Valentine’s Day is probably the most “Hallmark” of holidays, but even if you are not a believer, having a bottle of sparkling wine on hand is not a bad idea. You don’t have to go all out and buy French Champagne, but make sure you find something you will enjoy.
Heeding a few tips will make your experience better. First, don’t buy wine just because it has a pretty package. I don’t have scientific proof, but frou-frou often means mediocrity. Read More
Like many, I usually drink beer when I watch the Super Bowl. That is my beverage of choice when it comes to most sporting events, whether I’m at the stadium or watching at home. However, there are wines that go pretty well with the hodgepodge that is the Super Bowl smorgasbord, so there is no reason to be left behind during the big game. Read More
Washington contains more cabernet sauvignon and merlot vines than any state besides California. And like California cabs, most Washington cabs are fruit-forward, but to a different degree.
Eastern Washington gets very hot during the summer, but the evening temperatures dip. That gives the fruit a chance to cool off, preventing over-ripening. That is not to say that all California cabs are fruitier, but in Washington there is a better chance for the wines to have higher acidity, which in that sense makes them more like Bordeaux. Read More
Ten years ago, people were just starting to get used to the idea of premium wines with screw caps. Now, wine on tap has pushed things further as many top producers are now selling wine in kegs, often to very good restaurants.
You might wonder, what’s the rub? Read More
If there is a time of year to drink port, it is right now.
Made in the Douro region of Portugal, port wine has been a hot commodity for centuries. The British have played a major role in its production and evolution, as indicated by brand names such as Graham’s, Churchill’s and Taylor.
Native producers have been equally important, as have other foreigners such as Dutchman Dirk Niepoort. Read More
With the holidays over and big credit card bills about to arrive, let’s talk about how to get you through the throes of January — including a sneak peek into topics I expect to cover in the next few months.
Pinot noir has remained the “it” grape for a decade now, and that appears unlikely to change this year. However, gamay noir, the grape of Beaujolais, has some of the qualities of pinot noir. Fruity, light and high in acid, gamay is spicier than pinot — a trait that you might find appealing. Besides Beaujolais, gamay is grown in the Loire Valley. Read More
Trying to remember every wine I’ve tried this year is like attempting to remember every at-bat the Giants had at AT&T Park. Narrowing it down to wines I actually enjoyed is akin to detailing each one of Marco Scutaro’s hits — I know there were a lot, but I only remember a few.
These five wines stick out: Read More
The other day, I found myself having a sports pipe dream. What if ex-Giants closer Brian Wilson, now a free agent, and likely-to-be-former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith sign with the Mets and the Jets, respectively, next season?
Anyone who likes these two athletes and is not a fan of the New York underdogs will say “Please, God, no.” And I get it, as a San Francisco resident and fan of both athletes and local teams. But as someone who grew up at Shea Stadium when it was home to the Mets and Jets, the impending availability of these two marquee players gives me a glimmer of hope. Read More
Few things make me happier than drinking Champagne, especially when I have an extraordinary bottle to share with friends. I’ve been doing quite a bit of that over the past couple of weeks and, much to the chagrin of my liver, have tasted quite a few that are memorably delicious and relatively reasonably priced. Read More
When considering wine gifts, you can spend as much as you will, but all you need is a good waiter’s corkscrew, a carafe and a little argon to help preserve open bottles. What’s the big fuss? We could end it here — I could say, “Happy holidays and good luck shopping.”
But even when you keep your wine accessories simple, they can still be a special gift for someone.
Let’s start with wine glasses. You need a good all-purpose glass that can be used for most types of wine — sparkling, still and dessert. Read More
Long a favored aperitif in Italy, prosecco has caught on in the U.S. in a pretty big way. This is mostly good, as it gives consumers an inexpensive sparkling wine option. It also has helped to pry more people’s minds and mouths open when it comes to Italian wines in general. Read More
There was a time when Chile was touted as the best place to go for inexpensive cabernet sauvignon — the Nordstrom Rack or Loehmann’s of the wine world. I, however, have had a hard time getting on board with Chilean cabernet as a whole, as it has often left me feeling “meh.” Read More
Right around now, people start thinking about which wines to serve with the bird. First, don’t wait until the last minute unless you like lines. The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for wine shops.
You can go in so many directions depending on how you cook your turkey. But to keep things somewhat simple, let’s assume you are a traditionalist and are going to roast the turkey in the oven using the usual seasonings. On my end, I’m going to start with a time-honored Thanksgiving wine: Beaujolais. Read More
Who could have imagined there would ever be such a thing as a poor man’s sauvignon blanc? While there have always been expensive versions of this grape made in France’s Bordeaux region, there was a time when the Loire Valley, New Zealand and California offered a lot more value.
Value, of course, means a wine has more quality than the asking price. I don’t think many of the wines coming from, say, Sancerre in France are overpriced, but they are no longer deals. Read More
Continuing with last week’s theme, finding good wines by the glass has changed dramatically since the days of Hayes and Vine, the wine bar I co-founded in 1994. As both a wine drinker and wine professional, I love going to other people’s establishments, where I can learn something. Like restaurants, some wine bars are better than others, but there is a Bubba Smith-size handful of them that are doing a great job. Let’s take a tour. Read More