• Wine and Music plus an Interview with Susan Lin MW

    Charlie Leary
    What do Sting and Post Malone have in common, or how about Nicki Minaj and Boz Scaggs? Can we add Dave Matthews? Music Superstars and Wine These musical superstars all, at some point or another, played a major role in the world of wine. Many still do. Sting owns Tenuta il Palagio; Nicki is a…
  • The Gravity of Vintage

    Charlie Leary
    Vinum and demere: put the two Latin word together and you have to remove the wine, or vindemia. The grape harvest in old French became vendange, and in modern Spanish it remains close, vindimia. In English: “vintage.” Few concepts have greater importance for understanding wine. The wine universe is vast, encompassing imprecise terms such as…
  • How Long Will Wine Keep?: Opened Versus Unopened

    Charlie Leary
    To keep or not to keep, that is the question. Many people think that wine, with its relatively high alcohol concentration, will be preserved for days or weeks after a bottle is opened. This is actually true for only a small portion of wine types such as Port or most of the wines from Jerez…
  • Little-Known Nuggets about Chenin Blanc

    Charlie Leary
    Chenin Blanc counts, alongside Riesling, as a wine varietal that most vinophiles greatly value but that the rest of us may not understand. Is Chenin Blanc dry or sweet? That, for example is a classic question about this super white wine. Chenin Blanc Taste Versatility jumps to mind when speaking of Chenin Blanc, also known…
  • Investment Wines

    Charlie Leary
    Investment wines. They possess digitzed scores by “objective” critics, limited production dates, historical auction prices, even published indices and “accurate, real-time transaction prices.” This is the numericization of fine wine, where numbers represent aroma, tannins, flavors, balance, and structure. No need to taste, just look at the numbers! Purely investing in fine wine, without ever…
  • Basic Wine Guide

    Charlie Leary
    Wine should be enjoyed. Enjoying wine increasingly more each day involves enhancing your wine knowledge, just like a bit of understanding regarding music will upgrade your experience in listening to a symphony. Even a little bit of know-how—from learning wine basics—will go a long way. So, here’s a roadmap to basic wine knowledge. What is…
  • Lighter Red Wines: The Trend Now

    Charlie Leary
    Reds Have Changed An era existed not so long ago when a red wine, if not decidedly chewable, could not be considered a red wine . . . and when spreadable jam on the palate was the flavor profile deemed acceptable. This, in and of itself, may have turned some people off to red wine.…
  • Little-known Nuggets about Opus One

    Charlie Leary
    More than any other wine venture, last century’s Opus One project expressed the aspiration, nay the vision, of creating Napa Valley wines that would rival the grand crus of Bordeaux. That vision spread, rapidly, within Napa. With the sometimes fractious entrepreneurial union of two great winemakers—one from France and one from the United States—it also…
  • Wine Based Cocktails

    Charlie Leary
    Cocktails made with wine? Yes. The longstanding classic wine cocktails embody a certain sense of simple, delicious elegance while maintaining a hint of exoticism. The Mimosa (lubricant of brunches and mid-day celebrations), the Kir, and its highbrow cousin, the Kir Royale, representing France; Spain’s refreshing and convivial Sangria, both white and red; and the Champagne…
  • Good Value Wines from Good Value Regions

    Charlie Leary
    Best Value Wine Regions Who doesn’t seek good value in a wine? Even wine collectors may pay a pretty price for treasured selections that will increase in value, but for everyday wine enjoyment, high wine quality for an affordable price rules the day. Well-known Bourgogne (Burgundy) wines present the best current example of non-value options.…
  • Little-known Nuggets about Sake: The Japanese Rice Wine

    Charlie Leary
    Those old enough will remember Japanese sake’s vicissitudes over the past ninety years. Americans talked about the Japanese rice wine a lot during World War II, but then it was the enemy’s peculiar drink. It experienced a decade of popularity from the late 1950s to 1970, when Japanese culture drew popular interest; this was the…
  • Unlocking Terroir Treasures: A Journey Through French Wine Regions

    Charlie Leary
    Among connoisseurs of fine wine, France enjoys an unrivalled reputation as vinous treasure trove. The country’s diverse wine regions have long been celebrated for producing some of the finest wines on the planet. Much of this has to do with the historical tapestry of geographic and cultural diversity there, described in minute detail by historians…
  • Wine And Chinese Food make for Delicious Pairings

