Pinot noir, chardonnay blends 8-31-2022

Many great wines are blends. Red Bordeaux is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and a smattering of other reds. Southern Rhône GSM wines are grenache, syrah, mourvèdre blends. In whites, sauvignon blanc and semillon enjoy a classic marriage. Continue reading “Pinot noir, chardonnay blends 8-31-2022”

Italian classification system 8-24-2022

Buying wine can be intimidating. How do you know if the wine is any good without buying a bottle and tasting it? Wine critics may help, but not all wines have a current score and you may find descriptors are just gobbledygook. Continue reading “Italian classification system 8-24-2022”

Sparkling stemware 8-17-2022

The proper Champagne or sparkling wine vessel is a pain in the glass. Wine professionals largely agree on what glass best presents the wine for tasting, but that is not the whole story.

In many ways, the glass depends on the occasion. If it is a celebration pour—a wedding or other large group—a narrow flute may be the best call. Flutes emphasize the column of bubbles, which accentuates the visual experience, which counts among folks who would not drink wine if not for the occasion. As a bonus, flutes don’t hold a large quantity—a nice consideration if you are buying the bubbly.

Flute downside: the top is so small it reduces your aroma and flavor experience. Smelling is 80% of wine appreciation. Of course, depending on the quality of the bubbly you bought, dampening taste could be a feature rather than a flaw.

Coupes are the other classic vessel. The famous legend is coupes are based on Marie Antoinette’s breast. Well, not likely, but whatever. The trouble with a coupe is the opposite of a flute: the opening is so wide aromas don’t concentrate and get lost. As with the flute, that can be a good thing depending on your banquet budget.

Image by brittaneu from Pixabay

OK, flutes flop and Marie-Antoinette-bosom-inspired glasses are a bust; what is the best glass for bubbly? It likely is a glass you already have—a white wine glass, a pinot noir tulip, a smaller red wine glass. You can go higher end from premium makers who sell sparkling-specific offerings. The key is they allow you to enjoy the bubbles and they concentrate the aromas so you can enjoy the brioche and almond notes of quality bubbly.

If you sip bottom shelf sparkling that really is carbonated white plonk, a jelly glass will work fine. If you sip superior—especially if you savor especially superior—consider a glass that allows for complete appreciation. If you can afford the pour, don’t poor-boy the glass. Or use that wineglass you use every day. It will work fine.

Tasting notes:

• Luretta Principessa Blanc de Blancs Brut, NV: Delicate, refined expression of pure chardonnay from Italy. $14-22 Link to my review

• Lanson Champagne Le Black Label Brut NV: Pleasantly complex, crisp; official champagne for The Championship, Wimbledon. $49-50 Link to my review

• Sokol Blosser Blossom Ridge Sparkling Rosé of Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon 2017: Pretty much checks all the boxes. $64-72 Link to my review

Last round: The best shoes for a pilot? Wing tips. Wine time.

Cline Family Cellars Ancient Vines Zinfandel, Contra Costa County 2020

Deep ruby color; blackberry, raspberry, plum, strawberry on the nose; raspberry, strawberry, plum, black cherry, oak, chocolate, cinnamon spice on the palate. Continue reading “Cline Family Cellars Ancient Vines Zinfandel, Contra Costa County 2020”

Masseria Li Veli Askos Susumaniello Rosato Salento IGT 2021

Medium copper color; pink grapefruit, watermelon, blood orange, flowers on the nose; mandarin orange, melon, strawberry, watermelon on the palate. Continue reading “Masseria Li Veli Askos Susumaniello Rosato Salento IGT 2021”

Weingut Meyer-Näkel Pinot Noir Rosé, Ahr 2020

Deep copper color; cherry, raspberry, strawberry, red fruit, violets on the nose; cherry, raspberry, watermelon, blood orange, citrus on the palate. Continue reading “Weingut Meyer-Näkel Pinot Noir Rosé, Ahr 2020”

Hamel Family Wines Hamel Family Ranch Red Wine 2016

Deep ruby color; cherry, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla on the nose; cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, oak, chocolate, cinnamon on the palate. Continue reading “Hamel Family Wines Hamel Family Ranch Red Wine 2016”

Chehalem Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley 2021

Pale-medium copper color; strawberry, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, white flowers on the nose; strawberry, peach, pink grapefruit, raspberry, minerality on the palate. Continue reading “Chehalem Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley 2021”

Most searched Napa wines 8-10-2022

Napa is universally recognized as one of the world’s premier wine regions, and you pay to enjoy its exalted pours. How much and which wines get the most attention? Continue reading “Most searched Napa wines 8-10-2022”