Wine Scandals, Fakes and Forgery with Maureen Downey

Introduction In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Maureen Downey, a.k.a. the Wine Detective, about wine forgeries, fakes and scandals. You’ll learn tips on how to spot a fake wine based on the label and more. Enjoy!   Highlights Why did Maureen become interested in wine fraud? What role did Hardy Rodenstock play in Maureen’s journey as a wine fraud expert? What aspects of the wine does Maureen consider to determine its authenticity? How does Maureen use technology when testing a wine’s authenticity? Why are cosmetic fraud detection techniques insufficient? What are the issues associated […]

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Randall Grahm: A Californian Blend of Wine, Wit and Wisdom

Introduction Randall Grahm was born in Los Angeles in 1953 and attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where he was a permanent Liberal Arts major. Sometime later he found himself working at the Wine Merchant in Beverly Hills sweeping floors. By dint of exceptionally good karma, he was given the opportunity to taste an ungodly number of great French wines and this singular experience turned him into a complete and insufferable wine fanatic. He returned to the University of California at Davis to complete a degree in Plant Sciences in 1979, where owing to his single-minded obsession with […]

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The World’s Best Wines with Forbes Columnist Katie Kelly Bell

Introduction Katie Kelly Bell has been writing about food, wine and travel for over a dozen years, with her writing appearing in publications such as Forbes, USA Today, Modern Luxury, Decanter and Southern Living. Her experiences have taken her from the vineyards of Argentina to the press houses of Champagne. In between, she has co-authored a travel guide to Ireland, The Everything Guide to Ireland, written a city guide for Atlanta and worked as a Senior Editor at The Wine Report. Katie also appears on the CNN Airport Channel as a travel expert and on WSB Atlanta radio, talking about wine. […]

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Father’s Day Wines: Is There Such a Thing as a Man’s Wine?

Is there such a thing as “man’s wine” versus a woman’s wine”? The question comes up as we approach Father’s Day. Of course, it’s all awash once you’re on to your third glass of pinot or cabernet or chardonnay. This is an interesting piece from a reporter for the Associated Press (AP) with whom I spoke about the “issue” … Cal Dennison likes a nice cold glass of chardonnay. And he’s man enough to admit it. That’s hardly surprising since Dennison is the winemaker at the Modesto-based Redwood Creek winery, but is he an exception? Judging by some marketing campaigns, […]

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Rediscover Bordeaux with Château Phelan-Ségur

By Mymi Myriam On the eve of a massive winter storm that threatened to shut down most of the eastern coast of the United States, I had the pleasure of briefly sitting down with Pamela Wittman prior to attending the LCBO sponsored Union des Grands Crus Bordeaux tasting at the Carlu. An oenologist by profession, she is now the US representative for Château Phélan-Ségur located in the Médoc St-Éstèphe region of Bordeaux. The estate’s story starts with a young Irish wine merchant name Bernard Phelan who settled into the area in the late 18th century and married a local girl […]

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How to Find the Best Organic Wines: Buying Tips

By Natalie MacLean Who makes organic wine? The number of wineries making organic wines is increasing steadily, with the result that they’re available in a far greater range of styles than ever before. Formerly, they were only the domain of small producers, but now large companies are taking an interest as a way to diversify their offerings and to improve their environmental images. Some of the producers implement some organic principles and not others, some grow organic grapes but don’t make organic wine and still others make both organic and non-organic wines. So check the labels carefully. Why don’t more […]

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11 Tips for WineSense: No Nonsense Wine Lovers

By Bob Desautels 1. Get to know the best producers/wineries. This is your safest route to consistent quality. 2. Distrust frivolous names and “pretty” pictures on labels.‎ 3. Taste and know wines (and grape varieties) from their traditional home. This becomes your benchmark for all other similar wines made from the same grapes. 4. Experiment with lesser known grape varieties versus always drinking the classic varieties and blends. It makes life more interesting. 5. Drink wine with food – it’s good for digestion and it slows the absorption of alcohol into your system. 6. Buy local wines when possible (when at […]

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Label Gazing: How to Read a Wine Label

Admit it. You’ve probably bought a wine based on nothing more than a beautiful label. Most of us have been lured at least once by a wind-swept name like Jagged Peak scripted across a postage-size painting of a rustic hillside. Drink the wine, live the life. Not quite. After several disappointments, I started looking for austere labels as a sign of purity: since the winemakers had obviously spent no money on marketing, I reasoned, they must have invested in the fruit. But that didn’t work either: I ended up drinking bad wine in ugly bottles with unpronounceable names. Eventually, I […]

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Can You Judge a Wine by its Label?

Continued from Part 1 of Reading Wine Labels It’s 5 p.m. on Friday—the dinner party is in two hours and you’re standing in the middle of the liquor store. In front of you are thousands of bottles of wine. Should you consider only wines over $15 so your host won’t think you’re cheap? Do you grab the bottle with the small furry animals on the label or will the guests think you live inside a Disney movie? Should you go for the wine with the cheeky name for a laugh or might someone be offended? If you’re not a wine […]

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Reserve Wine Labels and Other Extra Special Meaningless Terms

Continued from Part 2 of Reading Wine Labels There’s nothing like having to buy wine at the last minute to take to a friend’s house to cause a panic attack. No other consumable is put on the table in its original package. At social gatherings, the wine label is like a blinking billboard telling your guests exactly what you think of them and of yourself. So that piece of paper affixed to the front of the bottle is all you have to go on. In the quaint old days, merchants simply wrote on the label what was in the bottle. […]

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