Monte Belmonte Wines: Wineing at Gypsy Apple
Oct11

Monte Belmonte Wines: Wineing at Gypsy Apple

“It’s a white boys’ game, dude. When I first went to take the somm exam, I had this idea that there is going to be one other black person there and it’s going to be a woman. And there’ll be, like, two Indian guys and everyone else will be white. There was actually one other black guy. One guy who came up from Brazil. One black woman. And three guys from Asia. Out of 70 people.” Wine may be a white boys’ game (says this white boy with...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Day Drinking – Solving The Problems of the World
Sep17

Monte Belmonte Wines: Day Drinking – Solving The Problems of the World

Some of the greatest ideas in human history were concocted while cocked. Allegedly, Grant won the Civil War while entirely inebriated. Kruschev avoided war while gently jingled. And Iron Butterfly wrote their biggest hit, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, while thoroughly chateaued. Now, I am not advocating for daily debauchery. But I am advocating for more day drinking during the workweek. This may allow you to loosen up, be more creative, and...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Your Election 2018 Wine Ballot
Aug24

Monte Belmonte Wines: Your Election 2018 Wine Ballot

The morning after the 2016 election, I was grateful that one of the disc jockeys at the radio station where I work kept a bottle of Jägermeister stashed in our freezer. And while these 2018 midterms are not necessarily driving me to drink, things are pretty wild here in Western Mass. With virtually all of our Beacon Hill delegation up for grabs, we at the station have been referring to this election cycle as “Wild West Mass” (with...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Bonjour, Monsieur Touton
Aug14

Monte Belmonte Wines: Bonjour, Monsieur Touton

I ain’t gonna lie. I got into this wine writing racket for three reasons: 1) as an attempt to write off all of my alcoholic beverage purchases, which I will list as “considerable,” 2) to see my name in print, and 3) in the hopes that I would receive free wine on a regular basis. I know basically every wine purveyor in the 413 area code. Many of them have been on my radio show. I assumed if I put out the word that I would like to do a...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The Rosé List at The Ashfield Lake House
Jul24

Monte Belmonte Wines: The Rosé List at The Ashfield Lake House

As an aspiring wine snob, ordering a glass of wine at a restaurant can be a risky business. Your abysmal choices may range from overly-oaked Chardonnays to mega-purple, mass produced, fruit bombs to the dreaded Pinot Grigio poured from bottles that have been open two days too long. That’s why it was a pleasant surprise when The Belmontes piled into a booth at The Ashfield Lake House and I took a look at their rosé list. The Lake House...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The brilliant 23 year old ordering bottles for ConVino
Jul10

Monte Belmonte Wines: The brilliant 23 year old ordering bottles for ConVino

“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you remind me of Rachel Maddow.” That was my reaction after meeting Franchesca Thepenier, the 23 year old certified Sommelier and beverage director for ConVino Wine Bar in Northampton. I worked with Rachel for two years over a decade and a half ago, and it was clear then that Rachel’s brilliance was not going to be contained to our subterranean radio studio on Main Street in Northampton...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The potential of Massachusetts wine
Jun26

Monte Belmonte Wines: The potential of Massachusetts wine

Massachusetts is no Bordeaux. It’s no Napa. Perhaps with global warming, someday it will rival the great wine regions of the world, which is why I keep a tire fire burning in my backyard at all times. But given the limitations of our climate, are our burgeoning vineyards in Massachusetts able to produce great wine? If you read my last column, you’ll know I was recently illegally drinking canned wine on the beaches of Cape Cod. Route...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Is the wine world ready for wine in a can?
Jun12

Monte Belmonte Wines: Is the wine world ready for wine in a can?

I am a proponent of Massachusetts becoming an open carry state. Not with guns. But with alcoholic beverages. Unless you happen to find yourself on the Buckland side of Shelburne Falls, where you are permitted to carry an open container of alcohol on the street, you might find yourself in trouble if you decide to imbibe outside — say, at one of our fine Massachusetts beaches. You could choose to obey posted laws about where alcohol is...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The man who made post-Prohibition America love wine, through the eyes of his daughter
May29

Monte Belmonte Wines: The man who made post-Prohibition America love wine, through the eyes of his daughter

How would you like to buy a bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild for $1.75? Maybe a bottle of Château Haut-Brion for $1.95? Interested in two bottles of Château Mouton-Rothschild for a whopping $2.95 each? Or go ahead and splurge on a case of Château Margaux for $25. If you are deeply infatuated with wine, these names are familiar to you. And you may be incredulous of my listed prices, as current vintages of these wines go for about...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The wines of Silicon Valley
May15

