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Taste Test

by Jennifer Rosen

Can you separate oak tannins from seed tannins in a single sip? Know whether that’s tartaric or citric acid prickling your tongue? Find some wines undrinkably bitter or sharp, while those around you drink on unaware? Well, let’s hope you look good in tights; you may be a Supertaster. If you can’t do those things, don’t toss the Thighmaster yet. You still might have super powers; but it takes training to unleash them. In experiments dating to the 1930s, scientists defined three categories of how people taste. Fifty percent of the population are tasters who perceive flavors in a normal way, twenty five percent are non-tasters and miss out on a lot, and the other twenty five percent are super-tasters. Prepare to accept your lot. How well you taste is determined genetically...

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The Sting

by Jennifer Rosen

It’s a decent little Sushi joint; still, we have to wedge a coaster under one leg to keep the table from going ka-chunk when we lean on it. My friend Richard orders iced green tea. He takes a sip, then says to the waitress, “This probably isn’t right, but could you bring me some sweetener?” But that’s exactly right! The tea is high in tannin and acid – he knows instinctively that sugar would complete the balance. In wine, “balance” sounds like an esoteric concept like Feng Shui or Sinn Fein (whatever - I can’t pronounce or fathom either one), the sort of thing that only people with more finely tuned sensibilities than yours can appreciate. Actually, it’s as simple and instinctive as mixing iced tea. Or wedging a wobbly table, except instead of legs to even up you...

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Midnight At The Oasis

by Jennifer Rosen

“Your wine glass is on the right, water on the left. Bon appetit.” That’s all they say before leaving us in the dark, or, in this case, Dans le Noir, a restaurant in Paris that gives new meaning to the concept of blind tasting. Enter the brightly-lit bar, crammed with young trendies, and you could be in any urban restaurant. Except there’s an alcove for seeing-eye dogs. And they confiscate cell-phones, watches and anything else luminous and suggest you visit the john now or forever hold your piss. We order before entering the dining room. My date opts for the surprise menu. Then our waitress emerges from within. Caroline has beautiful chocolate skin, meticulous cornrows and eyes that roll up in her head. She’s blind. “Put your hand on my shoulder and follow me,” she sa...

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Thriving Under The Influence

by Jennifer Rosen

Help! I’m a prisoner in a French cliché! They’re slowing my internal clock and force-feeding me leisure the way they fatten local geese for foie gras. I didn’t plan it this way. Normally, the minute my suitcase hits hotel-room soil I achieve wi-fi and get to work. But they seem to have hijacked my brain and marinated it in herbs de Provençe. I’ve lost all interest in the story I was doing on the French wine market-share crisis, because, well, there’s dinner to plan. I’m lodged in the sort of moss-paved stone farmhouse whose perfect balance of breathtaking views and broken-down plumbing makes travel writers salivate. As French houseguests begin drifting in, I imagine a nice, grisly murder, after which we all gather in the parlor and banter wittily until the future convict a...

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Germania: What The Rhine Means To Wine

by Jonathon Alsop

As I was packing recently to leave on a tour of the vineyards and wineries of the Rhine in Germany, I struggled to decide what shoes to bring. Sandals? No, not sandals, not to efficient, practical Germany, I thought; pack sensible shoes for Germany -- that sturdy hand-made Canadian pair -- and save the sexy man sandals for Spain, France or Italy. And then it hit me: my ideas about the people I was about to meet, the wines and the food, even down to the choices of what I was going to wear carried within them a distinction between sophisticated worldly Roman Europe -- Italy, France and Spain -- and Germania, the untamed eastern part of Europe the ancient Romans never managed to subdue. The Rhine is the geographical boundary between these two historical worlds, and the river represe...

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South American Sojourn

by Ron Kapon

“Wine is the force of youth and the milk of old age” When Sir Edmund Hillary was asked why he decided to climb Mt. Everest, he said “Because it was there”. That was the raison d’etre for my recent South American sojourn. Plus the fact that there was only an hour difference in time between New York and Buenos Aires, eliminating jet lag. The last time I had been to Argentina and Chile was 1980 and boy has things changed. My three week trip took me through five countries, although only the first three will be discussed here. There were two oceans (think A&P), the widest river in the world (200 miles), and a steak dinner for four costs $70, with two bottles of wine. It gets warmer as you go north, not south (the toilets flow the other way also) and mi espanol es muy malo. I was ...

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History Of Wine: New World Order, Part 2

by Eve White

In ancient history, wine spread across Europe and the Middle East for thousands of years. Pharaohs and farmers, military men and monks perpetuated the flow, like a river that could not be stopped through the civilizations of the Old World. As history progressed, the boundaries and policies of the Old World became limiting for many people, and they set out seeking fortune, adventure and freedom. They grabbed their wine (because who would travel to a foreign land without it?), and embarked on the long journey across the waters bringing wine to the New World. The period from the 1500’s to 1700’s marked widespread exploration and conquest in the New World. European settlers who left their Old World homes to start anew were accustomed to wine, and often brought it with them as a staple. ...

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Wine Bars Pour Culture Back Into Nightlife.

by Tiffany

Next to an impromptu public speech, it's a common scenario that strikes fear into the heart of many: ordering from an extensive wine list. Red or white? New Zealand or Napa Valley? No one wants to make an improper choice and appear uncultured — especially in front of a group or a date they're trying to impress. But the wild new crop of wine bars sprouting up across the country is trying to change that elitist mentality. By combining affordable choices in an unpretentious setting, these establishments' focus on education — for both patrons and staff — and are fast becoming the new nightlife trend, following the cigar and martini bars of the previous decade. This follows on the heels of an increase in domestic grape production. In fact, the United States is now the third-larges...

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Venky To Rock With Bulk From Boar

by Subhash Arora

A few incomprehensible words from the New World of Harry Potter? Obviously not. Just a bit of info from what’s new in the New World of wines -India. Venky’s Hatcheries, the biggest poultry owners are merely extending their core business of dealing with health products, namely chicken into another health product- wine. Popularly known as the Venky’s group, one of the group companies, Balaji Entertainment (not to be confused with Balaji Telefilms producing the popular K-word TV serials) is getting into wine business. The company to be called Venky’s Rock has tied up with a South Australian Winery in McLaren Vale, near Adelaide, christened as Boar’s Rock. They plan to import primarily bulk, bottle and market it, primarily through restaurants and hotels. The announced JV also p...

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A Toast To Elvis

by Madelyn Miller

A Toast to Elvis with Elvis By Madelyn Miller, the TravelLady All my slightly older cousins loved Elvis, but I was never a fan. Not until I tried Elvis Presley ALL SHOOK UP Special edition 2004 California Sauvignon Blanc. Once that cool wine touched my lips, I was a fan. A few sips, and I had the grove. The mellow feeling that made me want to dance. I wanted to Rock and Roll. The “All Shook Up” label is designed to tie-in to the Broadway musical of the same name, which “looks ready to be a big Broadway hit.” 2005 is expected to be the year of Elvis. With wine like this, I hope the beat goes on for a long, long time. The light aromas of peaches, lemons and limes washing over the pretty nose of this Sauvignon Blanc, make this is a wine that will encourage your tast...

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