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.
What we all now call “a bottle of wine” may soon differ from what it has been for decades, and that could create confusion for how wine buyers will someday purchase wine.
Decades ago, soon after the 100-point scoring scheme became a popular way to evaluate wine, a glossy wine magazine awarded a 100-point score to an exalted First Growth Bordeaux.
Three decades ago, at the Napa Valley wine auction, two giants of the Southern California retail wine trade became locked in a battle to acquire a large bottle of a Chappellet Cabernet.
One of the realities of having Cabernet Sauvignon as the focal point of a winery is the simple fact that the wine, by the very nature of the grape, is loaded with tannin, which some people can’t abide.
If you’ve been a regular consumer of wines that typically sell for about $15 a bottle or less, you’re probably happy with the way they taste.
Cabernet Sauvignon –- the grape that launched California into the world’s wine spotlight 43 years ago — created a heritage that constantly reminds us how important it is as a grape and a wine.
Jean-Charles Boisset is one of the most passionate of wine lovers, a man who reveres the concept embedded in terroir – the French belief that the locale of a vineyard produces wines that are unique from other areas.
This wine column began national syndication in March 1979, and even before I had made nickel on it, I faced a serious dilemma: should I spend $25 on a bottle of a Cabernet Sauvignon?
Lovers of California red wines are facing a crisis of confidence that few acknowledge — but that’s mainly because most U.S. wine buyers are unaware the problem even exists.
One day in June 2007, a dozen winery representatives, regional marketing organizations, and an attorney gathered for a private luncheon at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington.
The small room at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville last Friday provided a respite from a cold rain that forced four dozen folks to huddle up against a wine bar and jostle for sips of four dozen wines they all had brought to share.
MARLBOROUGH, New Zealand – U.S. wine lovers have taken a definite shine to New Zealand’s major entrant into the world wine scene: cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc.
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.