The Pour Man: Getting Lucky With McWilliam
Sep22

The Pour Man: Getting Lucky With McWilliam

Back in the beginning of the summer, someone suggested that I check out a “very nice” petite sirah and because I favor whites and roses during the hotter months, I filed the recommendation to memory without writing it down. However, my mental filing system is a bit of a mess with stacks of items strewn about the brain, not neatly put in their place, and the email reminders always seem to end up consigned to oblivion. A recent stint of...

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The Pour Man: Rip van Drinkle — Discovering Albarino 20 Years After the Craze
Sep08

The Pour Man: Rip van Drinkle — Discovering Albarino 20 Years After the Craze

I think it’s safe to say that many wine drinkers tend to seek out comfort zones — wine brands, varietals, regions — that they return to time and time again. After all, there are so many wines on the market that it can be confusing, and once you know a wine that you like, why not be loyal? You learn a little about the wine, know its flavors and aromas and have the confidence to recommend it to others. That’s a good thing. However,...

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The Pour Man: Oyster Bay Saves the Day
Aug25

The Pour Man: Oyster Bay Saves the Day

In general, I think it’s safe to say that to like New Zealand sauvignon blanc, it doesn’t hurt to have a taste for grapefruit juice. I don’t mean the sweet, pink stuff, but real grapefruit juice, squeezed from tangy, sour white fruit, grown on ancient trees like the one in our backyard in Tampa. It produced gallons of liquid gold, great for salty dogs, a vodka drink designed to slake the heat, served over lots of ice in tall,...

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The Pour Man: Scale Can’t Guarantee Good Wine Unless It’s Concha y Toro
Aug12

The Pour Man: Scale Can’t Guarantee Good Wine Unless It’s Concha y Toro

I don’t often write about what some would derisively call “industrial wine,” but Frontera, the big-batch line from Concha y Toro, is an exception. However, I’m not going to extol the fine qualities of this very drinkable Sauvignon Blanc, but rather suggest that it is excellent on hot summer evenings not only for a second chilled bottle, but also as the base wine for spritzers. It’s been my experience with spritzers that when an...

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The Pour Man: The Mystery of Cotes du Rhone
Jul28

The Pour Man: The Mystery of Cotes du Rhone

During a sunny early June gathering, I ran into a friend, who suggested that I try a Cotes du Rhone that I hadn’t come across before. He said the wine, which he buys by the case, is his go-to wine for dinner parties and gatherings. I tried to dissuade him, suggesting others that he might like better, but he would have none of my label-dropping and stuck to his guns about this wine from France’s Rhone River Valley, noting that he...

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The Pour Man: Consider the roses
Jul14

The Pour Man: Consider the roses

One of my favorite wines for a warm summer evening is a crisp, dry rose. Rose is a happy bridge wine between the reds of winter and the brighter whites of summer. It’s excellent with a light meal, such as a salad with grilled shrimp or chicken, or just sipping with appetizers al fresco. In recent weeks, there have been a number of new roses from across the wine world on the shelves of area wine stores, and so far, the ones I’ve tried...

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The Pour Man: Acrobats that aren’t  too sweet
Jun30
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The Pour Man: Clever label masks a fine wine, Chateau La Paws
Jun16

The Pour Man: Clever label masks a fine wine, Chateau La Paws

I’m generally turned off by cute wine labels. If I come across a bottle with say, a smiling, cartoon version of Ebenezer Scrooge and a name that borders on the scatological, I immediately assume the taste must resemble the appellation, and a clever label is required to sell a bad wine. Some might call me snobbish for my label avoidance system, however, we are talking about bargain wine here, so there’s not a lot of room for snooty...

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The Pour Man: The Wine of the Summer Is Gavi
Jun02

The Pour Man: The Wine of the Summer Is Gavi

Last year, during a visit to Beaufort, S.C., a friend introduced me to his new favorite warm weather wine, Gavi, an Italian white wine from the Piedmont region. There’s nothing new about this crisp, dry wine — it’s been around since at least 1659 — but, it was unknown to both of us. I’m not sure what his excuse was, but I’m still learning Italian wines. After all, there are more than 500 documented wine varietals in the country, and I...

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Raise Your Glass: Zin Is In
May20

Raise Your Glass: Zin Is In

Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Amador County, Calif. $9.99 to $15.99 In the early 1970s in Atlanta, you could be considered knowledgeable about wine if you knew that the rose from Lancers and Mateus came from Portugal. And there were ego-boosting bonus points given if you could name any grape varietal, that is, other than the muscadine or scuppernong that grew wild in the backyard and made really skunky wine. During a special evening at a...

