Summer 6 Pack

“Few wines are both as beloved and belittled as rosé. Since its return to fashion in the last five years or so, the public has embraced it as a wine of summer.”
Eric Asimov: “Rosés, with all due respect” June 7, 2010 The New York Times

SUMMER 6-PACK
Because pink wine is my favorite wine of summer, I’ve selected three favorites (2 bottles of each) to go into my summer 6-pack which will be sold at the Bulldega. To reserve yours call them at 919-680-4682 or email jay@bulldega.com.

There was a time when I was very pessimistic about the future of the great rosés of Europe. Even though rosé was the hip wine to drink in the summertime in Europe, and all of the best outdoor cafes in France and Italy served it, it was frowned on as hopelessly out of touch and cringe worthy in America. This was caused by the period of time where the California winemakers made what were called ‘blush’ wines – White Zinfandel being the most common of the blush wines. Essentially they were pink, tasted like bubblegum, and were altogether to be avoided. The wine cognoscenti made fun of these blush wines and eventually they became shunned by even the casual wine drinkers in America. In those days it was considered a horrible social gaffe to take a bottle of pink wine to a dinner party.

But I come to you this year with renewed optimism that authentic rosé is not only better understood but has been embraced in America like never before.
Here’s the reason for my optimism: People are not only buying rosé, ordering bottles in restaurants to sit in plain view on their table without hesitation, but also proudly serving it in their homes. They don’t have the sheepish, slightly embarrassed look that folks once did when serving a bottle of pink wine.
Also, a lot of my favorite rosés are on allocation – meaning there’s a greater demand than there is supply so you can’t buy everything you want. But, due to the educated wine press, and a lot of retailers who took up the cause of authentic, dry rosé, its back – big time.

Things to know about still rosé (sparkling is a different story):

1. Just a note on how rosé wines are made. Red grapes are crushed and only brief contact is allowed between the skins (which contain the colored pigments and tannins) and the juice (which comes from the colorless flesh of the grape).I should also add here that there are some rare red grapes which have pigmented flesh, called teinturier varieties, but this is the exception. These cannot by definition be used to make rosé. It is the degree of the contact between the skins and the juice that determines the final color of the wine. Thus, rosé wines lack both the deep color and the tannic structure of red wines made from the same grape varieties, and in this sense are more like white wines, and are best served cold. It is also rare to find rosé wines subjected to oak treatment.
2. They should be served at the temperature you would serve white wine.
3. Don’t plan a picnic or a porch gathering without chilling a bottle.
4. Even though they’re at their best as a summertime wine that’s fresh, cool, and crisp – I find a bottle of rosé the perfect first wine at a Thanksgiving gathering.
5. Some people would have you believe that once you’ve had a rosé for a few months past summer, it’s no good anymore – and nothing could be further from the truth.
6. In my opinion, some red grapes like Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, and Zweigelt make better rosés than other. That said, I also am partial to a blend of grapes – particularly from Provence and the Rhone, in France.

Whereas France is probably the most famous country for producing excellent dry pink wines, in this 6-pack you have one French rosé and two from Italy. Of all the many, many rosés I tasted, the Italians beat out the French. The French rosé is the lightest, and the Sangiovese is the most substantial – the fullest bodied rosé. Elisabetta’s Montenidoli is my favorite – rich, complex, and altogether charming.

Chateau d’Oupia Rosé – Minervois, Languedoc.
Grapes: Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault
Chateau d’Oupia is in the large region of the Languedoc, but is amongst the best communes – Minervois – where the land is ideal for growing grapes to produce wine – good slopes and rocky soil. André Iché was a star, and known for producing a whole lot of quality wine for a good price. He inherited his estate in the eighties, and quickly gained the reputation for being an excellent and committed farmer. Initially he sold off his wine to the negociants, but a visiting French winemaker from Burgundy in the late nineties was so enthused about his wine that he convinced Andre to bottle and market his own production. The composition is Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault.
The wine is delightfully light and easy to drink, with low alcohol – it’s ideal for the hot days of summer. Serve chilled as an apertif or with your summer meal.

Montenidoli Tosana Rosato Canaiuolo – Tuscany, Italy
Grapes: 100% Canaiolo
This rosé is unique and famous. It’s made from the Canaiolo red grape – one of the grapes (other than Sangiovese) that makes up a Chianti blend.

