[LONG] alt.food.wine FAQ
Alt.food.wine FAQ - Version 1.1
Welcome to the FAQ for alt.food.wine! In this document, we have tried to
compile a list of questions that have frequently been asked on this newsgroup.
Alt.food.wine welcomes all questions relating to wine, though questions
concerning winemaking might get more responses in the related newsgroup
Table of Contents
1. I have just found a bottle of wine in my parents' cupboard and...
1a. I want to know how much it's worth
1b. I want to know whether it's OK to drink
1c. Will it taste good?
2. I just had an incredible bottle of wine. Where I find some of it to buy?
3. What wineries should I visit (where should I stay? eat?) in...
3d. Paso Robles?
3e. Amador/El Dorado Counties?
3f. Santa Barbara County?
3i. NY Finger Lakes?
3j. Burgundy? [not yet ready]
3k. The Rhone Valley?
3l. The Languedoc? [not yet ready]
3m. Bordeaux? [not yet ready]
3n. Alsace? [not yet ready]
3o. Germany? [not yet ready]
3p. Austria? [not yet ready]
3q. Piemonte? [not yet ready]
3r. Tuscany? [not yet ready]
3t. New Zealand?
4. What is the best way to preserve an opened bottle of wine? How long will it
5. What wine should I serve with this food?
6. Does it matter what kind of glass I drink the wine out of?
6a. Are those fancy Riedel glasses worth all that money?
7. What causes red wine headaches? How can I prevent them?
8. What do those abbreviations mean?
9. Do those magnetic thingies really age your wine instantly?
10. I want to buy a bottle of wine to commemorate the birth of a child, to be
opened 18 (21) years from now. What should I get?
1.0 - Updated Sonoma and New Zealand travel sections; added last date of change
to all sections
1.1 - Updated and expanded Australia travel section
1. I have just found a bottle of wine in my parents' cupboard and...
1a. I want to know how much it's worth [Last updated 9/06]
First of all, an all-important question with any wine that's been stored for
any length of time is what the storage conditions were like. It is generally
agreed that wine prefers to be stored in cool, moist locations, free of light
and significant temperature variation. If you can't guarantee such storage
conditions, you're unlikely to get full price for your wine. If it was found in
a kitchen cupboard or garage, it probably wouldn't sell for much at all.
It's also important to realize that most wine, maybe 99% of it, is intended
for near-term consumption. If your wine is one of those, it probably won't be
worth much unless it's got some sentimental or historical value.
With those two caveats out of the way, there are several ways you can get an
idea of how much your wine might be worth. You can look for its retail value on
the websites http://www.wine-searcher.com or http://www.winezap.com. If it's
being sold today, you can find what they're asking for it. However, don't
expect to get retail value for your wine. The easiest way to sell it is at
auction, where you'd get perhaps 80% of the retail price (in a best case
analysis). To find out what that wine has fetched at auction, you can use a
database search tool provided by the Chicago Wine Company
If you do want to sell your wine, there are several online auction sites that
you can use:
http://www.winecommune.com (probably the best for single bottles)
In some countries, you may be able to sell your wine on Ebay. Additionally, in
certain states of the United States, you may be able to sell your wine on
consignment through a retailer. Since each state has different alcohol laws,
you'd have to check with a local retailer to be sure.
1b. I want to know whether it's OK to drink
The two caveats to the previous section apply equally to this question.
However, no wine will harm you, no matter how poorly it's been stored nor how
old it is. Also, old wine rarely if ever turns to vinegar. The only real
question is whether it'll be enjoyable to drink, and one of the best ways to
answer that is to open the bottle to see. However, you can do some research on
"drinking windows" proposed by critics and other wine drinkers. Because most of
the published information is only available by subscription, you won't be able
to find Robert Parker's or the Wine Spectator's advice on the Web. However, a
decent resource is the website http://www.cellartracker.com, which is an online
cellar database for wine lovers. There is a search function on their homepage
that'll give you Cellartracker's customers' comments on the wine in question,
usually with a "recommended drinking window" included. Of course, asking for
advice on the newsgroup might get some good advice, too.
Be aware, however, that any such drinking window is highly subjective and
based on an assumption of ideal storage conditions. Take such recommendations
with a good deal of skepticism, and open the bottle earlier than recommended if
there are questions about storage. If you have any doubts about its storage,
it's a good idea to open it up with a backup bottle at hand in case the older
wine turns out to not be to your liking.
1c. Will it taste good?
One of the things about wine is that it evolves even after you open it. Often
an older wine will taste harsh or thin when first opened, but don't give up on
it. Let it sit in the glass for a while and "breathe" for a while. Over the
course of a meal it may "open up" and begin to reveal its more subtle flavors
and even become more full-bodied or fruitier. Sometimes, recorked and tried the
next day, older wines can be seen to improve. Sometimes not. But don't give up
on it based on your first sip. Also keep in mind that some older wines are
fragile and may not last too long once opened. So, if you open it and like it,
keep in mind that it may not stay that way for long - or it might, depending ;-)
2. I just had an incredible bottle of wine. Where I find some of it to buy?
[Last updated 9/06]
First of all, make sure that you know exactly what the wine is. That means
knowing the producer, the region it was made in, the vineyard name (if there was
any) and the year. Because there are lots of similar-sounding names, you want
to be sure that you're getting the same thing you had. If you're not sure of
those details and had the wine at a restaurant, you can call them for a complete
description of the wine. If you had it at some other event, try to track down
someone who would know to ask them. Once you've got all the details, go to
http://www.wine-searcher.com (or http://www.winezap.com) and look up who sells
it in the Internet. Although you won't get all the listings without buying the
Professional version, you'll usually get enough information to help anyway. If
you can't find it for sale using wine-searcher and it's a recent vintage (i.e.,
the year on the bottle is no earlier than 2-4 years ago) you might try the
winery's website or call them to see if: a) they'll sell directly to you or b)
they can tell you who distributes their wine in your area. (You can then get
ahold of the distributor to find out who sells it near to you.
3. What wineries should I visit (where should I stay? eat?) in...
What follows is a compendium of recommendations made in alt.food.wine over
the past 5 years or so. Since they were made without knowledge of your tastes,
they may or may not be useful to you. If you can define your tastes, you might
get better advice asking the newsgroup after describing your tastes to us.
[Last updated 10/06]
Napa is known primarily for its Cabernet Sauvignon, but Chardonnay, Zinfandel
and Pinot Noir (in the region known as Carneros) also grow there. Most wineries
will charge a tasting fee, and many of them will charge extra to taste their
more expensive wines. These days, it is as much a tourist destination as it is
a wine region and has prices to match. To avoid heavy crowding, you should
avoid weekends, holidays, the Summer and Hwy 29 by taking the Silverado Trail
Here are the recommended wineries and why they're recommended (asterisks
indicate appointment needed):
Robert Mondavi Winery - informative tour, good wines, historical winery
Beringer Winery - great tour of limestone caves, history, good wines
Milat - good wines, reasonable prices
Sawyer - good wines, reasonable prices
Vincent Arroyo - excellent, unpretentious winemaking
Joseph Phelps* - beautiful architecture and tour, great wines
Prager Port Works - unusual wines, nice people
Schramsberg - Good sparkling wines
Stony Hill* - Chardonnay specialists making very different Chards
Storybook Mountain* - Zinfandel specialists making serious Zins
The French Laundry - Legendary and nearly impossible to get into; call 60 days
in advance (to the day) for a chance for a very expensive trip to foodie heaven.
See http://www.thesandersens.com/res/fre...ervations.html for details about
how to get a reservation
La Toque - Great French food and good wine list
Bistro Jeanty - Country French cooking
Mustard's - An old Napa Valley stalwart, good food
Domaine Chandon - This sparkling wine maker also has a first class restaurant
Tra Vigne - Upscale Italian dining
Harvest Inn - hot tubs and view
El Bonita Inn (St. Helena) - cheap
Meadowood - Romantic (and pricey) resort
Deer Run Inn - Romantic and secluded
Vintage Inn - Wood-burning fireplaces, Jacuzzis, fancy motor lodge
Rancho Caymus - eclectic, great restaurant (La Toque)
Maison Fleurie - Nice bed and breakfast
Another attraction of the Napa Valley is that Calistoga, at the North end of the
valley, is also home to natural hot springs. If you're of a mind to soak for a
time in a mud bath, Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs comes highly recommended. For
more tourism information, see http://www.napavalley.com.
[Last updated 4/07]
The wine growing area of Sonoma is far larger than that of the Napa Valley.
Sonoma can be subdivided into five distinct regions: Sonoma Valley (Cab/Merlot),
Russian River Valley (Pinot Noir/Chardonnay), Dry Creek Valley (Zinfandel/Sauv.
Blanc), Alexander Valley (Zinfandel) and Carneros (Pinot Noir/Chardonnay), and
it's a fair hike in between the five. Sonoma is not as touristy as Napa
(especially outside of the town of Sonoma) but US 101, the main N/S artery, can
get very crowded during rush hour around the city of Santa Rosa. The wineries
of Sonoma Valley and Carneros are some of the most easily accessible from San
Francisco for a day trip.