    Charlie Leary
    China’s cuisine, alongside that of France, stands as one of the most diverse, regionally varied, expressive, and inventive in the world. Move beyond your corner Chinese restaurant and either find a gourmet Chinese food eatery or learn to cook a Chinese feast! The Chinese define eight major regional cuisines within the rubric we usually generically…
  • Best Wine Movies of All Time

    Charlie Leary
    Which are the Best Wine Films? Wine lovers adore seeing wine in movies: vintage bottles, vineyards, wine country, harvests, winemakers. So, they may not be the best people to vote on the best wine movies of all time; they are inherently and by definition biased. When critic Roger Ebert, however, names a wine film “the…
  • Little-known Nuggets about Cristal Champagne

    Charlie Leary
    Cristal Champagne is always evocative, and the house of Louis Roederer wants to keep any evocations exclusive. In 2006, Roeder’s managing director publicly disapproved of using Cristal in rap lyrics, causing Jay Z to ban the Champagne from his 40/40 Club. This year, Roederer threatened to sue a small British winemaker for branding a rosé…
  • Little-known Nuggets about Dom Pérignon

    Charlie Leary
    Dom Pérignon and Lady Gaga When Lady Gaga recently mentioned the “traces of the centuries engraved on the stone” of a Medieval French abbey, she referred to the birthplace of Champagne, the sparkling wine, and not just any Champagne, but Dom Pérignon. The brand, indeed, evokes images of festive pop celebrities as much as it…
  • Little-known Nuggets about Pet-Nat Wines

    Charlie Leary
    It rolls off the tongue resembling a code that the uninitiated will fail to comprehend, but still invoking something down-to-earth and non-elitist: “Pet-Nat.” It’s intriguing, although saying original French is substantially more elegant. The “pet-nat” wines have become the latest trend to arrive in the world of wine, closely linked with the “natural wine” trend.…
  • Little-known Nuggets about Riesling Wine: Is Riesling Sweet?

    Charlie Leary
    Wine made from the Riesling grape, most often as a 100% varietal, tends to provoke strong reactions. Some love these wines, finding them chocked full of aromatic complexity, with the grape possible of extreme diversity in wine styles. Others disdain Rieslings, finding them overly quixotic and cloying, with a common complaint being their overpowering sweetness.…
  • Little-known Nuggets about Wine and Chocolate

    Charlie Leary
    It started in the early 1980s, quietly: the idea of pairing wine with chocolate. In 1982, one regional lifestyle magazine referred to how the “rather stultified conventional wine wisdom has it that chocolate ‘coats’ the palate, thus muting the subtleties of the wine.” But the gastronomic revolution had commenced. The article went on to declare…
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: Some Little-Known Nuggets about DRC

    Charlie Leary
    One acronym says it all: “DRC.” One need not speak the phrase—Domaine de la Romanee-Conti—because everyone in the world of fine wine knows the initials. This Bourgogne winemaker stands, like with the prices of its wines and the financial status of its customers, among the top one percent, perhaps even the highest one percent of…
  • Cooking with Dry White Wine to Elevate Your Culinary Experience

    Charlie Leary
    Learning how to cook with dry white wine can transform your meals into delightful culinary experiences, a true culinary art form. The subtle, nuanced flavors of dry white wine add depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re deglazing a pan, enhancing a sauce, or marinating ingredients, the use of such wine…
  • Moscato: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    Charlie Leary
    In the history of wine, Moscato carved a long, unique, and fascinating path. This aromatic varietal has captivated the taste buds of both seasoned wine enthusiasts and newcomers. It serves as an enticing entry wine for novices when made in a sweet wine style, and you will find wines called “Moscato” in both Italian and…
  • Wine and Food Pairing: Unveiling the Perfect Combinations

    Charlie Leary
    Wine has contributed to human culture for millennia, not only in the West but also East Asia. Wine’s rich history plus diverse flavors, aromas, acidity, and sweetness make it a superb beverage for celebrations, relaxation, and especially gastronomic indulgence. Pairing an appropriate wine with the right food elevates both experiences. People have honed the art…
  • Why and When to Age Your Wine

