - Articles http://www.snooth.com/articles/?of=rss Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Fri, 12 Feb 2016 18:12:03 -0500 Fri, 12 Feb 2016 18:12:03 -0500 http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification Snooth webmaster@snooth.com Last Minute Sparkling Wine for Your Valentine’s Day Sweetie http://www.snooth.com/articles/last-minute-sparkling-wine-for-your-valentine-ys-day-sweetie/?viewall=1 Gabe Sasso <p>My quest to uncover wine categories that aren&rsquo;t getting as much love as they deserve continues, and just in time for Valentine&rsquo;s Day. As luck would have it many of the same groups of wine that don&rsquo;t get enough attention also represent terrific values for wine lovers. Too many wines, too little time is one reason that some of these categories are undervalued. Most of us being stuck in a rut or married to old ideas when it comes to some wines is another. In the case of sparkling wine, we as Americans are stuck in a couple of ruts in fact. It&rsquo;s time to break out of them and break open some Cava!<br /> Just about everyone loves sparkling wine of one type or another. Additionally, most great wine making regions produce at least one style of sparkling wine. None is more famous, decorated with awards, and ultimately expensive as Champagne. Of course not every bottle of Champagne has a prohibitive cost, but many do. Other regions of the world that make sparkling wine often do so from either the classic Champagne varieties or indigenous grapes that tend to flourish locally. Prices, styles and quality vary throughout. In the D.O. Cava there are several exciting things happening. There are producers working with both local grapes as well as international wines to craft Cava. The styles, intent and price-points vary but the quality to price ratio is very good, often shockingly in fact. So why is that? There are a myriad of reasons, but one of them is that the average American consumer is simply unfamiliar with Cava. They&rsquo;ve designated Champagne for celebrations, California sparkling wines for brunch and Prosecco for sipping on their porch. They could be drinking Cava in any and all of those situations.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whenever I drink Cava I&rsquo;m stunned by the quality in the glass for the price on the bottle. So with that in mind I wanted to round up some examples of Cava that I believe should be on all of our short lists for any situation that is suited for sparkling wine. And let&rsquo;s face it: what instance isn&rsquo;t improved with bubbly of one type or another in your glass? I tasted just over two dozen Cava&rsquo;s and came up with five that stand above the others to me. I picked them because they&rsquo;re delicious and well made first and foremost; but also because I think they represent particularly good values. There&rsquo;s no wrong time to drink Cava. These are food friendly wines, so pair them with your favorite meals. And sure, celebrate with them too. But really, let the bottle be the reason for the celebration.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/anna-de-codorniu-rose-brut-sparkling-wine-cava-nv/"><strong>Anna de Codorn&iacute;u Brut Ros&eacute; NV</strong></a> ($14.99)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This Cava is a blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay (30%). Grapes were fermented separately then blended and put in bottle with the dosage. The wine underwent secondary fermentation in the bottle. Fresh wild strawberry and cherry aromas fill the nose. Red fruits continue through, and dominate the palate. The finish is crisp and clean with hints of watermelon and sour cherry joined by a bit of white pepper. This is an extremely delicious wine that has gentle bits of sweetness interspersed in it. For the price it&rsquo;s an entry level steal. It&rsquo;ll pair well with all sort of light appetizers. I actually tried it with a pizza margherita and it worked remarkably well.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/tarantas-d-o-cava-nv/"><strong>Tarantas D.O. Cava</strong></a> ($15)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Parellada are pulled together to create this Cava. It&rsquo;s made in the classic method and spends more than 9 months sur lies. 100,000 bottles of this organic wine were produced. The nose is remarkably fresh with lemon zest, apple orchard aromas, and a wisp of sage. The palate shows of continued fresh fruit with orange peel, flaky biscuit and a host of spices. Marzipan, cr&egrave;me fraiche and continued citrus elements are all in play on the above average finish. It&rsquo;s completely different than the prior wine in style, and taste, but equally delicious, and another killer value. Taste these first two side by side to get an inexpensive window into the diversity of Cava.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/vallformosa-origen-cava-brut-nv/"><strong>Vallformosa Origen Brut NV</strong></a> ($19.99)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All of the fruit was sourced in the Cava D.O. of Penedes Spain. This Cava blends together Xarel-lo (40%), Macabeo (30%), and Parallada (30%). Primary fermentation took place in stainless steel followed by secondary fermentation in bottle using the traditional method. Aging took place over a year. 150,000 6 bottle cases of this Cava were produced. Apple and toasted almond aromas are in heavy evidence on the nose of this Cava. The palate shows off more orchard fruit such as granny smith apple, hints of lemon ice and sufficient acidity to think keeps nice and zippy. The seductively long finish features continued fruit flavors and a gentle kiss of cr&egrave;me fraiche. This is a refreshing wine that is delicious on its own and with a particularly wine range of food. I paired it with &ldquo;40 Garlic Cloves Chicken&rdquo; and roasted potatoes, a classic match.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/gran-codorniu-gran-reserva-chardonnay-nv/"><strong>Gran Codorn&iacute;u Gran Reserva Chardonnay NV</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All of the fruit was sourced in the Cava D.O. of Penedes Spain. This wine is entirely Chardonnay. This wine is made using the traditional method. A bevy of orchard fruit aromas are joined by lemon zest and orange peel on the bright and welcoming nose. The palate is refined, gentle and complex. Bits of toast are in play alongside tons of fruit such as apple and apricot to name a couple. Flaky biscuit and spices such as white pepper and clove are part of the lengthy finish. Don&rsquo;t over-chill this gorgeous Cava. As it gets a few degrees warmer than the average whit is served its depth of flavors really pop out. Pair this with anything but extremely big foods for the best matches.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/vallformosa-cava-brut-pinot-noir-col-leccio-2011/"><strong>Vallformosa Col.leccio Pinot Noir Brut </strong></a>($34.99)<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This Cava is made up entirely of Pinot Noir. The vineyards oldest vineyards are the source for this wine. It&rsquo;s produced using the traditional method and spends roughly 15 months sur-lies. 52,000 6 bottle cases were produced. The light salmon hue is striking when you pour it. Red fruits aromas such as cherry and raspberry are present alongside subtle bits of toasted hazelnut. The palate here has a gentle, almost deceptive complexity to it. Soft red fruits rule the day alongside a hint of vanilla bean. The finish is notably long and persistent. This will pair well with lighter foods, but it&rsquo;s also simply impossible to put down, all by itself. It would be an excellent choice for a special meal.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I strongly recommend each and every one of the wines above. Taken as a piece these wines offer a small peak into the stunning values that are available from Cava. Whether you need a welcome wine for your next party, something interesting to pair with dinner tonight or you want to toast a special occasion, consider Cava, your wallet will retain some weight and your taste buds will be pleased.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6765 Undervalued Wine Categories: Late Bottled Vintage Port http://www.snooth.com/articles/undervalued-wine-categories-late-bottled-vintage-port/?viewall=1 Gabe Sasso <p>Port is a category of wine that conjures up different images depending on your experience or taste. The styles and methodologies used to produce, and in particular, age Port are also pretty wide ranging. There are two kinds of Port that are more commonly known and leap to the forefront of people&rsquo;s brains more often than others. One is Tawny Port which is often aged for many years, undergoes gradual oxidation and generally uses an average age statement rather than a specific vintage year. So if a Port bottle says &ldquo;20 year Tawny&rdquo; it means that some of the wine used to make the blend was more than 20 years and some under, but the average is at minimum 20 years. With this style the Port House in question is aiming for a flavor profile.&nbsp;<br /> The Sandeman 20 year Tawny as an example will taste roughly the same if you buy a bottle now or have one from a previous batch. The other, most famous, style of Port is Vintage Port. This is produced from wine from a single vintage. In great years a Port House will determine if they have a great vintage about 16 months after harvest. Once determined they will submit it to the governing body to get approval as a vintage Port. It&rsquo;s then bottled and released approximately 2 years after harvest. But that&rsquo;s just the beginning of the journey for great Vintage Port. These wines tend to excel when aged for decades at a time, not just a few years. So patience is required to achieve the maximum experience. Additionally Vintage Port from even a current release can run the gamut from as &ldquo;low&rdquo; as $50 to well over $100, particularly if it&rsquo;s scored well upon release. But how can we have rewarding experience similar to Vintage Port without waiting thirty years or spending a ton of cash? Read on to find out.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Late Bottle Vintage Port (LBV) may well be the least known style of Port to most consumers. These wines are aged much longer than Vintage Port (4 to 6 years on average in cask) and are ready to drink upon release. The prices are also much lower, often between $20 and $30. These are rich wines, loaded with fruit. They&rsquo;re often big and ripe but not over the top. In short they offer a ton of hedonistic drinking pleasure for a really low premium. And like Vintage Port you get to experience variation from one vintage year to the next. Late Bottle Vintage Port is what you should be drinking while you wait for your Vintage Ports to reach peak maturity. They&rsquo;re the style of Port that gets consumed most around my house. I just tasted through about a dozen examples and here are some thoughts on my four favorites from that batch.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/taylor-fladgate-late-bottled-vintage-port-2009/"><strong>Taylor Fladgate 2009 Late Bottle Vintage Port</strong></a> ($21)</div><br /> <div><br /> While tons of producers now offer a Late Bottled Vintage Port, only Taylor Fladgate can lay claim to being the first house to market with one. This offering opens with deep, dark fruit aromas such as black plum and cherry. Hints of vanilla are evident as well. Blackberry and plum pudding spices drive the deeply layered palate. Chocolate covered black cherries and persistent spices are evident on the long, luscious and lusty finish. At just around $20 a bottle this makes a terrific accompaniment to dessert, or it can be dessert all by itself.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/fonseca-late-bottled-vintage-port-2009-1/"><strong>Fonseca 2009 Late Bottled Vintage Port</strong></a> ($23)</div><br /> <div><br /> This offering from Fonseca is one that I see on shelves just about as much, if not more than any other in the category, so I end up reaching for it with some regularity. The nose is studded with an avalanche of fresh, ripe, black fruit aromas. Blackberry, cherry and more are in evidence. More than a dollop of sweet chocolate is apparent on the rich palate which also continues the parade of dark-leaning fruit flavors. Spices galore, black plum and cassis are all in play on the long, robust finish. It&rsquo;ll work equally well paired with strong cheeses as it would bitter, dark chocolate.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/churchills-port-late-bottled-vintage-2005-1/"><strong>Churchill&rsquo;s 2005 Late Bottled Vintage Port</strong></a> ($29)</div><br /> <div><br /> Red and black cherry aromas are evident on the nose along with a wisp of cinnamon spice. The sweet, red-fruit-leaning palate has a certain lightness to it which is quite pleasing. Red plum, raspberry and cherry flavors are all evident along with bits of chocolate sauce. The above average finish is loaded with continued sweet red fruits, cocoa and hints of fruitcake spice. This example of LBV Port is distinct for its relatively nimble mouth-feel and the fact that it leans more heavily than most towards red fruit flavors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/sandeman-port-blend-porto-late-bottled-vintage-2000-1/"><strong>Sandeman 2000 Late Bottled Vintage Port </strong></a>($30)</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;m a rabid fan of the Sandeman portfolio in general. Whether it&rsquo;s their Vintage, Tawny&rsquo;s or other styles of Port I find that their House provides good value across the range. This LBV is certainly no exception. From the word go, dark fruits tell the story of this powerful but well proportioned wine. Mission fig, dates, blackberry and more light up the boisterous and welcoming nose. Black cherry, raspberry and a host of spices are evident throughout the deeply layered palate. Kirsch liqueur, black plums and continuing black fig flavors are all evident on the long, heady and spice-laden finish. Like the rest of the Sandeman portfolio, this is well worth your money and time.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Once you&rsquo;ve opened a bottle of LBV Port it&rsquo;s probably going to be gone fairly quickly since the deliciousness factor is pretty high. Nevertheless if you don&rsquo;t plan on finishing that day don&rsquo;t worry; most selections will still be tasty up to a month after you pop the cork. Good luck getting anywhere close to a month though once you taste these.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6763 Winemaking on the Edge: Ningxia 2015 http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-scoop-on-rockstar-winemaking-in-china/?viewall=1 Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>When I first saw the announcement that China was calling for international winemakers to come to Ningxia back in 2012 I was intrigued. However, being 7 months pregnant at the time and about to begin a job transition, it didn&rsquo;t seem like the timing was on my side. This year, when I saw that Ningxia was once again asking for international winemakers, I jumped at the chance and was so excited to be selected. This past September, I joined 48 fellow winemakers from 18 different countries, in Yinchuan, Ningxia Provence, China. I was paired with a beautiful new winery called Lansai. It was still under construction while I was there but should be finished by the time I return in February. My hosts are very friendly and we get along quite well. It was a simple life at the winery, which is hard work but relaxing at the same time. I felt the sense of calm that I have always found when working in the vineyard. It was physically demanding but mentally relaxing. There was limited cell phone coverage and with all of my family and friends being twelve hours behind me anyway, there was little onus to pick up my phone, which is usually in my pocket if not my hand from rising to going to sleep when I am at home. There, my biggest concern was my wine. &nbsp;<br /> I was able to focus 100% of my time to making the best wine possible and was encouraged to spare no effort or cost on making it. These normally split second decisions in the fast paced work I usually lead, became a type of contemplation, with a calculated weighing of options and leisurely choice to be made. There is a sense of community at Lansai that stems from many of the workers and the owners living here at the property. Most of the people are family or good friends of my hosts and are going about general daily chores and then all come together when something needs to be done at the winery. My 15 Tonnes of Cabernet Sauvignon took 18 hours to sort. It was the most enthusiastic crew that I had ever worked with. Everyone was all smiles and excited to be a part of the making of it. We ended up sorting out a full 1.5 tonnes that did not make the strict quality standards that I put in place and which were controlled by the owner&rsquo;s wife with the discipline that would make a military general proud. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> The Cellar crew (pictured left) were rapid learners and although I spoke no Chinese and they spoke no English we managed to communicate extremely well via sign language and pantomimes. I did have an interpreter the entire time however there were often times in the cellar when it was easier to speak directly to the crew to explain what I wanted to happen. Mr. Wu, (second from right in white shirt) the winemaker, was excited to work with me and listened attentively to everything from the proper way to rehydrate yeast to controlling films on the top of tanks to pump overs. There is definitely a thirst for winemaking knowledge in Ningxia which I feel was the main driving reason behind the Ningxia Challenge. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The vineyards around the winery of Lansai are very well tended and look like one would expect a high end winery vineyard to look like. The vineyard where we got our fruit was not as pretty but from what I can see so far, produces sound fruit after much sorting. The color seems good, the body is on the lighter side but that may be a product of my picking date less than the inherent qualities of the region. I was pleasantly surprised to find all my preferred yeasts and barrels represented in the region which made winemaking easier. The two things that seemed to be lacking were DAP (Diammonium phosphate) and knowledge of Copper Sulfate treatments, which I did need after a tank got particularly warm when the chilling was accidentally turned to heating while trying to heat a near-by tank. Luckily a nearby winery had some in their lab and I was able to turn the wine back around.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I am so excited about the quality of my wine lot. It is much better than I anticipated given what I had tasted before from the area. I am looking forward to going back and seeing how the wine looks after some time aging in barrel. I can&rsquo;t wait to visit with my Chinese family again and continue my Chinese language education, having picked up some basic phrases the last time I was there. I have high hopes about what the judges will see in 2017 from all of the winemakers. Overall it has been an amazing experience and it has only just begun!</div><br /> </p> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6757 The 2011 Brunello Vintage Speaks http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-2011-brunello-vintage-speaks/?viewall=1 Snooth Editorial <p>Per the treasured tradition, the latest Brunello vintage was premiered at the annual Benvenuto Brunello tasting event in New York City this past week. Event attendees comprise a veritable who&rsquo;s-who in the wine world, and it&rsquo;s easy to understand why: The quality and poise of Brunello continues to grow year after year. Brunello is one of the wine world&rsquo;s most hallowed delights, and all of the savviest palates were present to get the scoop on the latest vintage, the 2011.<br /> The 2011 Brunello vintage is doing a stellar job of carving out its name regardless of what has been called the &ldquo;once-in-a-lifetime&rdquo; 2010 vintage in its shadow. Look for the 2011 to present softer, fruitier, more feminine qualities. While the 2010 is touted as an otherworldly vintage due to the uniquely perfect weather and vineyard conditions, this does not mean you should disregard the 2011 vintage. The care and esteem that go into producing both Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino always create superior quality, regardless of variations in weather patterns year-over-year. In sum: There is no such thing as a &ldquo;bad&rdquo; Brunello vintage. For those palates that prefer gentler, perkier, fruiter wines, the 2011 Brunello vintage is perfect for you. And in fact, the hype surrounding the 2010 vintage may ultimately create comparative value in the 2011 bottles. Here are a few producers who poured at the release event. Keep an eye out for their 2011 selections.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/store/la-manella/"><strong>La Manella</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/store/buon-tempo/"><strong>Buon Tempo</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/fattoria-pinino/"><strong>Pinino</strong></a><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/carpineto-greve-in-chianti/"><strong>Carpineto</strong></a><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/castello-di-camigliano/"><strong>Camigliano</strong></a> <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/belpoggio/"><strong>Belpoggio</strong></a><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/bodega-banfi-montalcino/"><strong>Banfi</strong></a> <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/innocenti/"><strong>Innocenti</strong></a> <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/tenuta-il-poggione/"><strong>Il Poggione</strong></a> <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/store/loacker-corte-pavone/"><strong>Loacker Corte Pavone</strong></a> <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6756 Making Sense of French Letters & Numbers http://www.snooth.com/articles/making-sense-of-french-letters-and-numbers/?viewall=1 John Downes <p>I was recently challenged to find a wine that would match a delicate dessert and continue to drink well into those lazy, mellow moments that follow every memorable meal. There were several contenders but I went for Demi-Sec Champagne. Controversial I know but most Houses produce Demi-Sec including Moet et Chandon, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot, Lanson and Laurent-Perrier so it wasn&rsquo;t so difficult to find. As he popped open the Demi-Sec bubbles my host asked, &ldquo;How do you tell how sweet or dry a Champagne is?&rdquo; Good question! The answer is on the label. Read on to learn all the ins and outs of French letters and numbers so you&rsquo;ll be in the know in time for your next big celebration!<br /> Look out for the important names upfront; Brut Nature, Ultra Brut, Zero Dosage, Extra Brut, Brut, Sec, Demi-Sec or Doux. The &lsquo;new kids on the block&rsquo;, &lsquo;Brut Nature&rsquo;, &lsquo;Ultra Brut&rsquo; or &lsquo;Zero Dosage&rsquo; are gaining fans year on year, me included&hellip;.I luv&rsquo;em. As you can guess these wines have very little, or no sugar; between 0-2 grams per litre of Champagne (g/l) to be exact. The next style, &lsquo;Extra Brut&rsquo; which must be below 6 g/l. &lsquo;Brut&rsquo; means &lsquo;dry&rsquo; even though you can have up to 12 grams of sugar per litre in a Champagne that announces the single word &lsquo;Brut&rsquo; on the label. That said, it used to be 15 g/l. (although a tolerance of &nbsp;3 g/l. is allowed) reflecting the trend to reduce Champagne sugar levels across the board; Louis Roederer for example have reduced the &lsquo;dosage&rsquo; of all their Champagnes, including Top Johnny Cristal by about 3 g/l. over recent years. Non Vintage Champagne, which accounts for about 95 percent of all Champagne sales usually clocks in between 8-12 g/l. and is therefore labelled &lsquo;Brut&rsquo;. The sweeter wines beyond &lsquo;Extra Brut&rsquo; are &lsquo;Sec&rsquo; (17-32 g/l.), Demi-Sec (32-50 g/l.) and finally Doux, the sweetest, weighing in at a teeth-rattling 50 plus grams per litre of sugar. Balance is key to all wines but it&rsquo;s critical for sweeties, including Champers, where bags of sugar need lots of acidity. Champagne&rsquo;s hallmark crisp, mouthwatering acidity, borne of its chilly northerly vineyards, balances these sweet styles beautifully. &nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Once you start to look more closely at a Champagne label you can discover a whole lot more. The Appellation of Origin must be clearly stated, showing that the grapes and the wine have come from the designated Champagne area whose vineyards comprise the Montagne de Reims, Vallee de la Marne, the Cotes des Blancs and the lesser known Aube. Don&rsquo;t forget, Champagne can only come from the Champagne region in north-east France.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Champagne label must also show the Brand or House, the town in which the wine was made as well as the country of origin, France. You&rsquo;ll spot the alcohol content which is normally between 11 and 13% by volume in the bottom corner. The volume of wine in the bottle and the name of the winemaker must also be plain to see.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> If you study the bottle even closer you&rsquo;ll spot a registration number as every producer is given an official number by the C.I.V.C., (Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne), the powerful governing body of Champagne.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The producer and their unique number are linked to a couple of very confusing but useful initials. They give a whole new meaning to &lsquo;French Letters&rsquo;. Check out the following capitals. NM (Negociant-Manipulant); for manipulant read &lsquo;maker&rsquo; so it means &lsquo;negociant-maker&rsquo;. These are the big winemaking houses who buy (negociant) grapes in volume from independent growers to make their wine.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> RM (Recoltant-Manipulant) means a Champagne maker (manipulant) that grows (recoltant) their own grapes to make their Champagne. RC (Recoltant-Cooperative) is similar to &lsquo;RM&rsquo; but they make and sell their Champagne with the help of a cooperative. CM (Cooperative-Manipulant) as the name suggests this is a cooperative of growers who make and sell their product together. The Champagne Boys may try and confuse us but with label know-how and your Sherlock Holmes hat on you can get to the very soul of your sparkler. &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So there you have it, Heads Up on a Champagne label. It&rsquo;s all a bit &lsquo;anoraky&rsquo; so don&rsquo;t let your mates catch you studying the bottle in a quiet corner as they&rsquo;re pouring the next glass! Going back to the dinner and my dessert match: the Demi-Sec went down really well but I have a confession to make. One bottle into the mellow period we popped a bottle of Brut, followed by a wonderful Zero Dosage. All in the interest of research you&rsquo;ll understand although I don&rsquo;t recall anybody discussing registration numbers or for that matter, French Letters after midnight.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world, is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster, and writer on wine. Check out his new website at <a href="http://www.johndownes.com/"><strong>www.johndownes.com</strong></a>.</em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6755 Nobody Talks About Wine in January http://www.snooth.com/articles/nobody-talks-about-wine-in-january/?viewall=1 Snooth Editorial <p>Nobody likes talking about wine in January. Sadly, wine is an abomination during this month of raw vegetable juice cleanses and soy milk smoothies. But we, as a society, are missing the point: The health benefits of wine and drinking in moderation are well-documented. A daily glass of wine has been correlated with increased heart health and decreased risk of dementia, and that&rsquo;s just the tip of the iceberg. As we atone for the abuse through which we put our bodies in December, wine and wine-like beverages need not be forgotten. Detoxification is not an all-or-nothing game, and the web&rsquo;s top wine writers have found the perfect wines to guide you through your January detox. Read on to discover the beverages most beneficial to your health in the month of January.&nbsp;<br /> </p> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6751 Meet Snooth's Brand New Editorial Team! http://www.snooth.com/articles/meet-snooths-brand-new-editorial-team/?viewall=1 Snooth Editorial <p>There are going to be some exciting changes at Snooth in 2016! We have a few new additions to the team who are sure to enrich your wine and food experiences. These three writers come from various wine backgrounds and will offer you a variety of perspectives about our topic du jour. Meet them now:<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>John Downes, MW</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> We are pleased to announce that Master of Wine John Downes will join the Snooth team as a Regular Contributor. His monthly &lsquo;Nobull Wine&rsquo; column will help educate readers. John&rsquo;s on a mission; to make wine simple. He is one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world and is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster, and writer on wine. He is based in Guildford, Surrey; about 25 miles southwest of London. When asked about his favorite wine, John asks in return, &ldquo;What&rsquo;s your death-bed wine. Your last glass? Mine&rsquo;s white Burgundy, a cool glass of Puligny-Montrachet from a top year and top winemaker but that said, I may change to a Chambolle-Musigny at the last minute! &nbsp;But thinking about it, I can&#39;t get the Hill of Grace 2010 I tasted at Henschke&rsquo;s cellars in the Eden Valley last year out of my mind!&quot;</div><br /> <br /> <strong>Nova McCune Cadamatre, Winemaker</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> We are pleased to announce that winemaker and wine writer Nova McCune Cadamatre will join the Snooth team as a Writer-in-Residence. Her monthly column will report on everything that happens before the wine arrives in your glass, from the latest trends in winemaking techniques, to vintage variation and more. Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Nova moved to New York to pursue Horticulture and fell in love with wines and vines. Her career started in Pennsylvania where she gained experience with cool climate varieties and traditional method sparkling wine. After moving to the Finger Lakes region of New York she refined her winemaking skills, both as a Winemaker&rsquo;s Assistant at the Thirsty Owl Wine Company and as a Viticulture student at Cornell University. After becoming one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, she moved to California to assume several winemaking roles, gaining diverse experiences in both table and sparkling wines from all areas of California most recently as the red winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery in the renowned Napa Valley. She was named to Wine Enthusiast&#39;s Top 40 Under 40 list in 2014 and is competing in the Ningxia Winemaker Challenge 2015-2017 in China. She has furthered her knowledge through London&rsquo;s Wine and Spirit Education Trust with an Advanced Certificate in 2007, the Diploma gained in 2010, and is currently pursuing the Master of Wine Certification. Currently, Cadamatre lives in the Finger Lakes, NY with her family where she works as a winemaker for Constellation Brands and is launching a personal label, Trestle 31, later this year. Her favorite varieties are Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon and considers the 2013 Napa Valley vintage and the 2015 Finger Lakes vintage her two favorite vintages so far.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso, Wine Writer</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> We are pleased to announce that wine writer Gabe Sasso will join the Snooth team as a Writer-in-Residence. His monthly column will provide recommendations and insights for the savvy wine consumer. His curiosity about wine stems from, in no small part, his large Italian family. Most of his uncles, his father and his grandfathers were home winemakers. With that and many childhood trips to Italy as his baptism into wine, his interest in wine flourished. His personal tastes run the gamut from obvious things like great Pinot Noir and Brunello to the somewhat obscure such as Charbono and Kerner. Gabe prefers his Petite Sirahs with lots of age on them, and his Sauvignon Blancs to be fermented in Concrete Eggs. If someone presents him a choice between one of his favorite bottles of all time and one he&#39;s never tasted, the unknown bottle always wins. He&#39;s curious about each and every one of the world&#39;s great wine regions but Italy and Chile are the two countries which he spends the most time obsessing over. Gabe is deeply suspicious of anyone who doesn&#39;t enjoy good Ros&eacute;.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6754 MEET THE WORLD OF WINE IN DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY http://www.snooth.com/articles/meet-the-world-of-wine-in-dy-sseldorf-germany/?viewall=1 <p>From March 13 &ndash; 15, 2016, ProWein, the leading international trade fair for wines and spirits, will again be a must-attend event for anyone involved in the international wine and spirits market. Launched in 1994 with 321 exhibitors from eight countries and 1,517 visitors, the event has seen huge growth since then: in March 2015, ProWein attracted some 6,000 exhibitors from 50 counties and over 52,000 trade visitors (ProWein is a trade only event), including more than 24,000 international attendees &ndash; a rise of 7% compared to the previous year. This is largely due to the increased number of trade visitors from the U.S. and Canada as well as Central and South America. Echoing the views of many Craig Wolf, President and CEO at Wine &amp; Spirits Wholesalers of America, stated at ProWein 2015: &ldquo;I have to say I was quite impressed with the size, scope and the tremendous variety of quality products on offer at ProWein from all over the world &ndash; all in a modern, easily navigable facility. ProWein has done an amazing job building and growing one of the premier industry trade shows, creating a multitude of opportunities for buyers and sellers alike.