• Wine Regions

    Yes Virginia, wine does exist on the East Coast

    I recently had the opportunity to go to Charlotteville, Virginia for a conference on wine blogging. The vineyards of Virginia opened their arms wide, making us feel welcomed. University of Virginia alumnae Gwendolyn Osborn from wine.com started the event by giving a tour of her alma mater. Although Virginia is the fifth largest producer of wine (behind California, Washington, New York and Oregon), I had never tasted a Virginia wine prior to making this trip. This region considers Viognier and Cabernet franc to be their signature grapes, although many varietals are grown here. During my time in Charlottesville, I was able to visit two different vineyards with fellow food and wine lovers Richard and…

  • General

    How much is that bottle in the window?

    2005 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, California Average retail price ~$55 Average markup: 87% Bottle Markup Mediterrano Ann Arbor, MI $82 49% The Sun Dial Restaurant Atlanta, GA $104 89% Restaurant Bricco West Hartford, CT $110 100% L’Andana Boston, MA $115 109% But wait you say, is that a fair comparison?  Costs vary tremendously across the country. Agreed. So I also took a look at the price of the same wine at three different restaurants in Boston, MA. 2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, California Average retail price ~$45 Average markup: 170% Bottle Markup Union Bar and Grill $95 111% Mistral $130 189% Bricco $139 209% Guess I know where I’m going if I…

  • General

    What do wine ratings mean?

    Let’s Talk About … Wine Ratings There are a lot of wines out there. How do you choose? Do you grab the one with the interesting label? The one that you recognize and always buy? Or do you take into account critic’s ratings? And what do those ratings mean anyways? Robert Parker, Wine Advocate Everyone has heard of Robert Parker and his famous 100 point scale. The question for you, as the consumer is, do you like the same types of wines as Parker? If so, then his scoring may help you decide amongst the bottles. Parker specializes in wines from Bordeaux, California and the Rhone Valley. He likes big…

  • General

    To drink or not to drink, that is the question

    Someone gives you a lovely bottle of wine for a special gift. So thoughtful, so appreciated… Wow, you think, I’m going to save this for a special occasion. I better put this into storage. It’s too expensive/fancy/unusual to drink right now. All wines get better with age, right? Not true! Most wines made in the world today (around 90%) are meant to be consumed within a year or two of the vintage (year) on the bottle. All wines change with age, but not all wines change for the better. But wait you say, this is a really nice bottle. What should I do? What are some of the signs that…

  • General

    Horizontally, vertically, or any which way – how do you do it?

    Hosting a wine tasting party can be easy and fun. Don’t be intimidated by thinking you don’t know enough to host one.  Wine tasting is not the same as wine drinking, although these can easily become the same amongst a small group of friends. Wine tasting is done to learn about the wine. The purpose is to develop your palate, your nose, and learn to discern subtleties between wines. Wine drinking on the other hand, well, involves the actual drinking of the wine. Themes You can choose different themes for your wine tasting. A general wine tasting can be a combination of any types of wine, typically a few whites…

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine

    A light-bodied, crisp wine with citrus and pear on the nose. From the Pays Nantais region of the Loire Valley, this Muscadet is made by Marc Ollivier. The grapes are hand harvested and the wine rested on its lees until the time of bottling, adding a depth of flavor. The wine is pale yellow in color. If you’re looking for a light, summer wine with some minerality to combine with seafood on a hot day, go for it! This has such a great quality to price ratio, you really can’t go wrong. Grapes: Melon de Bourgnone Alcohol level: 12% Retail price: ~$11-12.00

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Pascual Toso Malbec

    Pascual Toso came to Argentina in the late 1800s from his hometown in Piamonte, Italy where he was involved in his family’s wine business. Settling in Mendoza, he created his own vineyards, furthering his family’s tradition. The winery exports to over 30 countries, making a bottle easy to find wherever you are. A dark red color, this Malbec gives blackberries and violet on the nose with a long, smooth finish. With tastes of plum, blueberry and spice with touches of vanilla, the flavor is more complex than expected at this price. The winemaker suggests pairing this with pasta, red meats and white meats in light cream sauces, but I think…