Cline (Carneros)- Good Zins and Rhone varities
Domaine Carneros (Carneros)- In the Carneros region of S. Sonoma, good sparkling
wine, Pinot Noir
Chateau St Jean (Sonoma Valley) Some good Chards - very good visit
Ravenswood (Sonoma) - "No wimpy wines"; great visit
Gary Farrell (Russian River) - Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a Burgundian touch
Korbel (Russian River) The sparkling wine that America drinks. Very good visit.
Porter Creek (Russian River) - Pinot Noir and Rhone varieties; smaller winery
Sonoma Cutrer (Russian River) - Burgundian Chardonnay
Rochioli (Russian River)- Famous for their Pint Noir, they make many other
wines, too (beware crowds)
Davis Bynum (Russian River) - the Pinot Noir pioneer in Sonoma
Joseph Swan Winery (Russian River) - lovely Zin and Pinot Noir
Hop Kiln(Russian River) A long time landmark - good visit
Alderbrook (Dry Creek)- Friendly place, good wines and food
Bella Vineyards (Dry Creek) - great Syrah
David Coffaro (Dry Creek) - good reds, especially Zin
Dry Creek (Dry Creek) - good whites and Zinfandel, nice picnic area
Ferrari-Carano (Dry Creek) one of the prettiest wineries in CA. Very good wines
and good hospitality
Limerick Lane Cellars (Dry Creek) - Zin & Syrah
Papapietro (Dry Creek) - Pinot Noirs and Zinfandel
Rafanelli (Dry Creek) - A top Zinfandel producer
Ridge (Dry Creek) - A top Zinfandel producer; they might open an older wine
Chateau Souverain (Dry Creek) - excellent Cabernet & Zin, good QPR, top Sauv.
Selby (Dry Creek) Killer Zins
Rosenblum (Dry Creek) Tasting room. Zins and Syrah.
Segsheio (Dry Creek) Very good line of Zins & Syrahs now
Lambert Bridge (Dry Creek) Good wines - good visit
Unti (Dry Creek) - Good red wines
Jordan (Alexander Valley) Cabernet pioneer in mid-70s. Great visit.
Murphy Goode (Alexander Valley) Good zins, but whites overmanipulated.
Hanna (Alexander Valley) Good white wines - good visit
MacArthur Place - In Sonoma, near the square, nice smaller hotel
Haydon St. Inn - B&B in Sonoma, good breakfasts
Farmhouse Inn - good B&B in Russian River Valley, great restaurant
Applewood Inn - charming B&B, great breakfasts, very good restaurant
Sonoma Mission Inn - excellent but pricey
Dry Creek Inn/ Best Western - simple, relatively inexpensive, clean and quiet.
Grape Leaf Inn - nice B&B: fairly quiet, good breakfast, used to host free wine
tastings in the afternoon!
Costeaux French Bakery - great place for a casual breakfast in Healdsburg
Dry Creek Kitchen - upscale California cuisine in Healdsburg, good wine list
The Girl & The Fig - Good but touristy dining on the square in Sonoma
Applewood Inn - Good food as well as lodging
Farmhouse Inn - Ditto
Café La Haye - Fine dining on the Sonoma square
Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar - Every dish about Zinfandel; great wine list; in
Ravenous (Healdsburg) a three table restaurant that hit it big. Simple but great
Bistro Ralph (Healdsburg) New menu every night. Good food.
Willi's Wine Bar (north of Santa Rosa) 75 tapas & 75 wines. Spend an evening
with very creative tapas. One of the very best places in Sonoma
Willi's Seafood (Healdsburg) Almost the same as his Wine Bar. Great.
Cafe Lolo (Santa Rosa) Small place where all the wine people eat.
Mixx (Santa Rosa) Good food and great wine list
Kenwood Inn (Sonoma Valley) Half way between Sonoma & Santa Rosa - the Sonoma
County version of Mustards.
LaSalette (Sonoma) Outstanding Continental They also have tapas thanks to
Syrah (Santa Rosa) Great California fresh - small dishes also
Mistral (Santa Rosa) Gets better every year. Mediterranean food. Good wine list
http://www.sonomawine.com/ - Sonoma County Wineries Association
http://www.wdcv.com/home.html - Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
http://www.rrvw.org/ - Russian River Valley Winegrowers
http://www.sonomavalleywine.com/ - Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance
http://www.carneros.com/ - Carneros Wine Alliance
[Last updated 10/06]
Unlike Napa and Sonoma, Mendocino county wineries haven't (yet) become a
tourist destination. This is in part because Mendocino county is more distant
from the Bay Area than either of the more famous wine stops and cannot easily be
visited on a day trip from there. For the visitor, what this means is a
relatively unspoiled visit, with wineries happy to see visitors in a setting
that is fabulously beautiful. Many people refer to Mendocino as what Napa and
Sonoma were like 20-25 years ago. The two major centers of wine production in
Mendocino are the Anderson Valley, centered in Philo, and the 23 mi stretch of
US101 between Hopland and Redwood Valley. The Anderson Valley is a cool climate
growing area, specializing in Pinot Noir and several different white varietals,
most notably Gewürztraminer; the inland region features more red wines,
especially Zinfandel. For a visitor staying on the coast in Gualala or
Mendocino, Anderson Valley is the more convenient visit; from Sonoma or the Bay
Area, the US101 wineries are easier to get to.
Fife (And Vly/Redwood Vly) - Good Zinfandels, owned in part by Karen MacNeil
Goldeneye (And. Vly) - The Pinot Noir arm of Duckhorn, good wines
Greenwood Ridge (And. Vly) - Good Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels, lovely location
Husch (And. Vly) - Nice place, good Chardonnays, Cab Franc, Pinot Noirs and
Lazy Creek (And. Vly) - Some of the best PN and Gewürztraminer, period
Navarro (And. Vly) - Good people, wines esp. Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer
Pacific Echo (And. Vly) - US branch of Clicquot and Scharffenberger chocolates
Roederer Estate (And. Vly) - US branch of Roederer makes stylish sparklers
White Gate Inn - "Decadent" B&B in Mendocino
St. Orres - Inn with cabins near Gualala
Serenisea - Home rentals and cabins in Gualala
Harbor House - Pricey inn in Elk; amazing restaurant and wine list
Little River Inn - Moderately expensive; south of Mendo, north of Albion; large,
broad range of accommodations
Joshua Grindle Inn - Pump organ in main lobby; enjoyable
St. Orres - Eclectic fine dining with good wine list near Gualala
Albion River Inn - Excellent food and great wine list in Albion
Little River Inn - Excellent restaurant and wine list, north of Albion
Harbor House - Amazing restaurant and wine list, in Elk
3d. Paso Robles?
[Last updated 10/06]
Paso Robles is located 30 miles N of San Luis Obispo in Central California.
Unlike most of the other Central California wine growing regions, Paso Robles
isn't on the coast, so it's not a cool weather climate. Geographically, it can
be divided into West side (W of US 101), home to Rhone varieties and Zinfandel
and East side (E of 101), known more for its white grapes. It is far enough
from both LA and SF to be still relatively undeveloped, though it has been
"discovered" in the past few years.
Dark Star - Red wines only, Zin and Bordeaux varieties
Denner - Exceptional reds and Rhone varietals. New winery.
Four Vines - Good Pinot Noir from Paso!!
Garretson - "Mr. Viognier" also makes rich Roussanne and big Syrahs
Gelfand - Exceptional Syrah, Cabernet and "SFR" (a blend)
Justin - Probably the best Cabernet-based reds in Paso Robles
L'Aventure - Zinfandel and Rhone varieties, mostly red wines
Linne Calodo - Zin and Rhone varities (and mixtures) are the focus here
Chateau Margene - Exceptional reds and great Reserve wines
Midnight Cellars - Good red wines, Italian and Bordeaux varieties
Clos Mimi - Syrah specialists
Tablas Creek - The US arm of Ch. Beaucastel makes distinctive Rhone-like wines
Turley - Taste their famous Zins, get a Riedel tasting glass too!
Wild Coyote - Great Syrah
Just Inn - An inn at Justin winery, excellent location
Villa Toscana - A luxury Italian themed B&B located on the Martin & Weyrich
Villa Creek - Established, upscale Cal-Mex with good wine list
Paris - Authentic French cooking from recent immigrants, low wine markups
Bistro Laurent - French bistro, a popular favorite
Panolivo - French Mediterranean food, reasonably priced, good wines
3e. Amador/El Dorado Counties?
[Last updated 10/06]
These two counties are located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada
mountains and are best known as "gold country" during the California Gold Rush.
Increasingly, they are producing some very good wine, especially Zinfandel,
Rhone and Italian varieties. Despite their increased elevation, these regions
have rather hot and dry growing conditions, so they tend to produce fairly big
wines. Because of its distance from the big cities of California (but closest
to Sacramento) this region is still fairly relaxed and friendly to tourists,
with most wineries still not charging tasting fees. You can drive from San
Francisco to Plymouth in Amador County in 2 hours, so it's a difficult day trip
unless you like driving mountain roads in the dark after wine tasting. Amador
County is the better known of the two, with wine production centered in its
Shenandoah Valley located near Plymouth. El Dorado County's wine production is
located in its Southern region near Placerville.