Monte Belmonte Wines: The wines of Silicon Valley

“Our neighbor in France had a trained donkey and a goat. We noticed the donkey and goat were always together during the evenings. During the day the goat was around but the donkey was gone. He had trained his donkey to do weed control in the vineyard. The donkey was really stubborn so he got it a goat as a companion animal. A calming goat.”   That’s where Jared and Tracey Brandt, the Berkeley, California, based winemaking couple...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: It’s not your nana’s rosé
May01

Monte Belmonte Wines: It’s not your nana’s rosé

White Zinfandel ruined rosé. My Italian grandmother, Nana B, always had a bottle of Sutter Home White Zinfandel open in her fridge. She called it “Zin-fan-DEL,” with the accent on  the last syllable. I was allowed small sips as a child, and my mental memory of those sips helps inform grown-up Monte of the taste of wine when it’s been open for too long. Nana would leave a single bottle open and in the fridge for weeks. I loved my Nana....

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Giving Pinot Grigio another shot
Apr17

Monte Belmonte Wines: Giving Pinot Grigio another shot

I hate to write about the most boring grape in the wine world, Pinot Grigio, two columns in a row. But I threw down the gauntlet in my last wine column and challenged someone to convince me that Pinot Grigio is not the most boring of all wine grapes. “Part of me contacting you wasn’t that I think Pinot Grigio is so amazing. It’s that a great wine is about the place and it’s about the people who make it.” Cristiano Gazzara from...

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Can You Convince Monte Belmonte that Pinot Grigio is Good?
Apr04

Can You Convince Monte Belmonte that Pinot Grigio is Good?

When I started down the road to wine snobbery, I was one of those people that said “I’m a red wine drinker. I don’t like white wine.” What a young, foolish, naive, wine drinker I was. I have since realized that there are great and interesting manifestations of virtually every type of wine grape. Emphasis on the “virtually.” Despite my best efforts, I have had a really hard time finding anything interesting about one particular grape —...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: So What Is Kosher Wine, Anyway?
Mar20

Monte Belmonte Wines: So What Is Kosher Wine, Anyway?

“There’s nothing in the Torah about the Passover Seder. We first hear of it about 2000 years ago in a book of Rabbinic custom and law called the Mishnah. And the first thing they talk about is that everyone has to have four cups of wine.” Well G-d, if you insist! I grew up Catholic. And allegedly during the Mass, the wine changes to the blood of Christ. And also allegedly, we parishioners were supposed to get to drink some. But as far...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The Gewürzfather Part II
Mar07

Monte Belmonte Wines: The Gewürzfather Part II

“Weird. What the heck does it smell like? Roses? It tastes like Oil of Olay.” “It smells like…you know how, in spring, the buds are coming out on the trees? Like those trees that smell like sex?” “Like a ‘period’ tree.” “It smells like sex is about to happen. It smells post-coital, It smells both pre-and post coital. It’s like an orgy in a glass.” Thus was my conversation with my wife, Professora Belmonte, after a first whiff of...

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The magical ménage à trois: Wine, chocolate, and Valentine’s Day
Feb06

The magical ménage à trois: Wine, chocolate, and Valentine’s Day

Roses are red. Wine is red. Violets are violet. Let’s try some chocolate. Valentine’s Day, wine, and chocolate are like a magical ménage à trois. And like that other ménage à trois I was part of, you don’t want to realize in the middle of it all that you have made a tremendous mistake. (Also, the wine called Ménage à Trois? Not a fan.) Find a quality wine. Get some good chocolate. And pick which of the two people is your perfect...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: An AFC Championship 5-Bottle Wine Snob Quiz with Mesa Amy
Jan29

Monte Belmonte Wines: An AFC Championship 5-Bottle Wine Snob Quiz with Mesa Amy

I go to Mesa Verde, a burrito bar in Greenfield, pretty much every week and order take-out for the Belmonte family: blackened-chicken burrito with chipotle sour cream, Mesa salad, cheese quesadilla, large chips and guac and an unsalted margarita while I wait. A margarita because this is not a wine restaurant. That’s why I found it strange when I noticed back-issues of the fabulous British wine magazine Decanteur stacking up on the bar...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Wine
Jan16

Monte Belmonte Wines: You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Wine

