New Zealand Wine: An Unexpectorated Journey

Awatere River vineyards Photo: David Skinner   By David Skinner When Peter Jackson decided upon his native New Zealand to serve as middle earth for his rendering of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, nationalistic nepotism served him less than the splendor of the rich and varied landscapes found in his home islands. The films depicted rugged terrain and lands carved from the mountains by the relentless influence of wind and water and there is still a sense of that primal constitution to the landscapes that now support modern viticulture in the “Shaky Isles”. Marlborough The South Island […]

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A Sparkling Dilemma: What’s the Real Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco?

By Alex and Priya, A Vine Romance What’s the real difference between Champagne and Prosecco? Priya: Ahh bubbly! There are so many styles of sparkling wine but Champagne and Prosecco are undoubtedly the two most popular. Alex: You’re right about that my lady. However, they are distinctly different from one another. So much so that an experienced taster should almost never be fooled – though there are some Proseccos out there that bear similarities to iconic Champagne – but they are rarely encountered and cost equally as much. P: Interesting. As a not-so-experienced taster, I doubt I’d be able to […]

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Shiraz or Syrah? New Film Exposes the Truth

Do you know the differences, and the secret stories behind these grapes? Would you like to know why you love one style and not another? Our guest this evening is making a movie that will turn the wine world on its head, and change the way we think about Shiraz and Syrah. Director and producer Rudolf McClain joins me live from his home in Sonoma County, California. Click on the arrow above to watch the video. P.S. Join us Sunday October 22, at 6 pm eastern with Heidemarie Fischer Pfaffl of Weingut R&A Pfaffl. www.nataliemaclean.com/live Want to know when we […]

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Oregon’s Path to Pinot Perfection (and beyond)

By David Skinner Nearly 15 million years ago, nature exploded in a maelstrom of chaos that cast a blanket of molten rock upon the marine-rich land where a receding ocean once lay. As the newly born volcanic terrain matured, the hillsides softened and westerly flowing flood waters receded enrobing the land in nutrient-rich soil. It would take until 1965 for winemakers to begin transforming the gentle slopes of the Willamette Valley from woodlands to the now familiar landscape lined with rows of vines eager to yield some of the best quality vinifera grapes anywhere. Since then, more than a dozen […]

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What is Wine’s Role in Modern Madness? Finding Our Humanity Drop by Drop

​Editor’s Note: I wrote this magazine piece on wine and civility two months after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance than ever, with the riots in Ferguson, ISIS, Jian Ghomeshi, Gamergate, unfettered consumerism, and the mysogenous micro-aggressions that women face daily on social media. I welcome your thoughts here: never loose your voice. In Vino Civilitatis The trouble with moderation is that it’s hard to get excited about it. Until now. After September 11, moderation seems to be rarer than a California cult cabernet. Finding the moderate and the civilized in everyday life has […]

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Organic Wine: What is it? Toast Earth Day with Wine, Naturally

 Last night, we had two spectacular, on-fire conversations with Canadian rock-star winemaker Thomas Bachelder. Click the arrow above to watch part one before the internet gods cut us off ;) Part two is below. It was a wide-ranging conversation sprinkled with limestone and lyrical story-telling. You’ll find his wines under his own Bachelder label as well as Domaine Quelyus. You’ll find previous and upcoming Live Video Wine Tastings here.   Want to get the heads up on Facebook when we go live next Sunday? Take 3 seconds right now and click on these 2 grey buttons under the wine bottle image: […]

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Is Zinfandel the World’s Most Misunderstood Wine?

ZINZEN, ZINZEST, ZINFUL: The licence plates in the parking lot warn me that this is no tweedy wine tasting. Closer to the wharves, a line of three thousand people, thick as an anaconda, snakes its way along San Francisco’s waterfront. Behind them soars the Golden Gate Bridge; Alcatraz Island sits brooding in the distance; and the glinting bay is dotted with tiny tissue sails. But no one’s admiring the postcard view: all eyes are fixed on the warehouse’s paint-peeled doors, waiting for them to open on the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers tasting, the world’s largest single-varietal wine event according to […]

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Rediscover Riesling: The World’s Most Versatile Varietal

By Melissa Pulvermacher The number one question I receive is: “What is your favourite wine”? I could give a long-winded answer about how it all depends on the situation, the people I’m with, the food I have or don’t have, the weather, my mood and several other ridiculous factors that would probably influence what my favourite would be in that exact moment, but if forced to answer simply, I would choose a varietal that I admire most. Of course, I have off and on romances, newly discovered lust and evenings with old flames, but if I had to settle down and […]

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Winemaker Eduardo Chadwick: Errazuriz Wine Tasting

By Mymi Myriam On a beautiful, warm and sunny fall day, I rode my bicycle to the Ritz Carlton for the extraordinary opportunity to sit down with Mr. Eduardo Chadwick, the President of Vina Errazuriz and iconic ambassador of premium Chilean wines. I walked into the Ritz’s sumptuous, modern lobby and headed up a staircase towards TOCA, one of the hotel’s restaurants where our luncheon was taking place. Mr. Chadwick stood in a magnificent dining room and welcomed me with a warm smile and handshake. I joined the few selected guests at the dining room table and kept observing our […]

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10 Best Sparkling Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Bubbly

Sparkling wines made outside of Champagne, France, may not be called Champagne as it’s a trademarked term. However, they often use the same methods and/or grapes used in Champagne. 5 Surprising Facts about Sparkling Facts: 1. Bubblies made in Burgundy, France, are called Crémants de Bourgogne while those from Alsace are Crémant d’Alsace. 2. Spain makes Cavas (“cave”), Italy makes either Prosecco (lightly sparkling) or Spumante (fully sparkling and sweet), Germany makes Sekt or Deutscher. 3. Those from New World regions, such as Canada, California, Australia and elsewhere, are simply called sparkling wine. 4. Drink bubbly from a flute glass […]

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