Amador Foothills (Amador) - Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Carignan, all good
Cooper (Amador) - Rhone and Italian varietals
Dobra Zemlja (Amador) - Syrah and Viognier
Easton/Terre Rouge (Amador) - Stylish Zinfandels and high quality Syrah
Karly (Amador) - Big Zinfandels, especially their "Warrior Fires" and Syrah
Renwood (Amador) - Very big Zinfandels, most commercial of Amador wineries
Sobon Estate (Amador) - Zinfandel
Vino Noceto (Amador) - Possibly the best Sangiovese in California
Boeger (El Dorado) - Italian varities
Cedarville* (El Dorado) - First rate and well-priced Rhone wines, Cab and Zin
Firefall (El Dorado) - Syrah and Sangiovese at great prices
Holly's Hill (El Dorado) - Syrah and Sangiovese
Sierra Vista (El Dorado) - Established producer of Rhone varieties and Zinfandel
* By appointment only
Fitzpatrick Lodge (Fair Play) - B&B in El Dorado wine country
Placerville Best Western - Decent rooms, good prices
St. George Hotel (Volcano) - Historic, gold rush hotel restored as an inn
Shenandoah Inn (Plymouth) - Quiet hotel in Amador County
Imperial Hotel (Amador City) - Restored Victorian inn
Taste (Plymouth) - Fine dining in Amador County
Zachary-Jacques (Placerville) - Fine dining in El Dorado County
Shenandoah Inn (Plymouth) - Casual dining, good wine list
3f. Santa Barbara County?
[Last updated 10/06]
The wine regions of Santa Barbara County are cool weather growing areas,
renowned for their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. The movie "Sideways" catapulted
this area to prominence, so it's a bit more touristy now than it used to be.
Most of the grape growing is done in the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys and
Santa Rita Hills, of which the Santa Ynez Valley is the warmest growing climate.
More Syrah and Rhone varietals are being produced in this region these days.
The area is a two hour drive from Los Angeles on US 101, so is a long day trip
or an overnight journey.
Babcock (Santa Rita) - Very good Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah
Melville (Santa Rita) - Very good Pinot Noir
Foxen (Santa Maria) - Quaint barn-like structure, great wines
Andrew Murray (Santa Ynez) - Good Rhone varietals
Beckmen (Santa Ynez) - Noted for Syrah
Jaffurs (Santa Barbara) - Syrah and Viognier
Gainey (Santa Ynez) - Nice, quaint tasting room, many good wines
Los Olivos Wine and Spirits Emporium (Santa Ynez) - A cooperative tasting room
for smaller wineries, the place to sample Au Bon Climat and Qupé wines
[Last updated 11/06]
The best known winegrowing region in Oregon is the Willamette (rhymes with
"damn it") Valley, starting just South of Portland and continuing southward to
Eugene, on the western side of the Willamette River. This area is a cool-
weather growing area noted for its Pinot Noirs, but also for its Pinot Gris and
Chardonnay. The area is easily accessible by day trip from Portland, with many
of the wineries located near US 99W. Geographically, this region can be divided
into a "northern" area, centered around Dundee and McMinnville, and a "southern"
region in the Eola Hills near Salem and points further South.
Archery Summit (Dundee) - Expensive, good Pinot Noirs; good tour, pricey tasting
Argyle (Dundee) - Good sparkling wine and nice, light Pinot Noir
Belle Pente (Carlton) - Excellent single vineyard Pinot Noirs
Bergstrom (Newberg) -
Carlton Winemaker's Studio (Carlton) - Taste the wines of many smaller wineries
Chehalem (Dundee) - Excellent white wines and good single vyd Pinot Noirs
Cristom (Salem) - Excellent Pinot Noirs
Domaine Drouhin (Dundee) - Stylish Pinot Noir from American arm of famous
Domaine Serene (Dundee) - A broad range of well-made wines in a fancy setting
Lange (Dundee) - Excellent Pinot Gris, good Pinot Noir, great views
Patricia Green (Dundee) - Great Pinot Noir from a premier Oregon winemaker
Ponzi (Dundee) - Wine bar and bistro, good wines from Ponzi, too
Rex Hill (Newberg) - Good wines for reasonable price
St. Innocent (Salem) - Burgundian Pinot Noirs
Torii Mor (Dundee) - Good selection of Pinot Noirs
WillaKenzie (Yamhill) - Good people, good wines
Witness Tree (Salem) - Excellent single vineyard Pinot Noirs
Black Walnut Inn (Dundee) - Good but expensive
Best Western (Newberg) - Nothing fancy, clean, comfortable, broadband Internet
Hotel Oregon (McMinnville) - Eclectic, hippy-type place, strange but very Oregon
Dundee Bistro - Good food at Ponzi's wine bar in Dundee
Nick's (McMinnville) - Good wine list
Joel Palmer House (Dayton) - Legendary for its mushrooms and great cooking
Red Hills Provincial Dining (Newberg) - French-influenced cooking, local
The Painted Lady (Newberg) - Modern American cooking, good local wine list
Tina's (Dundee) - Good local cuisine
http://www.oregonwines.com - Private website with a useful travel planner
[Last updated 11/06]
The best known wine region of Washington is near Walla Walla in the Columbia
Valley. This is a much warmer growing area than the (relatively) nearby
Willamette Valley of Oregon, so the principal wines of this region are Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. It is one of the more recently developed
viticultural areas in the Western US, so visits there are still fairly low key.
Listed below are some of the Walla Walla wineries that have received positive
reviews in alt.food.wine.
L'Ecole 41 - Ageworthy Cabernet and Merlot, top-notch Syrah
Woodward Canyon - Quality Cabernet Sauvignon
Cayuse - Rich, stylish Syrahs
Yellowhawk - Italian varietals
Rulo - Good Syrah and white wines, including Viognier
Tamarack- Suave, consistently good Cabernet and Merlot
Reininger - Beautiful Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah
Dunham Cellars - Smooth Cabernet and jammy, expressive Syrah
Seven Hills - Very good Merlot, Tempranillo
Forgeron - Zinfandel!
Creek Town Café - Good spot for lunch
Grapefields - Wine bar/bistro with good food
26 Brix - Outstanding food from local products
Whitehouse Crawford - Chef Jamie Guerin cooks in a restored planning mill; good
The Marc - Good cooking at the Marcus Whitman Hotel
Marcus Whitman Hotel - Restored, turn of (20th) century building
3i. NY Finger Lakes? [Last update 12/06]
The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is a cool weather growing region
that has been producing "serious" wines for about 30 years now. Production
there centers on the cooler vinifera grapes (Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot
Noir, Cabernet Franc) as well as labrusca (native) and vinifera-labrusca
hybrids. The latter grapes are more suited to the cold winters of upstate NY,
but are not to everyones' tastes. Production centers around two lakes, Seneca
and Cayuga, both of which are near to Ithaca, NY.
Atwater (E Seneca) - Excellent Riesling and GewurztraminerDr. Konstantin Frank
(Keuka) - A regional pioneer, good RieslingCastle Grisch (S Seneca) - Terrific
view, decent wines
Heron Hill - Good Riesling
Hosmer (W Cayuga) - Pinot Noir, Riesling and Cabernet FrancHunt Country (Keuka)
- Good selection, nice people
Knapp (W Cayuga) - Great selection, good Vignoles
Lamoreaux Landing (E Seneca) - nice wines, interesting building (gorgeous
Lucas (W Cayuga) - Large variety, good Riesling and VignolesRavines - Good
Sheldrake Point (W Cayuga) - Pinot Noir, Riesling and Cabernet Franc
Standing Stone (E Seneca) - Excellent white wines, Vidal ice wine
Wagner (E Seneca) - Good Riesling and Gewurztraminer, excellent beer
Hazlitt 1852 (E Seneca) - Good wines, including a sweet Red Catawba
Red Newt - Nice bistro for lunch
Wagner Vineyards - Nice restaurant for lunchDano's - Excellent Austro-Hungarian
Seneca Lodge - Good restaurant, reasonably priced
Golden Knight Inn and Suites - Book far in advance
Castle Gritsch - B&B with nice viewSeneca Lodge - Nicely located at S end of
3k. The Rhone Valley? [last update 12/06]
The Rhone Valley is a long stretch alongside the Rhone River, from
immediately south of Lyon to just north of the Mediterranean Sea. This vast
stretch of wine country is typically subdivided into two regions: the Northern
Rhone, running from Vienne in the North to Valence and producing mostly red
wines made from Syrah and white wines made from either Viognier or Marsanne; and
the Southern Rhone, taking in an area extending ca. 12 mi to the north and south
of Orange, and featuring both red and white wines made from a complex mixture of
grapes (up to 13 for the red wines) but most famous for its Grenache. Most
winemakers in this region are also farmers, so don't expect tasting rooms
staffed with employees: usually, it's the winemaker or their family pouring your
wines. For that reason, it's a good idea to call ahead of time for an
Thierry Allemand (Cornas) - A superstar making supple Syrah from Cornas
Chapoutier (Tain) - Large biodynamic winery with fabulous Hermitage and many
other offerings; no appointments needed here: they have a California-like
J-L Chave (Mauves) - Finest Hermitage and very good St. Joseph, exciting, ripe
wines with a non-interventionist approach
Pierre Coursodon (Mauves) - Very good St Joseph producer, and a friendly visit.
