As we hurtle into the new year, answers to pressing wine questions.
• What does “second label” mean? It often means great value. A winery’s “first label”—their grand vin in Bordeaux—is made using the winery’s best grapes and then finished in the winery’s best barrels. The second label is made using excess top-quality juice and juice that does not quite measure up to top standards. It sells at a lower price. Often there is only a slim difference—a difference most of us would not even notice. Don’t balk at buying.
• What does “second bottle” mean in a wine review? Similar to a second label, the term references a wine that is not the best quality. Unlike a second label, which can be a superb wine, when a reviewer notes the wine works as a second bottle, it typically means the wine is drinkable but not distinguished. It will taste plenty good enough as a less-expensive follow-on pour. Second bottles are particularly useful at a festive occasion where multiple bottles of wine will be enjoyed. Which brings us to our next note.
• Wine is best enjoyed in moderation, and best paired with food. That is why wine drinkers are less likely to be drunkards and are the least likely to be alcoholics among those who imbibe. But people get drunk, and some get drunk on wine. Which brings us to identifying the states where you are most-likely to get a DUI or die as a result of drunk driving. The answer comes from a survey by Forbes Advisor.
States with highest incidents of drunk driving death and DUI arrests: Montana, Wyoming, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota.
States with the fewest deaths and DUIs: Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Utah, Delaware, New York. Bottom line: Don’t drink alcohol, including wine, and drive. And watch out for those who do.
• What do you do when you pour a glass of wine and you find it undrinkable for your palate? Open enough bottles and this inevitably will happen. Answer: pour the poor one down the drain and open another bottle. Don’t use bad wine in cooking. Tastes bad in a glass, tastes bad in a dish.
• Stemmari Dalila Sicilia Riserva 2020 DOC is rich and delicious blend of, mostly, grillo and some viognier. $14-15 Link to my review
• Scaia Rosato, Veneto IGT 2021 is expertly correct rosé using a classic Veneto red grape. $14-18 Link to my review
Last round: What did the princess say in the photo booth? “Someday my prints will come.” Wine time.