Elisabetta Fagiuoli is my favorite winemaker that I’ve met in my career. She is a tour-de-force in the tower town of San Gimignano in the region of Tuscany. Elisabetta is energetic, outgoing, and an eloquent spokeswoman for the philosophy and practice of natural winemaking.

Many years, her rosé is my favorite of all the ones I taste – and this would be one of those years. I recently had a glass of her rosé at Pizzeria Toro before dinner. I found the wine totally enchanting and everything I would want in a rosé – light, bright, and full of complexity. I remember thinking to myself – wine just can’t get any better than this, for me.

She organically farms her vineyards on a hillside surrounded by woodlands, and her wines are made with free-run must that ferments slowly and is bottled as soon as the sugars have fermented to maintain freshness. This method of making wine yields great flavor and doesn’t maximize output – if you actually press the grapes you get more juice out but you don’t make better wine. It takes someone who really cares about what they end up with in the bottle to use this method.

Caparsa Sangiovese – Tuscany, Italy, Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
Caparsa is in Tuscany, on the road between Radda and Volpaia in southern Chianti. Why did I pick this rosé? There are many reasons, but here are a few:
1. I’m extremely fond of the wines that Paolo makes – they represent terrific wine values.
2. There are some wines that you just fall in love with the flavor. This wine is 100% Sangiovese, certified organic, and sees more skin contact with the juice than most rosés, which makes it a richer, more cherry-like flavor than a lot of rosés. I’m not an advocate of telling you what it tastes like; everybody has their own taste and it would be like telling you what is wrapped inside your gift at the holidays.
3. Because it’s a certified organic wine, there is no stabilization – it was bottled at the end of January.

Finding Good Wine

I am often asked from friends in other parts of the country how to go about finding the small estate natural wines that I am fond of and often write about. If there is not an “ahead of the curve” wine shop who is gathering a selection of these wines in one spot in your town or community then here’s what I recommend –

Before I start, I hear some people saying, “What is natural wine anyway?” Natural wine is a very fluid term used in a way like the term natural food was being used in the 60’s. I know what it means to me, but there is not a clear certifiable definition. Wine made with nothing added and nothing taken away, the way wine was made 100 years ago. Isn’t all wine made like that…absolutely not. In the same way that modern food science has been able to make a hostess Twinkie to sit on the shelf to approximate a pastry, modern food science has made wine a processed food. Here’s a good article that will explain my point: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/11/03/how-wine-became-like-fast-food.html

So how do you find natural wine that tastes real and alive that you can feel good about drinking? There are about a dozen importers who have combed the European countryside in search of just this kind of wine. I recently was put to this same task while visiting friends in New Jersey. They asked if I would be willing to accompany them to the liquor store where they were often left to buy their wine. They are lucky enough to live close enough to NYC, but sometimes the liquor store will have to do. So when I was asked to join them to shop their local liquor store, I said, “Of course” – which was in a cinder block building with a gravel drive with pot holes the size of pick-up

Inside after scanning the shelves for anything recognizable, the salesman asked, “Can I help you?” I proceed to employ the same strategy I am about to give to you.  I asked, “Do you have any Kermit Lynch, Neal Rosenthal, or Joe Dressner selections?” He responded, “Let me get he buyer in the back room, he’s more familiar with what we’ve got.I think that we do.”

IMG_3327

I asked the wine buyer the same question and he said, “Indeed, we do.” He showed me a few bottles from each importer’s selection and I was able to find close to a case of wine that I would have bought myself. He also told me that they also had other Muscadet, Cru Beaujolais, and Malbec selections at better prices. There lies the trap. Sure, they are better prices. They are most often not natural wines nor are they nearly as good.

IMG_3325

Here are a few other of my favorite importers when looking for delicious and fairly priced natural wine- Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections – mostly Spanish wine and sherry, but adding some French estates. Terry Theise imports German and Austrian wines with also a selection of grower champagne. The Haw River Wine Man imports Italian wines. There are others, but I will stop with these now.

These are the one’s that more generic stores will have a better chance of having. If you go to a store that has none of these importers’ wines, it is a sign that the owners are asleep at the switch!

I welcome questions and comments. I will stop with this today.

We’re lucky to have lots of good independent stores in this area to keep you out of Trader Joe’s and Total Wine. I particularly like Parker and Otis in Durham, where I volunteer my time and passion in their wine department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bargain Bubble for the Holidays

The other day a good friend said to me, “it’s the holidays and champagne is so festive. I would like to buy some, but I can’t afford it.” True champagne, meaning the kind that comes from the small AOC (appellation d’origine controlee) of Champagne, France is the most highly regulated wine on earth. Their goal is to make sure that no matter where on the planet that you buy a bottle, it will be good. The flip side is that it will never be cheap.