Yves Cuilleron (Chavanay) - Great Condrieu, improving Cote-Rotie
Mathilde & Yves Gangloff (Condrieu) - Great Condrieu and Cote-Rotie
Pierre Gaillard (Malleval) - Condrieu, Cote-Rotie and St. Joseph, all good
Alain Graillot (Pont de L'Isere) - Best value in Crozes-Hermitage
E. Guigal (Ampuis) - Legendary Cote-Rotie, now housed in the palatial Ch.
Jamet (Ampuis) - Fantastic Cote-Rotie from the Jamet brothers
Marcel Juge (Cornas) - Traditional Cornas from an old master
Pierre Lionnet (Cornas) - Cosy little place and a lot of hospitality from the
Michel Ogier (Ampuis) - Great Cote-Rotie and VDP Syrah
Cave de Tain L'Hermitage (Tain) - Decent growers cooperative in Hermitage
François Villard (St. Michel) - Great Condrieu, now also Cote-Rotie and VDP
Chateau de Beaucastel (Courthézon) - Top but atypical Chateauneuf with a
penchant for mourvèdre
Beaurenard (CdP) - Traditional CdP, oaky luxury cuvee, good CdR and Rasteau, too
Bosquet des Papes (CdP) - Honest and traditional Chateauneuf, still reasonably
Dom. Brusset (Cairanne) - Their Les Hauts de Montmirail Gigondas is good.
Cave d'Estezargues (Estezargues) - Really good growers coop, great value,
excellent CdR also available in 5 l box.
Dom. Du Cayron (Gigondas) - One of the oldest and most consistent estates in
Clos des Cazaux (Vacqueyras) - More rustic wine than Chateauneuf
Clos du Mont Olivet (CdP) - Best value for money, 11 euro for beautiful CdP, add
50% to get some really old vintages.
Clos des Papes (CdP) - Traditional Chateauneufs from the Avril family
Domaine Durban (Beaumes de Venise) - Great sweet Muscat and beautiful views
Font de Michelle (Bedarrides) - Refined CdP, fine whites, friendly winemakers
Dom. la Garrigue (Gigondas) - Nice Gigondas made by the folks who run Le Florets
Dom. Gourt de Mautens (Rasteau) - powerful deep reds, since 2002 developing
Dom. Gramenon (Monbrison) - Great syrah in the "vin naturel" style
Dom. du Grand Montmirail (Gigondas) - One of the top estates in Gigondas
Grand Tinel (CdP) - Good value, classic style of CdP; ask about their table wine
Dom. de la Janasse (Courthézon) - The best whites in CdP
Dom. de Marcoux (CdP) - Expensive but one of the best CdP, biodynamic
Dom. de la Mordoree (Tavel) - Rich CdP and fresh lively rosés from Lirac and
Domaine du Pegau (CdP) - Traditional, powerful CdP, English spoken here
Roger Perrin (Orange) - Best deal in CdP, fabulous in a good year with terrific
depth, declassified CdP sold in bulk
Dom. Raspail-Ay (Gigondas) - Good Gigondas and Vacqueyras
Dom. Varenne (Gigondas) - Look for the 'Gigondas Fût Chene'
Vieux Telegraphe (Bedarrides) - Very traditional and famous red and white CdP,
now quite pricey
Dom. de Villeneuve (Orange) - The great Chateauneuf of Philippe Du Roy De
Les Florets (Gigondas) - Great food, and lovely house wine (Dom. La Garrigue)
Le Chaudron (Tournon) - Across the bridge from Tain l'Hermitage, a favourite
haunt of the local winemakers, great food at a reasonable price and local wines
by the glass
La Beaugravière (Mondragon) - Not far from Orange, a very good restaurant with
one of the most interesting wine cellars in France and certainly the best in the
Rhone. Where else could you find sweet white Chateau Rayas Grand Cru 1955? Huge
selection of Chateauneuf (Rayas, Marcoux, Beaucastel) and Hermitage.
Maison Borie (Lyon) - The new restaurant of Manuel Viron, Wonderful decor, very
original beautiful dining room in the Mouche area, inventive delicious cuisine
with friendly service and a great wine list.
La Pyramide (Vienne) - Two star ancient restaurant with a cuisine that is both
traditional and inventive, by Patrick Henriroux
Le Prieuré (Villeneuve les Avignon) - One star and excellent cuisine
Mas de la Marteliere (Le Thor) - Bed & Breakfast and Table d'Hote with swimming
pool, very welcoming, Patrick and Annick Laget are wine lovers and will make you
feel at home a few miles from CdP. (www.la-marteliere.com)
L'Aube Safran (Le Barroux) - In the heart of Vacqueyras Gigondas area, with a
magnificent view of the Dentelle de Montmirail and a swimming pool, a stylish
Bed & Breakfast expertly run by Françoise and François Pillet who are also
saffron growers and great cooks. (www.aube-safran.com)
Le Prieuré (Villeneuve les Avignon) - beautiful ancient priory with comfortable
rooms and a great restaurant.
3s. Australia? [last updated 8/07]
Most Australian wine regions are located within relatively short distances
from major cities. The drawback to the intrepid wine enthusiast seeking to
experience Australia in one visit is that the major cities are spread long
distances from each other - Sydney to Melbourne is nearly 800km (by air);
Melbourne to Adelaide is nearly the same - and from Adelaide to Perth (WA)
is a whopping 2,700km.
Notwithstanding the distances involved, Australia is a fascinating country
to visit. All the major cities are coastal; the Australian way of life
centres around the outdoors; European immigrants brought their cuisine and
winemaking skills; more recently new arrivals from Asia have introduced
their own special taste treats. The major wine producing areas of Australia are
New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. The
best known grapes of Australia are Shiraz (Syrah) and Chardonnay, but many other
quality wines are made there from Semillon, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and
NEW SOUTH WALES
If one arrives in Sydney, then the Hunter Valley is the nearest wine region
(100 miles drive to the north-west).
The Hunter Valley in New South Wales is recognised as the birthplace of
Australia's wine industry. It is a somewhat large, sprawling area, but many
of the region's best wines are found in the Lower Hunter region,
particularly around the town of Pokolbin which is two hours' drive out of
Sydney. Day trips can be easily arranged from within the city, with a number
of tour groups providing transport to the Hunter and around the wineries. The
best time to visit is March and April when producers and the community join in
celebrating the ritual of harvest with two months of events focusing on food,
wine and entertainment.
The Hunter's best known grape is Semillon which is made in a variety of
styles around the region, but fine Shiraz, Verdelho, Chardonnay and Pinot
Noir are fairly easy to come by as well. Most cellar doors and wineries
don't usually charge tasting fees; some will have nominal fees during the
peak tourist season in summer and appointments are rarely needed to sample
McWilliams' Mount Pleasant - Probably the best Hunter Semillon
Tyrrell's - Another classic producer of Semillon
De Bortoli - Good wines all around from their vineyards around the country. The
'Noble One' dessert Semillon is a must.
Brokenwood - Good Semillon, Pinot Noir, and excellent Shiraz.
Audrey Wilkinson - Great view with good whites and dessert/fortified wines.
Tempus Two - Excellent Shiraz and Botrytis Semillon
Peterson Champagne House - Good sparkling wines, excellent sparkling Shiraz.
Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria, and is the gateway to Mornington
(a compact region, very close to the city); the Yarra Valley is to the city's
north-east and Rutherglen, about four hours away, is a haven for lovers of
robust reds (especially the region's Durif). However, the real treasures of
Rutherglen are the wonderful muscats and "tokays", some of the great
fortified wines in the world.
A little to the south of Melbourne, one can enjoy beach activities with
cellar door exploration - an idyllic rural setting against the backdrop of
Port Phillip Bay. Spring, summer or autumn are all great times to visit.
Stonier Wines - Pinot Noir
Paringa Estate - Fine Shiraz and Chardonnay
Yarra Valley and Heathcote
Yarra Valley lies an hour's drive outside Melbourne, and in addition to some
truly breathtaking scenery, boasts some excellent Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and
sparkling wines that flourish in the (relatively) cool climate. The Heathcote
region is a couple of hours north of Melbourne, and is known for its intense,
spicy Shiraz. Some observers say that the Heathcote is the very best place in
Australia for full-blooded red wine. Tours can be taken from the city into the
Yarra, but the Heathcote is less of a tourist attraction and would require one
Best's Wines - Great Western Shiraz stands out here.
De Bortoli - See comments in Hunter section.
Domaine Chandon & Green Point - Excellent sparkling wines
Yarra Yering - Eclectic and brilliant wines from Dr. Bailey Carrodus.
Yering Station - Originally planted in 1883; Pinot Noir; Shiraz/Viognier.
Heathcote Winery - Excellent Shiraz & Shiraz/Viognier blends
Hanging Rock Winery - Quality Shiraz from around the region.
