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Dry January- Is It For You?

by Alison Phillips

After a rather long, difficult and somewhat anti-social year, 2020 came to an end. To get through this annus horribilus, where we were discouraged from getting together with friends, couldn’t go to restaurants and bars because they were closed, somehow, we found ways to connect with others. From Zoom calls to social distanced driveway and garage get togethers, we arranged a time and place, grabbed our favourite beverages from the liquor store and socialized 2020 style. Everyone was talking about day drinking, or to heck with it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s 2020 everywhere, and alcoholic consumption and snacking, ordering take out and picking up food became the norm. Now, here we are. January 2021. We survived the chaos, but at what cost? Are we lazier now that we don’t...

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What Sweet, Fortified Wine Are You Serving With Christmas Dessert?

by Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier

By Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier As I am a first generation American with Hungarian heritage, I generally serve the highly sought after Tokaji wine, famous for its sweet, fruity, and acidic character. It is such an interesting grape! It is thick skinned but, as it ripens, the skins stretch and thin allowing the sunlight to penetrate, increasing the concentration of sugar. The sweetness level can vary depending upon how much residual sugar the winemaker decides to leave in the wine, how botrytized the grapes become and how the wine is ultimately blended. The sweetness is measured in ‘Puttonyos’ on a scale from 1 to 6 which is noted on the label. The most common is 5 Puttonyos. Now, when I say ‘sweet’, I do not want you to think of sweet as in cloying, grocery ...

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The Night Before Christmas

by Clement Clarke Moore



'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads. And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap. When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of midday to object...

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Quick Lobster Dishes - And Wine Pairings To Accompany Them

by Kevin Fagan

Whether served hot or cold, grilled or baked, preparing lobster is surprisingly easy. From the classic lobster bisque to the most original recipes, you will find easy-to-prepare or more sophisticated ideas around this highly prized shellfish and suggestions for the ideal lobster wine pairing. Lobsters are large marine crustaceans with ten legs and come in three main varieties: Cape lobster, Canadian or American lobster, and European lobster. Lobster is generally found in deep, cold waters. It weighs between 300 and 500g for a length of about 30 cm. Its shell is very thick. The upper part of its body consists of its head with long antennae on it, and its thorax filled with a creamy material, coral. The lower part has its abdomen, presenting seven rings and two large legs, and is the sect...

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5 Tips To Ace A Wine Education Course

by Marla Durben Hirsch

Any wine tasting can be educational. But if you want to become really knowledgeable in wine, it helps to obtain a wine certification. I decided that I wanted to become certified this year. To do that, I had to take an in-depth wine education course and pass a rigorous exam. Here’s how I learned how to ace a wine education course. 1. Choose Which Course Best Fits Your Needs There are several different wine education courses to choose from. Some certification programs specialize in a particular wine region or sommelier training. Your choice depends on your objective in taking a course. I opted to take the globally recognized wine education course offered by the renowned Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) because it provided a thorough all-around instruction of the main styl...

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The Emerging Importance Of The Czech Wine Industry In South Moravia

by Amanda Wilson

I was first introduced to Arielle by Alzbeta Gala - the other half of the Gala winery team - through a video of Arielle tasting and reviewing the Gala Welschriesling Hermes. My first reaction was, “Yes! Another American gets it!” Besides Heidi and myself, of course. The “it” in this case is Moravian wine from Czechia (aka the Czech Republic). Arielle DeSoucey is the founder of Civil Wines. Dedicated to educating the English speaking community on Moravian wines, I quickly realized we may be soul-sisters in our passion (ok maybe obsession) for Czech wines. Once we connected, we realized we could talk all day about Moravian wines together. She recently co-authored a brilliant article in the Council for European Studies’ Europe Now Journal with her sister Michaela DeSoucey, A...

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Selling Wine In 2020. And Why It Matters.

by Amanda Wilson

A pandemic. Election anxiety. Murder hornets. Fires. Protests and riots. Virtual schools. More hurricanes than we have letters for. Proof social media is changing humanity. Seriously - what’s not to stress about in 2020? At times it feels wrong, even futile to continue with business as usual amongst all the external pressures and anxieties we’re all experiencing. We say to ourselves things like, How is it appropriate for me to place a sales call right now? What do I say? I hear these kinds of comments from people across industries. Whether you’re selling software, marketing construction services, or printing t-shirts. We have something similar to survivor’s guilt, even though we’re all in this together. We think to ourselves that whomever we’re selling to is going to thin...

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1994 Lafite Rothschild: Lafite Of Clay...?

by Stuart George

At Arden Fine Wines, we get offered all sorts of stuff from all sorts of people. There has been a noticeable upturn this year in the amount of private clients approaching us with bottles of fine wine that they wish to sell. A dash to cash, perhaps, with people bottled-up at home and looking at what can be sold to raise money during these testing times. A recent example was Château Lafite 1994 – quite a nice Lafite, though lacking the intensity of superior vintages. This bottle was offered to us from a private seller on eBay, who had not realised that alcohol sales are strictly controlled on eBay. (For the record, Arden is an Approved Seller of wines on eBay.) When approached with an offer off this kind, I always ask: Where and when was the bottle acquired? Where ...

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Wedding Champagne: Pol Roger Cuvée De Réserve 1947

by Stuart George

Recently I was contacted by a client about a bottle that they wished to sell (perhaps more evidence of the dash to cash during lockdown): Pol Roger Cuvée de Réserve 1947. Not just the “normal”(!) 1947 Pol Roger – which was apparently Sir Winston Churchill’s “house Champagne” towards the end of his life – but a bottling that was disgorged on 29th July 1981 to commemorate the wedding of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. (NB it wasn’t served at the wedding.) It was a great Champagne vintage in 1947, the middle of a biennial trio that included 1945 and 1949. The summer was very hot and the harvest was precocious, starting in early September. Normally it would have been mid- to late-September. As a point of comparison, the grapes for th...

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Advent-tures In Holiday Wine: A Wine Advent Calendar Primer

by Jessica Ried

Sightings of Costco’s wine and beer Advent calendars began as early as September this year but ALDI is upping the ante by announcing that it is designating November 4, 2020 as the first annual “National Advent Calendar Day” to commemorate the release of the first of its 20 (!) calendars (not all wine). ALDI appears to be staking a claim of ownership over the holiday Advent tradition, but there are plenty of retailers across the country jumping on the bandwagon, so there should be availability regardless of your geographic location (at least in the U.S.). For wine lovers, it may seem too good to be true: 24 different wines to be sampled over the course of the holiday season - what could go wrong? With it looking exceedingly likely that we’ll all be sheltering-in-place for the re...

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