Rosés for Summer

Hemingway wrote about his favorite rosé, Tavel, in The Garden of Eden, a novel of the perils of adventurous love. While rosés have long evoked romance, perhaps the real love comes from the food and the company that conspire to make the pink wine experience that much better. The gorgeous color and bouquet raise the moment to sheer contentment, and thanks to the moderately low alcohol levels, they allow us to enjoy yet another glass with abandon. Regardless of how…

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Finding the roots of Zinfandel

Originally published in LUXURY MAGAZINE  Winemaker Paul Draper’s visition and commitment contributes to discovery of ancient vine. Steadfast in his vision, philosophy-major-turned-erudite-dean of American winemakers, Paul Draper naturally was interested in history, as well as in the origin of zinfandel. Since 1969, when he joined Ridge Vineyards, the chief winemaker and CEO, who is known for his celebrated cabernets of the Monte Bello Estate vineyards, also pioneered the production of long-lived, complex and exuberant zinfandels, in particular those from the…

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Sunken Treasures

Every now and then, a story will rise to the surface about how a team of divers discovered a shipwreck containing jewels off the coast of some remote archipelago.  A most recent discovery was 168 bottles of bubbly from several Champagne houses, including Veuve Clicquot, recovered from the remains of a trade schooner that sank over 170 years ago in the Baltic Sea. A chemical and sensory analysis of the deep sea libation revealed insight into 19th-century winemaking and the…

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Merlot, call it a comeback

Like a blockbuster talent absent from the big screen for years, we’re often left to wonder whatever happened to merlot. A superstar varietal during the 1990s, all its stardom seems to have fizzled over the years. So what happened to the generous, plush, dark fruit flavors that everyone was so proud to claim as his or her main squeeze? One widespread urban legend claims that merlot’s spotlight was knocked sideways in 2004 by a certain movie set in Santa Barbara’s…

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OneHope in a Bottle

What if ordering your favorite varietal, say, pinot noir from Edna Valley, California, helped educate women about their risk of heart disease? That would certainly make every sip worth the price, wouldn’t it? Crafted in collaboration with consultant winemaker Rob Mondavi Jr., award-winning wines from ONEHOPE(OneHopeWine.com) make a positive worldwide social impact by aligning specific varietals to different causes. Half of the program’s profits goes to make a difference somewhere in the world; for example, providing clean water, supporting our…

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Orange Wine: An Old World Rarity

The wine is orange—that would be an accurate observation. But, realize that orange wine is not made from fermented oranges, nor is it laced with Tang. They’re simply white wines made from grape juice left to mingle with its skins for a while, which turns the wine orange, anything from golden to copper to deep amber. More impressive than the rich hue is the wine’s voluptuous and complex characteristics that combine white-wine flavor with red-wine structure, making them excellent for…

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A Sunken, Drunken Treasure

It is a known fact that a good, complex sparkling wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle under controlled conditions, such as a dark underground cellar. Not the case for this bubbly. Named for its origins, Bisson “Abissi” is actually aged in the deep-sea abyss, nearly 200 feet down, off the coastal town of Portofino, Italy. Ligurian winemaker Pierluigi Lugano, who makes Italian spumante in the classic Champagne method, lacked adequate cellar space to age his wine. So, his creative…

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Little bit country

Originally published in Desert Companion – April 2015 If there’s one advantage to growing up in Yerington, Kirk Peterson will tell you. He’ll even describe what Yerington tastes like: bright and fresh and mineral, evoking the rock outcroppings after a rain on his family’s ranch. Today, Peterson is beverage director and certified sommelier at Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group Las Vegas, and one of the most respected Italian wine specialists in town. But his rural roots are never far from…

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