One does not visit Rutherglen - one makes a pilgrimage. Few wine regions in
Australia are as steeped in history - whether it be gold or bushrangers or the
Murray River bordering the area to the north. The summer heat is extreme, while
the nights are often cold. The best time to visit is in winter (imagine a
roaring fire at the stately "House St Mount Prior" while relaxing after a tough
day's tasting!!). Rutherglen is famous for its fortifieds - magical Muscats
(petit grains rouge) and tremendous Tokay (Muscadelle) - blended via the solera
system, and aged in the heat of the Victorian summer.
All Saints Estate
This island state seldom raises a blip on the wine radar - but it is home to
some wonderful examples of cool climate wines; Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and
Pinot Noir - and in the humble opinion of the writer, Australia's best
traditional method bubbly is made by Jansz Tasmania Vineyard. Tasmania is a
wine lover's and foodie's paradise. Many species of fish, and shellfish
(abalone, scallops, oysters, mussels and crayfish) and farmed Atlantic Salmon
are readily available - or the intrepid angler, seeking the solace of a spot
of fly fishing will find rivers bountiful in trout. The island produces
wonderful cheeses, milk and cream and also has fine meats including farmed
venison and game - all available to those who wish to escape the mainland.
Today, South Australia is the state that dominates Australian wine
Production, producing about half of Australia's wine. The first vineyards were
established in the 1830's, 40's and 50's in areas and by names that are still
famous: Penfold, Jacobs Creek and Seppelt are the basis of Aussie folklore. The
Barossa Valley became the main region in the 19th century and became
complemented later by Coonawarra, Clare, and McLaren Vale.
Barossa Valley & Eden Valley
James Halliday writes that "the Barossa Valley is, and always will be, the
womb of the Australian wine industry". It is a warm region which produces
many of Australia's best known premium reds, with names like d'Arenberg
"Dead Arm", Rockford "Basket Press", Grant Burge "Mesach" and Jim Barry
"Armagh". In the case of Henschke, "iconic" is very much the vineyard and
"Hill of Grace" and "Mt Edelstone" are legendary worldwide.
Penfolds - Famous producer of wines sourced from all over, their "Grange" is
arguably Australia's most famous wine
Peter Lehmann - Quality producer of many different wines
Henschke - Top-notch producer of Barossa Shiraz, most famous for "Hill of Grace"
and "Mt Edelstone" vineyards
Rockford - Worth a visit
Langmeil - Worth a visit
Charles Melton - High quality producer
Torbreck - High quality producer of distinctive Barossa wines
To the south east of Adelaide is McLaren Vale - a traditional area but
undergoing more and more expansion and becoming known for rich reds due to
the renaissance of shiraz and grenache. Andrew Garrett, Chapel Hill,
Clarendon Hills ("discovered" by Robert Parker), d'Arenberg, Fox Creek,
Geoff Merrill, Hardys Reynella, Haselgrove, Maglieri, Richard Hamilton,
Pirramimma, Rosemount (headquartered in the Hunter Valley but obtaining
their rich reds from McLaren Vale), Seaview, Tatachilla, and Wirra Wirra are
well known. One of the writer's favourites is Joe & Dina Grilli's Primo Estate;
their Moda Amarone-styled red is a standout.
Coonawarra is an isolated region that will require a long drive, either
from Adelaide or from Melbourne, via one of Australia's great drives along
the coast road, in places reminiscent of Big Sur. Perhaps the best time to
visit is the annual Cabernet Celebration weekend in October. It is known for
reds and cabernet sauvignon in particular
Wineries worth a visit are:
Fly into Perth and grab a rental vehicle and head down the coast to Margaret
River, certainly Australia's most remote wine making region and also the newest.
Apart from the wonderful natural beauty, forest, rugged coastline and
beaches, there are winery restaurants, together with art and craft galleries.
Make the Margaret River Visitors Centre your first stop
(www.margaretriverwa.com) for advice on accommodation, tours and cellar doors.
In a little over 25 years, Margaret River has established itself as producing
(arguably) Australia's best Cabernet Sauvignon. The writer also considers
Leeuwin Estate's "Art Series" Chardonnay as one of the best.
Worth a visit:
3t. New Zealand? [last update 4/07]
Although history will show that the first grapes were planted by English
settlers in the early 1800s, the modern history of the NZ wine industry started
with the planting of Vitis Vinifera grapes in the late 1960s - early 1970's.
However, it was the release of Cloudy Bay's 1985 (Marlborough) Sauvignon Blanc
that first placed NZ on the world's winemaking map. In the ten years from 1997
, NZ wine industry has undergone a period of spectacular development. In 1997
there were less than 7,000 hectares under vine: a decade later the national
total is more than 22,500 hectares - over half of those planting in Marlborough.
Today, there are some 520 wineries - it should be noted that 450 are smaller
producers (less than 20,000 cases per year). While Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
accounts for over 75% of NZs annual wine exports, producers in other regions,
using differing varieties have been busy making excellent examples of Riesling,
Pinot Noir and Syrah. So, despite the distances involved, New Zealand is truly
an excellent wine destination.
NZ is 26-28 hours from London Heathrow; 13 hours direct from LAX and 3-3.5
from Australia. International travelers will typically arrive in Auckland in the
morning, so plan on taking the rest of the day to rest and recuperate, although
there are plenty of wineries based in and around Auckland city to visit. NZers
drive on the left - and owing to a lack of suitable public transport (servicing
wine-making regions) driving is virtually the only option available to the
intrepid visitor. In Auckland, Hawkes Bay & Marlborough mini-bus wine tours are
available (generally only on weekends). Rental cars are plentiful and
inexpensive. Google and reserve on-line. NZ comprises two main islands, both
of which contain several winemaking regions. From the far north to Central Otago
stretches 1,000 miles (1,600km) - so a tour can take as little as four / five
days (Hawkes Bay / Marlborough or a couple of weeks.
The main wine regions in the North Island are Hawke's Bay (Syrah, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay) and Martinborough (Pinot Noir); while Marlborough
(Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling & Pinot Noir) and Central Otago (Pinot Noir) are the
key areas on the South Island. The most popular mode of accommodation is the
Motel; however, a range of hotels, B&Bs etc are available around the country.
Reservations, while recommended, are mandatory only during peak holiday seasons
(December - February). Many wineries do not have visitor facilities; those that
do welcome visitors, generally without reservation. Tasting is normally free
(those that do charge will refund off purchase). Respectfully, it is suggested
that a phone call explaining that you are an overseas visitor may pay dividends,
with a private tour and chat to the winemaker. Point out that you may not be
purchasing - this is acceptable in the case of an overseas visitor - you will
still get an A1 reception.
HAWKES BAY (Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec)
Church Road Wines - Pernod Ricard's Hawkes Bay HQ, al fresco Lunches, museum
C J Pask Wines - Merlot, Malbec, Syrah
Craggy Range - Showcase winery: stunning Syrah.
Esk Valley Wines - High quality Bordeaux blends
Sileni Estates - Epicurean Centre (Carefully matched cheese & wine tasting);
Stonecroft Wines - Excellent Syrah, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay
Te Mata Estate - Iconic NZ Cabernet-Merlot - worth the pilgrimage.
Trinity Hill - Prepare to be amazed - NZs best "Port" (Touriga Nacional Tinta
Brookfield Vineyards - Luncheon restaurant
Clearview Estate - al fresco dining
Craggy Range - Restaurant
MARTINBOROUGH (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc)
Ata Rangi - Superb Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris
Martinborough Vineyards - Classy Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling
Murdoch James Estate - Organic wines
Palliser Estate - A "must visit" in Martinborough, very flashy Sauvignon
Murdoch James Estate - café
Murdoch James Estate - vineyard accommodation
MARLBOROUGH (Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)
Allan Scott Wines - Excellent white wines; courtyard lunch venue.
Cloudy Bay - Iconic Sauvignon Blanc, must visit!
Highfield Estate & Restaurant - Very nice bubbles
Lawson's Dry Hills Wines - Very good Sauvignon & Gewürztraminer
Pernod Ricard Visitor Centre
Villa Maria Marlborough Winery - Large visitor centre
Wairau River Wines - Ageworthy Sauvignon Blanc
Wither Hills Vineyards - Iconic Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir
Allan Scott Wines - Vineyard Restaurant
Herzog Winery & Restaurant - Best winery restaurant in NZ - pure indulgence.
Highfield Estate & Restaurant
Saint Clair Estate Wines - winery café
Wairau River Wines - Good winery restaurant
CANTERBURY (Riesling; Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay)
Bell Hill Vineyard - By appointment only; is this NZs best Pinot Noir?
Pegasus Bay (Donaldson Family) - Excellent Riesling, Pinot Noir
Pegasus Bay (Donaldson Family) - Luncheon restaurant
CENTRAL OTAGO (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris)
Felton Road Wines - Noted Pinot Noir producer
Gibbston Valley Wines - Good white wines, but the Pinot Noir here is stellar.
Mt. Difficulty - Great Pinot Noir, very good white wines, Merlot.
Peregrine Wines - Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are the standouts here.