I had a bottle of sparkling wine at the festive and very tasty friends and family night at Juju in Durham. The wine was a Cremant d’ Alsace. The wine was excellent, dry, full of flavor, yet elegant and perfect with our meal. Thanks to Charlie Deal for the recommendation.

IMG_1174

Things to know about Cremant:

  • Cremant is one of the terms used to refer to sparkling wine not made in Champagne.
  • Cremant is known for being a more affordable sparkling choice than champagne.
  • It is the second most consumed sparkling wine by the French. They seem to have a good sense about such things.
  • Another thing to know is the winemakers practice methode champenoise to emulate a champagne experience for the drinker.
  • Depending on where the Cremant is made, will determine what grapes are used.
  • Other than the benefit of great sparkling wine at a reasonable price, most Cremant is produced by small growers. That’s a beauty!

Most people know about Cava from Spain and Prosecco from Italy. Today I wanted to share my Cremant experience!

Spater Veit, say what?

The battle to get our community to enjoy rose has been won! I am on to the next challenge, which is German estate Riesling. The challenge seems to be that many people think that all German Riesling is sweet… WRONG.

Come see for yourself (or taste rather)!

In addition, this week I have the pleasure of my daughter, Emily, joining me for the Parker and Otis tasting. She will be visiting me from New York for a father-daughter weekend. It’s going to be a beauty!

Emily and I will be at Parker and Otis from 4 to 6 pm this coming Friday May 9th. We are going to be pouring a German Riesling that I love this week!

What do I love about Spater Veit? It is affordable (less than $20 a bottle). It is low alcohol – which makes a great lunchtime wine or you can have a glass or 2 before dinner. It is also a fabulous food wine! This Riesling will go well with all of the foods you want to eat when the weather is warm. This wine comes from a small estate. Their farming practices are headed in the right direction – meaning they are sustainably farming their vines. Heinz and Silvia Welter farm 18 acres around Piesport, a village on southwestern Germany’s Mosel River.

 

 

 

 

Come taste this organic beauty with me!

I will be pouring 2008 Bianco “Di Caparsino,” a special white wine from the heart of Tuscany today at Parker and Otis from 4-6pm. Tuscany is mostly known for Chianti and other reds made from the Sangiovese grape. This wine that I have chosen for Friday is mostly Trebbiano, with a smidge of Malvasia. It’s a beauty! 

photo 1

Given the weather forecast for this weekend, I think this will make a fine wine because of its weight. It has a little more body than many white wines have. The wine maker doesn’t rush this one to the market, he waits until the optimal time to take it out of the barrel. This is what gives this wine some weight. It has just the right amount of weight in the mouth, yet has a refreshing and light quality. It will pair well with ham and biscuits for Easter brunch or be a fine wine for sipping with cheese pre-Easter dinner. 

Paolo Cianferoni is the wine maker of this beauty. He follows organic farming practices on his estate. This estate has supplied me with my house red in the coolers months of 2014I think I will be drinking their white during the warmer months. I really like the flavor. There is enough texture to have a glass before dinner. There is a complexity about the wine that makes it taste more expensive than you have to pay. Don’t we all enjoy a great value? 

photo 2



Because of the organic wine making practices that Paolo Cianferoni embodies on his estate, you can feel even better about drinking his wine. I like what Laura Collier has to say about drinking organic wine in an article from the Organic Wine Journal. She expresses very well my own feelings about naturally produced and organic wine making.

For a long time, well before I paid attention to the farming techniques of different wineries, I valued wines that have character. The common theme among most of my favorite wines is not a specific flavor or aroma or weight or grape or country or structure; rather it is personality and expression. Once I became interested in organic farming, and began looking into the farming methods of some of my favorite producers, I noticed that a large proportion of my favorite wines were crafted from organically farmed grapes. I don’t know why – perhaps it’s the complex soils and healthy vines undamaged by pesticides, perhaps it’s the extreme care and attention the wineries put into the wines, perhaps it’s the natural fertilizers that are used – but I have found that organic wines are more likely to have that vibrant expression, clarity of fruit, thought-provoking complexity, and unique personality than wines produced by conventional farming.”

I will share with you more about my personal perspective in next weeks post. The wine we will be tasting next week is also made with organically grown grapes. Stay tuned!

