2013 Jordan Chardonnay

Maybe you’re a big fan of chardonnay. And maybe you’ve heard friends who are a bit ahead of you in the wine game talking about things called Chablis and Burgundy, but you really don’t know much about those wines. What you do know is that wines from those places can often be expensive. Still, you’d […]

Read More…

What Are You Waiting For?

The next time I hear somebody complain that Napa is too commercialized, too touristy, I know what my response is going to be. Two words: Stony Hill. Want to shed some of the creeping cynicism that’s starting to cloud your appreciation of the Napa Valley? A visit to Stony Hill will take you back to a Napa that existed before the […]

Read More…

A Bit Of Bordeaux In Napa

If you’re a lover of American wine, and eager to know more about its upper echelon, then a visit to Spottswoode is a must. Long regarded as one of the top producers of cabernet sauvignon in the Napa Valley, Spottswoode draws favorable comparisons to the top chateaux in Bordeaux, where, in the wineries along the Left Bank of […]

Read More…

No, It’s Somm-Thing Else

So, you’re studying to become a sommelier? Uh, no. Not exactly. Since I started formal wine studies five years ago I’ve answered this question approximately seven gajillion times. At first it made me nuts, but I’ve gotten used to it. I know as well as most folks in the wine industry that the majority of […]

Read More…

Hands-On Learning

In the next month and a half, The Grape Belt will be on the road in pursuit of some advanced wine education. You can read about wine all you want, but going out and meeting the grapes in person is the best way to learn. Seeing the vineyards up close and talking with the winemakers […]

Read More…

Time To Get To Work

On the last day of 2012 I wrote about a few things I would like to see disappear once the new year had settled down around us. Now, I’d like to focus some attention on improvements I’d like to see come to pass in 2013. First, I’d like to see the advocates (i.e., hipster trend […]

Read More…

We Don’t Need No Education! Actually, Yes We Do.

If you type “wine education” into the Google search bar, you get 484 million results. Put those words into quotation marks and the results are pared down to a still unmanageable 1.2 million. Clearly, what this simple phrase suggests is anything but simple. Wine education can mean many different things depending on whom you ask. […]

Read More…

Wine Education — There’s Work To Be Done

A café in Paris. Four American women fresh from a day of touring, eager for a well-deserved glass of wine, peruse the carte du vin. “There are quite a few wines here I’ve never even heard of.” “Well, there are a couple of merlots.” “Yes, but I don’t think merlot means the same here as […]

Read More…

Gone Fishing

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. More and more often friends and relations ask me questions about wine, from clarification on the basics to food and wine pairings, where to shop, and what to drink. Their curiosity is endless, […]

Read More…

Sinus Envy: Wine Tasters, Wine Taste

A recent study by Penn State’s Sensory Evaluation Center concluded that professional wine critics, tasters, and dedicated collectors, what one journalist dubbed “specialist oenophiles,” have taste buds and sensory apparatuses that differ significantly from those of the general population. In an interview with the British paper The Telegraph, Professor John Hayes, director of the center, […]

Read More…