• No One Wants Dark Rosé
    What was the original offense that led every damned consumer to believe — unswervingly — that all darker-hued rosés are sweet? It’s like some unwritten law. Among the pallets of rosé that do sell, it’s always the same thing … it’s gotta be pale. I’ve quizzed customers on details about darker rosé’s Fall from Grace. What exactly was this first ‘sweet, dark’ ... read more
  • On Wine and Gender: A Critical History
    Heidi Klum as both Sophia Loren & Jayne Mansfield. Mark Seliger, 2002.This is the third and final article on Wine and Gender. The first, on femininity and wine, is here. The second, on masculinity and wine, is here. WHEN in history did we begin calling wines masculine or feminine? Prior to wine magazines and the modern tasting note, there was ... read more
  • On Wine and Gender: Chambertin = Masculine. But Why?
    Above: Rob Halford of Judas Priest: hypermasculinity at its finest. And it’s so great that he’s gay. (Source) This is the second in a three article series on Wine and Gender. Here is the first, on ‘feminine’ wines. IF we are to believe wine tasting notes, men are by definition muscular, tobacco-smoking, leather-toting brutes that smell like earth. Here’s a ... read more
  • On Wine and Gender: Chambolle = Feminine. But Why?
    Marlene Dietrich has a question for you.CAN there be something masculine or feminine in a wine? It’s a conceit that has haunted professional wine tasting notes for decades. But once you ponder the notion, it’s quite odd. And recently, some in the trade are casting a worrisome glance back at the tired dichotomies used to hastily differentiate wines. Consider this quote ... read more
  • Escape to Spring Mountain, Where Roots Run Deep In Napa Valley
    Sunny Stony Hill Vineyards. Photo: Alexander Rubin.Confessions: first, I’m usually drinking European wines, where dry farming is the law. And I’ve been pretty brutal to Napa Valley’s wine. The unholy alliance of high alcohol, high points, glamour marketing, and bombastic fruit profiles — the preferred drink of heavy-handed cologne wearers, whose senses are all but dead to the world — ... read more
  • Burgundy vs. Champagne: An 18th Century Flame War
    Is this the earliest recorded flame war between wine geeks? A searing debate raged in France from the mid-17th to mid-18th century between the Universities of Reims and Paris. Guy-Crescent Fagon, Royal Physician, and Louis XIV, his patient.It all started with a change in Louis XIV’s Royal Physician in 1693.  The previous Royal Physician, Antoine d’Aquin, was a fervent promoter ... read more
  • Robola: the Voice of Cephalonia’s Limestone
    Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece.Robola is often touted as Greece’s second noblest white grape1, forever trailing on the coattails of Assyrtiko. If Assyrtiko has a greater footprint in consumers’ minds, it’s in part due to the crushing influx of tourists to Santorini and the enduring affective link they build while traveling in Greece. But Robola remains a total mystery to the ... read more
  • A Thrilling, Endangered Grape from the Stunning Mountains of Northern Greece
    Vertical village (lower left) in the Zagori, nestled on a hillside. Image courtesy www.geozagori.grTHE ZAGORI region of Greece has only very recently become a hot “alternative” tourist destination — in part since it became a UNESCO protected geopark in 2010. The Zagori highlands, located within the Pindus mountain range in the larger Greek region of Epirus, are for the most part ... read more
  • Guess What’s In Your Bourgogne Rouge …
    La grappe de raisin, William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1868.I’ll say it again: I firmly believe any true Burgundy lover will regularly drink entry-level Bourgogne from carefully chosen producers. Granted, the keywords here are carefully chosen. Some producers’ Bourgogne rouge will be a mind-boggling value, a terroir–driven portal to their house style.  Others will range from serviceable to saddening. As I’m skeptical ... read more
  • How to Drive Your Cabernet Franc Crazy at the Dinner Table
    Homemade côte de boeuf and sauce Choron.Given this blog’s obvious indebtedness to François Rabelais, it’s long overdue that I sing praises of Loire Cabernet Franc — particularly Chinon. Last Thursday, thanks in large part to Thierry Germain, I discovered the most perfect food pairing in the universe for Loire Cabernet Franc. With a friend, we threw together an impromptu dinner ... read more