&rdquo;<br /> A new feature at ProWein 2016: for U.S. importers and wholesalers coming to the show, ProWein and Wine Enthusiast have built <a href="http://www.prowein.com/RouteUSA2"><strong>&quot;Route USA&quot;</strong></a>. The Route will guide visitors from the U.S to those producers who seek to meet them. Producers will have special signage (the Route USA logo) on their booth indicating their interest in finding importing and distribution partners in the United States.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> ProWein is not just the only annual trade fair with the highest share of foreign participants but is an event exclusively for trade visitors. This lets exhibitors and visitors reach their contacts easily and concentrate on business, guaranteeing a successful experience. With attendees that are extremely competent, open to new ideas, very international and professional, ProWein is an event by the trade and for the trade.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While the host nation Germany is very well represented at ProWein, 84% of the over 6,000 exhibitors come from 49 other countries. Filling nine exhibition halls at the fairgrounds in D&uuml;sseldorf, Germany, ProWein will showcase an unparalleled diversity of wines and spirits from all continents.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In addition to the exhibitors&rsquo; presentations, the diverse ancillary program will focus on trends and innovations: more than 300 tasting sessions and seminars, the tasting zone of the winning wines from the MUNDUS VINI spring tasting, the FIZZZ Lounge with the motto &ldquo;Shim Cocktails&rdquo; and the special show &ldquo;same but different&rdquo; with fresh ideas for wine production and marketing.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> To save time and money, order tickets online at <a href="http://www.prowein.com/ticket2">www.prowein.com/ticket2</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Questions? ProWein&rsquo;s U.S. office is here to help: Messe D&uuml;sseldorf North America, Tel. (312) 781-5180, <a href="mailto:info@mdna.com">info@mdna.com</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> For accommodations, contact TTI Travel Inc., at (866) 674-3476; <a href="mailto:info@ttitravel.net">info@ttitravel.net</a>; <a href="http://www.traveltradeint.com/">www.traveltradeint.com</a><br /><br /> </p> Wed, 13 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6753 Holiday Wine Value Picks Under Fifteen Bucks http://www.snooth.com/articles/holiday-wine-value-picks-under-fifteen-bucks/?viewall=1 Snooth Editorial <p>Buying wine for a group doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive, nor should you feel pressured to buy in bulk from a big box store. While you may be able to obtain twelve bottles of the same wine at a deeply discounted price, you risk boring your crowd with the same old wine for the entire day and into the night. (And you know they&rsquo;ve had that wine a million times before.) A carefully curated selection of value-priced bottles creates a colorful collage of story-filled glasses on your table. Make up your own mixed case of marvelous wines for the holiday table! The web&rsquo;s top wine writers are here to help you.<br /> </p> Tue, 22 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6743 Quiz: Which New Year’s Eve Sparkling Wine Are You? http://www.snooth.com/articles/which-new-year-ys-eve-sparkling-wine-are-you/?viewall=1 Claudia Angelillo <p>New Year&rsquo;s Eve sparkling wine is arguably the most important wine selection you will make&hellip;for the rest of the year. But seriously folks, your New Year&rsquo;s Eve sparkling wine toast is a crucial moment of reflection, resignation, and acceptance. It&rsquo;s a moment when you take stock of all the decisions you&rsquo;ve made over the last 365 days and salute them no matter how right or wrong they may have been. A New Year&rsquo;s Eve sparkling wine shared with a spouse, friend, throng of strangers, or even yourself caps this moment and etches its importance in your personal history book. For a moment of such gravity, you&rsquo;d better have the right sparkling wine. So scan this list, pick the situation that best befits your own, and buy that wine. Most if not all of these personally vetted selections should be available at a retailer near you. And if you need help finding one, let us know in the comments. There&rsquo;s a sparkling wine for every occasion. As luck would have it, occasions are infinite. Cheers to 2016!<br /> <strong>If it&rsquo;s a REALLY big deal:&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> Big deals are subjective. Are you about to propose marriage? Are you commemorating the end of a relationship? Is this the first New Year&rsquo;s Eve that you will spend in your brand new home? Is it #WineWednesday? It&rsquo;s no matter, for this sparkler is the cr&egrave;me de la cr&egrave;me. The Taittinger name should ring a bell; they have been producing true-blue Champagne in Reims since 1794. This wine is the reason why the word Champagne is recognized by any and every one in the entire world. What you need to know, and we can say with absolute surety: Yes, the experience of this wine is worth the investment.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/taittinger-champagne-blend-champagne-comtes-de-champagne-rose-brut-2006/"><strong>Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose 2006</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>95 pts.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Effortlessly elegant rose petal and strawberry aromas with a light brioche note. Warm and round notes of strawberry, ripe cherry and pink grapefruit blossom on the palate buoyed by small and sensual bubbles and a peak of acidity through the midpalate, sliding down towards the finish with creamy toast and more pleasant fruit notes feathering the palate and ending with mixed berry and light yeast notes. As delicate and elegant as you could imagine, and well worth any special occasion.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/taittinger-champagne-blanc-de-blancs-comtes-de-champagne-2006/"><strong>Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>94 pts.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lovely and elegant toasted coconut and almond notes with light perfectly integrated yeastiness and hints of peach and dried apricot. Zesty and floral on entry - this is perfectly elegant and refined while delivering an excellent dose of pure acidity and fresh fruit flavors of peach, pear and green apple. Towards the mid palate a pure minerality permeates the palate adding a steely character that is quite austere and mellows into a toasted yeast that softens towards the creamy finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>If you are throwing a Lidia Bastianich-style dinner party celebration:</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fact: A meal fashioned with lovingly grown ingredients by an exceptionally positive individual in a loving manner is superior to all others. Never eat food produced by a cook who is in a foul mood. Wine grapes and winemaking operate under the same philosophy. The Candoni DeZan family -- a mother, father, and their two young daughters -- are proof of fact. You will taste it in their wines. This tight-knit family is devoted to caringly crafting elegant wines in the Veneto region. Genuine warmth emanates from these wines. And they are a perfect fit for sleek yet rustic Italian dishes in the Bastianich style.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/candoni-prosecco-brut-nv-4/"><strong>Candoni Prosecco Brut NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A hint of almond and yeast on the nose with light honey. Tart lemon and melon notes with puckering acidity and bright flavors with sharp bubbles that melt away towards the midpalate. Comes off clean in the mouth and showing pleasant minerality and finishing with a touch of toasted yeast.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/tenuta-polvaro-prosecco-extra-dry-nv/"><strong>Tenuta Polvaro Prosecco Extra Dry NV</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Light apple aromas are very delicate. In the mouth this is clean and light on its feet, with soft and elegant bubbles hiding a touch of cream and white peach flavors. Towards the finish there&#39;s a pleasant toast to the yeast note that peeks through fruit notes of apricot, tangerine, and grapefruit.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>If you are throwing a Bon Appetit-inspired dinner party:</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s a great time to visit Santorini. Currency conversion rates are most splendid, while the wines of Santorini have hit their stride after decades of hiding in the consumer wine market shadows. Check out our stash of <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wines/santorini/?entity=article"><strong>Santorini wine</strong></a> articles to learn more about it. Fortunately for American wine consumers we are seeing more Santorini selections available in retail stores. An MW candidate once told me that these wines would be a &ldquo;dead giveaway&rdquo; on a blind-tasting exam due to their unique structure and salinity. &nbsp;What&rsquo;s more, the value is jaw-dropping.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/santo-brut-greece-nv/"><strong>Santo Brut Greece NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A touch of white peach on the nose comes with a light sour note that is quite bright, like a fresh high quality fruit vinegar. Medium to large bubbles add a lot of texture to this wine with a tart palate of green apple, lemon and grapefruit. Towards the finish there&#39;s some cooked grains quality of rice, with some pear and green apple notes finishing off.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>If you&rsquo;re attending a Julia Child/Jacques Pepin-inspired potluck dinner:</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As a team, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin were inseparable -- and insuperable. The latter master chef recently celebrated his eightieth birthday. Pick up a few copies of their collaborative cookbooks and start assigning dishes to your friends. When it comes to wine, stay in character with the underrated values of Cr&eacute;mant from the distinguished Loire Valley; it&#39;s one of just seven regions in France to make sparkling wine in the m&eacute;thode traditionelle (the sanctified method used in Champagne.) Bonus: These sparkling wines are made with underserved varietals. You&rsquo;ll find blends of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d&rsquo;Aunis, and Grolleau. Celebrate the States&rsquo; French cuisine ambassadors, Julia and Jacques, with a bottle of Cr&eacute;mant de Loire!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/deligeroy-cremant-de-loire-rose-brut-nv-11/"><strong>Deligeroy Cr&eacute;mant de Loire Ros&eacute; Brut NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 100% Cabernet Franc. 20 year old vines. Lovely pink color with brilliant highlights. Fine persistent bead. Freshness and finesse: fine, lively bouquet with fresh red-berry fruit aromas (wild strawberries and cherries). Lively initial impression on the palate and good aromatic intensity. Well-balanced following through a fresh and wonderfully subtle aftertaste.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/domaine-philippe-tessier-cremant-de-loire-nv-1/"><strong>Domaine Philippe Tessier Cr&eacute;mant de Loire NV</strong></a>&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This extra-dry wine is 80% Orbois and 20% Chardonnay and Certified Organic. It offers smooth bubbles with floral flavors of acacia and green apple. On the palate it is well balanced, long and harmonious through to the end.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/ackerman-cremant-de-loire-cuvee-1811-rose-brut-nv/"><strong>Ackerman Cr&eacute;mant de Loire Cuv&eacute;e 1811 Rose Brut</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Seducing, orange coral color with very fine bubbles. Fresh, fine red berries, crushed strawberry, dill and tarragon on the nose and palate. Nice structure between fruit and freshness, in a very dry style.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>If you&rsquo;re hosting a Rachael Ray inspired potluck dinner:</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rachael is free of frills but possesses plenty of pizazz. She has appeal across all ages, demographics, and palates. Not many people can straddle the line between Food Network and network television with such grace. Her ebullience is equivalent to that found in super hip, value-packed Cava.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/mestres-1312-cava-reserva-brut-1/"><strong>Mestres 1312 Cava Reserva Brut NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Light toasted yeast notes with hints of ripe melon and peach. Tart and acidic on entry, with sharp lemon and grapefruit notes and tart focussed bubbles firing off, but mellowing and melting through the midpalate with light phenolic notes and pronounced minerality and melon.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/mestres-coquet-cava-gran-reserva-brut-nature-2012-1/"><strong>Mestres Coquet Cava Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2012</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Leads with a phenolic note backed up by a savory yeast note with hints of dried apricot. Full bubbles fill in immediately with puckering acidity providing harmony and tartness, toasted biscuit flavors and light but tart apricot and green apple fruit. There&#39;s a cooked brown rice note on the finish that lingers for a while framed against light melon notes.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/anna-de-codorniu-blanc-de-blancs-cava-brut-reserva/"><strong>Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs Cava Brut Reserva NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Honeyed toasted oatmeal notes with hints of green apple. Tart and fresh green apple and pear flavors, bright acidity and some citrus notes of lemon mellowed by honey and toast. There&#39;s even a hint of peach here and tart apple cider notes showing well with lemon pith and melon coming through towards the puckering finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>If you&rsquo;re throwing a blow-out party with twenty five or more people:</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Play it safe. You are an adventurer, but others may not be the same. Go with the crowd favorites and recognizable names. There is comfort in the familiar. Moreover, a rollicking party setting may not be the time to review the finer details of terroir and minerality. What&rsquo;s in a name, you ask? Everything! And we are fairly certain that most people will recognize these buzzword wines.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/korbel-brut-california-nv-12/"><strong>Korbel Brut NV&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pear and peach aromas on the nose with notes of lemon curd. Bright and tart in the mouth with melon and lemon notes, soft toasted yeast and some autolytic notes of cereal and biscuit. Bubbles are medium sized and add a nice freshness to the palate. Finishes with a nice apple note.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/martini-rossi-asti-espumante-sparkling-wine-nv-750/"><strong>Martini &amp; Rossi Asti NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A hint of sweetness underlying the fruit with honeyed apple. Off dry on the palate, showing a lot of sweet notes, with ripe red delicious apple, peach and apricot flavors, and just a touch of tingling acidity towards the finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/martini-and-rossi-prosecco-italy-nv/"><strong>Martini &amp; Rossi Prosecco NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pleasant red delicious apple notes on the nose are lightly honeyed. Shows tart on entry with apple and pear notes with honeysuckle and kiwi. White grape notes as well with excellent minerality and a bright palate of apricot and a nice toast towards the finish glazed with almond.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/martini-and-rossi-sparkling-rose-italy-nv/"><strong>Martini &amp; Rossi Sparkling Rose NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Tart and toasted aromas on the nose with strawberry and melon notes. Cooked strawberry notes with lots of sweetness that tastes similar to a red fruit jelly.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/ferrari-perle-trento-brut/"><strong>Ferrari Perle Trento Brut NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Savory aromas of toasted rye bread and cooked brown rice with cooked apple and a hint of spice. Full flavored throughout, this shows beautiful notes of citrus, lemon and grapefruit, with toasted yeast and creamy cedar notes. The bubbles are medium sized, providing good balance and buoyancy to the palate and finishes with a tart minerality and even a hint of a tropical note.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 18 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6741 Northern Italy’s Big Little Secret Wine Region Is Making History http://www.snooth.com/articles/northern-italy-ys-big-little-secret-wine-region-is-making-history/?viewall=1 Claudia Angelillo <p>&ldquo;When was the land first used to grow grapes?