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Why I Stopped Buying Everyday Wine

by Stephen Zocchi

This story starts many years ago when I first met my wife. She wasn’t a wine drinker, but decided to join me in one of my passions. I remember my excitement as I dashed to the wine cooler to get something special for our first bottle together. The next evening, when I casually grabbed a bottle from my everyday stash, she asked me why I wasn’t getting the wine from the same place. “That’s where I keep the best bottles,” I responded, “these are the ones I drink as everyday wine.” Then she said it… “Why do you ever drink anything beside the good bottles? What’s the point of everyday wine?” That was the day my wine world came crashing down. I had been making a monthly pilgrimage to my big wine retailer of choice armed with lists of best buys. Scouring the shelves, I...

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“so Life Was Never Better Than In 1963…” | Noval 1963 And Tissington Hall

by Stuart George

Philip Larkin’s poem “Annus Mirabilis” begins: Sexual intercourse began In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me) – Between the end of the “Chatterley” ban And the Beatles’ first LP. (I quoted another line from the poem in this post’s title. We wouldn’t want anybody getting the wrong idea if they received an email with “sexual intercourse” as the subject…) Vintage Port didn’t begin in 1963 – but it sort of restarted… In 1963, a cold winter was followed by a wet spring, which delayed flowering and produced the latest véraison since 1946. Apart from two periods of hot weather in July and August, the summer was cool and the crop ripened very slowly. The harvest started on 7th October with perfect weather – hot days and c...

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“talbot And England’s Right” | 1982 Château Talbot

by Stuart George

In Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 1, John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, says: Go to the gates of Bordeaux, trumpeter: Summon their general unto the wall… God and Saint George, Talbot and England’s right. Château Talbot in Saint-Julien was named after (the real) John Talbot, who apparently lived there in 1452-53 when he was “Connétable Talbot”, governor of the old province of Guyenne, which corresponded roughly to the Roman province of Aquitania Secunda (Aquitaine) and the archdiocese of Bordeaux. Talbot was defeated at the Battle of Castillon in 1453, which led to the English loss – after three centuries – of Aquitaine ????. (Never mind Brexit – even the French know that Aquitaine really belongs to England ???? ????????????????????????????) Historical...

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Coravin Review: Is It Really Worth It?

by Jennifer Evans

There are A LOT of options when it comes to preserving your wine, from bottle stoppers to air pumps to gas systems. There are pros and cons to each system, and really none is better or worse than another. They just have different purposes. A bottle stopper works perfectly well if you’re planning to finish the bottle the next day, while an air pump will keep your wine fresh for a few days. A gas system that displaces oxygen in the bottle will keep your wine good for a few weeks. Want a summary of the different preservation systems? We’ve got you covered. And then there is the granddaddy of wine preservation: The Coravin. This bad boy claims to make your wine taste like it’s never been opened, even if you pour a glass years after the first one. Sounds too good to be true, right? ...

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World Wine Reality Check.

by Lisa Graziano Csw, Cse

This just in from Vinepair.com, The 25 Best Rose Wines of 2021. I read this one in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. Big mistake. It just got me all fired up about the egregious disparities between the US and the rest of the world. Again. 12 of the "best" rosés in this lineup are American. Of those 12, 11 are from California. Biased? I am thinking so. Then there is the subject of price. "...over half of the bottles here clock in at under $25...making them great case-buys." LOL. Sounds expensive to me. Maybe that is because here in Portugal I can buy fabulous rosés for about $2-5 per bottle. If I want to seriously splurge, I can drop 24 euros on an outstanding single varietal Touriga Nacional rosé. I am sure it would compare favorably with the $40 Provence r...

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Sliding Into Summer Wine Pairings

by Jennifer Evans

Summer is in full swing here in southeast Texas and, if it hasn’t gotten there yet where you’re at, it will be soon! When I think of summer, it’s all about hot days, sunshine, pool parties, outdoor concerts, and campfires. Here are our picks for summer wine and food pairings that will help make sure this is a summer to remember (for all the right reasons). At the beach - Fried chicken and sparkling wine- I know, this seems a little incongruous, but it really can work. Sparkling wine is rich and refreshing, so the acid will balance the fattiness of the fried chicken but won’t be overpowered by the rich flavors and texture. The saltiness of the chicken will also help draw out some of the flavors in the sparkling wine. Go for a dry sparkling wine (brut) over sweet. ...

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4 Easy And Versatile Wine Cocktails To Spice Up Your Night

by Jennifer Evans

I know this may sound crazy, but every so often you may want to mix up your wine routine. You can try some new varietals, which is always fun, or you can spice up the wines you have on your rack by making cocktails. We love wine cocktails because 1) they have wine in them, and 2) it’s easy to tailor any cocktail recipe to suit the wine you have on hand. Here are 5 of our favorites: Sangria Sangria is a classic wine cocktail that is ridiculously easy to make and makes any party (or Tuesday night) more festive. Sangria is so easy to make that I made it once on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon with leftover fruit and boxed wine. A form of sangria has been around since at least 200 B.C., when ancient Greeks, Romans, and Spaniards would mix sugar, spices, and fruit with wine. Dif...

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“1983… (a Vintage Port I Should Turn To Be)”? Jimi Hendrix And 1983 Taylor

by Stuart George

My office at 50 Brook Street is just up the road from 23 Brook Street, where Jimi Hendrix lived from June 1968 to March 1969. It is well worth a visit to admire the meticulous recreation of the flat as it was when Hendrix lived there. “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)” is a song recorded in 1968 for the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s third album "Electric Ladyland". Speaking of 1983 in Brook Street… We have a few bottles of Taylor’s Vintage Port. Overall, it was a very good Port vintage. The resulting wines were built to last, with ebullient tannins that have melted away over the years like the snow in Pinhão. The dilapidated labels of my bottles evidence long-term storage in a cool, damp cellar… Perfect! In the meantime, don’t overdo it with the “Bu...

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1966 Was A Good Year For English Football... And Pol Roger

by Stuart George

An Italian friend likes to remind me that England has won the FIFA World Cup only once, 55 years’ ago in 1966, and at home – as opposed to Italy’s four wins, three of which were overseas, and most recently in 2006… ☹️ In the year that England won the World Cup, it was an up and down viticultural year in Champagne. There was a vine-killing frost in the New Year of 1966; hailstorms during the summer months; and problems with mildew during a wet August. But the weather improved in September and October and some very nice wines were made (though probably not quite as good as 1964). This beautiful bottle of 1966 Pol Roger came from a private cellar in South East England. It’s been well-looked after during its 55-year lifespan. (Probably in better condition than a...

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1922 Fonseca Vintage Port | “april Is The Cruellest Month…”

by Stuart George

Famously (for Honours graduates of English Literature like me, anyway), 1922 is the year zero of 20th century literature – the year that saw the publication of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and James Joyce’s "Ulysses". It was also a fine Port vintage that was declared by most shippers. The 1922 Port wines were soigné, similar to those produced in 1917. This impenetrably dark (and impossibly rare) bottle of 1922 Fonseca Vintage Port was mouth-blown and hand-made (rather than machine-made). The neck (which had been wrapped to protect it in transit) has “stretch marks” – twists caused by the irregularity of mouth-blown glass. The bottle’s surface is gnarled rather than smooth. The punt (indented base) of the bottle has a conspicuous pontil “scar”, where the...

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