Wine Education

The Matter Of Letting The Bottle “Breathe”

I do not belong to the school that insists all wine must be allowed to breathe before serving. If the belief is rigid, I consider it a fetish. To really recognize the benefit that comes from “breathing” of wine, one must look at the chemistry of wine, and the physics of the breathing pro­cess. What… read more »

Domestic Selection: Sauvignon Blanc, 1985, Sam J. Sebastiani Winery

A new California winery with an old name appeared on the horizon in 1986. This is not the giant Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma of jug wine fame! (and some occasional premi­um wines worth considering). This is Sam J., the grandson of the foun­der, who has struck out for himself. Sam was raised with wine. He… read more »

Member Inquiry – Blush, Blanc, and Rose Wine Grapes

  “I have seen some of the same grapes used to make ‘blush,’ ‘blanc,’ and ‘rose’ wines In some cases they are produced by the same winery! Could you tell me what the difference is?” Dr. T. R. E.; Bakersfield I’m not sure I can because there is no code, law or regulation which governs… read more »

Bouquet vs Aroma

“Paul: You keep using “bouquet” and “aroma” at different times in your wine descriptions, and some­times you use both terms for the same wine. I must assume there is a difference. What is the differ­ence?” – H.S. San Jose; CA You assumed right! There is a difference. Both terms pertain to the smell or the… read more »

Temperature Control for Various Wines

“Dear Paul & Rosemarie, I know that to fully appreciate a wine it must be served at the proper temperature. What are the temperatures for the various types of wine, and how can you tell when the bottle has reached that temperature? They say that reds should be served at room temperature, but in California… read more »

Burgundy vs Bordeaux

“Paul, I joined the club recently. I joined because my knowledge of import wines is zero, and I would like to learn more. How do I identify a Burgundy from a Bordeaux? The label does not always say so. Friends will hand me a glass and tell me what it is. I look at their… read more »

1988 In Retrospect

WINES EVALUATED:2671 REJECTED: 2116 APPROVED: 555 SELECTED: 32 I like preparing this summary be­cause it gives me perspec­tive. I also find it a useful exercise in taste recall. The selected wines stand out in my memory very viv­idly, and a reminder of them forti­fies that memory Here is what happened in 1988: In the Regular… read more »

The Matter Of Vintage Charts

Enclosed with the newsletter this month is a vintage chart that I have found to be one of the most versatile and useful. I chose to send one to every member. It is punched for inclusion in you newsletter binder. If you wish an extra copy for fram­ing and hanging in your cellar, let me know,… read more »

A Winery in Vermont?! You’re Kidding Me!

No, I am not! I saw it with my own eyes …. and tasted the wine! It really shouldn’t be that strange. New York State is just over the border from Ver­mont, and they make wine in New York! But it was sort of odd though; the national listing of wineries showed no wineries in Vermont, and… read more »

Identifying Varietal Character

“Paul, you refer to varietal character in your descriptions of the wines you fea­ture. I am having difficulty identifying what you are talking about.. I can follow the other parts of your description usual­ly. What is varietal character, and how can I identify it?” – S.O.; San Diego   Varietal character is the organoleptic “character”… read more »