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Natural And Organic And Clean (wine), Oh My!

by Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier

Just like Dorothy and her cohorts in the Wizard of Oz, there is a lot of chatter about the virtues of these wine ‘styles.’ Are these just marketing terms to capture our discretionary wine dollars or is there real substance and value? First, let us look at a bit of history. Once upon a time, vineyards were planted, fertilized, and protected by using manure and other animal by-products. After World War II, the focus was on growing food rather than on the production of munitions. It began the age of science in wine making which served to give people the illusion that everything could be controlled, and perfect wines could be crafted. That is, until the realization that using a lot of chemicals for any type of food production was not a good thing, for the health of the people or for t...

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Pandemic Wine Tasting Opportunities

by Tim Leiwig

During these different and sometimes difficult times, it is likely the place(s) you were going for wine tastings are currently not offering them. We need to explore alternatives. This is a great time to seek out wines from other regions in the USA or countries or other regions in other countries that perhaps you have little or no knowledge. You can do some research online about the area of which you have interest and learn about the wines they make and if they are available where you live, or can be shipped to you. While you certainly can try an international grape variety from somewhere else (international grape varieties are grown in numerous places throughout the world, i.e. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir); consider venturing out and try a grape that is indigenous to...

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Behind Bubbles

by Julia Menn - The Wee Tipple, Llc

Sparkling wines are one of the great joys in life. Easy to pair with all sorts of food, perfect for any occasion (and I recommend enjoying the bubbles even when there is no “special” reason), they come in white, rosé, and red, can be sweet to bone dry, with all sorts of flavours like citrus, red cherries, or yummy pastry. Did you know that there are different ways to make sparkling wine? And that different regions have different laws governing the naming of those wines? Let’s start with the most well-known sparkling wine out there: Champagne. This is a region in France and the sparkling wines produced must follow stringent legal guidelines in order to bear that title. Only wines made following these rules and produced in Champagne, France may be called Champagne (although many...

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3 Things I Wish People Understood About The Current Covid Wine Market

by Mark Aselstine

Rarely, if ever has there been such a large disconnect between what people think is happening with my business and what is actually happening. Right now, everyone seems to think that my business, as well as, all small wineries must be selling more wine than ever before. In fact, we’re basically closed because our wine sits at a location, which is non essential, so no, I can’t even sell you any wine, even if you wanted to buy some from me in the first place. Here’s three things that I wish people understood about the current wine market in the time of Covid. Small brands are hurting, certain large brands are getting all the new sales and online sales aren’t necessarily the panacea we thought they’d be for the industry. 1) No, the one small winery whose email list you happen to...

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Virtual Tasting Via Zoom….what’s In Your Glass?

by Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier

With SIP and not being able to wander the wine aisles, what are you buying and what are you drinking? Personally, I love strolling the aisles in the ‘candy store’ (AKA wine shop) and touching the merchandise. It’s frustrating not being able to do so as I do a lot of reading and I always feel as if I hit the jackpot when I stumble upon a wine I have been reading about. It’s the thrill of a treasure hunt with an unexpected silver lining. By using Zoom as a way of sharing a glass of wine (or a cocktail), we have been labeling our chats as a ‘virtual wine tasting.’ That puts the pressure on me to try and choose a wine to ‘share’ that will be agreeable to a broad range of palates while not losing sight of the fact that there will not be a meal to accompany the offering. ...

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Samuel Pepys’ Diary: Haut-brion & 1665 Plague Vs. 2020 Coronavirus…

by Stuart George

The English diarist Samuel Pepys noted on Friday 10th April 1663 a visit to the “Royall Oak Tavern, in Lumbard Street… and here drank a sort of French wine, called Ho Bryan (Haut-Brion), that hath a good and most particular taste that I never met with.” Two years after Pepys enjoyed drinking Château Haut-Brion at the Royall Oak Tavern, London was ravaged by The Great (Bubonic) Plague, which was transmitted by fleas that lived on rats. Coronavirus cannot compare to the deadly bubonic plague, but it is possible to see parallels between 1665 and 2020 from Pepys’ diary. (The 1665 Plague is also chronicled in Daniel Defoe’s 1772 novel "A Journal of the Plague Year".) On 30th April, Pepys wrote in his diary, “Great fears of the sickenesse here in the City, it being said that tw...

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While 'sheltering In', How About Cleaning Out Your Wine Cellar?

by Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier

I make the analogy of going to the wine shop like a kid going to a candy store. I want one of everything and have a habit of buying several bottles of each so I can taste and evaluate them over time. Now, while the cellar is organized and I use an Excel spreadsheet to categorize my treasures, there are usually some bottles that are overlooked and may still be awesome or may be past their prime. Earlier this year, in the spirit of cleaning things out, we hosted a ‘Decade Party’ where we tasted all wines from the 2010 vintage. The selections were from all around the world and ultimately from our cellar(s) so we knew they had been stored properly. Making a list of the 2010 wines on hand, I then made pairs of similar wines (by varietal, region or by food pairing options). With a doz...

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Robert Parker Brings Matter Of Taste To Nyc Hundreds Of Wine Enthusiasts Gather To Sample Some Of The World’s Greatest Wines

by Danny Klein And Frances Denmark

When a day starts by opening a 1963 Penfold’s Grange and a Hundred Acre 2005 Single vineyard bottling… you know it’s going to be a great day! Those were just two of the highlights on November 23 when the world-renowned Matter of Taste (MOT) global series of exclusive wine events for Robert Parker Wine Advocate members and guests returned to New York City for the final event of 2019. This year’s fourth edition of the NYC Matter of Taste event took place at a new venue moving uptown to the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan (originally the famous Ziegfeld Theater). With unique, top tier tastings in Master Classes and over 250 wine vendors set to pour over 400 wines in the big hall. When the doors opened at Noon, everything was in place. Each premium wine, handpicked for its out...

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Have You Heard Of The Union Des Grands Crus De Bordeaux?

by Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier

This organization was first conceived by a group of small estate owners in Bordeaux interested in collectively forming promotional initiatives around the world. The idea grew, the Union was formed and today, in cooperation with distributors, brokers and merchants, they host 80 events a year in over a dozen countries. The focus is to present their latest vintage to some 50,000 or so professionals and wine lovers. The Union consists of 134 Chateau members. On January 24, 2020 (in San Francisco) the 2017 vintage was introduced with more than 70 chateau owners and representatives pouring their wines. There is a ‘trade only’ tasting during the day and K&L Wine Merchants hosts a ‘public tasting’ in the early evening. This event is listed on their website and sells out each year. ...

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Roadside America: Long Island Wine Country

by Tour

While Manhattan has endless offerings for the curious traveler, the honking cabs and incessant chaos of the city can leave you needing a break from your vacation. For a laid-back day trip, head to eastern Long Island and explore their expansive wine country. Getting There From Manhattan, you can take a train from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma and then transfer for the train to Mattituck. Just be sure to check the schedule, as the train to Mattituck only runs a few times per day. You can also take the Hampton Jitney on the North Fork Line, with the best stops to get off being Mattituck, Cutchogue and Peconic. The wineries are close together, so you can technically walk from one to the other, although better options would be to take a taxi, bike, tour or car. Renting a car is a smart option a...

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