&rdquo; This is a common question addressed to New World wine regions. The United States, in all of her blushing youth, wears a thirty year-old vineyard plot like a badge of honor. But to ask the same question in Italy&rsquo;s Franciacorta wine region would be absurd. Grape growing has been a part of life in the region since the beginning of recorded time, and winemaking is a culturally embedded practice contributing to the region&rsquo;s spirit and character. In the sixteenth century, Franciacorta wines were fated for the palates of Venetian kings, queens, and members of the wealthy elite. Indeed, the wines of Franciacorta have always been identified by their premium quality &ndash; but the story doesn&rsquo;t end here. The history of this acclaimed sparkling wine region is still being written. And one of the main scribes in the current era of Franciacorta is Vittorio Moretti, proprietor of Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi wineries. Sparkling wine drinkers worldwide are taking notice, and the word Franciacorta is fast becoming an American household name associated with superior sparkling wine.<br /> Open a bottle of sparkling wine and you will trigger a Pavlovian response of celebration. Perhaps this fact of nature has spurred our collective appetite for sparkling wines, specifically from the Franciacorta region, to grow over the past few years. We&rsquo;ve already declared that <a href="http://www.snooth.com/articles/franciacorta-is-the-next-champagne/"><strong>Franciacorta is the next Champagne</strong></a>. But how did this evolve? Suffice it to say that other regions within Italy have inadvertently stolen its thunder. (Let&rsquo;s reminisce about those wicker Chianti bottles from the 1970s, shall we?) While regions like Chianti ramped up production in the mid-to-late twentieth century, Franciacorta remained dedicated to exacting quality in the absence of over-farming. Nearly forty years ago, Vittorio Moretti set out to show the world that Franciacorta can produce age-worthy exemplars of fine sparkling wine that will hold up against any other premier sparkling wine region in the world. Finally, Mr. Moretti&rsquo;s efforts are getting the press they deserve on the international wine scene. His passion, patience, and dedication to the cause have helped create enormous buzz about the wines of Franciacorta.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Quick Facts About Franciacorta for the Curious Consumer</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> They say you can&rsquo;t make wine where you can&rsquo;t grow olive trees. The Franciacorta region is the northern-most point in Italy where it is still possible for olive trees to thrive. The region&rsquo;s sparkling wines are made in the Champagne method. But while Champagne and Franciacorta share high marks on quality, their styles are distinctly different. The key is acidity. Champagne has no problem achieving levels of acidity suitable for aging, but struggles to ripen grapes due to the limitations of climate. In Franciacorta, each vineyard parcel produces grapes with their own unique level of acidity. In order to achieve adequate acidity in Franciacorta a great deal of care and attention must go into vineyard plot and grape selection. And while Champagne struggles to achieve minimum levels of alcohol, Franciacorta does not due to warmer temperatures in the region. The result is a Franciacorta wine that is highly-detailed with incredible depth, richness and mineral substance.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Start Your Franciacorta Wine Journey</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Vittorio Moretti&rsquo;s two Franciacorta wineries, Contadi Castaldi and Bellavista, represent two sides of the same sparkling coin. Here&rsquo;s why:<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Contadi Castaldi Winery</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mr. Moretti&rsquo;s second winery in the Franciacorta region, Contadi Castaldi, was founded in 1987 with a view toward innovation and value coupled with consistently high quality. Contadi Castaldi sources the best grapes from all ninety Franciacorta municipalities, producing one million bottles per year. All bottles are of a wider berth to encourage aging. (This is also true at Bellavista.) Yeast love the excess surface area. Contadi Castaldi is amply available in the United States and a perfect way to begin acquainting yourself with Franciacorta. These wines are incredibly affordable in light of the quality they offer. What&rsquo;s more, within the next five years Contadi Castaldi will be completely organic.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The tremendously popular Sat&egrave;n-style Franciacorta wines were first conceived under Mr. Moretti&rsquo;s direction. This is Contadi Castaldi&rsquo;s most sought-after selection. Sat&egrave;n is a high-end silk produced in Italy&rsquo;s Como province. Sat&egrave;n style wines have an inordinately silky texture, largely owing to their Chardonnay base. Franciacorta Sat&egrave;n must be blanc de blancs; only Chardonnay or Pinot Bianco grapes are permitted. The term Sat&egrave;n was first applied in the early 1990s when it was decided that the term Cr&eacute;mant should be discontinued. Instead, the distinguishing Sat&egrave;n title was deemed a perfect fit for this strain of Italian sparkling wine. If you like wines on the creamier side of the line, this is your jam.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Start here and work your way through the Contadi Castaldi portfolio:&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/contadi-castaldi-brut-franciacorta-2009/"><strong>Contadi Castaldi Brut 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Bellavista Winery</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Bellavista Winery predates Contadi Castaldi by ten years. It is the yin to Contadi Castaldi&rsquo;s yang: While Contaldi Castaldi represents innovation, Bellavista harkens to heritage and tradition. Bellavista&rsquo;s wildly popular wines are created to preserve Italian identity and values. Winemaker Mattia Vezzola believes in simplicity, respect for the natural state of Franciacorta&rsquo;s terroir, and the nobility of manual work. Bellavista wines demonstrate an especial quality only found in wines made using traditional methods. Grapes are crushed by hand in a systematic fashion; vertically and horizontally, but not diagonally. (A diagonal crush will create friction that causes the ripest grapes to be crushed first.) Furthermore, the phase of the moon is one of many considerations made during harvest. Bellavista reminds us of a time before the Industrial Revolution; when our intuition, heart and hands did the bulk of the winemaking work.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Two for you to try:&nbsp;</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/bellavista-franciacorta-gran-cuvee-saten-brut-2009/"><strong>Bellavista Brut Sat&egrave;n 2009</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/bellavista-alma-franciacorta-cuvee-brut-nv/"><strong>Bellavista Alma Franciacorta Cuv&eacute;e Brut NV</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mr. Moretti and his Franciacorta winery gems show that the sparkling wines of Franciacorta -- when produced, bottled and stored under the correct circumstances -- are venerable, age-worthy selections to be held for decades. High quality base wines made with thoughtfully selected grapes, mixed into a complex cuv&eacute;e and stored in the appropriate vessel, are required. This past November, Mr. Moretti unveiled his Meraviglioso magnum. It was created with carefully selected base wines from only the best vintages of the past thirty years: 1984, 1988, 1991, 1995, 2001, and 2002. Just 4500 magnum bottles of Meraviglioso have been produced, and only one thousand of those will be released on the export market. While it may be hard to get your hands on a glass of Meraviglioso, its release definitively shows that Franciacorta wines have secured an enduring and commanding presence in the zeitgeist of fine wine. When it comes to Franciacorta and Vittorio Moretti, you&rsquo;ll want to say you knew them when.&nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Thu, 17 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6749 What Happened in Prosecco? http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-happened-in-prosecco-6739/?viewall=1 Mark Angelillo <p>As we start gearing up for the holidays and need a bottle or two of sparkling wine to enjoy, of course choices abound. You may already know that there are some very nice sparkling wines coming out of the Prosecco region in Italy that straddles Friuli and the Veneto, and you may also know that these wines are gaining in popularity in the US and other markets, but have you taken some time to think about why? Prosecco is a hip, now, hot-to-trot sparkler filling the flutes of so many Millennials. While it may have started with the Millennials, Generations Y, X, and all the way down the line have followed suit. In a big way.<br /> <strong>Why are these wines popular?</strong><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When thinking about purchasing a sparkling wine there is a lot of value to be had in Prosecco. In addition to the wines being tasty, you can find reasonably priced bottles at many national chains and retailers, and the wines are fantastic to share. They&#39;ve also garnered some media attention as well due to celebrity interest and as an alternative to more expensive bottles produced elsewhere.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Part of the value in these wines comes from the production method. As opposed to the very laborious process employed in traditional method sparkling wines, these wines are made using the Charmat or autoclave method, where the secondary fermentation takes place in large stainless steel tanks. The autoclave method was widely taught and perfected at an Italian wine academy in the Prosecco region, in the city of Conegliano.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>An Issue of Protection and Quality</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When popularity takes hold, it is never too long before the market notices and tries to capitalize on and benefit from this growing popularity. Let&#39;s not go so far as to say this has happened in Prosecco yet (although it may have), but as has already taken place in so many wine growing regions it became attractive and perhaps necessary to protect the Prosecco name. In addition to protection, it was important to indicate that there was a quality level for Prosecco beyond the base level Prosecco DOC.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> International trade and government requirements place certain restrictions on how protection is conferred and quality is designated, and for Prosecco specifically several changes needed to be made.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Changes to Place, Distinction and Designation</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The biggest change was to firm up the quality pyramid and establish a new DOCG area within the wider Prosecco region. In so doing, the proper respect needed to be given to the premier growing region for Prosecco located between the two towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, encompassing 15 municipalities. Naturally enough, the two towns were recognized in the name of the new designation, &quot;Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG&quot;. All other Prosecco in the wider region of 556 municipalities would be labeled as Prosecco DOC, as it has been since the 1960s.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In addition, the grape formerly known as Prosecco was given a new name, Glera. Any wine to be known as Prosecco DOC or as Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG needs to be at least 85% Glera.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are 3 styles for wines from Prosecco as well. They are Spumante, Frizzante and Tranquilo. Spumante wines carry the highest carbonation and are the only wines eligible for the DOCG designation. Tranquilo wines are still wines made in Prosecco, and are rare indeed.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are also 3 sweetness categories in Prosecco. Brut wines have the least residual sugars, followed by Extra Dry and Dry. Extra Dry is the most prevalent category, which explains why many Prosecco wines carry a hint of sweetness to them.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The sweeping changes were approved in 2009 and took effect in 2010.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Notes on Climate</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Within the region there is a lot of rainfall. Normally this isn&#39;t a great thing for vines however here in Prosecco it is extremely hilly with very steep slopes, allowing the rain to drain down off the soils quickly. There is also an abundance of cool mountain breezes to dry the grapes, and the vines on average are very productive. The best hillsides for growing Glera are south facing slopes which receive good sun exposure.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are 43 specific Rive, or hillsides, within Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG that can be designated on the bottle and can be thought of to have a specific terroir. Any Rive designated wine must also carry a vintage, and generally yields from these Rive are lower. Look for these Rive designated wines to experience a particular slice of terroir.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Further Seeking Quality</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Within the premier Prosecco growing region, there is a cru, or field, that&#39;s considered in the area to be of the highest quality and to produce the best Glera fruit to make Prosecco Superiore DOCG. This field is called Cartizze, and is a mere 107 hectares in size, split between many growers. These wines are of course more rare and difficult to find, many of them being consumed directly in the area or within the wider Italian market. Most of these wines are made in the Dry style due to local preference. Should you find a Cartizze labeled Prosecco Superiore DOCG, it is indeed the most prized of Prosecco. Enjoy!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>My recent favorites:</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/masottina-rive-di-ogliano-extra-dry-2014/"><strong>Masottina Rive di Ogliano Extra Dry 2014</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Alc 11.5%</div><br /> <div><br /> Green apple notes with light toast and savory yeast aromas and pleasant minerality. Soft and foamy in the mouth, this shows beautiful floral notes of rose petal, bright acidity balancing the wine with white peach and apricot notes. Very well balanced and enjoyable with a touch of warm spice on the finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/adami-col-credas-rive-di-farra-di-soligo-brut-2014/"><strong>Adami &quot;Col Credas&quot; Rive di Farra di Soligo Brut 2014</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Alc 11%</div><br /> <div><br /> Notes of peach and some yeast character with hints of dried brown rice. This is smooth and creamy in the mouth, showing some tropical fruit and citrus fruit notes of lemon and grapefruit, a bit of white pepper and a slight nuttiness on the palate. There&#39;s a pleasant toast on the finish with touches of melon.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/ruggeri-vecchie-viti-brut-2014-2014/"><strong>Ruggeri &quot;Vecchie Viti&quot; Brut 2014</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Pleasant nuttiness and yeastiness on the nose showing apricot fruit. Much more of a citrus focus in the mouth, sharp but welcome acidity through the midpalate with soft bubbles that fall away quickly leaving a melon and citrus finish with a touch of cream.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/nino-franco-grave-di-stecca-brut-sparkling-2010/"><strong>Nino Franco &quot;Grave di Stecca&quot; Brut 2010</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Alc 12%</div><br /> <div><br /> Peach and toasted yeast aromas with honeyed lemon. Showing quite tropical in the mouth with a citrus tartness overlaying banana and papaya notes with hazelnut and cream towards the finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/bisol-private-cartizze-valdobbiadene-superiore-di-cartizze-brut-2012/"><strong>Bisol &quot;Private Cartizze&quot; Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Brut 2012</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Alc 12.8%</div><br /> <div><br /> Elegant yeast and apricot aromas with some mineral notes that turn a touch savory. Round full and rich in the mouth with fresh citrus and green apple notes. The acidity pops early in the mouth and finishes clean but quite long with lingering autolytic notes of buttery yeast.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/malibran-credamora-col-fondo-valdobbiadene-prosecco-2013/"><strong>Malibran &quot;Credamora&quot; Col Fondo Valdobbiadene Prosecco 2013</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Alc 11%</div><br /> <div><br /> Frizzante style with drawn butter aromas and savory yeast on top of lemon and melon notes. Creamy texture in the mouth with lemon curd and pink grapefruit with bright acidity, staying clean throughout but turning quite soft and almost disappearing on the finish with the slightest hint of fresh melon.