what is “terroir” and why should I care?

Okie-dokie, before we get started, it’s probably best to  get the pronunciation of terroir word out of the way before we move on with the rest of the article: Terroir [ter-whah] Very loosely translated from French (since no-one can agree on the exact definition, and there is no English equivalent), terroir means “a sense of place”. It’s applied by wine nerds to talk about all the things that have an effect on the grapes in…

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Current Trends in Wine Cellar Design – Part 2

The second part of my “Current Trends in Wine Cellar Design” interview with Curtis Dahl, owner of Joseph and Curtis Wine Cellar Builders.   In the same way people have become used to entertaining in their kitchen, has the same thing started to happen with wine cellars? The wine cellar/tasting room have become THE destination spot in the modern day home. Of course it all depends on the size of the cellar. People are obviously…

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Raats Red Jasper, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Grapes 81% Cabernet Franc, 13% Malbec, 2% Cabernet, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Merlot   Facts Cabernet Franc happens to be one of my favorite grapes. Unfortunately, good Cab Franc is rarely cheap, and cheap Cab Franc is rarely good. Somehow, Raats seem to have both of these bases covered. South Africa might be onto something here. Raats winery are big proponents of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Now, maybe I’m missing something, but when I…

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Current Trends in Wine Cellar Design – Part 1

It’s almost weekly that I receive an email from someone thinking about building a wine cellar in their home, and looking for my personal recommendation on a good wine cellar builder. Of course there’s wine cellars and there’s wine cellars. My “wine cellar” consists of my closet containing a 200 bottle wine rack and no temperature control. It does the job…for now…but for those looking for something a little more serious, I always send them…

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Ridge, Three Valleys, Sonoma

Grapes 65% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, 3% Mataro, 2% Alicante Bouchet,1% Grenache and a partridge in a pear tree.   Facts You know what I’ve always admired about Ridge? It’s that they manage to “do Zin” without making me feel like feeling I’ve just been molested by blackberries and alcohol. True story. The Ridge 3 Valleys in the only wine blended from multiple vineyards, rather than being sourced from one specific vineyard, in…

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Wine Reviews

Raats Red Jasper, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Grapes 81% Cabernet Franc, 13% Malbec, 2% Cabernet, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Merlot   Facts Cabernet Franc happens to be one of my favorite grapes. Unfortunately, good Cab Franc is rarely cheap, and cheap Cab Franc is rarely good. Somehow, Raats seem to have both of these bases covered. South Africa might be onto something here. Raats winery are big proponents of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Now, maybe I’m missing something, but when I…

Ridge, Three Valleys, Sonoma

Grapes 65% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, 3% Mataro, 2% Alicante Bouchet,1% Grenache and a partridge in a pear tree.   Facts You know what I’ve always admired about Ridge? It’s that they manage to “do Zin” without making me feel like feeling I’ve just been molested by blackberries and alcohol. True story. The Ridge 3 Valleys in the only wine blended from multiple vineyards, rather than being sourced from one specific vineyard, in…

Grape-expectations.jpg

Between the Seasons: Winter Red Wines and Spring White Wines

Just another small article I was asked to write for Jacksonville Magazine’s “Taste” edition… Winter Reds   Petite Petit, Lodi, California – $14.99 If you’re looking for a “little” something to warm yourself up during the colder months, there could possibly be no wine more fit for the purpose than Petite Petit. Named after its blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot grapes, don’t be mistaken for thinking this is a “small” wine. Since Petite…

Cremisan “Star of Bethlehem” White, Bethlehem, Palestine

    Grapes Hamdani and Jandali – Heard of them? No, me neither before today. Hamdani and Jandali grapes are native to Palestine. Facts I can’t lie, as much as I love drinking “off the beaten path” wines, reviewing them is a nightmare…primarily due to the lack of research available. I can’t exactly blame this winery though! I mean…they’re in Palestine. I was actually quite surprised they even had a website. The other reason I’m never…

Helfrich Cremant d’Alsace, France.

Grapes 100% Pinot Blanc Facts Bubbles from Alsace! Who knew!?!? Well, me…but that’s only because I’m a nerd for this stuff. Seriously though, Alsace barely gets a look-in on most restaurant wine lists and even less on retailers’ shelves. Shame really, since they tend to be some of my favorite white wines coming out of France. Petition your local Sommelier, I say!!! The Helfrich family, even though they’re “old school Alsace,” and farming from some…

Grape Expectations – Eight Wines that Pair With Summer and Fall.

