Wine Education

This Matter of Cellaring

I have had many inquiries lately as to the availability of cellaring equipment and or building one. Building one is not as hard as it might seem, and you just might have the equipment required at your home. I found a room in the house (closet, pantry etc.) that I could spare (a friend cut… read more »

Import Selection: Fondation, 1991. Barton & Guestier

The venerable French wine-shipping firm of Barton & Guesti­er (B&G) was founded by Thomas Barton in 1725, hence the proud name of this selection. Barton, of English/Irish heritage, having tak­en on a French partner, Daniel Guestier, was notably instrumental in developing the British Isles’ seemingly unquenchable thirst for Bordeaux wines. The massive market he helped… read more »

Domestic Selection: Pinot Noir, 1988. Paraiso Springs

Paraiso Hot Springs are situat­ed in the Santa Lucia foothills, 40 minutes south of Salinas in North­ern California’s Monterey County. While establishing the Soledad Mission, Franciscan padres used the springs’ curative waters for healing purposes. The monks also planted early vineyards there. Two hundred years later (1973), current owner Richard Smith planted mod­ern vineyards, eleven… read more »

This Matter of the Color of Wine

Your first introduction to a wine is through the sense of sight. The appearance and color of a wine tells you, or warns you, about what’s coming. The first question we ask: “Is it clear?” Cloudy wines are undesirable. These wines could have several different problems; leftover sugar combining with yeast for a secondary fermentation,… read more »

Import Selection: Cotes du Ventoux, 1990. Jaboulet Aine

“I do not think that Gerard Ja­boulet has ever made greater wine than he has in 1990…a new quali­ty threshold has been attained…” Robert Parker Jr. When we tasted this wine, we had to agree. Paul Jaboulet Aine is another family owned winery. They have achieved the dual distinction of be­ing not only one of… read more »

Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1990. Maddalena

If you were to try and imagine the most irregular, most unnatural, most intriguing location for a win­ery, would you choose downtown Los Angeles? No, seriously, I mean downtown Los Angeles! In 1917, when Santo Cambiani­ca came from Padua Italy, winemaking in Los Angeles was truly in its infancy. He opened this win­ery and named… read more »

Member Inquiry: When is Wine at its Best?

“Paul, In the newsletters it says things like, Will complex over the next two years.’ How can I tell when a wine will be at its best? M.N., North Hollywood, CA As many factors are involved, this is a complex issue (no pun in­tended). Unfortunately, the main factor, is experience, and that you must gain… read more »

Import Selection: Blanc de Blanc, 1990. Domaine de Felines

When, between 1976 and 1984 the authorities of the Languedoc wine growing regions of France set out to change their image, the Herault district was one of the first to accept the challenge. Long known as France’s “wine reservoir”, the Languedoc needed a new image. The district of He­rault uprooted 74,000 acres of vineyard to… read more »

Domestic Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1986. Sebastiani

Samuele Sebastiani had been born into a peasant family who toiled in the vineyards of Tuscany, Italy. In 1895, he borrowed mon­ey for his steerage to California. In 1904, Samuele Sebastiani started what was to become California winemaking history. Today, when you visit the Se­bastiani Winery in old town Sono­ma, you will be shown the… read more »

Member Inquiry: Tannins

“Paul, I noticed that you often mention ‘tannins’ in your newslet­ter. Are tannins what makes a wine taste dry?”          E.N., Portland, OR This is a good question and al­though the answer is yes, there’s much more here than meets the eye (or the palate, in our case). In looking at a wine’s overall quality profile,… read more »

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