Consumer Wine Tips

Justifying The $20 Bottle of Wine

I am sitting in one of those crowded coffee houses that seems to be on every street corner around the country. The line is long and seats are full of people who’ve dropped around $5 each for a cup of soy, no foam chai latte.  A few minutes earlier I was in the wine aisle of a local retailer and watched shopper after shopper survey a number of bottles, but most often select the bottle …

Justifying The $20 Bottle of Wine Read More »

Want to learn about wine? Get comfortable with being wrong.

My wine journey is fueled by the knowledge that no matter how much time I devote and how much I study, I’ll never learn everything there is to know about every wine on this planet. Wine is a topic that can be a life-long endeavor. Some of those learnings are pretty straightforward. Smell the unmistakable scent of fresh cut grass? It’s a pretty good bet you’ve got a Sauvignon Blanc in your glass. Most observations …

Want to learn about wine? Get comfortable with being wrong. Read More »

Get Out of Your Wine Rut

I love a good hamburger, but it’s not all I eat. Imagine how humdrum life would become if my sole source of sustenance was ground beef on a bun. Yet, for so many, this is exactly the approach to wine. They have one wine of choice, be it Cabernet, Chardonny or Pinot Noir, and they rarely venture away from the one prized varietal. With more than 10,000 different wine grape varietals across the world, and …

Get Out of Your Wine Rut Read More »

Tips for visiting the wine country

Three questions to consider before booking your wine country visit

I see the posts on Facebook. Someone will ask the question “We are headed to Napa, where do you recommend we visit” and a flood of Friends will respond with a winery or two that are can’t miss. The problem is, not all Napa, Sonoma or other wine country visits are created equaly. Some vistors are looking for an over-the-top adventure while others may be seeking a more laid-back experience. Some vistors might be looking …

Three questions to consider before booking your wine country visit Read More »

The Resurgence of the Local Winery

What Wine and Craft Beer Have Learned From Each Other I fondly remember the Hamm’s beer commercials from the 1970s. The silly Hamm’s beer was always up to some hi jinx while an outdoorsy spokesman declared the beer to be refreshing because it was from the land of sky blue waters. I don’t once recall the bear or being discuss the beer’s color, texture or flavor profile. It was beer.  In Wisconsin, where I lived …

The Resurgence of the Local Winery Read More »

Why wine is good for your brain

Why Wine is Good for Your Brain (And Not for the Reason You Might Think)

It seems like every week there is a slew of new reports and studies on the how wine either is good or not so good for your health. Resveratrol, quercetin, and ellagic acid have all been touted as magical health properties contained within wine, while others trumpet warnings about the potential damage from alcohol. While the debate goes on regarding the health effects of the components in wine, there may be other health benefits that …

Why Wine is Good for Your Brain (And Not for the Reason You Might Think) Read More »

Why you should order wine from the winery

Why You Should Order Directly From Wineries

With hundreds of bottles staring at me every time I pass the wine aisle at our local grocery story, it’s hard to believe I get bored with the selection, but I do. The store serves as a wonderful place to pick up our old standbys on any given night, but the wine world itself is so large and diverse, even an entire aisle of wine can’t come close to breaching its diversity. That’s why I …

Why You Should Order Directly From Wineries Read More »

Pairing wine with girls scout cookies

How to Pair Wine with Girl Scout Cookies

One of the more unique wine tastings we conducted this year at Red White and Cru was a pairing of wines with girl scout cookies. Pairing wines with sweets can be difficult and the flavor combinations in the cookies made for some additional challenges, but we took our best shot and ended up with 5 out of 6 winners as judged by the participants. The pairings we settled on were: Pure Loire Sparkling Brut Vouvray …

How to Pair Wine with Girl Scout Cookies Read More »

How to find a value wine

How to Find a Value Wine

If you search for Cabernet Sauvignon on any reasonably stocked wine retail website, you will often find bottles ranging from $10 to more than a $1,000. While it is unlikely that a cheaper wine will taste just like the more expensive bottles, it is possible to find relative quality wines at almost any price point across the spectrum. If absolute quality isn’t the driver of price in wine, what is? Although production techniques (like use …

How to Find a Value Wine Read More »

This wine might help you live to 100

This Wine Just Might Help You Live to be 100

Scientists have identified a few areas of the world where a greater percentage of the population than expected live to 100 or beyond.  One of these “Blue Zones” is located on the island of Sardinia, off the Western coast of Italy. Researchers have identified a number of reasons why they believe the island has a greater share of centenarians, including their Mediterranean diet, the amount of walking they do for basic transportation, and their close-knit …

This Wine Just Might Help You Live to be 100 Read More »

Why I am Wary of advice from Total Wine

Last week I was in the Zinfandel aisle at Total Wine—a megastore for wine and liquor purchases–when a man asked a store employee to recommend a bottle of Zin for him. The employee asked one question, “What are you looking to spend?” and at hearing the price range of $20 to $40, zeroed in on exactly one bottle which he highly recommended. What caught my attention wasn’t the recommended bottle, it’s the conversation that didn’t …

Why I am Wary of advice from Total Wine Read More »

Is an 88 point wine good or bad

Is an 88 Point Wine Good or Bad?

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of wine exploration and discovery, but I’m not a fan of the 100 point wine scale. I use it in limited situations when making the best comparisons I can across a similar methodology, but on whole I find the scale to be more detrimental to the industry than helpful because it give little to no guidance to the majority if wine buyers. CellarTracker is a crowdsourced …

Is an 88 Point Wine Good or Bad? Read More »

Why wine lists are improving

Four Reasons Why Restaurant Wine Lists Might Be Improving

Restaurant wine lists fascinate me. The good ones are a fantastic way to discover and experience new and different wines that are typically unavailable at local retail or through direct order. Unfortunately, I find the good wine lists few and far between, and that is baffling. In most restaurants I visit while traveling the county it is obvious how much time, thought and attention is put into the concept, experience and decor and the level …

Four Reasons Why Restaurant Wine Lists Might Be Improving Read More »

When to Verify the Vintage in a Restaurant

Wine inventories move faster than menus get reprinted. So the wine that is listed on the wine list is more often than realized not the same vintage that is actually being poured by the restaurant. I am in complete agreement with the majority of wine writers who say that in most cases vintage is not important.  The fact is that 90% of wine made today is produced to be consumed within one year of release. …

When to Verify the Vintage in a Restaurant Read More »

Flavors of wine

How to Taste the Flavors in Wine

It happens every time. No exception. In every wine tasting I have conducted there is always one or more participants who remark that they aren’t able the taste the flavors in a wine. I’ll say “This Albariño has lemon and grapefruit…” and someone will speak up to admit he doesn’t think he can taste what is supposed to be in the wine. And then there’s always the one who cracks, “I taste grapes.” Great. Just …

How to Taste the Flavors in Wine Read More »