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Raise Your Glass: Bargain Wine From South Africa
May06

Raise Your Glass: Bargain Wine From South Africa

The Wolftrap Red Blend, 2013 Western Cape of Good Hope, South Africa $7.98 to $9.99 Last week, I heard a wine expert say that the best way for a regular wine drinker to become knowledgeable is to try something different every time. According to his plan, if you are used to drinking Cabernet Sauvignon from California, give it up. Try a Cab from South America, a Bordeaux or Cab from Romania. Then move on to other full-bodied grapes,...

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Raise Your Glass: I’ll Have a Glass of Ernest and Julio Gallo Wine — No, Seriously
Apr21

Raise Your Glass: I’ll Have a Glass of Ernest and Julio Gallo Wine — No, Seriously

When I was in elementary school, we were considered cool if we could say a few lines from television commercials. We memorized a lot of them. One ad I still remember is “What’s the word? Thunderbird,” an ad for cheap, fruit-flavored, fortified wine named for the Ford sports car. It sold for 60 cents a bottle and was marketed to those in poverty in the inner city and to misguided high school and college students. I drank some awful...

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Raise Your Glass: Portuguese Red Lives Up to Its Reputation
Apr08

Raise Your Glass: Portuguese Red Lives Up to Its Reputation

Periquita, 2012, red wine, Portugal, $7.99-$9.99 For the last decade, the national wine gurus have been raving about wines from the Iberian Peninsula as the best value on the market. They’ve all said things like: You’ve got to try them — they’re unbelievable, just phenomenal. Well, a year ago, after reading the reviews, I got all pumped up and rushed out to the wine store to buy these great wines from Spain and Portugal, only to be...

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Raise Your Glass: Organic Wines That Are Well Worth a Try
Mar24

Raise Your Glass: Organic Wines That Are Well Worth a Try

Natura Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Chile, $9.99-11.99 Natura Chardonnay 2013, Chile, $9.99-11.99 About a decade ago, I tried an organic wine. It was expensive and bad. I didn’t spit it out or even pour it down the drain, probably because of my Scots heritage, but I didn’t like it. So when friends recently suggested that I write about organic wine, I was reluctant. The organic wine I’d tried back then was overpriced for the quality. It...

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Hot or Cold, This  Wine is Bold
Mar10

Hot or Cold, This Wine is Bold

In the last couple of years, I may have had wines made from the white wine grape Verdejo, but I didn’t give them much thought until recently when I had a glass at an area restaurant. It didn’t hurt that my first remarkable Verdejo was a hand-picked, estate-grown, small batch wine full of crisp citrus and mineral flavors. But, alas, the Verdejo I had is not widely distributed, and I had a hard time finding it at wine stores. As I saw...

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Raise Your Glass: Thanks! Tip Yields Excellent Spanish Red
Feb25

Raise Your Glass: Thanks! Tip Yields Excellent Spanish Red

Evodia, Spain Old Vine Garnacha, 2013 $7.89 to $11.99 Over the last year or so, I had been noticing Evodia, a Spanish red wine with a distinctive bluish-purple label, on the shelves of the area’s wine stores, but I hadn’t tried it. For some reason, I hadn’t even given it much thought until my friend Marlene Osteen suggested I might like it. Osteen and her husband, Louis, have been in the fine dining restaurant business in South...

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Raise Your Glass: Chewy, Hardy Wine From Sicily
Jan28

Raise Your Glass: Chewy, Hardy Wine From Sicily

Villa Pozzi Nero D’Avola, Sicily 2013; $8.99 – $11.99 A few years ago, when Sicilian wines were relatively new to New England, I tried a bottle. It was an inexpensive dark red wine made from a grape that I had never heard of, which is not unusual; after all, Italian vineyards are home to more than 350 documented grape varietals. The wine, made from the Nero D’Avola grape, wasn’t very good by most standards, rough tasting with a...

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Raise Your Glass: ‘We’ve Got to Get Our Image Back’
Jan15

Raise Your Glass: ‘We’ve Got to Get Our Image Back’

Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon California, 2013 $11.99 – $15.99 When the weather turns not quite so delightful and temperatures start to drop, a hearty red wine seems an appropriate answer to the sleet-smattered cold and the right choice to accompany winter fare or to enjoy while sitting around the wood stove and listening to Linda Ronstadt’s “Duets.” There are a number of good, inexpensive California cabernet sauvignons on the...

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Raise Your Glass: Sparkling Wine Redemption
Jan01

Raise Your Glass: Sparkling Wine Redemption

Mionetto Prosecco Brut Treviso, Italy, $10.95-15.99 Jaume Serra Cristalino, Brut, CavaPenedes, Spain. $6.95-11.99  Before classes began my freshman year of college, an older friend took me out one night to celebrate, and we bought a couple of bottles each of some really cheap “champagne” from California.At the time, California’s sparkling wines, even though most were called champagne, were a far cry from the...

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