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Posts from the ‘Hints, Tips & Inspiration’ Category

Do California wines age faster than old world wines?

Question: Do California wines age faster than old world wines?

Answer:  There are 3 primary components that allow a wine to age: tannin, acidity and residual sugar.  To age well, a wine needs to have 2 out of the 3 …

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How to find wine online

Trying to figure out how to find a wine locally that you had on your last vacation in wine country?  I get this question all the time and I typically refer people to Wine Searcher.

As a wine consultant, I use Wine Searcher every day, at least 10 times a day.  It is on my internet toolbar I use it so often.  It is a massive database, filled by retailers with wine for sale, from all around the world.  I need to know what the “market visibility” and average retail price is for any wine, before it can be considered for purchase for a client.  My clients are typically looking for wine that is limited in production and not widely available …

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What is the best way to keep leftover wine?

The key is to limit the amount of oxygen the wine is exposed to and to reduce the temperature.  Following these inexpensive steps below can give you an additional 3 to 10 days on an open bottle of wine …

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Bordeaux, Burgundy and a gift for the boss

A friend sent me an email about buying a “nice bottle” of Bordeaux or Burgundy to give as a gift.  Of course vintage always matters in these regions, but without knowing what store he was shopping at and/or what was available to him, I tried to create a list as general as possible – without vintages.  Here are a few of my favorites (running about $35 to $125/bottle) – I would not be disappointed to receive a bottle from any of these producers, regardless of the vintage …
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I would like to buy a bottle of wine from a specific vintage to give many decades later as a gift. What wine should I buy?

This question usually goes like this:  “I want to buy a bottle of wine for my nephew who was just born, and give it to him when he is 21 years old.”  Or “I want to buy a bottle of wine from the year I was married and open it on my 25th anniversary.”

In both of these cases, you should be looking for a bottle of wine that will age for a substantial amount of time.  You want to look for a wine that has two of three natural preservatives in high amounts: tannin, acidity and/or residual sugar.

Bordeaux, Port and Barolo would all be excellent candidates but most importantly you should seek out something from …

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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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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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