Come taste this beauty for yourself! I would love to assist you to choose wines to match up with your Easter meal. If you have any other Easter needs, Jennings Brody has the best selection of Eastery treats in town! 

Rose` Rocks!

There was a time when I couldn’t sell a bottle of pink wine. Thank goodness for us all that these times have changed!

My mission has always been to promote wines that are created by small farmers in their own cellars from their grapes grown on their properties vs. the large production of wine factories. Many people are beginning to appreciate supporting the importance of small growers and wine makers. You could say that there is a story in every sip that you will taste from wines made from the producers that I love!

I have chosen two rose` wines from small producers for the tasting I will be doing this coming Friday, April 4th from 4 to 6pm at Parker and Otis in Durham, NC. One rose` is from Spain the other is from New York. Both wines are a great deal for less than $20 a bottle. When you know -like I do, the hand labor that has gone into crafting real wines like these (there’s really not a good word to describe this, some call them natural wines). It makes your realize that the price is a good value. Value does not always mean $2.99.

What is happening with this appreciation for the small producers is that there is more demand for the smaller producers’ wines. This is good and this is bad. It’s good that the wines that I like from small producers are being well supported. It’s bad because there is not enough wine to go around. When there is greater demand for wine than there is supply, it goes into a category called allocation. One of the wines that I will be offering at Parker and Otis this week falls into the category of wines that are allocated.

I will be pouring Ameztoi Rosé Getariako Txakolina. This is most often referred to simply as Txakoli (chak-o-lee). I love the flavors of this wine, the refreshing quality it brings to the palate, the light spritz, and the low alcohol content. I can’t imagine a better wine for summer weather. I am going to warn all of you who will love this wine – get ahead of the game and pick up more than a bottle or two. I had friends who were sadly disappointed last July when they realized that all of this spritzy summer wine had been quickly cleared off of the shelves.

Ametzoi rose

Friday we will have less than 50 bottles of the Ameztoi available. This wine has been allocated. We must raise our glass to fellow Chapel Hillian, Andre` Tamers of De Maison Selections for putting the Ameztoi Rose` on the map. It’s his responsibility to figure out how to allocate less than 5,000 cases of the cult-followed wine around the country. Andre` buys the entire production of this wine That’s quite the job.

When I asked of the guys from De Maison Selections what has created such a cult following for this wine, he replied, “that I think when people taste it that they have never tasted anything like it.”

Now if you had told me a few years back that these wines would be in such demand, I am not sure if I would have believed you.  I have been promoting wines like this rose` all along. A piece that I wrote a few years ago began with the sentence “rose` has a terrible image,” but it seems that is no longer the case. The rose`s like the one’s from Neal Rosenthal that I so enthusiastically supported in years gone by, are so popular now that I can hardly get my hands on them today. We’ve come a long way baby! These pink wines of Europe are off to the races!

Rose has survived and surpassed the identity crisis it went through in the 80’s that was evoked by the popularization of White Zinfandel. These pink hued wines are in high demand. For the first time ever, people who want to open a bottle of rose a couple times a week are going to have to think ahead. I suggest buying more rose` than you will need for dinner tonight.

Would you like some assistance planning your spring and summer of rose`? It would be my pleasure to assist with your stocking-up plan. In addition to the Ametzoi, I will be pouring a Pinot Noir rose` from Dr. Konstantin Frank from the Finger Lakes area of New York State. Jennings Brody, the owner of Parker and Otis, gave me a bottle of this wine to taste. She has named this rose` as the wine she will be drinking all summer long, with good reason!

3rd generation wine maker,  Frederick Frank

3rd generation wine maker, Frederick Frank

It is no coincidence that I have loved many roses over the years. Some of the ones that I have enjoyed the most are made from the Pinot Noir grape. This wine whispers deliciousness from the fruit amplified by a slight hint of sweetness. It has a bright finish the makes it an excellent food wine. I am curious what it will whisper to you. Join me Friday for a taste!

 

 

 

The black wines of Cahors…

This Friday at Parker & Otis I’ll be tasting the original Malbec from southern France.

