I’ve always felt a little sorry for Beaujolais and the gamay grape from which it was made. Beaujolais sits just south of Burgundy, where the oh-so-popular pinot noir is king. If I think of gamay as a person, I picture someone who’s got the worst frenemy — the popular cheerleader, the star quarterback, the supermodel mom, the successful Internet billionaire — living right next door.
I mean, everyone loves their pinot noir, don’t they? Pinot noir is, like, the greatest wine ever! Remember that movie Sideways? If we’re being super honest, it was a pretty lame movie, but remember how much everyone started loving pinot noir after that? Boy, suddenly that pinot noir started to get really expensive, didn’t it? And there’s no better pinot noir than what comes from Burgundy, right? Growing Burgundy pinot noir must be like printing money! I picture gamay sighing heavily and her shoulders slumping when she thinks about pinot noir.
I am hopeful that Portuguese wines will take off in the United States one day and I eagerly await the meteoric rise of Portugal’s great-value reds, either from a famed region like the Douro Valley or from lesser-known regions such as the Alentejo or Dão or Setúbal. My wait has been very much in the vein of Waiting for Godot, and it has been going on two decades now. I remain patiently optimistic.
I’m always speaking with people who are fixated on a quixotic quest to find that “great bottle under $10.” I often get frustrated with this mythical idea of the under-$10 bottle, because it’s actually so rare to find one that offers quality and drinkability, let alone complexity. I’m almost always advocating that people bump up at least a few bucks into the $12 to $15 range. A $9.99 wine can just as easily offer bad value as a $29.99 wine can.
Portugal, however, is one big exception, one country that actually produces wines under $10 that offer honest-to-goodness value. Which is why their lack of presence in the U.S. continues to surprise me. MORE
So this is how the Summer of Riesling ends: With the leading American importer of German wines scolding the Germans themselves over the type of riesling they prefer to drink in Germany.
Last month, in the New York Times, Terry Theise (the importer whom the Wall Street Journal referred to as “near the pinnacle” of wine “hipness”) expressed his displeasure that his beloved low-alcohol, sweet styles of riesling are being usurped in Germany by dry, or trocken, riesling — what Theise called “a highly invasive species that wants to swallow up every other style.”
Table Matters and Drexel University are proud to announce the launch of Planet of the Grapes, a new series of quarterly digital wine guides. Volume 1: Alternative Reds explores off-the-beaten-path red wines that offer a wine lover — whether a newbie or an experienced connoisseur who’s stuck in a rut — a different path into the world of wine with over 140 recommendations. In this excerpt, author Jason Wilson discusses carménère – lost in France, mislabeled in Chile, and found again. Read on below, and get Alternative Reds today from Smart Set Press.
During my post-undergrad years in Boston, in the early 1990s, I drank a lot of New World red wine. Most of it was purchased in large bottles for very little money, and it was generally taken to the kind of dinner party where someone had made a bad vegetarian lasagna and someone else had tried to make tabouli, and we all crowded onto a musty couch and ate off mismatched plates. The host might have had to borrow a corkscrew, and it was inevitable that one person would have to sip wine from a coffee mug.
In August, Table Matters will be launching a series of digital wine guides called Planet of the Grapes. Stay tuned for updates.
I have been trying to spread the good word on Soave Classico for the past few years, and reactions divide squarely along generational lines.
Most people under 35 give me blank stares. “Soave?” they ask. “Like Rico Suave?”
Meanwhile, when I mention it to those of my parents’ generation, Soave brings a distinctly negative response. Baby boomers remember the cheap, pitiful product that flooded our shores in the 1970s. When I told my father I would be tasting Soave for my next assignment, he looked at me like I was crazy. “Soave Bolla?” he said. “Good luck with that. Isn’t that on the same shelf as Blue Nun and Mateus?”
In August, Table Matters will be launching a series of digital wine guides called Planet of the Grapes by Jason Wilson, award-winning columnist and author of Boozehound. Stay tuned for updates via Twitter and Facebook, and sign up here for sneak peeks and our latest news.
Planet of the Grapes is now a series of digital wine guides from award-winning author Jason Wilson and Table Matters. Check out Volume 1: Alternative Reds today at Smart Set Press, and use the code MUSCADET for 50% off.
There are powerful wines and hedonistic wines. There are oaky wines and wines bursting with fruit. There are thrilling wines and profound wines. There are wines with beautifully-designed labels and wines with cute, easy-to-read labels. There are expensive wines and wines you keep in your cellar for decades.
Muscadet is absolutely none of these. MORE
Though I absolutely love champagne and prosecco and cava, the idea of sparkling-wine cocktails always has vexed me. I mean, if we’re really being honest, how many champagne-based cocktails truly are better than a lovely glass of champagne all by itself?
Just look at the classic namesake, the Champagne Cocktail, found in most bartenders’ guides: Into a champagne flute goes a sugar cube. Douse it with a few drops of Angostura bitters, then fill the glass with champagne. Maybe toss in a lemon peel. MORE
First of all, please know that I honestly do not lose sleep over what you drink for Thanksgiving. If you happen to enjoy white zinfandel or whipped cream vodka or Martinelli’s sparkling cider or Mountain Dew or kombucha… by all means, please enjoy that. I don’t care a whit if you pair the holiday bird with a Fuzzy Navel, a shot of Jagermeister and a chaser of Milwaukee’s Best. I’m not really one to offer unsolicited advice on what you should imbibe. Otherwise, I would probably have jumped off a bridge long before the holidays.
But since I write about booze for a living, each November I am asked — by people such as my readers or my editors or even my neighbors — to weigh in on what may be the ultimate First World Problem that we face: What beverage shall I ever pair with the Thanksgiving meal? Oh. My. God. Let the handwringing begin! MORE