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Juice Jargon

by Jamie Foster

Juice Jargon How to Talk About Wine By Stephen Reiss, Ph.D B&C Publishing 2005 $19.95 ISBN 0-09761237-0-3 There must be 30 books on the wine bookshelf and not many of them have laid out a way to easily start talking about wine quickly, confidently and competently. In my quest for the silver bullet and a book reminiscent of my first serious wine class I was delighted to hear about Juice Jargon. Juice Jargon, a wine book by Certified Wine Educator Stephen Reiss, is adapted from the world renowned Aspen Wine Program that he holds twice a year. The goal of the book is to teach people how to talk about wine quickly and competently. It is an excellent guide for beginners and a great reference for individuals who use words like “elegant”, “finesse” and “sophisticated” a b...

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You Do Not Have To Be Jewish To Love Israeli Wines

by Madelyn Miller

I am a nice Jewish girl. I grew up on Mogen David wine. I drank four glasses every Passover. Then I would help my mother wash and dry the glasses and put them away until next Passover. My parents occasionally drank wine in-between, but I thought wine was something you served with Matzoh. That is probably why it took me so long to develop a real interest in wine. I don’t remember tasting any white wine before Mogen David came out with theirs. Maybe that is why I have a preference for sweet wines. Flash back a couple thousand years. A BRIEF HISTORY OF WINE IN ISRAEL The Middle East was the cradle of the grape, with the art of winemaking beginning in the triangle between the Caspian and Black Seas and the Sea of Galilee. The Land of Canaan must have been one of th...

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Don't Eat While I'm Talking To You

by Jennifer Rosen

We interrupt our regular wine column to bring you an irritating restaurant trend. Normal, cheerful wine attitude will return next week. The problem is over-eager servers, constantly interrupting to find out if everything’s OK, which it would be except for their interruptions to find out if everything’s OK. It’s like waking you up to ask how you’re sleeping. When did waiters start barging into conversations? They stride right over your punch line in order to introduce themselves and describe dishes already explained in the menu. They loom at your shoulder with a great phallic cylinder, asking if you wouldn’t like freshly ground pepper or cheese, as if the rest of your dish came out of a can. May they light your candle? Are you enjoying your appetizer? Your entrée? You...

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Hamless In Navarra

by Jennifer Rosen

Pamplona, Spain: A crowded tapas bar is the safest shelter from the nightly running of the stop signs. Order a chilled Rosado – the dry, refreshing rosé swigged by local hero Ernest Hemingway. Or play Russian roulette with a plate of Pimientos del Padron, the crispy green peppers roasted in rock salt that always include a couple of scorchers. But first: the refusing of the ham. When it comes to Serrano ham, I just don’t get it. A burly cousin of prosciutto, its chewy fibers and bands of fat stick in my molars or end up grisly spitballs on my plate. It’s everywhere: alone on a plate, paired with French bread, camouflaged in local specialties like trout-wrapped-in-ham and ham-wrapped-in-trout. There is more than one ham museum. Hams hang from the ceiling of tapas bars, fitted wi...

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Stairway To Heaven

by Jennifer Rosen

The slope I’m peering down could be a triple black diamond, gnarly enough to make the toughest boarder cry Mommy. But there’s no snow, only rocks and unrelenting, icy wind. In summer, I hear, the heat is just as searing. Welcome to Priorato, the newly hip appellation on Spain’s eastern flank. At first glance, the extreme landscape seems virgin and wild. But look closer: beneath the scrub of every hill lie the contours of ancient terraces. Europeans live with ghosts; the constant presence of their ancestors. Primitive cultures often believed their ancestors walked among them. They also put a lot of stock in dreams. I understand the connection. My dead mother routinely visits my dreams, vivid as life, with no respect for my linear logic. Eight hundred years ago in Pr...

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Century Club

by Jennifer Rosen

A picnic basket should be wicker with a red or blue gingham tablecloth spilling gaily out. Not like my Soviet box, solid as the case of an old Remington and packed with three steel cups and a confused assortment of openers, muddlers and other tools. But it’s beautiful to me because I won it in a blind tasting. It wasn’t easy. I mustered all my training and experience, taking copious notes on color, smell, taste, mouth-feel and finish, and tapping into my knowledge of terroir and climate in the world’s wine regions. None of which did me the least amount of good. The multiple choice answers made it clear that I had never heard of any of the grapes. The wines might as well have come from Mars, for all I knew about them. Ancient, SAT-honed strategies saved me in the end: wh...

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King Cab

by Jennifer Rosen

Who died and made cabernet king? Considered the noblest grape of all, cabernet sauvignon gets a higher price tag and more respect than anything else in the winery. It’s poured last in tastings, and you’re meant to ooh and aah, as though the winemaker had produced his kid’s law school diploma. It’s so well enthroned on top of the heap that we almost forget to ask why. Reviewers, loath to give zinfandel 93 points, award 100s to cabernets as though its zenith were somehow more perfectly vinous than any heights some frivolous grape with a whacked-out initial like Z could ever reach. Cab inherits sheen from its key role in Bordeaux, where a yearly futures market infuses it with the gravitas of a Wall Street commodity. Stratospheric auction prices reinforce its rep as a blue ch...

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Polish Vodka

by Ron Kapon

The first person to feel the bite of alcohol on their tongue was probably an Arab alchemist of the eighth century. It is known that alcohol was made from wine in Italy in the eleventh century. It was called spiritus vini or “spirit of wine;” it was also known as aqua vitae or “water of life.” Spirits reached Poland from Italy or Germany in the 1620’s. Production developed at the end of that century and grew relatively slowly up to the early 1800’s. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the distilling industry appeared alongside home stills and small-scale enterprises. The large distilleries specialized in purifying spirits and producing drinks made according to their own recipes. During the half-century of communist rule of Poland the spirits monopoly was known as Polmos...

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The Wine Routes And Great Estates Of Germany

by Ron Kapon

In three days in Germany I drove, tasted, visited, ate, drank, slept, and toured the Rhine, Mosel, Saar and Ruwer. If you did as I did you would fly nonstop on Delta at under $400 roundtrip (www.delta.com ) from JFK in New York to Frankfurt (www.frankfurt-tourismus.de ). Rent your Mercedes C Class from Dollar/Thrifty (www.dollar.com ) and drive a half hour into the center of Frankfurt staying at the charming and friendly Villa Orange Hotel (www.villa-orange.de ). After walking through the old city and an early to bed you would drive 50 miles to Heidelberg (www.cvb-heidelberg.com ), viewing the historic castle and mixing with the students at the University of Heidelberg. Another 20 miles and you arrive in Worms (www.worms.de ) with its Liebfraunkirche vineyard and church, the original site ...

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Mondovino: Shaky, Not Stirring

by Tyler Colman

Documentaries analyze social reality. If you want hard core social (or political or economic) analysis-you know, with data and theory-turn to academia. With nowhere near the amount of viewers of feature films, documentaries do however attract a larger audience than academia while being a similar sort of endeavor. So it was with great relish that I went to see Mondovino, the controversial new documentary about globalization in the wine world that opened in March in New York and rolls out in small movie houses across the country over the next few weeks. If the film were a paper from one of my political science students, I would have returned it with lots of red ink in the margins. "AWK" (awkward!), "elaborate further," "need stronger intro," "redundant" might be things that I would scraw...

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