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How do you tip on wine?

General Tipping on Wine
It is customary in the US to tip on the wine at the same rate that you would for the entire meal.  Just as you would if you were drinking cocktails.  So, if you are planning to leave 20% for excellent service for the meal, then you would leave 20% of the entire bill except tax (wine and drinks included.)

What if it is an expensive bottle?
Consider how you define ‘expensive.’  Living in Los Angeles, I would consider this to be anything over $125/bottle.  For anything less than this, I would tip as normal.  For wine over $125/bottle, if there was no additional or exceptional service, then I would be inclined to tip a smaller percentage on the wine (say 10%) then on the rest of the bill (20%.)  I define excellent wine service as …

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Food & Wine Pairing with Bordeaux Wines

Dry white Bordeaux is made primarily from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.  It typically has medium to medium-high acidity and fresh fruit flavors of green apples and limes with grassy tones.  Dishes that work well with it are …

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How do you relate wine scores to your own taste?

Wine scores and reviews are confusing.  It is hard to understand how the same wine received 92 points from one reviewer and only 88 points from another.  Or how to equate a 20 point scale to a 100 point scale.

Just like movie reviewers, wine reviewers have different preferences.  It is usually best to find a single reviewer who has similar taste preferences as yours and then follow their recommendations.  And you may even want to choose a different reviewer for different regions …

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Getting a Job in the Wine Business

I came across this book today:  Launch Your Wine Career

I haven’t had time to get it/read it, as of yet,  so this is not a review.  However, it is the only book on the topic that I have seen (this is not an endorsement, just an observation.)

It addresses one of the top questions I get in class.  I wonder, how specific are the examples in this book?  Are they realistic?  Can students actually put into action what they recommend?

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Parking for UCLA Extension Building

The UCLA Extension building is located just off of the main campus and parking can be tricky in this part of town.  Of course there are plenty of meters but they are very aggressive with tickets, so be sure to keep your meter full.  The address is …

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What allows a wine to age?

Approximately 95% of all wine is produced in a style that is meant to be consumed within 3-5 years of harvest.  This is determined by grape variety, growing region and how the wine is produced.  Roughly 5% of all wine will get better with age and thus is worthy of aging.  A wine that is worthy of aging must have a moderate to relatively high amount of at least one of these components …

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What to look for when buying Beaujolais:

Question: I have a question about Beaujolais wines. There has been a lot of buzz about the 2009 vintage being excellent, and I was wondering if I should be concerned with mixing that up with the Nouveau wines. How can I tell the difference, is it clearly labeled?

Answer: Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the 3rd Thursday of November – so mid-November is when you will start hearing the most about it.  You’ll see the current release around Thanksgiving.  It will be dated with the current vintage.  The grapes were grown, harvested and made into wine in that year.

Beaujolais Nouveau (BN) is made with a unique fermentation method called carbonic maceration (CM).  It is an intracellular fermentation (conversion of sugar to alcohol) without the use of yeast.  The benefits are that the wine ferments quickly, it limits the extraction of tannins and it produces a bright, fresh, fruity aroma.  These wines are meant to be consumed quickly, while their aromas are at their height …

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Carignane – I just can’t carry on, or can I?

Who was asking me where to find Carignane (care-i-nya-on) in class last week?

When I worked for Randall Graham of Bonny Doon Vineyards , several Carignane wines came and went (mostly through the DEWN wine club.)  A particular favorite was “The Ugly Duckling”, eluding to the lowly status but definite potential of Carignane.

This article Carignane gets a shot at respect gives some insight as to why this is such a difficult grape to grow and vinify successfully …

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Growing grapes in the Antelope Valley?

A new AVA (American Viticultural Area) is being sought in Los Angeles County.  This article here describes the petition for the Antelope Valley AVA.

You don’t know where the Antelope Valley is?  When our local weatherman Dallas Raines (yes, he says this is his real name) mentions “the high desert” you’ve hit the target.  Think Lancaster, Palmdale, Edwards Air Force Base … and the Mojave Desert is not too far away.

Hmmm…. you might be wondering … is it wise to be growing grapes in Antelope Valley?

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Andouillettes & the CARE ACT

Sausage Feast

Last month I was in Burgundy, France, and had the distinct pleasure of tasting Andouillettes.  They are often translated on menus as being “sausages” … but ooooh they are so much more then just “sausages”.  My brave friend Anders Ohman from Sweden ordered the delightful dish, and everyone at the table had the opportunity to enjoy their “uniqueness.”

For some funny reason, Andouillettes came to mind when I was reading this opinion piece about the proposed CARE act (HR 5034): No Wine Shall Be Served Before It’s Time – at least not without wholesalers taking a cut

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