In my previous article, I discussed the Top 20 Spanish Reds to Try Before You Quit Drinking . This time, the focus is on Spanish whites and light Sherries. What a task! I had to expand the list just to fit in more of the awesome white wines of Spain—there really are too many to choose from! As with the red wines of Spain, the quality of the whites is always increasing. There are more styles of wine than ever being produced (oaked Albariños meant to be aged, unfiltered Sherries released “en rama”), and some of Spain’s top winemakers are bringing the focus to indigenous varieties like Godello and Hondarrabi Zuri. Spain is famous for its Sherry, but with the quality level of these wines and their reasonable price tags (the majority of the wines on my list could be enjoyed during a causal lunch), fortified won’t be the only style buzzed about for long.
Q&A with Mike Dunne, Former Food Editor, Restaurant Critic, and Wine Columnist for the Sacramento Bee
Mike Dunne is the former food editor, restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Sacramento Bee, though he continues to contribute a weekly wine column and other features to The Bee in retirement. He is a frequent judge on the competition circuit, tracking results and other observations from his wine travels on his blog, A Year in Wine ( www.ayearinwine.com ). Based in Sacramento most of the year and San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, in the winter, he began to write of California's wine trade in the early 1970s, when he was living in Amador County as the first substantial vineyards and wineries since the repeal of Prohibition began to be developed.
With summer upon us, grilled steak has natural appeal, especially irresistible when its alluring aromas waft over the neighbor’s fence. No one was happier than I to receive an assignment to pair wine with New York steak, my favorite cut, for it’s substantial texture, juicy potential and powerful flavor. Although I wouldn’t kick a filet mignon to the curb, its character is more subtle than the New York’s. Found on the short loin of the cow, the New York cut actually comes from the same cut as the t-bone and porterhouse. Having fewer muscles than other parts of the animal, this section of the cow is therefore worked less and the meat is more tender.
What's an appropriate wine to serve at a Cleveland Indians themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Indians fan? The Cleveland Indians were one of the first eight teams to join the American League when it formed in 1901. Baseball had long been popular in Cleveland; several minor...
Respected Australian wine critic James Halliday has a career that spans over 40 years. Best known for his informative writing about wine, he is one of the founders of Brokenwood Winery in the Lower Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, and founder of Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley. Halliday is an authority on every aspect of the wine industry, from planting and pruning, to the creation and marketing of the finished product. He has served extensively as a wine judge and has contributed to more than 56 books on wine, and he is the author of James Halliday’s Wine Atlas of Australia, and The Australian Wine Encyclopedia. What prompted you to pursue winemaking as a career? You were in the legal profession prior to wine, do you think this would have been the path would you have chosen? Between 1962 and 1988 I had two lives, one in wine and one in law. Thus the question becomes academic.
What's an appropriate wine to serve at an Oakland Athletics themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Athletics fan? The Oakland Athletics are one of the eight original American League baseball teams. Founded in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics, the team played for 54 years in the City of Brotherly Love. For 50 of those years, the legendary Connie Mack managed the team, setting records for most wins as a manager and most games managed along the way. The Athletics, popularly known as the A's, won five World Championships during the Connie Mack years, harnessing the talents of players such as Eddie Collins, Frank Baker, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane and Lefty Grove.
Spain is like the wild, wild west when it comes to wine. Unlike France, where individual plots of land have been set aside for centuries as the best spots for winemaking, producers in Spain are still out searching for new terroirs, new regions and new (old) indigenous grape varieties that have been pushed aside in favor of commercial winemaking. In the 1970s, Spain’s winemaking reputation was for poor-quality bulk wine. Today, regions like Priorat, Montsant and Mallorca are eclipsing the better-known regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
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.
What's an appropriate wine to serve at a Kansas City Royals themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Royals fan? The Kansas City Royals' fortunes, if graphed and smoothed, would look something like a classic bell curve – a slow start, a triumphant swell and a continuing negative trend. Kansas City is a small baseball market, as markets are measured, but Royals fans know full well that their team has achieved great things in the past and should be able to do so again. The team's fortunes peaked in 1985, in the glory days of George Brett and Bret Saberhagen, when the Royals won the World Series. Things haven't been quite the same since.
What's an appropriate wine to serve at a Cincinnati Reds themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Reds fan? The Cincinnati Reds joined the National League in 1890, but the ball club itself dates back to 1881, when it formed to play in the American Association. The Reds, originally named the Cincinnati Red Stockings, were named for an earlier National League baseball team that folded after it was punished for selling beer at baseball games and playing on Sundays. The Red Stockings kept their name until 1890, when they became the Cincinnati Reds. 1950s McCarthyism caused the team to change its name to the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1954, but the team reverted to its old, more popular name, Reds, in 1960.