Most Americans know Malbec as an Argentinian wine and it’s become their signature grape. But it originated in France… thank you very much. For my money this is a much better wine, with far more polish and finesse than those cowboy wines from Argentina.  The Chateau Armandiere Ancestral Cahors I’ll be tasting on Friday also doesn’t come with a headache – its just 13% alcohol.

cahors wine Lets skip the flowery wine descriptors, that’s like telling the ending of a good movie, come and taste for yourself. I will tell you the wine insiders explanations for the relative obscurity of the black wines of Cahors. In days past it was not unheard of for Chateau in Bordeaux to add some of the richly color wine of Cahors to their blend to add color to their wines in poor years. These same winemakers, in cahoots with wealthy merchants who controlled the ports and employed assorted monkey business to keep the black wines of Cahors from being exported from France. Today is a different era, in fact our importer, Bruno Arricastres’s family live close to the Chateau.

As always, I’m in search of wine that taste more expensive than it sells for and this is a hell of a value for under $20. Come and see me on Friday.

Today’s wine

Leitz OutThis week hanging around with Jennings at the Parker and Otis wine department was more than I could have hoped for. I was able to sell a few bottles of wine, one transaction my dream scenario … the customer said “I’d like to buy a nice bottle of wine for my friend who drinks $4 spanish reds” … now that’s an easy proposition! I got him a bottle of Andre Tamers’ Mencia, a red from Galicia that I love, and Jennings had a new shipment of the Biga Rioja that I sampled last week – he bought a bottle of that too – but even better was getting to attend three or four meetings with wine-reps to see what they had new and taste their wine.

 

You see, I am still so curious about wine and want to keep learning about it. Here’s the biggest surprise … I really liked three wines, all from America … and that’s unusual for me as I am usually a curmudgeon for only old world wines.

Main-BanyanGew

Probably the most surprising was the Gewürztraminer from The Hobo Wine Company’s Banyan Label. This Traminer was restrained and very tasty and shockingly only had 12% alcohol. The Hobo Wine Company’s owner and winemaker grew up in a family where one of his parents was from Thailand … he had Thai food in mind when he made this wine … when this wine comes into the shop I look forward to buying a bottle and having it with Thai food.

While I am not certain that the Banyan Gewürztraminer will be in the shop today, I do know  there will be several bottles of Johannes Leitz’ Leitz Out Riesling. Joni is a rockstar in the world of Riesling and Riesling lovers adore his wines. As a service to the Riesling-grape he produced a deliciously dry entry-level Riesling from the Rheingau, affordable enough allowing Parker and Otis to retail it for $14.99 – a real deal!

I believe these estate wines from Germany and Austria represent some of the best wine values available today, and I’m on a mission to get people to try them and take a bottle home. These wines suffer in sales because everyone thinks German wine is sweet, which is not true. This wine has a whisper of sweetness, which is just right, especially with spicy food or as an aperitif before dinner. The wines have a beautiful transparency of flavor and are low in alcohol, which is something I appreciate since they don’t come with the headache many new world wines bring.

I have another story about a man whose family vineyard is Melsheimer. Thorsten Melsheimer visited 3Cups several years ago and told the story of the Mosel valley families where his family’s vineyard is located. Where years ago there were 23 family-vineyards growing Riesling grapes along the banks of the Mosel, today the Melsheimer vineyard is the only remaining due to the dramatic drop in sales of Riesling. The American market is one of utmost importance to the continued existence of the German estate Riesling, but unfortunately has been dwindling at the hands of Yellowtail, Three Wishes or 2-buck-chuck   which have given Riesling a bad name associated with cloyingly sweet grape juice.

Somehow it has become terribly uncool to like anything but bone-dry wines, and I can’t tell you how many times people have said “I like really dry wine”. But America is a nation of ice-cream lovers, we like margaritas and coca-cola, which has a residual sugar of 112g per liter, but when a wine has just a few grams of residual sugar people will often run the other way – I think that’s a grave error! I’ll have a few things open that I love, including the Leitz Out Riesling so come see me today between 4 and 6 and give it a taste.

Wine at Parker and Otis

As I’ve said before, I miss being in the wine business and am excited about a new opportunity that I have to get back into the business without having my own shop, but still being able to taste new wines that come into the market or new vintages of wines already there, and also be able to sell wine on a limited basis.

I’ve arranged with Jennings Brody, the proprietor and force behind Parker and Otis (within walking distance of our loft in downtown Durham), to spend a little time each week in her wine department.