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/gregoletto-conegliano-valdobbiadene-prosecco-tranquilo-2014/"><strong>Gregoletto Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Tranquilo 2014</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Alc 11.5%</div><br /> <div><br /> Still wine from Prosecco. Lemon and grapefruit aromas with light notes of white peach. Clean and medium bodied, this shows white peach and aprico with medium acidity and notes of lemon and melon.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/zardetto-rive-di-ogliano-tre-venti-2014/"><strong>Zardetto Rive di Ogliano Tre Venti 2014</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Slightly funky nose of hard rind cheese, bright peach and white blossom notes. Bright and fresh immediately on entry with notes of citrus hitting perfectly, very expansive with acidity and a focussed palate of steely minerality. Lovely creaminess comes through on the soft finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Harder to find in the US, but worth the search: &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/duca-di-dolle-cartizze-brut/"><strong>Duca di Dolle Cartizze Brut</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Lovely brown rice savory note on the nose. This is very dry with steely and stony minerality, notes of citrus and melon and a hint of cream and butter on the finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/drusian-cartizze-dry/"><strong>Drusian Cartizze Dry</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Clean peach and green apple aromas with melon and soft peach notes coming through towards the midpalate and revealing underling hints of green apple and pear. Very pleasant and complex with a harmony of fruit flavors to this elegant wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/valdo-cartizze-dry/"><strong>Valdo Cartizze Dry</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> Very full and pronounced sweet notes of white peach and melon. In the mouth there&#39;s a fair bit of sweetness to this leading to a full feeling on the palate and a finish of light yeast, butter and cream. Fruit is soft and elegant, mostly fresh melon, peach and apricot.</div><br /> </p> Wed, 16 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6739 New Holiday Food & Wine Traditions http://eat.snooth.com/articles/new-holiday-food-and-wine-traditions/?viewall=1 Christina Pirello <p>It&rsquo;s getting to be that time of year when everything seems to be dedicated to stuffing -- from our tummies to stockings&hellip;to our skinny jeans! What if the holidays were different? What if you began the tradition of blissfully delicious health and wellness at your feast? Most of us cook for bigger crowds than normal and experience a minor (or major) breakdown at the thought of it all. Breathe. It can be easy and stress-free to create a plant-based feast that can satisfy every appetite at your table. Deep inside all of us is a five-star chef, with a touch of Martha Stewart.&nbsp;<br /> You can host a stylish party that you&rsquo;ll actually enjoy. Thoughtful planning will be the difference between sailing along and an event that leaves you wondering why you have to entertain your stupid friends anyway. When I plan a party, I make a list. I hate lists, but this is one time where they are invaluable to me. I write down everything that must be done and begin at the beginning. &nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> With a small number, I can manage the everything easily; the party will maintain a sense of intimacy, but be exciting at the same time. &nbsp;With a huge amount of guests, I have to let go of details and think about foods and beverages that can be pulled together without lots of stress and just go with the flow of the group.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One month ahead (remember this is for a special occasion, not an impromptu dinner with close pals), I set the date. With all of our busy schedules, the more notice I can give guests, the better. &nbsp;Then I sort of forget about it all for a couple of weeks. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A week before the party, I plan my menu, looking at the food of the season and designing my meal or buffet around what will be freshest and most delicious. &nbsp;I shop for all my non-perishables, taking care to use local foods as much as possible, sustainable decorations and eco-friendly supplies. What fun is a party if I add to the burden on the planet in the process? &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Two days before the party, I clean the house and decorate. From simple sprays of flowers to beautiful trays with three perfect pears or a few candles with seasonal greens, the centerpieces are meant to complement the table, not overshadow the food and guests. &nbsp; &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The day before my event is the most important for me. I pick up the final ingredients--fresh bread, any delicate herbs, etc. &nbsp;I spend a good part of the day preparing any dishes that can be worked on ahead of time--hors d&rsquo;oeuvres, desserts, preparing ingredients for assembly into dishes the next evening. &nbsp;I set the table the night before the bash.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The morning of the feast, I set out all my serving platters and utensils, matching dishes to recipes, based on textures, colors and presentation. &nbsp;I prep all ingredients that I will be using to create the meal, placing them in containers in the refrigerator until I am ready to cook. &nbsp;From mincing garlic to toasting nuts, the more I can do ahead, the calmer I will be.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The afternoon of the party finds me cooking whatever dishes can be prepared ahead and cleaning up the kitchen as I work. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As the magic hour approaches, I return to the kitchen to begin preparation of the more delicate dishes of the evening, along with the assembly of others, adding finishing touches where needed. &nbsp;By the time the guests arrive, my kitchen and I are calm and ordered, ready to enjoy the evening. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One last thing. The holiday season brings out the best in us: resolutions to be better, new ideas for our lives and health, charitable work is on our minds. Give meaning to your feast and to promote kindness in your community. Place a cup at each place at the table for the guests to make a donation, with all proceeds going to a charity or relief fund. &nbsp;Or at each place setting, lay a folded name card, inside describing a charitable act--from shoveling snow for a neighbor, to visiting a sick friend, to simply smiling at a stranger or carrying someone&rsquo;s groceries. It makes for a sweet celebration.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Here are some of my favorite holiday dishes. They provide variety, are easy to make for a crowd (or a small group) and have proven (for me) to delight just about any palate. They hold well on a buffet and look gorgeous on the family table.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I don&rsquo;t know about you, but our holiday feasts are jam-packed with food and wine. Along with the recipes, I have paired each course with my favorite organic wines from Frey Vineyards, but feel free to pair as you like.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> At a wine tasting in Sicily, we sampled wines without food and then paired with various foods and I have to say that the difference was profound. I love how these pairings complement the flavors in each dish, bringing out the subtle notes in the food&hellip;and the wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Cream of Mushroom Soup (pair with <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/frey-vineyards-chardonnay-biodynamic-2014/">Frey Biodynamic Chardonnay</a> or <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/frey-vineyards-syrah-biodynamic-2013/">Biodynamic Syrah</a>)</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m&hellip;cream of mushroom soup is like comfort in a bowl. But ay, ay, ay, the fat and calories, right? My plant-based version is creamy and rich but lands a lot lighter on your hips!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Choosing a red like a Syrah will give you a smooth lingering finish just perfect with this creamy soup but if white is your preference, this fruity Chardonnay with notes of apple and pear is just perfect.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Makes 5-6 servings</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 yellow onion, finely diced</div><br /> <div><br /> Sea salt</div><br /> <div><br /> 1/2 pound fresh button or cremini mushrooms, diced</div><br /> <div><br /> &frac12; pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, diced</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, soaked until tender, diced</div><br /> <div><br /> 5 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour</div><br /> <div><br /> 3 cups spring or filtered water</div><br /> <div><br /> 3 cups unsweetened organic almond or soy milk</div><br /> <div><br /> 4 tablespoons mirin or white wine</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 tablespoons sweet white miso</div><br /> <div><br /> 4 button mushrooms, caps only</div><br /> <div><br /> 2-3 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced, for garnish</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Place 4 tablespoons oil, garlic and onion in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and saut&eacute; for 2-3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, a pinch of salt and saut&eacute; for 5 minutes. The mushrooms will release their juices and reabsorb them. Stir in flour and cook, stirring to create a thick paste, like a roux. Whisk in stock, milk and wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the soup returns to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid lumping. Remove a small amount of hot broth and puree miso until smooth. Stir into soup and simmer 3-4 minutes more.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While the miso simmers in the soup, slice the remaining mushrooms and heat the remaining oil in a skillet and saut&eacute; the mushrooms until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Serve the soup garnished with saut&eacute;ed mushrooms and minced parsley.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Cook&rsquo;s Tip: If you prefer to prepare this recipe without wine, simply eliminate it.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Stuffed Winter Squash (pair with <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/frey-pinot-noir-2013-2/">Frey Pinot Noir</a>)</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For the holiday dedicated to stuffing things, I opt for a sweet winter squash as my centerpiece dish. Cooked to browned perfection and filled with a succulent stuffing, it&rsquo;s been years since a turkey found its way to my table&hellip;and no one has missed it yet.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This hearty Pinot Noir stands up to the complex flavors in the stuffed squash, bringing out the flavors of the stuffing to perfection.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Makes 8-10 servings</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 large winter squash, buttercup, kabocha, hubbard work best</div><br /> <div><br /> spring or filtered water</div><br /> <div><br /> avocado oil</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Corn Bread:</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 1/2 cups organic yellow corn meal</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 teaspoons baking powder</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 teaspoon baking soda</div><br /> <div><br /> pinch sea salt</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup</div><br /> <div><br /> 3-4 tablespoons avocado oil</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 cup spring or filtered water</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Stuffing</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 loaf sourdough bread, crusts removed and cubed</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 recipe corn bread, cubed</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 pound fresh/frozen chestnuts</div><br /> <div><br /> spring or filtered water</div><br /> <div><br /> 8 ounces tempeh, cut into tiny cubes and fried until golden</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil</div><br /> <div><br /> generous pinch dried rosemary</div><br /> <div><br /> small handful fresh flat leaf parsley-minced</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 cups spring or filtered water</div><br /> <div><br /> organic soy sauce</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To begin, remove the top of the squash, jack-o-lantern style, so that you can scoop out the seeds and pulp. Replace the top and lightly oil the outer skin. Place in a baking dish with about 1/2-inch water. Bake at 325 degrees, uncovered for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing the stuffing.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Prepare the corn bread by sifting together the corn meal, flour, baking powder/soda and salt. Whisk together the rice syrup, oil and water. Fold wet and dry ingredients together until just mixed. Do not over-mix or bread will be tough and heavy. Add a little more water if the batter seems too thick.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil and flour a 9-inch square baking dish. Spoon batter evenly into pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the top of the bread springs back to the touch. Invert on a wire rack and allow to cool before proceeding.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Cook&rsquo;s Tip: The corn bread can be made a day ahead of time.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To prepare stuffing, preheat oven to 300 degrees Farenheit. Spread cubes of bread and corn bread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes to dry. Set aside.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> If using fresh chestnuts: Make a small slit in the flat side of each chestnut and place in a saucepan with water to cover. Simmer over medium heat until easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and taking 2-3 chestnuts at a time, peel off shells and skin. Set aside. If using frozen chestnuts, simply thaw them.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Heat oil in a skillet and saut&eacute; onions and rosemary, with a splash of soy sauce. Add celery, a splash of soy sauce and saut&eacute; until tender, about 8 minutes. Season lightly with soy sauce and remove from heat. Stir in chestnuts and fried tempeh cubes and transfer to a large mixing bowl.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Add bread and corn bread and mix well, slowly adding stock until stuffing forms a soft ball. Taste and adjust seasoning. If stuffing and baking the squash right away, then the stuffing can be hot when it goes into the squash. If you are making the stuffing ahead, then let it cool before proceeding.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Spoon the stuffing into the squash filling abundantly. Place the lid on the squash and return to baking dish. Add &frac12;-inch water to the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake until squash pierces easily with a fork, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove foil and brown squash for 5-7 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Cook&rsquo;s Tip: Any stuffing that doesn&rsquo;t fit into the squash can be pressed into an oiled baking dish and baked until golden, about 30 minutes, and served on the side.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Arugula Salad with Braised Artichoke Hearts (pair with <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/frey-vineyards-organic-agriculturist-blanc-2014/">Frey Organic Agriculturist Blanc</a>)&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A unique and robust salad, ideal for taking us from spring to summer. The delicate bitterness of arugula is offset by the yumminess of the artichoke hearts, both working to relax our livers, keeping calm and cool. With the added nutrition of toasted hempseeds and oil, showcasing essential fatty acids, this is a salad to be reckoned with.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This crisp salad is perfect with the sweet honeysuckle notes in the Agriculturist Blanc which smooths the sharp flavor of the arugula.