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The Wine List - April 2014

The spring holidays are coming. Easter, Passover and the big one: Opening Day. These are all great occasions to open a nice bottle of wine with friends and family. Easter often features Brunch. What could be more classic than a Mimosa cocktail? The easiest way to make them, is to pour some sparkling wine into a glass and top it with an equal part (or maybe a bit more) or orange juice. Certainly, the better quality ingredients the better drink experience. A Mimosa with vintage Champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice is likely to be delicious. Most of us cannot really afford the time or money for that. Still, it’s a good idea to use good quality sparkling wine. Here are five that won’t break the bank.

The IntoWine.com 2nd Annual “Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry" – 2013

Our 2013 iteration of this list is intended as a source of education and discussion. The making of this list is never an easy process. Who are the most influential wine people in the United States, and how exactly do you define ‘influential?’ Does influential mean people who move markets, impact consumers, inspire winemakers, form policy, and create debate? Yes. Though some decry the consolidation of the wine industry (and that is an issue worth considering) we are not trying to suggest who is “good” or “bad” within America’s wine industry. We merely define the Top 100 people, from winemakers to law makers, bankers to bloggers, and sommeliers to celebrities who influence wine; how it is made, marketed, perceived, sold, shipped, purchased, shared and consumed. As was true in 2012, we sought help to assemble this list people from a diverse group of people and we are grateful for their input. And we chose to release it today, January 29th, as it was on this day in 1919 when the pathetic policy of Prohibition was ratified; the effects of this lunatic legislation still evident in our country’s inability to ship and sell wine across state lines. We honor winemakers, wine drinkers and wine lovers of every conceivable demographic. Use this list, comment on it, share it with everyone, learn from it, and continue your joy of being IntoWine.  

Top 50 California Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Before You Quit Drinking (a non-dump bucket list if you will!)

In putting together a list of the top California Cabernets, there is sure to be some disagreement.  I tried to include those wines that have a track record, the wineries still making great wines, those that seemed to have the commitment for the future and some personal favorites.  I am sure I left some out.

1. Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select – It’s always hard to name the number one wine.  But this has a track record that’s very long.  Even in less than stellar vintages, it is an outstanding wine.  They just don’t seem to make a dud.  My only complaint is the price at over $200 a bottle.  But, in comparison to other Napa Cabs or elsewhere in the world, this is a fair price. 

Top 75 California Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking (a non-dump bucket list if you will!)

In my last article, I listed the Top 75 French Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking.  In this article I look at the “non-dump bucket” list for wines from California.  This proved to be a different task.  First, very few wineries have a long track record of making great wine.  Secondly, while California is diverse, it does not have the diversity of climates and terroir and grape varietals of France.  Still, it does produce some of the best wines in the world and any wine lover should make it a point to try as many of them as they can.  Here is my list:

1. Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon – It’s hard to pick the first wine.  This one is a great wine in every vintage and has been for a long time.  Expensive but still possible to afford and made in large enough quantities to be found in grocery stores.  Every lover of Cabernet should try this once.

Top 75 French Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking (a non-dump bucket list if you will!)

If you are a wine lover, wine connoisseur, wine aficionado or even if you just like to have a couple of glasses on a Friday night, it soon becomes obvious that there are some wines that are held in a higher esteem in the wine world.  Sometimes, it is because these wines are very rare.  Other times, it’s because the wine has a place in history.   Sometimes it’s because the wine is just that good.  Here is a list of 75 wines from France that make up that category.  A few caveats.  I have not tried every wine on this list.  Some I have and others I hope to.  Many of these wines are rare and hard to find.  That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on the list.  After all, if the opportunity presents itself, go for it. 

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The Wine List - April 2014

The spring holidays are coming. Easter, Passover and the big one: Opening Day. These are all great occasions to open a nice bottle of wine with friends and family. Easter often features Brunch. What could be more classic than a Mimosa cocktail? The easiest way to make them, is to pour some sparkling wine into a glass and top it with an equal part (or maybe a bit more) or orange juice. Certainly, the better quality ingredients the better drink experience. A Mimosa with vintage Champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice is likely to be delicious. Most of us cannot really afford the time or money for that. Still, it’s a good idea to use good quality sparkling wine. Here are five that won’t break the bank.

The Wine List - March 2014

The Wine List is a monthly feature by IntoWine contributor Loren Sonkin where he provides a list of seasonal wine recommendations designed to ensure your wine cabinet is sufficiently stocked with fantastic and unique wines.  

They tell me that Spring begins on March 21st.  After this brutal winter, it can’t come soon enough.  Of course, some of you live in warmer parts, but that still begs the question, what wines should I be buying now?  Here are some suggestions.  

Spring brings a plethora of early vegetables, and my favorite among them is asparagus.  This is traditionally a tough food to match with wine.  Asparagus contains a chemical called methyl mercaptan which can make wine taste green or vegetal.  First, a lot of times it depends on the preparation.  Sauces will impact how well the wine matches the food, but if you like your asparagus, fresh and simple, perhaps steamed or roasted, don’t give up.  I tend to choose a crisp, slightly green white wine such as Gruner Veltliner or, perhaps, an Albarino.  Traditionally, these come from Austria and northwest Spain, respectively, but there are new world versions that are great as well.  

Interview with Coravin Founder, Greg Lambrecht

IntoWine recently caught up with the Coravin System's founder, Greg Lambrecht, to discuss what the Coravin can do for you and to get the latest on this wine drinking invention and what affect it will have on the wine industry.

What is the inspiration behind the Coravin System? 

As a medical device inventor with a passion for wine and innovative technology, I came up with the idea of the Coravin out of necessity.  My wife Lee became pregnant with our second child and stopped drinking wine with me.  I wanted a great glass of wine with dinner, but didn't want to commit to the whole bottle.

Ten California Cabernet Sauvignons for the Money

California Cabernets are some of the best wines in the world.  Unfortunately, the pricing on many of them has gotten quite exorbitant.  There are a plethora of great wines for $100 or more.  Even at the $75 mark, there is no shortage of outstanding wines.  So, for purposes of this list, these are my favorite five California Cabernets priced at under $25 per bottle.  In addition, I only chose wines that are very consistent from vintage to vintage.  Finally, I have avoided rare and hard to find wines for this list.