Wine 101

Ice, ice baby!

March 25, 2011
wine with ice

I learned something new the other day. The practice of popping an icecube or two into a glass of wine is known in France as “piscine,” from the French word for swimming pool. The idea being that your cubes are swimming around in a pool of vino. And really, what could be better than learning...
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Scoring a wine century

January 19, 2011
So many bottles, so little time ?Michelle Locke

  I’ve always been in the Groucho Marx school of club membership _ I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member. But a club where you drink your way in? That sounds like a pretty good idea. The group in question is The Wine Century Club, where admittance...
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Bring on the Beaujolais

November 18, 2010

Today is the third Thursday in November, which means it’s OK to drink Beaujolais Nouveau under French regulations. If you are an expert wine drinker this also means it’s time to make snotty comments about how this is a bubble-gum wine and how much you prefer the proper, aged Beaujolais crus wines. (Or, to talk about a handful...
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Learning to speak vinacular: Meeting the’great crew’

July 12, 2010
summer vines 2

My career as a wine country reporter started out at the top _ a visit to Harlan Estate, a place that makes small quantities of big wines that routinely win the highest of praise from critics and collectors. It was one of those situations where, luckily, I was too naive to see how in over my head I...
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Learning to speak vinacular: My buddy Brunello

June 22, 2010
pinot noir

Writing about wine is a wonderful thing. Great places to visit, smart, engaging people to talk to … and a whole new world of ways to stick your foot right in your mouth. Let me tell you about my first experience with Brunello di Montalcino. It was some years ago and I was writing...
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Do’s and don’ts of wine tasting

March 11, 2010
empty glasses

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t need a guide to wine tasting. Raise glass to mouth, sniff, sip, repeat, right? Wrong. There are so, so many ways to embarrass yourself at a tasting, many of which I have done. Herewith some lessons learned the hard way: Start fresh: Don’t taste just after a...
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Travels in France

Lovely Languedoc

  I don’t think six weeks is a long time to take to put together a slideshow on my visit to the Languedoc, do...
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Carcassonne: A Fairy Tale City

The ancient walled city of Carcasonne had me before hello. Just driving up to the fantastically fairy-tale expanse of walls, turrets and towers was...
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Languedoc dogs

Look out, winery dogs of Napa Valley. Yes, I know you’re cute and featured in all sorts of books and articles, but let me...
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Swept away by cassoulet

Ever get annoyed by people who go to the South of France and proceed to rave over the victuals? Well bite me, because today...
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Top 5 differences between hiking in Berkeley and the South of France

Somewhere between the vegetable gazpacho and the duck confit, I realized my hike in La Clape, part of the Languedoc wine region of France,...
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Party like a paparazzi at the Cannes Film Festival

Two things are vital if you want to chase stars at the Cannes Film Festival. First, you need to know a clued-in and friendly...
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Wine Finds