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Makes 4-5 servings</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 4 globe artichokes, halved lengthwise</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 tablespoons, plus 1/4 cup hempseed oil</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 heads garlic, halved lengthwise</div><br /> <div><br /> sea salt</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 1/2 cups dry white wine</div><br /> <div><br /> 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 sprigs fresh rosemary</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 sprigs fresh basil</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 sprigs fresh flatleaf parsley</div><br /> <div><br /> 4 cups spring or filtered water</div><br /> <div><br /> 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 small bunch arugula, rinsed well, stems trimmed, hand-shredded</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 head frisee (curly endive), rinsed well, hand-shredded</div><br /> <div><br /> 1/2 cup shelled hempseeds</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Prepare artichokes and set aside.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Place 2 tablespoons hempseed oil in a large saucepan. Lay garlic heads in the pan, cut side down and turn heat to medium. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and add wine and vinegar. Cook until liquid has reduced by half. Tie together rosemary, basil and parsley and lay on top of simmering garlic. Add water and bring to a boil. Add artichokes, cover, turn off heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When the liquid has cooled, remove 2 cups of the liquid and transfer to a saucepan. (Re-cover the artichokes). Cook liquid over high heat until it has reduced to about cup. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/4 cup hempseed oil, olive oil and sea salt to taste. Set aside.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To assemble the salad, arrange the greens in a mixing bowl. Remove the outer leaves from the artichokes and scoop out the inner hairy chokes. Slice the artichoke hearts thinly and add them to the greens. Toss with enough dressing just to coat the salad. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Heat a dry skillet over low heat and lightly pan toast hempseeds just until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Arrange salad on a platter, drizzle with a bit more dressing, a sprinkle of hempseeds and serve with remaining dressing and toasted hempseeds on the side. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>You Won&rsquo;t Believe It&rsquo;s Not Mashed Potatoes (pair with <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/frey-vineyards-sauvignon-blanc-biodynamic-2014/">Frey Biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc</a>)</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The mashed potato side dish is a classic on any holiday table&hellip;but try this one&hellip;it is just as yummy and so much lighter on your hips.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The bright, clear flavor of Sauvignon Blanc brings this side dish to life.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Makes 5-6 servings</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets</div><br /> <div><br /> 1/8 cup unsweetened soymilk or almond milk</div><br /> <div><br /> 3 tablespoons vegetarian butter spread (like Earth Balance)</div><br /> <div><br /> Sea salt</div><br /> <div><br /> Cracked black pepper</div><br /> <div><br /> Small bunch fresh chives, finely minced</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Place cauliflower in a steamer basket above a pot of boiling water. Cook, covered, until fork tender, about 12 minutes. Preheat oven to 325o and lightly oil a 9-inch baking dish. Transfer cauliflower to a food processor or blender. Add soymilk, vegetarian butter spread, salt and pepper to taste and puree until smooth. Spoon into baking dish and bake, uncovered, for about 8 minutes, until bubbly. Fold in chives and serve hot. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Apple Pie (pair with <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/frey-vineyards-gewurztraminer-organic-2013/">Frey Organic Gewurztraminer</a>)</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As All-American as holiday feasting itself, this recipe is all you could dream of in an apple pie without anything you might not want to eat!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The crisply sweet flavor of Gewurztraminer is the perfect complement to the spicy apple pie filling.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Makes 8-10 servings</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 recipes Pastry Dough:&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 &frac14; cups whole wheat pastry flour</div><br /> <div><br /> pinch sea salt</div><br /> <div><br /> 1/3 cup avocado oil</div><br /> <div><br /> Cold water</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Filling:</div><br /> <div><br /> 13-14 Granny Smith or Gala apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced into half-moons</div><br /> <div><br /> 9 tablespoons vegan butter substitute</div><br /> <div><br /> 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 cup brown rice syrup</div><br /> <div><br /> Sea salt</div><br /> <div><br /> &frac14; teaspoon ground cinnamon</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut oil into flour until the texture of wet sand is achieved. Slowly add cold water, mixing, until the dough just gathers together. Pull dough into a ball and knead 3-4 times to hold it together.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Shape into a disk and place between 2 sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Roll, from the center of the dough toward the edges until you create a thin round disk about an inch larger than your pie plate. Be sure the dough is evenly rolled in thickness.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Lightly oil a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Divide pastry dough into 2 pieces, one a little larger than the other. Roll each one between waxed or parchment paper into a thin round, the smaller one to be about 11 inches in diameter and the larger one to be about 12 inches in diameter. Press smaller round of pastry into pie plate, using your knuckles to conform the dough to the dish, but do not stretch the dough too much. Let excess hang over the rim. Prick several times with a fork and set aside.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling. You will be saut&eacute;ing apples in 3 batches. Place 3 tablespoons of vegan butter substitute, a teaspoon of vanilla, 1/3 cup rice syrup and a pinch of salt in a skillet over medium heat. Saut&eacute; until the apples wilt and the edges begin to brown about 7 minutes. Transfer cooked apples to a baking sheet to cool and repeat saut&eacute;ing process with remaining apples and seasonings. Cool to room temperature.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Spoon cooled apples into pie plate, mounding them in the center. Lay the remaining pastry over the apples. Using a sharp knife, trim the excess pastry from the rim and gently pinch together the edges of the pastry to seal the crust. Using your thumb and forefinger, crimp the edge to create a decorative crust.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Make 3 to 4 slits in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce oven heat to 350o and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes. The crust should be golden and the filling bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Sheila&rsquo;s Lacy Wafers (pair with <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/frey-vineyards-zinfandel-organic-2014/">Frey Organic Zinfandel</a>)&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> My dear friend Sheila Davidson is famous for her exquisitely beautiful holiday cookies. A tin of her jewel-like treats is simply the best gift you can get. On occasion, she grants me the great privilege of working with her on a baking day. This great cookie is the result. You&rsquo;ll love it and won&rsquo;t reserve it for special occasions. It&rsquo;ll be a regular.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There&rsquo;s something about a Zinfandel and chocolate that make me thin of perfect pairings, like love and marriage. I love this combination.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Makes 30-40 Cookies</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cookies</div><br /> <div><br /> &frac14; cup avocado oil</div><br /> <div><br /> 1/2 cup brown rice syrup</div><br /> <div><br /> ⅓ cup whole wheat pastry flour</div><br /> <div><br /> &frac12; cup quick rolled oats</div><br /> <div><br /> &frac14; cup very finely chopped almonds or walnut pieces</div><br /> <div><br /> &frac14; teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chocolate Filling</div><br /> <div><br /> 1 cup non-dairy, dark chocolate chips</div><br /> <div><br /> 2 teaspoons brown rice syrup</div><br /> <div><br /> &frac14; cup unsweetened organic almond or soy milk</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To make the cookies: Place the oil and rice syrup in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until loose. Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour until smooth. Fold in the oats, nuts and vanilla, mixing well.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Drop the batter, by one-fourth teaspoonful onto the lined baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute. Carefully peel cookies from the parchment paper and set aside to cool.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To make the filling: Place the chocolate chips in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring the rice syrup and milk to a rolling boil over high heat. Pour over the chocolate chips and whisk until shiny and smooth.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Select pairs of similar-size cookies to make sandwiches. Spread the flat side of one cookie with the chocolate glaze and press its partner&rsquo;s flat side to the chocolate, making a sandwich. Place on parchment paper to allow the chocolate to set.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Repeat with the remaining cookies and chocolate.<br /><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <span style="font-style: italic;">Christina Pirello is the Emmy Award-winning host of the television series Christina Cooks!, which airs weekly on over 200 national public television stations nationwide. She has written five cookbooks, the bestselling Cooking the Whole Foods Way, plus Your Way to the Life You Want, Glow, A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty and Christina Cooks: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Whole Foods, But Were Afraid to Ask. Her latest book, This Crazy Vegan Life was published in January, 2009 and she is currently at work on her sixth book. Visit Christina on her&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.christinacooks.com/" style="font-style: italic;"><strong>website</strong></a><span style="font-style: italic;">,&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/Christina-Cooks-128390873854198/" style="font-style: italic;"><strong>Facebook</strong></a><span style="font-style: italic;">, and&nbsp;</span><a href="https://twitter.com/christinacooks" style="font-style: italic;"><strong>Twitter</strong></a><span style="font-style: italic;">.</span></div><br /> </div><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6735 Sizing Up Your Wine Bottles http://www.snooth.com/articles/sizing-up-your-wine-bottles/?viewall=1 John Downes <p>You learn something every day and last Saturday was no exception. Did you know that at a Christening the bottle of celebration Champagne should be bigger than the baby? That means of course that a single bottle that holds a mere 750 millilitres is no where near big enough. I have a confession to make; I always get confused when it comes to Champagne bottle sizes. Yes, I know that a 2 bottle size (1,50 litres) is a <em>magnum</em> and I can even stretch to remembering that a double magnum, that is, four bottles, is a <em>Jeroboam.</em> From there on it becomes a little hazy as the larger sizes do have some unusual names. After a peep into my &nbsp;wine books I realized that the key lies in biblical reference. <em>Jeroboam</em> was the first king of the Northern Kingdom in the bible by the way; a question coming to a pub quiz near you.&nbsp;<br /> Thinking about the size of the baby, I guess that the next size up, a <em>Methuselah</em> may be the one to go for. It holds 8 bottles (6 liters) which, at the rate of 6 glasses per bottle will put a smile on the face of 48 guests. <em>Methuselah</em> is the oldest man in the bible which also has a nice ring at a christening when you toast the new arrival for a long and healthy life. <em>Salmanazar</em> was an Assyrian King whose name is given to &lsquo;12 bottles of bubbly&rsquo;; that&rsquo;s a whopping 9 litres folks, enough to keep any christening going through until lunch. If your guests are really thirsty then the next size up should keep them happy; the <em>Balthazar</em> holds 16 bottles, that&rsquo;s an impressive 12 litres. You probably remember <em>Balthazar</em> from Christmas nativity plays as he was one of the three wise men bearing gifts.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> For all those who get christened in later life even the next Champagne bottle size won&rsquo;t be big enough. Named after the King of Babylon, the <em>Nebuchadnezzar </em>holds 20 bottles (15 litres) and tips the scales at a heavyweight 38 kilograms. You occasionally see a <em>Nebuchadnezzar</em> but rarely see the next size up, the <em>Melchior</em>, the glassware that holds 24 bottles (18 litres). You&rsquo;ve guessed, it&rsquo;s named after another of the three wise men. The name of Solomon, the king of Israel, has also been taken as an alternative for this 18 litre bottle. Reportedly, it was created by Champagne <em>Taittinger</em> in 1988 for the launch of the then largest cruise liner &lsquo;Sovereign of the Seas&rsquo;.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Amazingly, there are even larger sizes! The aptly named <em>Goliath</em> holds 27 litres (36 bottles) and then, the <em>Melchizedek</em> also known as <em>Midas</em> (King of Salem) goes one better; weighing in at 30 litres, a mind-blowing 40 bottles.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As you can guess the larger sizes can be very difficult to open. I remember the victorious crew at the Oxford versus Cambridge University Boat Race on the Thames a few years ago who couldn&rsquo;t open a Methuselah; strong as they were they had to grab a couple of &lsquo;normal&rsquo; bottles to spray around. You definitely need the right equipment to open the &lsquo;big boys&rsquo;. I now realise why some people like opening Champagne bottles with a sword! The question is, given the choice and a big bank balance, what size would you open with a few good friends? With the festive season fast approaching it just has to <em>Balthazar</em> or <em>Melchior</em> I guess.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 325 Masters of Wine in the world, is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster, and writer on wine. Check out his new website at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.johndownes.com/"><strong>www.johndownes.com</strong></a>.</em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 10 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6733 The Wine in Your Blindspot: Alsace http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-wine-in-your-blindspot-alsace/?viewall=1 Jeff Kralik <p>I guess I am like many people living in the U.S. since I am not entirely sure about how my ancestors came to this country. I think my father&rsquo;s background is from somewhere in the Balkans, but not much more. My mother&rsquo;s side is even murkier, thus leaving me a bit adrift when people ask me about it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When it comes to my appreciation of wine, however, there is absolutely no doubt&mdash;my wine roots are firmly planted in Alsace, France. I knew very little about wine in general and absolutely nothing about Alsatian wine when I left the U.S. for a year to study in Strasbourg, France. A big selling point for me was the fact that students were housed in Alsatian homes, and by luck of the draw, I landed with a family that introduced me to wine appreciation.<br /><br /> <br /> We had wine with dinner (and lunch) every day, as my French mother took great pains to teach me about one of life&rsquo;s greatest pleasures. Sure, there was Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne, but the local wines of Alsace were central to nearly every meal.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Bit by bit, I absorbed the Alsatian culture, particularly the nuances of the region&rsquo;s wine. So much so that by the end of my stay with my family, they had stopped calling me a &ldquo;typical American&rdquo; and started referring to me as their &ldquo;Alsatian-American&rdquo; son.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I have never forgotten my Alsatian roots and even though I never shy away from a bottle of wine from Alsace, I am increasingly looking for Alsatian varietal wines made in this country, or in other words, &ldquo;Alsatian-Americans.