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Monday, Jan. 4, 2010
As we close the decade, I figured we'd finish out with the traditional holiday drink. After all, what's a party without a little bubbly… Champagne is the region in France where this celebration-and-headache-inducing wine originated. "Champagne," in common parlance, has come to mean just about any sparkling wine. The only wines...
Monday, Jan. 11, 2010
When I started this little endeavor, I wanted to provide a resource for basic, everyday people to find basic, everyday wine. I was having a conversation with the Sweet Partner in Crime the other day, and she made a suggestion: "Why not do wine basics? If people have a base to work from, they'll appreciate it even more." There's a reason she's the smart one in the relationship...
Monday, Jan. 18, 2010

Moving to the other side of the wine aisle…

When I started drinking wine, I thought that red wine came from red grapes and white wine from white grapes. I was a little surprised when I saw a picture of ripening sauvignon blanc grapes next to some cabernet sauvignon grapes. They're practically identical...
Monday, Jan. 25, 2010

Pinot Noir, the elegant grape.

Let's now explore the differences between wines made from the same grape. While it's easy to tell a pinot noir from a syrah, learning how a single grape like pinot noir can differ gives you an opportunity to find a wine you really like and to find the perfect wine for a specific occasion, food, evening, gathering, person, etc...
Monday, April 13, 2009
I like to know what I'm drinking. One nice thing about American wines is that they're generally pretty easy to figure out. A sauvignon blanc will say "sauvignon blanc" right there on the label. Merlot is "merlot." White Zinfandel is...well...pink. No great mysteries...
Monday, March 30, 2009
One of the most lasting images of decadence and detachment is that of the Roman Emperor Nero allegedly fiddling while Rome burned. This, of course, is an apocryphal story. Nero reigned over the Roman empire from 54 to 68 A.D. The violin wasn't invented until the 1500's. This doesn't rule out the possibility of him doing...
Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009
Frequent readers of The Vine will know I'm a movie person. When I talk to people about wine writing, if I'd had a nickel for everyone who said, "You mean like in Sideways?" I'd be able to quit my day job. Whatever a person's opinion of that movie, one fateful line stands out -- Miles' immortal rant just before his double date: "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any f***ng Merlot!" And thus began the decline of the merlot grape in the United States.Merlot's been grown...
Monday, Jan. 26, 2009
Hang out with wine folks long enough, and eventually someone will start talking about terroir. Wine's typically not something to be scared of, so what are they talking about. No, not "terror" -- "terroir!" It's pronounced "tare-WAHR" and is the backbone of any wine. Specifically -- it's where the bloomin' grapes actually come from. The term is often used in discussions of the soil in which grapes grow, but I prefer the broader definition. Terroir certainly include the soil itself, but it also encompasses the climate in which the grapes grow and the topography...
Monday, Dec. 22, 2008
Party Season: the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Most folks' dance cards fill up early with social engagements -- dinners with groups of friends, notorious office parties, and general gatherings for people to mingle, drink, and be merry. Custom demands you "bring something to the party," and wine's always a good choice. All you need is a corkscrew and a sound system -- you've got yourself an official shindig.

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