Wine Education

Member Inquiry: Transporting Wine

“Paul, I have heard that the jos­tling of wine during transportation can damage it. Is this so and, if so, will it help if I let my bottles rest after I have received them from you?”       S.R., Emeryville, CA People often ask me this when I tell them that I will be shipping wines to… read more »

Import Selection: Cotes du Gascogne, 1991. Domaine du Mage

In the heart of the Armagnac countryside in the southwestern part of France known as Gascony lies the beautiful 75 acre estate of the Domaine du Mage. This part of France, which is also known for its gastronomy and general “joie de vivre” is often sadly forgotten by visitors coming to France. Not only does… read more »

Domestic Selection: Zinfandel, 1990. Cline Cellars

Cline Cellars is owned by a fami­ly whose name is a household word. About a century ago, six brothers pooled their resources to put the eldest one through college, a cultural tradition in Italy. The brothers immigrated to California. They took odd jobs, in the mines, for the railroads, even as farm la­borers picking fruit… read more »

Member Inquiry: Lead in Wine

Dear Paul, I heard something not too long ago about lead getting into wine. Then I recently noticed that the ‘foil” which covers the cork on a lot of wine bottles is different than what it used to be. Am I cor­rect in assuming that there is some relationship between the two? — K.N. Huntington… read more »

Import Selection: Tempranillo, 1988. Juame Serra

In the year 1647, on top of a hill that slopes down to the Medi­terranean, in what is now the prov­ince of Cataluna (Catalonia) in Spain, someone constructed a farmhouse in the likeness of a mediaeval fortress. Two hundred years later, this imposing property became a winery, Las Cavas Jaume Serra. Surrounding the cavas (caves… read more »

Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1990. Mount Palomar

In 1969 radio station KBIG founder, John Poole, sold the sta­tion in pursuit of a more relaxed life style: farming. He acquired a 173 acre property and planted 100 acres of grape vines. Mount Palo­mar was one of the very first vine­yards to be established in the now burgeoning Temecula wine grow­ing district of Southern… read more »

Member Inquiry: Vineyard Flooding

Paul, I recently saw on the news that Temecula suffered considera­ble flood damage during the heavy rains. Were the vineyards affected? What other natural foes threaten the vine?    – L.L., Woodland Hills Luckily, for the wineries, the damage was confined mostly to “Old Town” Temecula and a few roads which were washed out. The… read more »

Import Selection: Verdillac White Bordeaux, 1990. A. Roux

The story of Verdillac is really the story of the French “negociant” firm, Maison Armand Roux. This highly reputable company dates back to 1842. Its founder, Ar­mand Roux, traveled extensively to Belgium and Holland, where he developed a clientele of well-to-do wine lovers. Visiting each of them once a year, he would conduct two simple… read more »

Domestic Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1988. Lone Oak

In 1974, the Smith horse ranch and the Hook cattle ranch were converted into vineyards. A good 250 acres of vines were planted there, split between Cabernet Sau­vignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Thus was the Smith and Hook Estate created as a Cabernet Sauvignon “chateau”. Our selection comes from the Lone Oak Estate, a separate… read more »

This Matter of Uncorking Champagne

For some reason, the chore of uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine intimidates some people. They sort of quietly pass on the re­sponsibility to another in the group! (and thus never learn how to do it well). Then… there are those who tackle it head on, and sort of think that popping it is the… read more »

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