BIGA

Here’s what’s exciting to me… wine is a subjective thing, but sometimes you taste something that seems to deliver a lot of wine in the customer’s glass for less money than it seems it should cost. I’m not talking about $5.00 wines or $2-buck chuck or such … I bought a wine at Parker and Otis yesterday, one of my friend Andre Tamers’ wines which he imports from Spain – a 2008 Luberri Vineyards Rioja that retails for $18.99, which I thought tasted like a $50.00 wine. In fact, I thought all of the people stuck on expensive California wines should try this Rioja … it has some of the fullness in the mouth and accessible fruit that California wines feature but is so much more complex and elegant on the palate.

The second thing I find interesting about selling wine is that when a wine is good in a particular vintage, once it is gone it is gone so there is some sense of urgency, not like selling pencils or socks where you just order more and you’re never out of stock.

I was delighted to see that Jennings had a number of wines that I love and haven’t been able to find anywhere else because the distributors are out of them. There is a Rosso distributed by Jay Murrie which I love and have a funny story about … remind me to tell you tomorrow afternoon at Parker and Otis. As of Wednesday morning there were a few bottles left in stock for those of you that come early.

Jennings also had three other wines that I am very fond of that are out of stock at their respective distributors … a muscadet from the vigneron I consider the genius of that part of France, Marc Olivier … a frappato, a native red grape from Sicily, which I like to recommend to folks looking for a red wine to serve with certain fish dishes … and a counoise, one of only thirteen grapes allowed in the blend used to make Chateauneuf du Pape. There is one particular domaine that makes a wine that is 100% counoise – not a Chateauneuf du Pape but at 1/10 of the price it is quite good. This wine would probably fall under the category of a Farmer’s table wine, which I wrote about in an earlier post. There was only one bottle left that I snatched up, but there are many other goodies at Parker and Otis.

Hope to see you at Parker and Otis tomorrow – I plan to be there from 4-6.

Parker and Otis
112 S. Duke St.
Durham, NC 27701

Dancin’

 
Pic Saint-Loup

 

One of my favorite things to do at the dimming of the day is to go down to my modest wine cellar … I don’t have an extensive wine cellar with a lot of expensive wines, but I do have a place to keep my wine. Yesterday I asked Leona if she would have a glass of wine with me and she said she would. My wine cellar is not impeccably organized, as anyone who knows me would figure. This results in two things: first I often can’t find a wine that I am sure is down there so wine gets lost, and second I sometimes stumble on wine I forgot I had and can’t remember much about – the second was the case yesterday. I found a bottle of Pic Saint-Loup, which is in my opinion an underrated wine-producing sub-region north of Montpellier in the Languedoc. I was first introduced to Pic Saint-Loup by my friend and coffee mentor Kevin Knox in the late 70s. Kevin was on a tight budget but loved wine – particularly wines from the Rhone river valley in the south of France, but he couldn’t afford Chateauneuf-du-Pape. He explained that through careful research he could often find a Pic Saint-Loup that would satisfy him, in his words Chateauneuf-du-Pape on a budget, for a third of the retail price. I can still remember the first Pic Saint-Loup I tried with Kevin, which I remember to be the best Pic Saint-Loup I have ever tried – Domaine de L’Hortus. Amazingly I can still remember the producer!

Back to yesterday, the surprise wine I found was a Mas Bruguiere L’Arbouse 2011 Pic Saint-Loup and I was encouraged by two things, first the composition of the wine 55% Syrah/45% Grenache, and second that the alcohol was less than 14% at 13.5%. The wine is imported by Bruno Arricastres of Wine without Borders, a company based out of Carrboro, NC. The wine was lovely with complex flavors and lightness on the palate. Leona confided that she liked white wine, but on a recent trip to Germany enjoyed the reds there, but often in the States when she orders a glass of red wine it is thick, alcoholic, and a disaster with food. Wine and food together are very much like a dance … a bite of food, a sip of wine … if the wine is fruit-forward and high alcohol it is like dancing with somebody with two left feet that weigh two hundred pounds each. Leona asked me how she would know not to order left-footed monsters in a restaurant – there is not a foolproof way, but there are some hints. Any red wine that has over 14% alcohol (these usually come from new world origins like Australia, Argentina, Chile & California) are pretty much guaranteed to not have much delicacy. Many of these wines have been formatted – a nice word for manufactured or factory-made – to appeal to the American palate, a wine which tastes like a one-dimensional cocktail of black cherry and raspberry juice with lots of alcohol. A couple of glasses of this kind of wine will give you a buzz and a bottle of the stuff will give you a whopping headache in the morning.

Perhaps Bruno will post a comment where you can buy this Pic Saint-Loup locally.