Akarua - Restaurant
Amisfield - Bistro
Gibbston Valley Wines - Restaurant & Cheesery
Mt. Difficulty Wines - Café
http://www.cuisine.co.nz/index.cfm?pageID=6&r=5 (Excellent links)
http://www.nzwine.com/regions/ (Good lists and links)
http://www.newzealand.com/travel (Good travel info)
http://destinationnz.co.nz/ (Travel Info)
http://www.nzedge.com/media/archives...tyle-wine.html (NZ Wine News)
4. What is the best way to preserve an opened bottle of wine? How long will it
last? [Last update 11/06]
The primary enemy of wine is oxygen (even though proper aging of wine
requires it). Once wine is opened, it starts changing due to its interaction
with the air. In some cases this is good (a wine "opening up" in flavor over
the course of the meal, or even overnight in the case of some older reds), but
it will always end badly if enough time elapses.
If you haven't finished a bottle and want to save it for later consumption,
the best thing to do is to retard its reaction with oxygen. Putting it in the
refrigerator slows down the reactions, so this is a good idea even for reds.
(they should be warmed up again before serving). Just corked back up, whites
could go for a day or three (depending on the kind and quality of the wine, the
amount left in the bottle, and your own palate), reds might last a week that
Probably the best method is to rebottle the wine in a smaller bottle (such as
a half bottle whose bottle you saved), allowing very little air between the top
of the wine and the cork. (that area is called the "ullage"). When inserting
the cork, put the end of a paper clip, or a nail, or a wire, partially into the
neck of the bottle as you insert the cork as a spacer, allowing air to escape
(so that pressure doesn't build up). Then remove the object, allowing the cork
to spring back. Tilt the bottle to wet the cork, but then store upright for
some time (to give the cork a chance to fully spring back. Be sure to label the
bottle! Some say that wine rebottled this way could be put back in the cellar
and left there another year. If you have smaller bottles that have screwcap
closures, they are even better for storing excess wine.
There are also several systems on the market to reduce the wine's exposure to
oxygen. One is a hand pump and rubber stopper arrangement which reduces the
pressure in the bottle. They are marketed under various names, including Vac-U-
Vin. Follow the directions and do not pump the wine down too much, or the
volitiles in the wine will also evaporate, leaving a wine "dead". Opinion is
divided on whether wine preserved with these devices tastes the same, with some
people feeling that wine loses some of its aromatic character when treated this
way. Those who favor its use say that proper use can extend the wine's life,
allowing a red wine to be stored for as much as two weeks in the refrigerator
under some circumstances before it becomes less than interesting. Your own
reaction may be different, of course.
Another wine preservation device is a gas displacement system. Typically the
gas is Nitrogen or Argon; it is introduced into the bottle, displacing the air
that was there before, and then the bottle is resealed. The cheapest version is
a spray can filled with a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. It will
likely do only a little to preserve the wine due to the difficulty in removing
all of the oxygen this way. Given a choice, argon is a better gas to use
because, since it's heavier than air it will settle in the headspace of the
bottle and also leach out of the sealed bottle more slowly (it's also much more
costly, though). Even so, don't expect to store wines using canned gas for more
than a few days. More effective devices use a bubbler (such as is used in
fishtanks) to bubble nitrogen through the wine and incorporate it into a tight
seal for the bottle. Such devices are marketed under the name Winekeeper and
are sold online through Wine Enthusiast (http://www.winenethusiast.com) and
International Wine Accessories (http://www.iwawine.com). You can buy them in
one-, four- and eight-bottle sizes, though the latter two are so expensive and
elaborate that they are more suited for wine bars and restaurants than home use.
Wine stored this way can probably be kept for a few days without serious
5. What wine should I serve with this food? [Last update 11/06]
There are no hard or fast rules for wine and food matching. No match will be
successful if you don't like the wine. This section, however, is intended as a
guide to some generally accepted principles, with pointers to matches both good
and bad (to most people's taste). The old idea of "red with meat, white with
fish" is not all that good a rule- it depends what meat, what fish (and what
red, what white!).
There are some matches that are considered classic:
Beef and Cabernet
Oysters and Muscadet or Chablis
There are some matches that very few people would find successful:
sole or other delicate fish with a big red
red meat with a light white (basic Muscadet, Vinho Verde, or Sauvignon Blanc)
spicy dishes with a big Cabernet
However, the vast majority of dishes and possible wine matches are in-between.
There's no way to cover every eventuality here- we can say beef and Cabernet is
a good match, but a sauce, prep technique, or side dish might conflict. So
please be aware these are very general guidelines, and feel free to ask specific
questions on AFW .
Herbs, Seasonings,and Sauces
Non-European Ethnic Cuisines
Beef is a classic accompaniment for bigger reds wines. With steaks, especially
if rare, one might stick to bigger more tannic reds- young California Cabernet
Sauvignon or Bordeaux, Australian Shiraz, or young Northern Rhones. Roasts and
braised meat might be more appropriate for mature Cabernet or Merlot based wines
(whether Bordeaux, New World, or elsewhere), mature Nebbiolo, or other elegant
Lamb is often associated with Pauillac, but is a fine match for any Bordeaux or
Bordeaux-blend ("Meritage") wine. If heavy on the herbs and garlic you might
consider a Rhone (or a wine from Rhone varietals such as Grenache, Mouvedre,
Syrah, etc. from California, Spain, Australia, or elsewhere), Bandol, or
Zinfandel. Rioja also is a historic match.
Pork is generally lighter, and does well with lighter reds (Pinot Noirs that are
less heavy, most Sangiovese except Brunello, etc.). Roses also work well. But
many people think that pork is best with whites. Try a Grüner Veltliner or a dry
to off-dry Riesling.
Ham- roses are often recommended. Cured raw hams (proscuitto for example) do
well with whites or sparkling wines.
Veal -recommendations similar to pork
Game- for elk or venison, generally look to powerful wines, Syrah (Rhone or New
World) in particular is a good match, as are bigger wines from Provence, such as
Bandol. For wild boar, consider Brunello di Montalcino. Rabbit is great with
Sangiovese or Pinot Noir (or Riesling in some preparations).
Choucroute - Alsace Riesling is traditional
Steak tartare- crisp whites
Beef Bourguignon - um, Burgundy!
Fondue Bourguignonne - Burgundy works again, but full-bodied reds from around
the globe will also
Chicken- simple roast chicken is a fine backdrop for fine mature reds, yet can
also do well with whites. Coq au vin is typically served with a wine similar to
the cooking wine (though one might use a simple Bourgogne for cooking and a
fine Chambolle 1er with dinner- or a California appelation Pinot Noir for
cooking and the single vineyard version for the table).
Duck- Pinot Noir is excellent, but this goes also well with mature Nebbiolo,
Syrah, or Bordeaux as well. A vocal minority support Amarone.
Goose- mature Bordeaux or softer New World Merlots or Cabernets. A good backdrop
for most non-tannic reds.
Foie Gras- Sauternes or other sweet botrytized wines are traditional and fine,
but arguments can be made for Chablis Grand Cru, too!
Turkey- pretty controversial. Advocates for Zinfandel, roses, Riesling
Kabinetts, and more.
Game birds: bigger richer ones do well with classic red wines; smaller delicate
birds might be better served with a rich white. Gamier birds (from long hanging)
tend to go with Rhone reds with some spice.
White fleshed fish (flounder, sole, etc) : Soave, Chablis, unoaked Chardonnay,
Sauvignon Blanc. If there's a richer sauce then oaked Chardonnay or bigger white
Salmon: many prefer big Chardonnays, but there is a long tradition of reds,
especially Pinot Noir with good acidity.
Tuna steaks- soft Merlot or other round reds. Less tannic Cabernet can work.
Lobster- big oaked Chardonnay (buttery California or a white Burgundy like a
Meursault) is the traditional accompaniment, but unoaked Chardonnay (Chablis 1er
Crus maybe) and Champagne have their adherents. Try Grüner Veltliner as a dark
Grilled Fish: If you want red, try a Loire Cab Franc
Scallops: Chablis, Grüner Veltliner, Viognier, lighter Chardonnays
Oysters, clams, mussels: Muscadet or Chablis
Caviar: Champagne or Cremant de Bourgogne
Bouillabaisse- White Rhone or Southern French Rose
Vegetables and Sides
Mushrooms- one of the great pairings for red wine in general. Many types are a
great combo with earthy Pinot Noirs (especially crimini, cepes/porcini, oysters,
chanterelle, black trumpet, matsutake, etc). Crimini or porcini/cepes in cream
sauces do well with Chardonnay based wines. Creamed morels or morels en croute
call out for a fragrant (not big) Burgundy, though others reach for Cote-Rotie
and Temperanillo. Grilled portobellos usually are a good match for Cabernet,
Merlot, or Nebbiolo based wine. Enokis and straw depend a lot on presentation
(true for everything of course), but more about sparkling or characterful white
(Loire Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Pinot Gris or Kabinett Riesling).
Truffles, black or white: Best nebbiolo based wine you can find, Barbaresco can
be even better than Barolo for this match.
Artichokes- can be a wine killer, but try lighter whites.
Asparagus - for some a strange match, but try NZ Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner
Veltliner. For white asparagus, try Alsace Muscat.
Fresh tomatoes- acidic whites
Ratatouille- fresh whites or roses
Salad- vinegary dressings are a wine killer. Drink water!
When in doubt, go with white.
