wine tasting

Domestic: Sauvignon Blanc, 1985, Sam J. Sebastini 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 »

Domestic Selection: Zinfandel, Vineyard Selection 1978, L. M. Martini

One day in 1906, a nineteen-year-old Enology student from the University of Genoa got a bit of advice from his college professor that would change his Life, “If you want to make wine,” he said, “you’d better go back to California. . .experiment by yourself and study.” His name was Louis M. Martini. The story… read more »

Import Selection: Shiraz/Cabernet, 1984, Penfolds

Terms like Koonunga Hill, Coonawarra and Pokolbin most-likely don’t roll off the tongues of wine aficionados like Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino, but someday they will.  Our import selection, if you haven’t already guessed, comes from “down under”. . . Australia. With all the hoopla over the Australian tourist ads here it was time to find… read more »

Domestic Selection: Semillon, 1985, Alderbrook

••CORRECTION: I reported in a previous article that the two grapes in white Bordeaux were semillon and sauvignon blanc. I erroneously noted that the sauvignon blanc adds the flavor and body while the semillon contributes the acid. OOPS! It’s the other way around.. . Oh well, you’re never too old to learn or too young to… read more »

Adventures in Eating: Texas Style Fajita Sauce

How, when, and where, the name and the food we call Fajita got its start, is unknown to me. Even some verbal re­search in Mexican restaurants unearthed… nada. To further complicate the matter, I learned that a Fajita in Texas is different than what we call a Fajita in California. Nevertheless, we now can order… read more »

Adventures in Eating: Main Course Vegetable

A hundred years ago, the French gas­tronomer Brillat-Savarin, wrote exten­sively on the experience of tasting . “It is no easy matter to determine the precise nature of the organ of taste. It is more complicated than would appear at first sight. Clearly, the tongue plays a large part in the mechanism of degustation; for, endowed… 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 »

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 »