    Charlie Leary
    Wine has always had an intimate relationship with time. For much of history, time counted as its worst enemy because after fermentation stopped, aging wine inevitably slid downhill towards spoilage and, yes, vinegar. Since Roman times, people tasted wine mostly to give a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, good or bad, wine or vinegar.…
  • Learn Wine and Cheese: Outsmarting the Pairing to Impress Your Palate

    Charlie Leary
    Wine and cheese pairing is a gastronomical art form that has delighted palates for centuries. The harmonious interplay between the flavors and textures of these two beloved indulgences can become not only a source of endless fascination but also an art form. While traditional pairings like red wine with crumbly two-year white cheddar or Sauvignon…
  • Learn Orange Wine: A Delectable Journey Through Time

    Charlie Leary
    Wine enthusiasts are no strangers to the world of diverse red, white, and sparkling wine options. However, for those keen on learning wine, there’s a lesser-known gem in the wine world that has recently gained increasing attention: “orange” wine. It’s not made from oranges, but rather from white wine grapes, with an added twist. The…
  • The Basics of Wine Tasting

    Charlie Leary
    The server approaches your table, skillfully opens the bottle of wine you ordered moments ago, pours a small amount into your glass, and  . . .  what happens next? This basic ritual of wine tasting occurs thousands of times each day. For many, this constitutes an anxiety-driven event; everyone at the table is looking at…
  • How Heavy is Your Red Wine? Plus: 25 Varieties Ranked

    Charlie Leary
    “I’d like a light red wine” or “that Cabernet is way too heavy for me” might be overheard in any wine bar around the world, expressing red wine preferences. When it comes to learning red wine appreciation, what exactly does “wine weight” mean? One wine expert says that the easiest way to assess a wine’s…
  • The Art of Collecting and Storing Wines: Tips for Enthusiasts

    Charlie Leary
    Gone are the days when those keen about wine had to store barriques (225 liter barrels) or tonneaux (900+ liter barrels) in a cellar or basement. We can all be thankful for the relative ease and convenience of buying wine in bottles. Wine collecting today, however, can still present its own issues and questions. Those…
  • Napa versus Bordeaux

    Charlie Leary
    Even for those who know little about wine, the names “Bordeaux” and “Napa” evoke visions of the best appellations of France and California, respectively. More precisely, uttering “Bordeaux and Napa” will provoke a comparison of their red wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon, with Napa inevitably portrayed as emulating the famed style of famous Bordeaux chateaux,…
  • The best cheap red wine 2023

    Whatever your salary or situation, everyone loves finding a bargain, especially in today’s tough economic times where the price of everything seems to keep going up. Wine prices have risen significantly in the past two years, but there are still some hidden gems to be found – and tasted. Finding a good cheap red wine…
  • Wine and cheese pairings

    If you love cheese and enjoy entertaining, then keep reading as knowing how to pair wine with cheese will make your tastebuds rejoice, and have your guests returning for more. While there are general guidelines or principles to consider when matching wine with cheese, it’s important to remember that personal preferences also play a significant…
  • When does opened wine go bad?

    The general rule for the staying power of an opened bottle of wine, providing it is recorked and refrigerated, is it will taste almost as good as new up to two days after being opened. But some wine can last up to a week. A wine’s shelf life once opened varies depending on a number…
  • How to learn about wine

    Learning about wine is these days a fun, flexible and convenient experience. There are a range of wine classes available for all levels that can be done from the comfort of your living room through online wine classes, or in-person at events and tastings. And, the great thing about today’s wine education options is that…
  • English Sparkling Wine: Mark Oldman’s 10 Best

    To appreciate the zesty, minerally charms of English sparkling wine, you need not be an incurable anglophile. Climate change and an influx of winemaking talent into southern England has enabled the crafting of world-class sparkling wine, with the best versions even rivaling those of Champagne. Mark Oldman has toured the wineries of Southern England extensively…
  • Secrets of Chardonnay

    Mark Oldman
    If any wine embodies a “big,” almost Texan spirit, it is the richer style of California Chardonnay: big weight, big alcohol, and big hints of tropical fruit and oak. But lighter and less oaky styles exist, both in California and especially in its spiritual homeland, the Burgundy region of France.