Award-winning wine columnist Dan Berger has been writing his nationally syndicated column since 1979 and continues to be one of the most outspoken and informative people writing about this subject can be very to understand.
Four decades ago, wine collectors had to wait four years after a vintage to get the best Napa Cabernet Sauvignons, mainly because the wines were loaded with astringent tannins that needed softening by time.
The conventional wisdom says top Cabernet Sauvignons should be aged at least a decade to deliver some of the sublime, mature elements that only bottle-aging can offer.
Do you love Cabernet, but know nothing about Chenin Blanc? Or have an abiding interest in rich Chardonnay, but have no clue about 20-year-old Australian Semillons?
Wine lovers often speak of the greatness of Napa (Cabernet), Russian River (Pinot Noir), and at least a dozen other “world-class” California wines from exalted regions.
Most blended red wines vary radically from one to another. Most winemakers try to hit a particular style of wine that sells — and the current mode of the day for reds is big and bold, with lots of fruit intensity.
When a celebratory party starts with sparkling wine, continues with white wine, some red wine, and later perhaps more bubbly and a dessert wine, many people can be at risk for morning-after agony.
Wine has been compared to alchemy since it is the result of a transmogrification of humble grape juice that, chrysalis-like, elevates a mundane liquid into a sublime elixir. It is a synthesis of science, agriculture, and artistry.
Many food experts at this time of year suggest that the best libation to serve at parties and other celebrations is Champagne or any dry sparkling wines.
I’ve lived in several cities that claimed to have great weather. In most cases, that was a public relations lie. Year-around warmth may work for arthritics. Not me.
As a wine-producing nation with widely divergent soils and climates, the United States has adopted literally dozens of grape varieties from other countries (mainly Europe) to make into wine.
As we enter the fall and winter feast season, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Years parties, and the Super Bowl ahead of us, thoughts turn to foods and the wines that (we hope) go with them.
Thirty-odd years ago, I was dining with good friend, who also was an East Coast wine merchant. An hour earlier, he had spent an outrageous sum on a case of a famous wine at an auction.
I’ve preached for years that too many restaurants serve red wines too warm — even ritzy joints that have trained wine waiters. Many of them ought to trade in their tastevins for dunce caps.
Ask a wine lover which is better: a Chardonnay that’s only 75 percent varietal plus 25 percent French Colombard or a wine that’s 100 percent Chardonnay. Before you get an answer, you’ll likely get a question back: “Where was the fruit grown?”
In this era of allegations of widespread fibbing, I began to muse about all of the “facts” we see on wine labels, some of which are conscious mistruths.
The host of a wine/food radio show was concluding an hour-long interview. With five minutes left, he asked me: “If you were stranded on a desert island and had only one varietal wine to drink, what grape would it be made from?”
I’ve known Clark Smith since the 1970s and have written about his wine exploits often because he has always viewed wine as a challenge, not as a business.
Researching a story the other day, I discovered that more than half the 45,000 acres of grapes growing in Napa Valley (22,800) now are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon.
Those seeking alternative red wines might be intrigued by the latest efforts from the world of Petite Sirah – especially since it has improved so much in the last decade.
About 20 years ago, I was a judge at the Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition, where, after two decades of slow improvement, many of the wines were dramatically better than they had been.
Jordan Vineyards was founded on the principle that northern Sonoma County can make superb Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, which it has done with the same winemaker since 1976.
To some people, wine is a destination, a place to experience multitudes of exotic taste treats, an elixir, a hedonistic beverage that makes food taste better and acts as a social lubricant.
Just over 50 years ago, a proposal arose to create a dedicated agricultural zone to protect a small, remote but verdant area known as the Napa Valley.
If you regularly order wine when dining out, what follows may not seem particularly egregious. But each frustrating episode happened to me in the four decades of writing about wine.
It’s painful to lose a good friend, doubly so when the person is wonderful, warm, and charming. So the loss of two such wine men in the last several weeks has been especially agonizing for so many.
The first hint I had that some California white wines could age came in 1986 when I was cleaning out my “wine cellar” — an old walk-in dairy refrigerator that kept all my wines very cool year-round.
HEALDSBURG — As much justified acclaim as the Napa Valley has received in the last 30 years for the greatness of its Cabernet Sauvignons, so has Sonoma County gained similar praise for the excellence of its Pinot Noirs in the last 20… albeit with a more limited audience and a lot more recently.
A French wine maker took me by surprise: He allowed me to try his sparkling wine, to get an idea about what sort of flavors it had, and then asked for my glass.
Marketing fads develop rapidly, almost explosively. But they are transitory, flaming out quickly. Longer-term trends usually unfold more slowly, like the petals of a flower opening in spring.
A decade ago, I wrote an April Fool’s Day wine column about an optimistic winemaker in Sweden (!) who had planted cabernet sauvignon, anticipating that climate change would put him ahead of the curve.