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Not Rum, Rhum!

Not Rum, Rhum! Now that summer's hitting its stride, we're getting squarely into rum season. And if you've been paying attention while drinking, you may have noticed an errant letter showing up on your bottles: "Rum" has become "rhum." This is the way "rum" is spelled in Martinique. READ MORE

True Greek Austerity: Assyrtiko

True Greek Austerity: Assyrtiko

This column will address Greek austerity measures. And by austerity, I mean restrained, uncompromisingly charged white wine: Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini.

While the Greek government is indeed struggling to get onto economic solid ground, Assyrtiko has been operating under its own austerity measures for some time. It's the Chablis of Southern Europe: as racy, brisk, and mineral as white wine gets, and thus the perfect white for summer. READ MORE

Four Obscure Yet Delicious Light Summer Reds

Four Obscure Yet Delicious Light Summer Reds Though it's still June, many parts of the country feel as though they're well into summer already, suffering screaming temperatures. While these balmy evenings are definitely the time to drink light, fresh whites, I'm loath to give up red wine. READ MORE

When People Intrude on Wine’s Habitat

When People Intrude on Wine’s Habitat It was with great relief that I learned recently that a proposed coal mine to be built just 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the town center of Margaret River, Western Australia, had been scrapped. A fine wine region had escaped the damaging impact of industry. READ MORE

The Shame of the Dirty Martini Drinker

Paul Blow

Adam Bryan of Bar Congress in Austin, Texas, told me that when he was manager of another great local spot, the East Side Show Room, he stopped carrying olives, one of the side benefits of which was that he could reject orders for dirty martinis without having to seem snobby. "The number of grossly dirty martinis served in this town is astounding," he said. READ MORE

Alsatian Wines Ride the Sugar Roller Coaster

Alsatian Wines Ride the Sugar Roller Coaster Alsatian wines seem off the radar these days. I don't often see them at restaurants; no one is talking about them in the media. It's a shame, as the whites from this beautiful region in northeastern France are lovely. Bright and fresh with lip-smacking acidity and wonderfully mineral textures, they are perhaps the perfect wines for spring and early summer. READ MORE

Margaritas: Frozen or on the Rocks?

Margaritas: Frozen or on the Rocks? Frozen or on the rocks? That question can really only refer to one thing: the margarita. And cocktail enthusiasts have learned to turn their noses up at the frozen variety, but I'm here to say that that's the wrong move.

I'll repeat: Putting a margarita on the rocks is about the worst way to drink the cocktail. (And putting salt on the rim? I have more to say on that below.) A classic margarita is a shaken cocktail; the chilling and diluting that occur by shaking tequila, lime, and triple sec with ice defines the drink. Pouring that drink over ice will make it watery and wan. READ MORE

Washington Wines Find Their Style

Washington Wines Find Their Style

Walla Walla, Washington, feels like a very remote place. Not least because it takes hours to get there from any major city—even from "nearby" Portland or Seattle, it's still four hours by car. And once there, well, it's a vast, sparse, windblown valley with mountains shimmering in the distance.

Even close to home, at your local wine store, Washington wines feel remote, vague. I think it's a lack of identity. Washington has never developed a clear message. Oregon has Pinot Noir to hang its hat on. California has the very established winegrowing regions of Napa and Sonoma—instant branding.


Fruit, Leaf, Flower, or Root: Tasting Wine According to the Biodynamic Calendar

Fruit, Leaf, Flower, or Root: Tasting Wine According to the Biodynamic Calendar I recently tasted a lineup of wines, and they were all shut down—hardly any aromatics. I could feel the wines in my mouth, but could taste very little. Out of curiosity, I pulled out the trusty old iPhone and booted up a little app called Wine Tonight? The app told me that according to the biodynamic calendar, the day was a "root day," and that wine drinking should be avoided. READ MORE

Craft Beer Trends: More Flavorful, Less Boozy

Craft Beer Trends: More Flavorful, Less Boozy Bigger is better. That's been the mantra in the craft beer business for the last 15 years (mirroring the trend toward ever-higher-alcohol wines). We've suffered as brewers have made beers hoppier and more alcoholic. The results have been brews that left you drunk and with a tongue stinging from bitterness, and a drink that didn't go with food. There's still a place for strong beers, but the craft beer movement is starting to evolve in some surprising ways. Here's a summary of some recent trends. READ MORE