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Top 20 Tuscan Wines Under $45

Forty-five dollars is a lot of money to spend on a bottle of wine.  Yet, it is also a threshold pricing for wine.  For many people, that is the most they are willing to spend on a bottle.  For others, that is a typical Tuesday night pizza wine.  The real question is what kind of quality you can get for that price.  Unfortunately, the best wines often cost more.  On the other hand, spending more does not guarantee quality.  With that in mind, this article turns its attention to Italy in general and Tuscany in particular.

Wine's Velvet Rope - 11 California Winery Mailing Lists to Sign Up For

I am often asked which wineries mailing lists I should sign up for.  Before I answer that question, let’s back up a bit.  What are mailing lists?  They are different than wine clubs.  A mailing list is an offering from a winery to buy their wines.  Many wineries offer their wines to allow a consumer to buy directly from the winery.  Typically, the prices are not any lower than one would find at retail and at times, they are even priced a bit higher.  For the wineries, it’s a great deal as they can avoid the middleman and capture more profits from the sale of a bottle of wine.  But, why would a consumer want to do this?

Which California Cabernet Sauvignons Deserve "First Growth" Status?

In 1855, the Exposition Universelle was held in Paris to showcase all that was good in France.  Emperor Napoleon III requested the leading Bordeaux merchants to rank the best wines.  The top wines were rated as First Growths.  Over the years, many people in the rest of the world have discussed what wines from their country would be First Growths.  I am often asked what I think the First Growths of California are.  It is an interesting conversation with lots of room for debate.

The Top 25 Odd-Ball Wines of California

We all know the standard wine varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, but there are an astounding 10,000 grape varieties here on Planet Earth. The majority of California vineyard acreage is planted to just eight grape varietals and less than 10 percent is home to grapes few people care about, and even fewer understand, let alone can pronounce. But an accomplished assemblage of odd-ball varietals and their winemaker shepherds champion these grapes. These winemakers are the first and only line of defense against the abyss of sameness. Here in alphabetical order are just 25 (there are more) of the most odd-ball grapes turned into wine in the Golden State, followed by their producer, and location.

Top 25 Most Awesome Tasting Rooms in California

Wine tasting is not merely the act of drinking wine, it is the total experience and that includes the physical space you are standing in when sampling Sauvignon Blanc or pondering Petit Verdot.

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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Recent Articles

Top California Pinot Noir: Which California Wine Producers Make the Best Pinot Noir?

California has actually been making outstanding wines from the Pinot Noir grape for a long time.  Sure, not long in the Burgundian sense but going back at least to the middle of the last century there were good bottles of Pinot Noir being produced in California.  Not many to be sure, but there were some.  Starting slowly, in the 1990’s, and then exploding when the movie Sideways came out, there are now more and more offerings of good to excellent Pinot Noir being produced in California.

Top 20 Tuscan Wines Under $45

Forty-five dollars is a lot of money to spend on a bottle of wine.  Yet, it is also a threshold pricing for wine.  For many people, that is the most they are willing to spend on a bottle.  For others, that is a typical Tuesday night pizza wine.  The real question is what kind of quality you can get for that price.  Unfortunately, the best wines often cost more.  On the other hand, spending more does not guarantee quality.  With that in mind, this article turns its attention to Italy in general and Tuscany in particular.

Crazy Superstitions & Rituals of Winemakers – Part II

 

Part two of Michael Cervin's series on the superstitions and rituals common to the wine industry. See part 1.  

Human beings are creatures of habit and routine, of hope and faith, and sometimes that faith comes in the form of a ritual, superstition, or a specific custom they employ during harvest, verasion, fermentation, planning, maybe even passport weekends! So what do winemakers reveal about their own habits, rituals, and superstitions? We asked them to tell us their secrets of how they hope each vintage is the perfect vintage.

Sonoma Wineries with the Best Views - 2015 Best of Sonoma

 

For the 2015 Best of Sonoma Lists we surveyed hundreds of local vintners asking for their inside perspective of the best wines, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Sonoma. 

When we decided to come up with a list of Sonoma wineries with the most awe inspiring views, we surveyed over 100 of the area’s top vintners. The following wineries were pervasive throughout our survey results.