Ok, first-things-first, I didn’t write the title for this article. “Grape Expectations” is way beyond my reaches of my creativity. Secondly; I wrote this article a couple of months ago for the Jacksonville Magazine “Taste” Edition…and I know we’re out of Summer now….but I think it still has relevance…since the weather here is Florida is so bloody-warm well into November! 4 Summer Wines Taltarni “Tache,” Brut Sparkling, Australia Description The term Tache (meaning “stained” in…

Bock Kekfrankos, Villany, Hungary

            Grapes 100% Kekfrankos, otherwise known as Blaufrankisch, which is otherwise known as: “Errrrrmmmm….I have no idea how to pronounce that wine/grape…I’ll just have a glass of Merlot…”   Facts Holy hell! There’s very few times when I look at a wine label and think: “Yup! I’ve got no idea what I’m looking at here…” In-fact, the only recognizable thing on this label is Blaufrankisch, which you may-or-may-not have tried…

Ogier Clos de L’Oratoire Chateauneuf du Pape, Southern Rhone, France.

Grapes 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault   Facts It’s been a little-while since I last had/reviewed a bottle of CdP (what the cool kids call it…or at least…what I call it). Chateauneuf-du-Pape isn’t for everyone – its intensity and “tertiary” flavors certainly take some getting use to – but I’d probably put it up there as my overall all-time favorite French wine region. Seven generations of winegrowers have tended to the…

Kupljen “Spirit of Svetinje” White Wine Blend, Slovenia.

  Grapes 34% Chardonnay, 33% Renski Riesling, 33% Pinot Gris   Facts Ahhh yes! There’s nothing better than getting home from a hard day’s graft ( after staring at a computer for most of the day) than to kick off my shoes, and reaching for a bottle of Kupljen “Spirit of Svetinje” from the Jeruzalemsko-Svetinjske hills of north-eastern Slovenia… Ok, so that’s a lie. Firstly, I mainly work out of my house, so my shoes…

Food Pairings

Mexican Steak & Avocado Salsa Paired with Juve de Camps Cava Gran Reserva.

This post is painful to write. No, it’s not because I’m listening to Miley Cyrus whilst writing this. Actually, it’s because I made this recipe a few weeks ago and I’m just getting-around to posting it. This procrastination conveniently coincides with my crazy idea of doing a 48 hour detox. No food or alcohol for 48 hours. (I ate 3 digestive biscuits last night, but don’t tell my wife. So doesn’t read this blog, so…

Mumm Napa Brut Rose Paired with Oven Baked Ribs and Sweet Potato Casserole.

Apart from garnishing the plate with dried leaves and a squirrel, I can’t imagine how this recipe could be anymore Autumnal. [There’s a word I don’t use very often: Autumnal.] Any-who, this pairing combines two things I just don’t consume enough of; namely, ribs and bubbly…and even more-so on the same dinner table! I’ve never been a fan of sticking to “food and wine pairing rules,” but I’d never go so far as to say…

Beyond the Brisket: The Perfect Wine and Beer Pairings for a BBQ Feast.

I was asked to write an article for Jacksonville Magazine a few weeks ago, and I figured – since my postings here have been kind-of “slack” of late – I would share it with my wonderful readers. The beers – in case you don’t recognize them – are all local Jacksonville breweries.   Chicken Since many chefs view chicken as a “blank canvas” on which to exercise their culinary creativity, the type of BBQ sauce…

Probably the World’s Greatest Recipe for Mulled Wine.

I wasn’t going to post this recipe for mulled wine, but then I received the following email from my mom a few days ago: Is mulled wine best used as a room freshener? It makes the room smell gorgeous but when you taste it it tastes like medicine!!!!!! Mom Clearly even my own mom needs a little help making mulled wine, so here we go! The definitive recipe and method on how to make mulled…

Recipe for French Onion Soup

  If you’ve been following this blog over the past year, you’ll know that I’ve been putting together quite a few food and wine pairings, with individual wines paired with recipes. Well, I plan to continue with those, but I’m also looking to add these standalone recipes to the mix. My reasons are simple: The other pairings take so long to put together, mainly in photography, editing and writing time, that I found myself posting…

Spinach and Pepperjack Stuffed Chicken Paired with Robert Mondavi Napa Chardonnay.

