Zinfandel is a variety of red grape planted in over 10 percent of California vineyards. DNA fingerprinting revealed that it is genetically equivalent to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski, and also the Primitivo variety traditionally grown in the “heel” of Italy, where it was introduced in the 18th century. The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century, and became known by variations of the name “Zinfandel”, a name of uncertain origin.
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Written on October 22nd, 2010 , Grapes

Here is a short list of wine makers in Italy. Some of these are small and do not import their wines into the US. Most on the list do. We have tried many of these labels, and below is a short list of recommended ones.
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Written on October 22nd, 2010 , Wineries

Wine, great food, and exotic cars all go together. The pleasures of life come in many forms, so we decided to take in the Galleria Ferrari during a recent wine excursion to Italy.
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Written on October 21st, 2010 , Travel

One of the keys to Cabernet’s success in Bordeaux is that it has always been prized for its resistance. Many etymologists believe that Cabernet relates to the Biturica grape that the Roman poet Pliny recorded in the year 71 A.D. as being planted in Bordeaux because of its hardiness. It is certain that Cabernet’s first sighting in more recent history was in the 18th Century when Baron de Brane, owner of Château Mouton, pulled up many of his white grapes and replaced them with the black variety, Vidure (from the words Vigne Dure or hardy vine). Today Cabernet is still sometimes referred to as Vidure in the Graves . Yet Cabernet’s true recognition as the great grape variety of Bordeaux only came towards the end of the 19th Century when, after the ravages of phylloxera and oidium, it was widely planted.
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Written on October 21st, 2010 , Grapes

How should you begin if I want to learn about and enjoy wine? Here is a simple wine primer for the budding wine lover.
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Written on October 21st, 2010 , Education (All About Wine)

Here is a summary or the 2005 grape harvest in Europe.
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Written on October 21st, 2010 , Grapes

Do fast cars and Italian wine go well together? You bet they do when the cars are the Formula1 racing machines at top speed on the Monza track, and the wines are Piemonte Barolos. If you are a car and a wine fanatic you simply must see the Monza race and spend at least a week touring the Piemonte region of Italy.
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Written on October 21st, 2010 , Travel, Wines

Barolo is Italy’s top collectable wine. When Piedmonte winemakers wish to make Barolo or Barberesco the laws governing these wines require a certain time of aging, a minimum of 4 years. They can only then be classified as such. Any excess wine can only be sold as table wine, even though the final products are relatively the same. Hence the creation of “Bastardo”.

This blend of red wines may be a breakthrough in wine making. In essence this wine is the illegitimate son of a Barolo, hence the name. Full bodied this variety is excellent with game, red meat, pasta, rich cheese, or on it’s own.

The aroma is fruity and the taste is soft and smooth. Lots of fruit, low tannins, and hint of spice on the finish. Not as bold as Barolo but very similar flavor. An amazing value at around $10. The vintage we tasted was from 2002 and it has held up well.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

Here’s an amazing “almost port like” value from Portugal. But it is truly a drinkable everyday red wine that’s juicy and delicious. This 2006 vintage has a deep purple color and a lucious semi-sweet smell. The first taste is an explosion of fruit, juicy and thick. Very low in tannins the wine is not complex but very pleasing either alone or with meat sauces like pasta dishes. Probably great with pizza. There is a hint of spice and chocolate and the aftertaste is velvety.

The winery making this is Quinto Da Leda. They us oak barrels to age the wine for 12 months, with another 6 months in the bottle. The result is a very lite port flavour in a drinkable table wine.

The Douro region of Portugal is famous for excellent grapes and this example is a real hit for only $8.99. Find it at Trader Joes.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

The Incanto label is an excellent vintage 2005 Nobile. The actual bottling is by a Co-op in Siena, Italy just north of the Montepulciano area. Made from Sangiovese grapes, this variety of Montepulciano is close to Brunello…at substantially less money. Nice aroma and soft flavor make this a great choice with pasta and mild meat sauces. Good with grilled chicken as well. Very fruity with lots of soft flavors. Not as balanced and full as a good Brunello but pleasant. At only $9.99 its a great value both with dinner and by itself.

Incanto also makes a great Chianti Classico. The 2005 reserve is and outstanding full bodied chianti for about $10.

In California you can find Incanto wines at Trader Joes.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

Graham, one of Portugal’s top port producers, has released this very drinkable everyday Port. It derives its name from the traditional cask markings used to denote the finest wines from each harvest. Only rich young wines of superior quality are used to make this blend. The six varieties are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela, and Tinto Cao.

Six Grapes is bottled relatively young to conserve its fresh assertive style and is not subject to fining ot filtration to ensure that it retains its superb, delicious fruit concentration. Six Grapes is released for immediate enjoyment and does not require decanting.

Even though Six Grapes is truly a port wine, it is quite soft and lite. It is great after a meal with chocolate, or any time with sharp cheeses. Actually it goes good with some meals that can handle a juicy heavy tasting wine. At $16 this is an amazing value, and a great way for folks new to port to explore the variety without going broke.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

Welcome to “Da Felicin” – Felicin is a hotel and restaurant surrounded by the green of Langhe, whose history unfolds alongside the Rocca family history. Three generations taking care of a way of life in which the relationship between man and land is essential, gives soul to a project of cooking as food culture. Nino and Silvia, the last inheritors of the Rocca family tradition, welcome their guests with the simplicity and straightforwardness of everyday life, to let them “taste” a pleasant stay.
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Written on October 21st, 2010 , Food, Lodging

Every wine has certain organoleptic characteristics which are different from any other. For this reason, every wine should be served in a proper glass capable of exalting its characteristics. Wine glasses come in different shapes and characteristics, sometimes considered as “extreme” because of some producers who tend to make specific shapes and styles, not only for certain wines, but also for specific wines made of certain grapes or coming from certain areas. The shape of glass helps a wine to express better and every glass usually is the result of specific studies and researches, both on the organoleptic perception of aromas and flavors, as well as on characteristics and physical conditions that favor their perception.
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Written on October 20th, 2010 , Education (All About Wine)

A vineyard can produce a great wine one year and yield something barely drinkable the next. Why the inconsistency, and how concerned should you be about vintages? The bottom line is that unless you have a cellar for storing wine, you are going to be drinking what your market has available. So you needn’t worry too much about a particular vintage/year. Of course look for great vintages when and where they may be available, but realize you will pay dearly for them. If you want to see the difference that vintage makes, try a side-by-side comparison of the same wine from one vineyard from a range of years. This is often a very instructive exercise and you might find out that the differences between vintages, although quite discernable, are much more subtle than you had expected.
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Written on October 20th, 2010 , Education (All About Wine)

Most of the words professional “wine people” use about wine are standard and widely accepted terms for delineating particular characteristics. This specific language helps those who are in the wine business to communicate with one another and understand complex concepts without the need for tedious explanation. The full spectrum of wine language includes terms that are too technical and obscure for people with only a general interest in wine to understand. However, there are words that can aid you in understanding wine books, reviews, and wine people in general. Many of these terms are related so be sure to review the capitalized terms used in some of the definitions.
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Written on October 19th, 2010 , Education (All About Wine)

A Virtual Tour of Grapes, Wines, Wineries