Goat cheese- Sauvignon Blanc is the classic
Munster- dry Riesling
Gouda -lighter reds. Aged Gouda -good match for Cabernet based wines
Manchego -same as Gouda, depends on age. A tangy aged one is great with Priorat.
Hoch Ybrig -does well with mature but vibrant big reds
Parmigiano Reggiano- Amarone, Cabernet
Cheddar: If we're talking young moist cheddar, fruity Zinfandel or Merlot. Aged
artisanal cheddars deserve a big dry red
Triple cremes- Auslese level Riesling.
Epoisses - some of us like with red Burgundy, almost everyone likes with white
Stilton- Port (or Tokay)
Gorgonzola dolce needs a bit of sweetness - recioto della Valpolicella maybe.
More mature versions, though pungent, can stand up to drier reds
Brie and its relatives- better with whites
Cheese fondue- crisp whites. If you're looking for regional matches, more
"alpine" wines include Fendant from Switzerland and various whites from the
Savoie. Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or more acidic versions of
Chardonnay might also work. If one really wants red, try a lighter red with good
acidity such as a cru Beaujolais.
Herbs, Seasonings, and Sauces
Chiles: off-dry wines (especially Riesling) and sparkling wines are usually
suggested, though this is more in the category of "less harm" than
Dill: Good with brighter whites, especially Sauvignon Blanc
Garlic- a good wine match, if cooked. Raw garlic does better with whites
Mint-better with whites or light reds. A strong mint sauce with lamb is a wine-
Black pepper- better with big reds. Some find an affinity with Syrah.
Sage: does well with whites with body (bigger Grüner Veltliner, Chardonnay, or
Sauvignon Blanc based wines), as lighter reds with good acidity, especially
Sangiovese based wines, or mature reds that have resolved their tannins.
Tarragon: better with whites than reds
Rosemary: in small doses, very versatile with both reds and whites.
Saffron: bright whites
Oregano: good with Sangiovese, Barbera
Ginger: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris.
Cardamom: Try Rhone or other aromatic whites
Cream sauces- look for whites with good acidity to cut through fat.
Hollandaise: try Sauvignon Blanc
Pesto: bright Italian white (Soave or Fiano)
Aioli: Provence rose, Rhone whites
Bolognese sauce- Italian red with good acidity (Chianti or Barbera for example)
Fresh tomato sauces- while many folks again look to reds, try a white with good
acidity as an alternative
Chocolate: A controversial one, but candidates include Brachetto d'Acqui or
Cerdon de Bugey(sparkling roses), Banyuls, Rasteau VDN rouge, or fortified
Muscats from Australia or CA. A few espouse Port or dry Reds, but the latter in
particular doesn't seem to do well to most.
Crème Brûlée: Sauternes or Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
Tiramisu: Moscatel de Valencia, fortified Muscat
Mince Pies: Botrytized Semillon
Baklava : sweet Muscat such as Setubal
Cheesecake: non-dry sparkling wines such Moscato d'Asti
Lemon pudding : Tokay
Fruits and fruit pies: Apple - Sweet Riesling or Chenin Blanc. Apricot:
Botrytized wines including BA/TBA Riesling, Sauternes, Tokay. Peach or
nectarine: Sweet Riesling.
Non-European Ethnic Foods:
This section will be the most controversial. Unlike European cuisines that
developed alongside wine, there are few "classic" matches. So take each of these
suggestions with a grain of salt.
Chinese: Saying what red wine matches with Chinese food is impossible. It's like
saying which wine pairs with European food. The problem of course is that
"Chinese food" is not even one cuisine, but a group of regional cuisines. The
wine for a Cantonese dish is not
Necessarily going to be great for Szechuan, Shanghai,Fukien, Peking/Northern
dishes. And the same wine is probably not best choice for chicken, beef, pork,
and seafood dishes. Robert Parker I believe is on record commenting on the
affinity of Nebbiolo and dim sum dumplings with a soy/shoyu dipping sauce. Beef
with broccoli can pretty good with a simpler Bordeaux or CalCab. Fiery Szechuan
fare is probably best with water or beer, but if you need wine try sparkling or
off-dry Riesling. Cab Franc has its fans, too.
Japanese: With sushi, sparkling wines or Sauvignon Blanc tend to get the most
votes. Other stick to sake ("rice wine", though actually brewed) or beer. Of
course, it you're ordering mostly grilled eel you might prefer a lighter red.
With cooked dishes, many find that Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir do well with the
umami flavors prevalent in some dishes.
Thai: Many people like Gewürztraminer. Others prefer Riesling or Chenin Blanc.
Rhone white varietals (Marsanne and Roussane) have their proponents, too. A
touch of sweetness helps if there's a lot of spice.
Vietnamese : Many of the same suggestions as Thai, lemongrass does well with
many aromatic whites (rousanne, viognier, etc). Fusion (French/Vietnamese) can
do well with Kabinett or Spatlese level offdry Riesling, as well as dry
Rieslings and Grüner Veltliner.
Mexican- like Chinese, really not one cuisine but a collection of regional
cuisines. Mole Poblano might call for a Zinfandel or Sangiovese, while
huachinango Veracruz (red snapper w/green olives) might call for a flavorful
white. The usual Tex-Mex we often encounter in US defies wine -beer is the usual
answer. . If you absolutely must have wine, then go with Sangria or maybe
sparkling or crisp offdry white.
Middle Eastern: a little easier. Does well with Rhone whites or spicier ripe
reds- Rhones, Zinfandel, etc. There are some Morrocan and Algerian wines
available, as well as the famous Ch. Musar from Lebanon, if you wish to stay on
Indian: Again, a collection of regional cuisines. Punjabi cuisine- with a lot
more kormas and cream-based dishes that have a fair amount of spice and flavour
to them, aromatic whites with good acidity tend to pair well with Punjabi food,
vegetarian or not. Rieslings usually work very well, particularly the more
acidic and citrusy ones from Australia.North-west Frontier/Peshawari cuisine:
Dry Riesling works very well in conjunction with a lot of these, as it's one of
the few wine styles that can stand up to the strong flavours. Gewürztraminer
also works quite well.
Malay/Singaporean cuisine: Riesling and Gewürztraminer both go well with a lot
of food from this area, but I've found that Sauvignon Blanc (particularly the
Marlborough style) works best. Very few combinations in this part of the world
work out as well as Singaporean chicken satays with a glass of Sauv on the side.
Korean: lots of kimchi calls out for beer! But kalbi and bulgogi both pair well
with aggressive Syrah/Shiraz or other Rhone varietals
6. Does it matter what kind of glass I drink the wine out of? [Last update
Although you'll find that there's a lot of disagreement among wine lovers
about whose wine glass they prefer, most all agree that the size and shape of
the glass does make a difference in how well they can taste the wine. If you've
ever drunk wine out of a jelly jar, you may understand how difficult it is to
taste the wine you're drinking (this is because a large part of taste is
actually our sense of smell). By general consensus, you'll get a lot more out
of a wine glass that has a relatively large bowl and a reasonably small opening
at the top. These glasses are intended to be filled only part of the way to the
top, usually only to the widest part of the bowl (less than half full), which
traps the volatile elements of the wine in the head space above the wine. That
permits you to better smell the "nose" of the wine, which in turn improves your
ability to taste the wine. However, these glasses don't necessarily make the
wine taste better - in fact, flawed wines will usually taste worse in such
glasses because you can taste them more intensely. So, keep those jelly jars
around for when Aunt Millie brings her latest batch of dandelion wine around for
you to sample ;-)
6a. Are those expensive Riedel glasses worth the money?
Riedel and several other manufacturers, such as Spiegelau and Schott-Zwiesel, go
beyond simply making a single style of wine glass and sell glasses of various
shapes designed for different types of wine. Not all are that expensive - one
can get very nice glasses for about six dollars (US) a stem, although they do go
up from there for those with the money. When you consider the total value of
the wine that will be poured into these glasses over the course of a year or so,
the price of the glass is very small indeed. Ultimately, however, only you can
decide if they are a worthwhile investment, and how much money you're willing to
spend on them instead of cheaper wine glasses.
Most wine lovers agree that white wines and red wines show better in different
shapes of glass. Many red wines benefit from a bulbous "globe" shape that
permits the accumulation of large amouts of the volatile elements of the wine.
Although white wines will do well enough in a "red wine" glass, a narrower
vessel often helps show them off better. Beyond that, you find little
agreement. The thinness of the rim of these glasses is more pleasant to many
than a thicker rimmed glass, and allows the sensations of the wine itself to
dominate. The stem of these glasses is also very thin, leading to an elegant
appearance but also making the glasses fragile and prone to breakage. Most of
these fancy wine glasses must be hand washed.
Some of Riedel's claims for their glasses are hard to take seriously. The claim
that the surface structure of their glass helps release the flavors of the wine,
specifically, sounds like pseudo-science, as does their claim that the different
shapes of their glasses direct wine to different regions of the tongue.
Nonetheless, they are well-made glasses and are infinitely better than a jelly
jar for drinking wine out of.
