Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1988, Monte Verde

Widely known for their successes in motor racing, brothers Frank and Phil Arciero, along with their sons, operate one of California’s largest construction and development companies. The message: Success is an attitude. With 700 acres of estate owned vineyard land, a 78,000 sq. ft. production and bottling facility and a complete self-contained water reclamation system… read more »

Domestic Selection: Gamay Beaujolais, 1986, Fetzer

Yes, Virginia, there is wine after Napa and Sonoma. (And. . . awfully good wine, too!) In Mendocino for example… One of the best wineries from that region happens to be one of the biggest, Fetzer. Barney and Kathleen Fetzer started their winery in 1968 with help from 10 of their 12 children. Today, it… read more »

Adventures in Eating – Honey and Nut Glazed Brie

“Madam,” the ancient proverb says… “That one rich drop of honey sweet, As an alluring luscious treat, Is known to tempt more flies by far, Than a whole tun of vinegar.” St. Francis de Sales 1821 You guessed right. Honey is our subject this month. The quote was a favorite of King Henry IV, and… 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 »

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 »

Closeout Wines for Keeping

“Paul, I need your input. A friend of mine is a beer distributor. Recently he purchased a “closeout lot” of wine. A beer and wine wholesaler had gone out of business, and he had bid on their in­ventory. Knowing about my interest in wine, he offered me the opportunity to purchase any that I wished… read more »

The Sulfite Story

“Dear Paul, I have heard that sulfites are used as preservatives in wine. I am inclined to be a natural food enthusiast and avoid preservatives. I receive conflict­ing answers to the sulfite story. Some say it is a natural product in wine, and others say it is added. Which is it?” – W.O.; Bakersfield The… read more »

Traveling with Wine 101

“Paul, I worry about the jostling of wine during travel. Don’t you think it damages the wine? Should I allow my wine to rest after I receive it from you, before I open it?” – K.S.; Dublin, CA Thank you for this question. I am asked it quite often in person, when I ex­plain my… read more »