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are three varieties that can achieve Grand Cru status in Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer), and Riesling is at the top of the trio. While many people think &ldquo;sweet&rdquo; when they hear &ldquo;Riesling&rdquo;, that is the German interpretation of the variety&mdash;in Alsace, Rieslings are always bone dry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/anaba-riesling-sonoma-valley-2014/"><strong>2014 Anaba Riesling Sonoma Valley</strong></a>: Retail $26. I have certainly heard of Anaba, but I have never had the opportunity to taste any of their wines so I was excited to taste their Estate Riesling. And with good reason. This harkens me back to trips with my Alsatian family to Riquewihr (a picturesque Alsatian wine town just west of Strasbourg), but with a fruity twist. Completely dry, but it boasts oodles of fruit&mdash;lemon curd with a tickle of orange, bathed in honeysuckle. Honestly, I have rarely sniffed a more fanciful nose in a Riesling. On the palate? I was instantly struck that this is a serious wine, dry and racy, but with plenty of fruit along for the ride. It would be tough for me to abandon my Alsatian ancestors, but this makes a convincing case. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/hyland-estates-riesling-willamette-valley-2013/"><strong>2013 Hyland Estates Riesling Willamette Valley</strong></a>: Retail $25. Lemon, lime and just the faintest hint of citrus gives way to a nicely balanced bone dry wine with restrained fruit. As it warmed, there was more viscosity and silkiness&mdash;both of which I generally find lacking in American Riesling. Initially, this was too cold and a bit underwhelming, but as it approached room temperature, this really took off. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Of all the Alsatian varieties, Gewurztraminer is the toughest to do well (even in Alsace) as taming the characteristic fragrances and flavors can be challenging. The key is controlling the level of residual sugar in the wine-- too much and it becomes unctuous and cloying, not enough and it can be astringent and harsh. One more note: in French, the &ldquo;u&rdquo; has no accent mark, as it does in German (Gew&uuml;rztraminer).</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/hyland-estates-gewurztraminer-mcminnville-2013/"><strong>2013 Hyland Estates Gewurztraminer McMinnville, Oregon</strong></a>: Retail $28. The Hyland had some great Gewurztraminer florality along with some stone fruit (white peach). On the palate, there is some sweetness, but it is held in check by the acidity and spiciness. This is particularly well done. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are technically made from the same grape, but that is where the similarity ends. While the latter can be rather bland and listless, when made in the Alsatian style, Pinot Gris can be a fascinating white wine. In Alsace, the wine is made across the sweetness spectrum: from completely dry to a late harvest dessert wine (with just about every thing in between).</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/st-innocent-vitae-springs-vineyard-pinot-gris-2013/"><strong>2013 St. Innocent Vitae Springs Vineyard Pinot Gris</strong></a>: Retail $26. This St. Innocent offering emits considerable spice along with clementine and grapefruit. Some pear arrives on the palate, as does a wonderful viscosity. The wine comes off as completely dry, which highlights the vibrant acidity and the memorable finish. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Pinot Blanc is a bit of a redheaded stepchild in Alsace&mdash;it does not have the Grand Cru status of Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer, so it has at best second tier status. Having said that, there are some wonderful Pinot Blancs made in Eastern France and it is becoming increasingly popular among wineries in this country.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/youngberg-hill-pinot-blanc-willamette-valley-2014/"><strong>2014 Youngberg Hill Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley</strong></a>: Retail $25. This Youngberg Hill could go toe-to-toe with the best of its Alsatian brethren. The wine opens with pear, and citrus on the nose, with a hint of creaminess thrown in. On the palate, this wine instantly coats the mouth with an unctuous creaminess that underscores the bold fruit. Eventually, that fruit cedes a little ground and a slightly chalky acidity takes over. Simply put, this is likely the best Pinot Blanc I have ever had. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/st-innocent-pinot-blanc-freedom-hill-vineyard-2013/"><strong>2013 St. Innocent Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Blanc</strong></a>: Retail $22. Pinot Blanc gets a bit of the shaft in Alsace, not noble, a bit of an after thought. A few producers take it seriously, though. And it appears as though St. Innocent takes it seriously as well. Lemon with a hint of melon and a faint yellow hue. On the palate, immediately hit by the austerity, but the fruit slowly comes in. It stays throughout the generous mid palate, ending in an impressive finish. If all Alsatian Pinot Blancs were this good, the French would certainly consider giving it Grand Cru status. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.</div><br /> </p> Tue, 08 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6720 The Top Ten Wine Bars of 2015 http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-top-ten-wine-bars-of-2015/?viewall=1 Ilona Thompson <p>Forget fancy dinners. Your opportunity to sample rare wines by the glass from around the world exists in wine bar travel. Let&rsquo;s take a quick jaunt around the globe and visit some of the most spectacular wine bars in the world. Before we start our journey, a few wine bar tips to remember: In most cases, the cost of a single glass in a wine bar (or restaurant) is equal to the cost that the establishment paid for the bottle. Allow this knowledge to guide your choices. Secondly, always ask for a taste. If you are going to purchase a $30 glass of 1997 Barolo, make sure you like it first. And finally, order something from the food menu. Wine bars tend to specialize in just a few small plates. In most cases, specialization leads to mastery. Thus, forget your fancy dinner with just a single, boring bottle. Order a few different glasses, a few different plates, and prolong the enjoyment of your gustatory experience.<br /> <strong>Berlin</strong> - <em>Weinbar Rutz</em><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Located on the ground floor of a building which also houses a well-stocked wine shop and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Rutz is a favorite with both local and international clientele. With heavy emphasis on German regional cuisine, brilliantly executed by Chef Marco M&uuml;ller, it features an eight hundred and fifty bottle wine list. The bar offers the best selection of German Rieslings in the country. Noted for its unparallel wine list, fantastic food, and service to match, this cozy Mitte spot was awarded the prestigious &quot;Wine List of the Year 2014.&quot;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Las Vegas</strong> - <em>Aureole at Mandalay Bay</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> How do you talk to an Angel? Simple, just order a bottle of wine. Charlie Palmer, who opened his four story glass and steel &ldquo;wine tower&rdquo; in 1999 was one of the first prominent restaurateurs to contribute to the wine bar phenomenon. Boasting over ten thousand bottles, this stunning capsule of wine classics is accessible only to flying professionals, the acrobatic stewards who can fetch anything from a recent Sancerre to an impossibly rare 1945 Mouton. Their electronic wine list is well over three thousand bottle strong; sink into a comfy leather seat and peruse at your leisure.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>London</strong> - <em>Gordon&#39;s Wine Bar</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> If you think that all wine bars are hipster spots, Gordon&#39;s will challenge that notion. This candle-lit, cavernous London establishment is the city&rsquo;s oldest wine bar. Having opened its doors in 1890, Gordon&rsquo;s has seen its share of history and famous personalities. Rudyard Kipling lived in the building as a tenant and wrote &ldquo;The Light That Failed.&rdquo; Adding to its formidable charms are faded newspaper covered walls, vintage posters, old clocks, and subterranean, candle illuminated chambers. The award-winning wine list has a large selection of well-priced offerings. Fortified wines such as Madeiras, Ports and Sherries are served straight from the barrel.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Los Angeles</strong> - <em>Bar Covell&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> No wine list? No problem. In fact that&#39;s the whole idea. Co-owner Matthew Kaner is behind the bar to make certain your palate is both intrigued and well sated. He may suggest an obscure wine or a widely known offering; depending on what preferences you share with him. This unconventional approach has earned Kaner lots of recognition, including the prestigious Food and Wine Sommelier of the Year award. The lively, yet intimate bar is well stocked with imports, as well as offerings from Matthew&#39;s own Central Coast backyard. With one hundred and fifty selections by the glass, you are bound to find something that will stimulate your mind and taste buds. Located in lively Silver Lake, just 5 miles from downtown Los Angeles, it&#39;s well worth a visit.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Moscow </strong>- <em>The Grand Cru</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The world&#39;s most expensive city has its share of prestigious wine bars. The Grand Cru chain of wine stores and bars has locations in both Moscow and St Petersburg. It is the brainchild of Maxim Kashirin, who wanted to create a unique, upscale experience for his discerning consumers. The wine bar opened its doors in 2004 to the delight of the cognoscenti. Small and cozy, it wows with the finest wine selection in the city. Chef Adrian Quetglas Spanish influence is seen throughout a short, yet well executed menu.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>New York</strong> - <em>Morrell Wine Bar</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When visiting New York City, make sure to stop by this wine institution. Morrell Wine Bar is the city&rsquo;s oldest. &nbsp;Established in 1947, with a tiny wine shop on East 49th it grew to a large retail store and a renown wine bar at One Rockefeller Center. It features hundred and fifty wines by the glass, one of the largest, if not the largest, selections in the city. The company&rsquo;s formidable collection of &quot;unobtainables,&quot; amassed over decades, boasts some of the most difficult to find wine bottles in the world. It&rsquo;s great place for lunch and people watching while sipping a rare vintage.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Paris</strong> - <em>Les 110 de Taillevent</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Paris is a city where lifetime memories are made. Make one of those memories a visit to Les 110 de Taillevent wine bar, named as such in honor of hundred and ten wines available by the glass. Have lunch at the brasserie, which offers a unique sommelier-inspired menu in which each dish is associated with potential wine options. A stone&#39;s throw from Champs-Elysees, Restaurant Taillevent has wowed its patrons with terrific food and wine offerings since 1946. Based on an engaging concept of pairing your own food and wine, they offer four choices of wine with each course. Patrons can&#39;t get enough of the quality, creativity and diverse choices this Parisian gem offers.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Rome</strong> - <em>Cul de Sac</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Located in the heart of the Eternal City, on a charming square south of bustling Piazza Navona, Cul de Sac opened its doors in 1977. It was Rome&#39;s first wine bar. The few modest sidewalk tables are highly sought after and fill up in an instant. It is a long, galley shaped space with shelves of wine bottles lining the walls and a giant counter where you can sample on array of unique cheeses and charcuterie, order a freshly made, delicious salad or sumptuous pasta. Due to its vast selection of Italian wines, it has few rivals in Rome. There are dozens by-the-glass options, great regional fare and friendly waiters.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>San Francisco</strong> - <em>Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A must visit for anyone visiting Baghdad by the Bay, is the Ferry Building, a culinary mecca, where the hallways are perennially packed with locals, tourists, and chefs seeking the freshest produce, meats and cheese. While there, don&#39;t miss Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant. &nbsp;They offer three dozen bottles from around the globe by the glass or as a flight, as well as fine cheeses and charcuterie. It overlooks Ferry Building&rsquo;s mall, which offers great people watching while you snack and sip. If you are in the wine country, there is another, equally impressive location in Napa Valley&#39;s Oxbow marketplace.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Tokyo</strong> - <em>Ahiru Store</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Japanese consumers have become enthusiastic followers of natural wines. Ahiru Store capitalized on that trend with sommelier/owner Teruhiko Saito offering a large selection of natural, organic and/or biodynamic wines by the glass. This tiny, cozy corner bar is Tokyo&#39;s best kept secret. Teruhiko manages the wine list, his sister whips up superior bistro fare from her microscopic kitchen. She is especially known for her fantastic breads and house made sausages. The bar&#39;s reputation is far larger than its diminutive size; it&#39;s challenging to nab one of their sight bar stools yet well worth the effort.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 04 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6728 Cava, But Not As You Know It! http://www.snooth.com/articles/cava-but-not-as-you-know-it/?viewall=1 John Downes <p>Christmas menus are already starting to engage the minds of chefs and one of them asked me last week for a wine match with his special recipe Christmas cake. I surprised him by suggesting Cava -- not any old Cava but one with a &pound;25 ($37.81) price tag. &ldquo;Twenty five quid! What, for Cava? You&rsquo;re &lsquo;aving a larff&rdquo; he smiled. I have to confess that until a recent trip to Spain&rsquo;s Cava Country I hadn&rsquo;t tasted many top drawer aged Cavas; yes, they&rsquo;re expensive but some really hit the spot.<br /> </p> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6723 The World’s Most Undervalued Wines: Chilean Pinot Noir http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-world-ys-most-undervalued-wines-chilean-pinot-noir/?viewall=1 Gabe Sasso <p>Everyone wants a good deal. It doesn&rsquo;t matter what you&rsquo;re buying, we all like to save a buck. In the wine world there are several ways to save money and get a good bottle of wine. One in particular is to shop in categories that aren&rsquo;t as popular, well known or highly scored as some others. There are a multitude of reasons a particular category might not be as highly valued as it should be; too often it&rsquo;s simply public perception or consumer awareness. My goal here is to uncover those smoking gun classifications that are criminally underrated and report on them. If I do my job well, they&rsquo;ll eventually just be good wines at a fair price.<br /> Chilean Pinot Noir is one of the most criminally undervalued wine categories on the planet. Quite frankly I can&rsquo;t believe it&rsquo;s still the secret that it is to so many wine lovers. Pinot Noir is one of the single most popular grapes in the world. A &ldquo;truism&rdquo; people like to throw around is that there is no such thing as a good deal in Pinot Noir. Well Chile puts the lie to that pretty easily. One of the things that sets Chile apart from other wine growing countries is the large number of different microclimates, elevations, soil types and such that exist. With more diversity in their terroir than most countries they have the ability to do well with a wide array of grapes. Another specific thing they have in their favor is some 3,000 miles of coast line. Pinot thrives in cooler climates and Chile has numerous vineyard sites that are tailor made for growing this notoriously difficult to master grape. Add to that the fact that most wine drinkers simply have yet to wrap their brain around great Pinot Noir coming from South America and you have a somewhat perfect storm of incredible values on terrific Pinot Noir loaded with varietal typicity.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As with any other category, not every offering is a winner. Likewise not every Pinot coming out of Chile is great or worth drinking, but many of them are. The price points vary too, but the common denominator in the selections worth seeking out is the relationship between the level of quality in the bottle and the price they&rsquo;re selling for. In every case below these exact wines would and could sell for much higher prices if more people realized how great Chilean Pinot can be, or if they were from an area somewhat better known for this grape. With all of this in mind, I recently tasted through an array of Chilean Pinot&rsquo;s looking for wines to help prove my theory. I present them here for your drinking (and money saving) pleasure.