All natural. The kind of buzz words that make my extremely savvy, health-conscious wife cringe. When you see “natural flavors” on raspberry flavored items, it might as well read “flavors expressed from a beaver anus.” It’s true. Or at least it used to be. Google it. “Natural” is often just corporate-speak used for greenwashing. But in the world of wine, “natural” may actually be a word you want to seek out. Wine snobs often eschew the...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: This January, Give Dry a Try 
Jan02

Monte Belmonte Wines: This January, Give Dry a Try 

It is possible that you have spent the last month and a half punishing your liver. Look, I get it. You only drink socially and you are a very social person who went to three holiday office parties and 17 family get-togethers between Thanksgiving and New Years. But the holidays are over. Your liver may need some time to recover. A recent trend, especially popular in the U.K., is “Dry January.” Or the painful to look at (and endure)...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Champagne to Toast the End of the World
Dec18

Monte Belmonte Wines: Champagne to Toast the End of the World

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is set at two and a half minutes until midnight. This is the closest to nuclear annihilation we have been since the clock was created in 1947. Time to prepare for the countdown to end all countdowns. And when our Doddard-In-Chief finally provokes Rocket Man to push the button on the New Year’s Eve of our destruction, I know what I will be doing — drinking Champagne. I’m not sure what...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Navigating the Holiday Winefield
Dec04

Monte Belmonte Wines: Navigating the Holiday Winefield

Holiday get-togethers are like a minefield of bad wines. A winefield, if you will. You are casually exchanging theories about The Last Jedi with your nephew when a well-intentioned relative hands you a glass of “red” because they know you like “red wine.” What on earth is in this glass? Don’t they know wine is so much more than just red or white? You are now in a live, active winefield. What do you do? As most people know, when you’ve...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Drink Up, Pilgrim
Nov13

Monte Belmonte Wines: Drink Up, Pilgrim

Thanksgiving: when (non-Native) Americans celebrate their favorite (made up) moments from (revisionist) history. A time when you will sit down to enjoy a feast  (with historically incorrect menu), lovingly seated around the table next to your (mouth-breathing) relatives. So before you begin debating your (racist) uncle about the pros and cons of the football team called the Redskins, raise a glass and drink wine macerated on actual...

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How to Navigate Holiday Wine Tastings With Style 
Oct30

How to Navigate Holiday Wine Tastings With Style 

As we tiptoe toward the holiday season, you may find yourself with the opportunity to attend a wine tasting. A chance to try endless, free, tiny pours of wines and other alcoholic beverages in anticipation of having to endure the darkest and saddest time of the year — Christmas. I actually love Christmas. And Hannukah. And Kwanza (not much drinking with that holiday, though). I especially love Thanksgiving. And as we get closer to...

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Moldovan wine a welcome invasion from former Soviet Union
Oct16

Moldovan wine a welcome invasion from former Soviet Union

You already know that Russia hacked our election. What you might not have heard is how Russia has also inadvertently hacked our American wine market. And the two main culprits currently under investigation are from Agawam, the husband and wife team of Andrei Birsan and Daria Ratnikova from VinDistributors. Daria is originally from Moscow and Andrei is from Moldova. Moldova? Is that another country made-up by our Russian-compromised...

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Monte Belmonte Wines – Cooler Than You: Portuguese Wines
Oct02

Monte Belmonte Wines – Cooler Than You: Portuguese Wines

What’s a hipster’s favorite wine grape varietal? I mean, it’s wicked obscure, you’ve probably never heard of it. I’ve adapted one of my favorite hipster jokes to highlight one of the still obscure, I-knew-these-wines-before-they-sold-out regions: Portugal. Portugal as a country is still a bit of a mystery to me — it’s the country from where the families of all the non-Italian, non-Irish Catholics I knew growing up had their roots. But...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Don’t Blame the Cat
Sep18

Monte Belmonte Wines: Don’t Blame the Cat

Bordeaux: It’s the wine capital of the world. Even Thomas Jefferson, while keeping busy hypocritically impeding people’s lives and liberties, pursued wine happiness there. When most people think of Bordeaux, they think, “Dude, how the hell am I supposed to pronounce THAT wicked weird word?” But if you have heard of Bordeaux, you probably think red wines — the best France, and maybe the world, has to offer. What people often overlook...

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New Column: Monte Belmonte Wines
Sep05

New Column: Monte Belmonte Wines

You are reading a wine column that was written by a non-expert: a rank novice who has never worked in the wine industry, or the restaurant industry; who has never been to France (outside of Charles de Gaulle) or to California (outside of L.A.); and who, frankly, has never written a column of any kind, for any newspaper, at any time before now. That being said, I am Monte Belmonte — a radio host on 93.9 The River with an extremely tiny...

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