While many newcomers to the vineyards are intimidated by the price of a
bottle of wine, the worry is often misguided. In fact, some of the
savviest connoisseurs I know have come to appreciate value more than
price and "cheap finds" more than the "expensive gems" when it comes to
When you are the host, that can be intimidating. While many would
simply pick a bottle of red and a bottle of white and let the corks
fall where they may, I was very focused on the setting, the mood and
the enjoyment of guests. And, knowing how wine brings me pleasure, I
wanted to extend that enjoyment to my other pals at the table.
Nothing is more satisfying than pulling a bottle of wine off a rack
that brings back fond memories of a trip to Napa or Sonoma, California
or even more off-the-beaten-path locations like the wineries of
Virginia and Hawaii. A tug of the cork releases not only the wine's
aroma but also fond recollections of trips through vineyards and
If you're a newcomer to the experience, a trip to any wine
country can be overwhelming. With that in mind, here's a list of
don't-miss travel spots in California:
Don't know your Pinot Noir from your Pinot Grigio? Here's how to get started.
How many times have you sat down at a restaurant with guests, perused the menu and left the wine list sitting, unopened, on the table?
Let's begin by coming to grips with a few of life's simple facts. A person who knows wine, and demonstrates his acumen at the dinner table in front of you and your friends, is one of the most intimidating people you'll ever meet. Admit it. This joker is right up there with that kind patrol officer at the Department of Motor Vehicles who rode along with you on your driving test.
If San Francisco is heaven for foodies, the California Culinary Academy (CCA) just might be the pearly gates.
Acquired by Career Education Corp. (CECO)
in 2000 and one of just 10 Le Cordon Bleu-certified schools in North
America, the academy has been producing some of the world's great chefs
and bakers since its founding in 1977. CCA alumni include Juan Carlos
Cruz, host of The Food Network's Calorie Commando, and Claud Mann, host of Turner Broadcasting's Dinner and a Movie.
There's no such thing as a bad sake.
So said the late Takao Nihei, the man who revived sake-brewing
in the U.S. following WWII. And judging by their enthusiastic
reactions, none of the attendees at last month's Joy of Sake extravaganza in New York City looked ready to argue with Nihei's declaration.
When you've been invited to someone's home for dinner, especially The Wine Snob's (T.W.S), it's best to be simple in your selection. As a respectful guest, you want to provide a wine that can be served only with hors d'oeuvres. You don't want to presume to preempt your host's choice of wine during the meal, although be prepared for T.W.S. to do this when he's invited to your place. (In fact, I have yet to be invited to a dinner when I did not bring enough wine to cover the entire meal. Think I'm rude? Too bad. Next time don't invite me.)
Valentine's Day. While flowers are never a bad option, wine and
wine-related gifts can be even more romantic and put a real exclamation
point on your affection.
The challenge is finding the right bottle of wine for that special
person in your life. With that in mind, here is my list of romantic
favorites that should please your Valentine. (And, just because it's
"pink" doesn't mean white Zinfandel is the answer!)
Choosing the right white wine can be a bit tricky. For example,
choosing a chardonnay over a pinot gris can completely change the
texture and flavor of a meal. A heavy, high-alcohol, oaky white can
overwhelm the flavor of a dish, while an aromatic fruity white with
good acidity can elevate a dish to a whole new level of pleasure, a
truly ethereal match. Believe it or not, the wine can change the
temperature of the moment.