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Where Does Cork Come From?

by David on December 30, 2010

Cork is the bark of cork-oak tree and the largest supplier of wine cork is Portugal. Those more fortunate than me tell me of the lovely cork forests there. Environmentalists are doing what they can to urge us to stick with natural cork as the seal of choice because it’s a renewable resource and the […]


5 Tips for Selecting Cooking Wine

by David on December 29, 2010

Left over wine? Great idea – maybe. Wine you opened and didn’t like? Hmmm… Commercially available cooking wine? Nooooo…. When  I’m cooking with wine, I think of the wine as another ingredient, just like the fresh herbs I pick or the cut of meat that I buy. So, the question is what flavor do you […]


3 Great Things About Madeira

by David on December 28, 2010

This is another wine that warms us from within and tastes so good this time of year! Madeira is as perverse as it is delicious. It involves two of the biggest “don’ts” in a winemaking textbook! 1. Allowing the wine to oxidize is a real no-no because the wine will spoil. Well, oxidation is what […]


Barrel Aging: It’s Not Just for Oak Flavor!

by David on December 27, 2010

In fact, it wasn’t until around the 1960s that oak flavor became important! Some time after that we began to see the first references to “new French oak”. And, of course, now there’s so much focus on oak flavor these days that it’s easy to forget the main reason we still use barrels: Aging! The […]


You Can’t Buy Wine Grapes at the Supermarket

by David on December 26, 2010

Well, I’ve seen them at Whole Foods, here in Napa, but I expect it’s quite unusual. Wine grapes and the grapes we eat aren’t the same species. You can find wine made of native American, Concord grapes, but it has a tiny market niche. The vast majority of us seem to prefer wine that’s made […]


Santa Wants a Glass of Port!

by David on December 24, 2010

What keeps the gleam in his eye as he travels around the world in the freezing cold? I’m guessing it’s not a glass of milk! Absolutely, put out those cookies, because he needs plenty of sugar and carbs to keep going. But, if you pair them with Port you’ll help him keep warm and happy! […]


Sur Lie Aging

by David on December 23, 2010

Our 2010 Chardonnay is currently aging “sur lie”. Sir who? The term is French and refers to aging the wine on the  spent yeast cells and grape solids, the lees. Sur lie translates to “on the lees”. If you read a winemaking textbook, it advises the winemaker to move the new wine off of the dead […]


This is such a common question, and we may as well talk about White Zinfandel while we’re at it. They’re all, essentially , the same thing with very minor variations. The name, rosé, has been around for centuries. Blush and White Zin are 20th century creations. The first thing to know is that most wine […]


What’s a Bordeaux Blend?

by David on December 21, 2010

Same thing as a Meritage (pronounced like “heritage” – it isn’t a French term). And, a Meritage, or Bordeaux blend, is wine made of a mix of grapes that came to America from Bordeaux. The top 5? The vast majority of these blends include some or all of these varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, […]


Napa Valley: Great Wine, Small Valley!

by David on December 20, 2010

If you ask someone how much of California’s wine comes from Napa Valley, they usually come back with something like 80% or 90%. It’s a natural mistake, since the wine is so well known. But, actually, only 4% of California’s wine is grown here – this is one small valley! At just over 30 miles […]