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/santa-rita-pinot-noir-120-2014/"><strong>Santa Rita 120 Pinot Noir </strong></a>($10)</div><br /> <div><br /> The fruit for this wine comes from Chile&rsquo;s Central valley. Black cherry aromas dominate the nose. Layered black and red fruits fill the palate along with bits of savory herb. Continued red fruits and a touch of earth are present on the finish. This fresh and easy going Pinot simply has much more varietal typicity than you will get out of most selections in this price category. This is not benchmark Pinot, it is however a nice everyday Pinot; for $10 that&rsquo;s precisely what I&rsquo;m looking for.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/concha-y-toro-casillero-del-diablo-reserva-privada-2014/"><strong>Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo Reserva</strong></a> ($12)</div><br /> <div><br /> This is produced from fruit sourced in various areas of Chile. Bright red cherry aromas and a bit of sage burst from the nose here. The palate is stuffed with ripe wild strawberry and continued cherry character. Cinnamon, clove, hints of anise and more red fruit flavors are all part of the finish. This is a straight forward and relatively light bodied expression of Pinot with good typicity. I found this particularly enjoyable sipped alone.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/hacienda-araucano-pinot-noir-2013/"><strong>Hacienda Araucano 2013 Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($14)</div><br /> <div><br /> The Central Valley of Chile is the source of the fruit for this wine. Red fruit aromas emerge from the nose along with savory herbs and a bit or earthiness. Red plum and cherry flavors are in strong evidence on the palate along with a touch of raspberry. The soft and silky finish is stuffed with minerals and hints of kirsch liqueur, as well as a bit of chocolate. This Pinot has tons of clean, fresh fruit flavors. It&rsquo;ll work splendidly with a wide range of foods. There is a lot of Pinot here for very little money.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/montes-alpha-pinot-noir-2008-6/"><strong>Montes Alpha Pinot Noir </strong></a>($20)</div><br /> <div><br /> The Aconcagua Valley is where the vineyards for this wine are situated. The coastal mountain area has different exposures to the sun. The nose is dotted with red and black cherry aromas. Raspberry, black cherry and a hint of truffle are present on the somewhat weighty palate. An impressive spice component plays along as well and leads right into the finish which shows off plum, black tea, sour cherry and minerals. If you like a Pinot with a touch more heft and body while still remaining purely Pinot, this is the offering for you. It really benefited from 45 minutes in the decanter.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/ritual-pinot-noir-2014/"><strong>Ritual 2014 Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($20)</div><br /> <div><br /> The fruit comes from Casablanca Valley, a cool area less than 30 kilometers from the ocean. It spent 12 months in French oak; 30% were new. One vintage after another I have been drinking this wine and always find it to be delicious, well made and an exceptional value; the 2014 is no exception. Ripe wild strawberry and a gentle hint of cola explode from the nose. The palate is studded with tons of fresh fruit flavors. Cherry, strawberry, light plum and a hint of red raspberry are all present. Earth, chicory, bits of thyme and light sour red fruits are all present on the long finish. You&rsquo;re going to have a hard time doing better for $20 than this selection.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/concha-y-toro-pinot-noir-marques-de-casa-concha-2013/"><strong>Concha y Toro Marqu&eacute;s de Casa Concha 2013 Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($25)</div><br /> <div><br /> This is a single vineyard wine from the Limari region. Hints of dust, oodles of cherry and a touch of rosemary are all present in the nose. This offering is spectacularly dry with red and black fruits, spice and black tea elements all dancing together on the solid palate. Heaps of earth, sour black fruits, and mineral elements are all in play on the above average finish. Firm acid keeps everything in check. This one is tasty on its own, but shines with roasted white meats, mushroom heavy dishes, and the like.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/matetic-corralillo-pinot-noir-2013/"><strong>Matetic 2013 Coralillo Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($28)</div><br /> <div><br /> The fruit comes from two of the wineries organic vineyards. 16% comes from the Valle Hermosa located 10 kilometers from the ocean. The cherry red hue is precisely the color I think of when Pinot comes to mind, the enormously fragrant nose is filled with red fruit, spice and hints of savory herb. Strawberry, red cherry, and wisps of red apple dominate the gently layered and enormously expressive palate. Cinnamon, clove and continued red fruit flavors fill the long finish. This wine is incredibly irresistible and hard to put down. It&rsquo;s so light and perfect on the tongue while being stuffed with wave after wave of pure Pinot character. If you want to see the great levels Pinot can achieve in Chile, this is a fine place to begin.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/koyle-pinot-noir-costa-2012/"><strong>Koyle 2012 Costa Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($35)</div><br /> <div><br /> A vineyard site that is situated just five and a half miles from the Pacific Ocean is the fruit source for this wine. Two separate exposures, one north the other south exist at this property. Each is harvested and vinified separately; concrete eggs for one, French oak for the other. After 12 months of aging they are blended prior to bottling. The nose is deeply layered with red and black fruit and a bit of pleasing funk. The palate is jammed with both fresh and dry fruits; mostly red, some black. Rhubarb, sour cherry, black tea, and wisps of cocoa appear on the long finish. The texture, weight and mouth-feel of this selection elevate an appealing wine to a higher, more sophisticated level. When I think of the stunning values of Chilean Pinot out there at the high end, examples like this come to mind.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Each of the wines above showcases different sides of Pinot Noir. They&rsquo;re made from a host of places, in a variety of styles, and with different intents. What connects them all together is that each of them does a fine job showing off Pinot character, they&rsquo;re all good values relative to their price points and quality levels and they&rsquo;re all purely Chile. Drink them up, while Chilean Pinot is still a steal.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Gabe Sasso is a freelance writer. In addition to his own blog,&nbsp;<a href="http://gabesview.com/"><strong>GabesView.com</strong></a>, founded in 2007, he has been the wine columnist for&nbsp;<a href="http://bullzeye.com/"><strong>Bullz-Eye.com</strong></a>&nbsp;since January of 2009, and writes a weekly Wine &amp; Spirits column for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/users/gabesasso/contact"><strong>The Daily Meal</strong></a>. In 2009 he founded&nbsp;<a href="http://www.drinkdrycreek.com/"><strong>Drink Dry Creek</strong></a>, dedicated to that appellation in California. His curiosity about wine stems from, in no small part, his large Italian family. Most of his uncles, his father and his grandfathers were home wine makers. With that and many childhood trips to Italy as his baptism into wine, his wine interest flourished.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6718 Special Occasion Wines Worth The Price http://www.snooth.com/articles/special-occasion-wines-worth-the-price/?viewall=1 Snooth Editorial <p>&lsquo;Tis the season to break your piggy bank and spend its contents on some higher-priced wines! We spend a lot of time on Snooth talking about and <a href="https://www.snooth.com/offers/c/all/"><strong>presenting you with crackerjack value wines</strong></a>. Our goal is to demonstrate that cost is not always commensurate with quality. But oftentimes there is a very valid reason why you should invest in a higher-priced bottle. We asked some of the web&rsquo;s top wine writers to choose a single high-priced wine that is truly worth its cost. For this exercise, &ldquo;high&rdquo; has been defined as thirty dollars or more. Which worthy bottle will you have on your holiday table this year? Scroll through the slides for expert suggestions, and let the holiday splurges begin!<br /> </p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6714 Holiday Wine Etiquette For Novices http://www.snooth.com/articles/holiday-wine-etiquette-for-novices/?viewall=1 Grigor Licul <p>The first rule: Exercise moderation in moistening your windpipe while working! Wine is responsible for an occasional scandal, and I want to start this article in a responsible way. But business deals are framed during dinner conversations over wine, and wine provides a liquid foundation for your dearest relationships in professional life. We will have many occasions to share wine with our colleagues this holiday season. In this article, I will focus on three main scenarios for wine in a business context: gifting, hosting business dinners, and formal functions. It&rsquo;s time to prepare for that holiday party! I will make sure that you are ready.<br /> <strong>Gifting</strong><br /> <div><br /> The ability to choose wine appropriately, the elements of price and context, will play important roles when gifting wine. If you are buying a bottle with a specific person in mind, consider the associations relevant to the receiver, or choose a wine that holds special significance for your relationship with the individual (milestones, anniversaries etc.). You can choose a wine from the person&rsquo;s favorite vacation spot or ancestral homeland or a vintage of somebody&rsquo;s birth year. This type of foresight and consideration ensures that the gift takes on a personal character and enhances the gifting occasion beyond the intrinsic merit of the wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Choosing carefully when purchasing for a group of people is also worth a certain amount of thought. Not long ago, I gifted a few select bottles to a group of Chinese real estate investors. Not knowing their personal tastes, or anything much beyond our professional relationship I relied on common knowledge &ndash; in Chinese culture number eight is considered a particularly lucky number and is welcomed among the Chinese due to its connection with prosperity and wealth. I was also aware of the growing taste for Bordeaux wines in China. So, I choose an excellent 1998 St. Emilion, as in 2008 Bordeaux had a challenging weather resulting in somewhat weaker wines. &nbsp;I am happy to report that my gift was well received, and it provided a proper context for the recipients to share additional information on the importance of numerology in Chinese culture at our next meeting.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>NOTE: Gifting worthy wines is expensive, and you should consider buying wine in bulk &ndash; wholesalers offer discounts of up to 30% when buying more than a case of wine.&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Business Dinners</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Upon choosing a venue and making the reservation, the host can study the wine list and consult the restaurant&rsquo;s sommelier in advance. However, this is often unrealistic and one needs to learn to absorb any wine list fast. Unfortunately, the availability of wines of every variety has given rise to encyclopedic wine lists which seem to serve no practical purpose except to awe and confuse. As a host, it is your duty to figure out which wine optimally compliments which dish within the confines of your budget.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Cuisine</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> A wine should never be ordered before the food, as the food needs to be suitably accompanied. As a rule of thumb, wines of certain geographical pedigree compliment dishes of the same. For example, if eating an Italian dish with a generous amount of tomatoes, a classic Chianti would be an amiable choice. By the same token, if having a trout in a French restaurant, a Loire white may be an appropriate choice. And for a steak, go with big Californian varietals with good amount of oak / tannins &ndash; Cabs, Syrah, or a good Zin are always a safe bet and true crowd pleasers. If dishes of the opposite spectrum are being ordered, and one bottle / type of wine cannot compliment all of the dishes at the table, ordering multiple types of wine is necessary. &nbsp;In this case a single glass of wine, or carafes and half bottles chosen through the above described shortcut are practical options for complementing a particular dish.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Price</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> Your choice of wine will be guided in part by the price. You know your price and you should stick to it. &nbsp;Most of the time, the most expensive wine is not the most prudent choice. By choosing appropriately you will display skill and fiscal responsibility. Keep in mind &ndash; you are being judged. Once you narrow the region and type of wine, read the wine list from the right &ndash; price first &ndash; and choose a bottle in your price range.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong><em>NOTE: Shortcut to pairing wine with dish quickly: country or region of origin of the dish ➔ regional wine ➔ white/red ➔ price ➔ wine&nbsp;</em></strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When the wine arrives at the table, as the person who placed an order you will be given a taste. The purpose is to inspect the wine, not to decide if you like it. Sniff it, make a note of its color, roll it around your mouth, and if the wine is not spoiled, approve it by a nod to the server. Only if the wine is spoiled in some way should you send the wine back. As the wine is being poured, it is appropriate to provide a bit of a context around your choice &ndash; a relevant piece of trivia, or a short personal anecdote regarding the type of wine. This is another good reason to study the list ahead of time!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Formal Functions</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> It is unfortunate that at many formal functions vin ordinaires of lower quality are served, regardless of the stature of the event or number of distinguished throats at attendance. The purpose of wine at these functions is more in thought than in the effect, and you should focus not on the taste of the wine, but on the table manners and etiquette - keep the glass at the stem, not the bulb; leave an empty glass at the tray, not the table; stand up and raise the glass for the toast.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While on the subject of manners, it is inappropriate to drain a glass completely at a formal function. &nbsp;Proper or not, there is a practical benefit to keeping your glass half full - you will always be ready for an unexpected toast. While toasting people often like to clink their glass against the glass of another guest. Although this was at one point considered improper, and it remains so in certain circles, it has become prevalent. To stay on the safe side, do not initiate the clink, but oblige others if they initiate it. It is very important to look the other person in the eyes while clinking the glass.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>NOTE: At formal functions, consider drinking white wine vs. red wine, as red wine will make your lips and teeth red.</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>In Conclusion</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There is much more to wine in a business context than described above. As there is no end to what you can learn about wine, consider this a primer. Behave with dignity and courtesy, denounce excess, enjoy a glass, and mingle!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> What are your wine etiquette tips? Let us know in the comments.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Grigor Licul studied the romance and science of wine under Dr. Harvard Lyman at Stony Brook University, while attaining a graduate degree in Biochemistry. He is a New York City real estate professional known for his ability to find the perfect properties for his customers as well as to choose the perfect wines for the dinner parties. Grigor&rsquo;s international clientele base and endless curiosity for what makes some wines great and other ones less so, takes him regularly to the world&rsquo;s top and lesser known wine producing regions. For speaking engagements, please see: <a href="http://www.orate.me/speakers/1404-grigor-licul"><strong>www.orate.me/speakers/1404-grigor-licul</strong></a>. Personal web page: <a href="http://www.grigorlicul.com/"><strong>www.grigorlicul.com</strong></a></em></div><br /> </p> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0500 article6716