Wine Culture

Baseball and Wine: New York Yankees

Yankees LogoWhat's an approriate wine to serve at a New York Yankees themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Yankees fan?

No matter what time of year it might be, spring training is "just around the corner," either as a continuation of a favorite baseball team's good year or as a beacon of hope for a better season.  New York Yankees fans, in particular, usually have something to celebrate.  This storied Major League Baseball franchise, named "World's Most Valuable Sports Franchise" by Forbes.com, has captured 28 World Championships and seen 48 players (so far) named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  For New York Yankees fans, there's no better way to celebrate Yankee baseball than with a bottle of baseball-themed wine.

Pétrus – An Unofficial First Growth of Bordeaux's Right Bank

When considering the unofficial lists of “First Growths of the Right Bank” in Bordeaux, Chateau Pétrus must be included.  Pétrus is located in the tiny commune of Pomerol on the right bank of the Gironde River.  The wines of Pomerol have never been classified, but there is no doubt that Pétrus is in the highest echelon of wines produced there.  It is also one of the most expensive wines sold anywhere in the world.  While the name of the estate is Chateau Pétrus, there is no grand Chateau on the premises.  There is a modest two story house on the property.  Perhaps because of that, or perhaps just due to its reputation, the wines are often just referred to as Pétrus.  The name is homage to St. Peter whose picture appears on the label.

Pétrus does not have the long history of many of the great Bordeaux wines.  Thomas Jefferson most likely never drank it.  The estate property was originally owned by the Arnaud family since the mid 1700s.  At that time, the estate was 17 acres.  The name Pétrus can be found in records dating back to 1837.  In 1868 Chateau Pétrus was ranked in quality behind two other Pomerol estates:  Vieux Chateau Certan and Chateau Trotanoy, as listed by Cocks and Fèret, one of the leading Bordeaux reference’s of its day.

Cult Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - IntoWineTV Episode 139

"Cult Wines of Crushpad" - IntoWineTV host Lisa Kolenda and wine experts Bartholomew Broadbent and Loren Sonkin convene among the vines at Crushpad in Napa Valley to taste and discuss the cult wine brands of Crushpad.

Top Burgundy Red Wines

France's Burgundy wine region produces some of the world's truly great wines.  This is a region completely dedicated to terroir and tradition.  Even the grapes planted in Burgundy are restricted to a few traditional varietals, with pinot noir and chardonnay holding pride of place – as they have for many, many centuries.

Burgundy's Winemaking History

Burgundy's winemaking history dates back at least to ancient Roman times, possibly earlier, although documentation is scanty prior to the Romans' arrival.  Catholic monks cultivated vineyards during the Middle Ages, and the ruling Dukes of Burgundy involved themselves in the grape-growing process in an effort to improve the quality (and, no doubt, export value) of Burgundy wines.  It was during this period that pinot noir became the red wine grape of choice in Burgundy.  Vineyards shifted from Church ownership to individual owners during the Renaissance, and, in the aftermath of the French Revolution some 300 years later, all remaining Church vineyards were privatized.  These privately-owned vineyards were divided and re-divided under Napoleonic law, which forced families to split holdings among heirs instead of willing all inheritable property to one descendant.  This division of the vineyards led directly to the system used in Burgundy today; hundreds of growers sell their grapes to négociants, or buyers, who use the grapes to make wine.

IntoWine Interviews Sunset Ridge Vineyards Co-Founder Linda Stinson

IntoWine recently caught up with Sunset Ridge Vineyards Co-Founder Linda Stinson to discuss winemaking:

What inspired the name Sunset Ridge Vineyards?

Sunset Ridge Vineyards Petite Syrah 2007 - IntoWineTV Episode 138

"Cult Wines of Crushpad" - IntoWineTV host Lisa Kolenda and wine experts Bartholomew Broadbent and Loren Sonkin convene among the vines at Crushpad in Napa Valley to taste and discuss the cult wine brands of Crushpad.

Is wine better or worse with a synthetic cork instead of a natural cork?

QUESTION: Is wine better or worse with a synthetic cork instead of a natural cork?

I hate synthetic corks and love natural cork or Stelvin screw tops. Synthetic corks are often very difficult to pull out of the bottle. They haven’t yet convinced me that a wine can age as well with a synthetic cork as they can with natural cork or even screw top. To me, synthetic cork indicates cheap wine or a wine that is unlikely to be made in a natural way.

Do screw caps on wine bottles indicate a cheap wine?

QUESTION: Do screw caps on wine bottles indicate a cheap wine?

No.  Cheap wine indicates cheap wine.  There is an issue with corks as a small percentage of them will cause a problem with the wine in the bottle.  The most famous of these is TCA which is a bacterium that, while harmless, can cause a wine to smell and taste muted at best or like wet cardboard at worse.  Other issues are imperfect seals which cause a wine to age prematurely.

What differentiates old world wines versus new world wines?

QUESTION: What differentiates old world versus new world wines? 

This is a question that does not have a consensus in the wine business. It used to be that countries like France were old world and New Zealand were new world. In general, these arguments can still stand. New Zealand really is a new wine producing country. However, it gets into murky water. Some people would consider South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Spain, Lebanon and Portugal as new world producers.

What does decanting do to a wine?

QUESTION: What does decanting do to a wine?

There are two reasons to decant a wine.  The first reason is to remove the sediment that can build up in a wine over time.  Sediment is particulate matter that has fallen out of the wine.  It is safe to consume, but some find it unpleasant and unattractive.  The older the wine, generally the more sediment, although certain types of grapes produce more than others.  To decant a wine for sediment, stand the bottle up in a cool place for a few days at minimum.  

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