I increasingly seem to find myself banging-on about the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement. Of course a great number of us have become bored with the same-old over-oaked Cali Chards, but that doesn’t mean to say oak doesn’t have a place in modern Chardonnay. Winemakers treat oak the same way that chefs treat salt when cooking. Without salt, a dish can barely come alive by itself. Adding even the tiniest amount to an unseasoned dish…

Humor

6 Things Sommeliers Hate to Hear.

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about in this post. If on the other hand none of this makes any sense to you, you are part of the problem.   What the Sommelier says: “I’m sorry, Sir/Madam. We do offer a corkage fee, or may I suggest something within a particular price range?” What the Sommelier thinks: “That’s right! You run to the grocery store! Maybe when you…

Interviews

Current Trends in Wine Cellar Design – Part 1

It’s almost weekly that I receive an email from someone thinking about building a wine cellar in their home, and looking for my personal recommendation on a good wine cellar builder. Of course there’s wine cellars and there’s wine cellars. My “wine cellar” consists of my closet containing a 200 bottle wine rack and no temperature control. It does the job…for now…but for those looking for something a little more serious, I always send them…

Interview with Tom Eddy from Tom Eddy Winery.

How long have you been making wine? Well, this is my 40th year, coming up, of winemaking. I started with big wineries and my ultimate goal was to have my own place.   So I’m guessing, with 40 years, you’ve always been involved in winemaking… Yeah, I discovered wine when I was still in High School….   …as did most of us! <laughs> Yeah! True. So I fell in love with wine from an early…

A Quick Soiree with Andrew Lazorchak.

What is your position with Soiree? I am the co-owner and managing partner for SoireeHome. How did you come to be involved with Soiree? Soiree was conceived of over a few different nights at a wine bar that I designed for my, now, business partners but prior long time family friends.   I was an architect at that time, with a focus on architectural branding.  After some discussions at the wine bar and looking at all…

Painting with Wine: Wine-Stain Artist Amelia Harnas.

Has art always been a part of your life? Yes, absolutely! I live in Corning, New York, which is a very small town, but I read a survey a few months ago that Corning was one of the best small art-towns in the country. We’ve got a really cohesive group of artists out here, and I was raised among them. Art is how I think and breathe.I never technically went through art school. I was…

Ovinte: A Return to the Wine Bar Business for Chad Munsey.

Disclaimer: This interview is normally only something I would post on my sister site: JacksonvilleWineGuide.com, since most of the discussion is very focused towards Jacksonville. However; I think that even if you don’t live in Jacksonville, there’s some very interesting topics of discussion here…   Chad Munsey has been a friend of mine for quite some time, and so when I heard he was opening a new wine bar (in the old Original Pancake House…

Mollydooker Winemaker Sparky Marquis

Believe it or not, me and Sparky go waaaaaaaay back! I’m talking 2009, here! Mollydooker winemaker Sparky Marquis was actually the first ever winemaker I interviewed when I started blogging. This week he came back to Jacksonville for the release of his 2010 wines. The interview was supposed to last about 15 minutes. We ended up talking for closer to an hour.   <Sparky starts pouring every-single one of his wines into glasses lined up…

Facts

what is “terroir” and why should I care?

Okie-dokie, before we get started, it’s probably best to  get the pronunciation of terroir word out of the way before we move on with the rest of the article: Terroir [ter-whah] Very loosely translated from French (since no-one can agree on the exact definition, and there is no English equivalent), terroir means “a sense of place”. It’s applied by wine nerds to talk about all the things that have an effect on the grapes in…

Getting to Know the Texas Wine Industry- INFOGRAPHIC

As some of you may or may not know, I’ve spent most of this week in Texas, speaking at the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association conference. I’m not going to lie, the quality of Texas wine STUNNED me! Sure, I tasted a few flawed wines, but no more than I would taste in a line-up of CA bottles. I packed my luggage with a couple of sample bottles, so stay tuned for those reviews!…

The Contents of a Wine Barrel.

Obviously there is some variance based on the size/type of wine barrel, but this gives you some pretty-cool insight into the contents of a wine barrel.