Another contentious part of Riedel's marketing is their claim that each grape
needs a specially shaped glass to taste to its full potential. Some people do
find that Pinot Noir and Burgundy taste better in a very rounded bowl, whereas
Bordeaux and Cabernet seem better in a more streamlined, albeit large, bowl;
others feel that this is overkill and don't see much difference in the two
styles. Riedel sponsors "blind tastings" of their glasses to demonstrate their
effect on the taste of wine; many who attend come away believers, for what
that's worth. Others feel that the claims are fairly ridiculous and point out
the marketing benefits for Riedel when people believe that each grape requires
its own glass. You will have to decide for yourself.
There is much controversy surrounding the best shape for a Champagne glass. It
is generally agreed that the older design of a shallow, wide glass doesn't allow
you to taste the wine very well. However, the present-day standard of a tall,
thin "flute" for Champagne has also been challenged by people who claim that
Champagne tastes better out of a standard wine glass than a flute. If you have
both at home, try a taste test and see which you prefer.
For people who don't want Riedel glasses, there are several lower-cost
alternatives. As previously mentioned, Spiegelau and Schott-Zwiesel sell lower-
cost glasses built along similar lines to the Riedel glasses. Other people like
the glasses sold at IKEA and Bed, Bath and Beyond (although it is rumored that
IKEA no longer sells the nice glasses). If you have the chance, taste a wine
out of several different glasses and see just how much difference a more
expensive glass makes to you.
7. What causes red wine headaches? How can I prevent them? [Last update 1/07]
First of all, if you have noticed that you frequently get headaches after
drinking wine, especially red wine, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This is a common enough
problem that medical science has graced it with a name ("Red wine headache"
syndrome), but unfortunately their knowledge of the problem doesn't go much
farther. It's generally agreed that it is not an allergic reaction, and
sulfites do not cause the problem. However, there is much debate over what does
cause the headaches, and even whether all red wine headaches are caused in the
same way. The suspect molecules in red wine are the tannins (the bitter,
astringent flavors that some younger red wines have), histamines and
prostaqlandins. All of these are more common in red than in white wines, and
alcohol may also play a role in conjunction with one or more of these suspected
causes. In addition, consumption of alcohol leads to dehydration, so some
headaches may result from dehydration.
Because histamines and prostaglandins are involved in the inflammatory response,
it has been suggested that taking an aspirin before drinking red wine may
prevent a headache [IMPORTANT WARNING: Tylenol (acetominophen, also known as
Doliprane in France or paracetamol in Europe) has a known bad interaction with
alcohol in the liver - DO NOT take Tylenol before or after drinking alcohol].
It has also been suggested that drinking black tea before drinking red wine may
prevent a red wine headache. Yet another suggestion is to avoid tannic red
wines by drinking softer reds (Dolcetto or Beaujolais) or aged red wines. It
also makes sense to drink water after having wine to ensure that you're properly
8. What do those abbreviations mean? [Last update 12/06]
Commonly used wine term abbreviations:
AP Number. Amtliche Prüfung, official number given each quality wine in Germany
BA: Beerenauslese (next to highest level of Pradikat, always botrytis affected)
GKA/LGKA. Gold Kapsel Auslese and Long gold Kapsel (unregulated ways for
producers to distinguish bottlings they think better, kind of "reserve" for
QbA : Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (quality wine, level below QmP)
QmP : Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (Pradikat levels are Kabinett, Spätlese,
Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein or Trockenbeerenauslese)
SGN: Sélection de Grains Nobles (similar to TBA, used in Alsace and the Loire)
TBA: Trockenbeerenauslese (highest degree of ripeness in Qmp classification)
VT :Vendange Tardive (late harvest)
A list of the EU VQPRD (Vin de Qualité Produit en Régions Déterminées)
DOC Denominazione di Origine Controllata (in Südtirol: Kontrollierte
DOCG Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (in Südtirol:
Kontrollierte und garantierte Ursprungsbezeichnung)
IGT Indicazione Geografica Tipica
AC or AOC Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
VdP Vin de Pays
VdT Vin de Table
VDN Vin Doux Naturel (Banyuls, Maury, Rivesaltes...)
DO Denominación de Origen (in Catalan: DO Denominació d'Origen)
DOCa Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) (in Catalan: DOQ Denominació
DO Denominação de origem
DOC Denominação de origem controlada
IPR Indicação de proveniência regulamentada
Non-VQPRD wine designations that one might reasonably use the abbreviation:
VdT Vino da Tavola, Vin de Table
The US equivalent of a VQPRD is AVA -American Viticultural Area
The next group is types of wine/regions, a bit less standardized. I'd suggest
writing out the entire word the first time, and then using abbreviation for
brevity ("I like Côtes du Rhone wines. My favorite CdR is....")
BdM Brunello di Montalcino
CalCab California Cabernet
CCR Chianti Classico Riserva
CdB Côte de Beaune
CdL Coteaux du Layon
CdN Côte de Nuits
CNdP, C9dP, or CdP :Châteauneuf du Pape
CdR Côtes du Rhône
MdS Morellino di Scansano
NSG Nuits St. Georges
QdC Quarts du Chaume
RdD Ribera del Duero
RSV Romanée St Vivant
VNdM Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
VP Vintage Port
Same goes for grapes:
CF Cabernet Franc
CS Cabernet Sauvignon
GV Grüner Veltliner
PB Pinot Blanc
PG Pinot Gris/Grigio
PN Pinot Noir
SB Sauvignon Blanc
There are many producers or individual wines that are well-known enough that
many winelovers often use abbreviations (LLC is Leoville las Cases, VCC is Vieux
Chateau Certan, ZH Zind-Humbrecht, CFE Cuvee Frederic Emile, many others) ,but
in the interest of clarity again in those cases it's much better to write out
first time. Exceptions would be the very few which are so well-known and so
commonly abbreviated that the abbreviation is the norm: BV is Beaulieu
Vineyards, DRC is Domaine de la Romanée Conti (so you can have DRC RSV). Of
course any longer term can be abbreviated if in context (if one is writing a
tasting note on a Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne, it is understood that
if one then says BdM you are not saying Brunello, or if you're talking re Vieux
Telegraphe and then say VT, you probably don't mean Vendage Tardive!). If one is
writing of Willamette Valley (Oregon) Pinot Noir, I think it's clear then than
WV doesn't mean West Virginia.
There are a few other terms that are used a lot on this group:
AUD Australian dollars
USD US dollars
CAD Canadian dollars
AFAIK As far as I know
BTW By the way
BYO Bring Your Own (restaurants allowing people to bring own wine)
FWIW For what it's worth
FYI For your information
HTH Hope this helps
IIRC If I recall correctly
IMHO In my humble opinion
IMNSHO In my not so humble opinion
IMO In my opinion
IOW In other words
OTOH On the other hand
QPR (Quality/Price Ratio)
ROFL Rolling on the floor laughing
SWMBO She Who Must Be Obeyed (more in the Rumpole sense than the Rider Haggard)
YMMV Your mileage may vary
9. Do those magnetic wine thingies really age your wine instantly? [Last update
Magnetism is a wellspring of pseudoscience owing to a general lack of public
understanding of the nature of magnetism. In the wine world, this has given
rise to a number of devices that claim to make wine "smoother," "mellower" or to
taste aged by means of a magnet. Many of these devices are endorsed by wine
authorities. However, their purported principles of operation (claiming to use
magnetic force to polymerize tannins, for example) contradict established
science, as shown in more detail in references below. Many competent scientists
interpret this contradiction to mean that the devices are bogus (and by the same
token, harmless). So, why do so many reputable people claim that they work?
That's the problem with anecdotal evidence that hasn't been collected in a
rigorous (i.e., double blind) manner. The power of suggestion is strong, so
it's easy to convince yourself that something's happening if you're looking for
it to begin with. A consumer considering such a product might prudently look
beyond the pseudoscientific explanations and demand demonstration (with honest
blind taste tests) before spending money. If, after all of this, you still
aren't convinced that the device in question is just an expensive placebo, you
can go out and get one and try it for yourself. Remember that it won't hurt the
10. I want to buy a bottle of wine to commemorate the birth of a child, to be
opened 18 (21) years from now. What should I get? [Last update 1/07]
There are no ageworthy wines that will be released within the year of the
vintage. The first barrel tastings would occur the following year, and release
probably the year after that (longer for some wines). There might be Southern
Hemisphere wines (maybe harvested in April) with barrel tastings within the
year, but they wouldn't be released. For a gift, you might try to think of
another recent year that has significance for the parent (anniversary, perhaps).
If the parents aren't wine people, with real wine storage, Madeira would be
safest bet. Next best would be Vintage Port. Sweet wines from the Loire are
another category that stand abuse better than most. Even those would benefit
from a cool basement. But ageable dry wines (Bordeaux, Piedmont, Burgundy,
CalCab, etc) and offdry white wines (Germans, Loires) are almost certain to be
ruined if stored in a closet. If they have better storage there are many
possibilities, feel free to ask the group as to what was good in a particular
year. Another possibility might be a mixed case, to increase the probability of
something doing well for 21 years.
As to wines to lay down for a child, as noted it will be tough to have even
nominal information till the following year. Then you can look at what classic
agers (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piedmont, California Cabernet, Australian wines such
as Grange, Port, German or Austrian Rieslings, Loire sweet wines, Rhones, etc)
did well in that year and decide based on your budget. Again, decent storage
conditions will be critical.