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The Perfect Chardonnay

The Perfect Chardonnay If I were to describe for you the perfect Chardonnay—my platonic ideal of the wine—it would go something like this: In the glass, the wine would be a pale yellow with flecks of gold around the edges. Its nose would be crisp and lemony, with hints of white flowers and stones, as well as a touch of just-ripe nectarine. In the mouth the wine would be medium-bodied, rich but structured, creamy with a contrasting chalkiness and some racy acidity. On the tongue, I would taste citrus fruits with hints of spice and fresh, sweet butter. The wine's finish would linger with a charge of minerality. READ MORE

Absinthe: A Status Check

Absinthe: A Status Check It's only been three years since the legalization of absinthe in the United States. But now that the hype that accompanied its reintroduction into the U.S. market is dying down (lines around the block to buy the first bottles), the product is starting to mature. Some great American versions are available (Leopold Bros, St. George), and the cream of the crop from Europe is finally starting to arrive. But nothing is more tasty than the remarkable story of how we got absinthe back. READ MORE

Bordeaux: Not Just for the High Rollers

Bordeaux: Not Just for the High Rollers Last May, Eric Asimov of the Times wrote a brutally direct piece that articulated something I too had been pondering: that to a large portion of American wine drinkers Bordeaux, the world's most famous wine region, "is now largely irrelevant." But perhaps it's starting to change. READ MORE

How to Stay Warm with Booze

How to Stay Warm with Booze While most people associate the hot cocktail with holiday gatherings, I'm keeping the festive spirit alive well past the yuletide. I wanted to share some of the hot, strong beverages I've been cuddling up with on these cold winter nights. READ MORE

What We’ll Be Drinking in 2011

Paul Blow

Last year I had a drinking agenda. And I achieved most of my goals. Beaujolais, check: took a trip there in June and brought cases of it home. Madeira, check: drank it often and turned a lot of my friends onto it too. Beer, check: learned a lot and got more into dark beer than ever. Washington state and rum are still works in progress. So what's in my sights for this year? READ MORE

Champagne That’s Not Dosed

Champagne That’s Not Dosed The last two weeks of the year are rife with occasions and excuses to pop open a bottle of Champagne. I don't think anyone needs excuses or occasions, and in fact I strongly believe Champagne should be popped open more often. But now is as good a time as any to try one of my favorite new categories: "non-dosage" Champagnes. READ MORE

Booze-Centric Books for Gifting

Booze-Centric Books for Gifting Two weeks ago, I talked with Robert Camuto about his excellent book on Sicilian wines. This week, I offer more book picks, since it's time to find nonliquid gifts for those drinks-lovers in your life. READ MORE

Tasting the Wines of Sicily

Tasting the Wines of Sicily A few years ago I visited Sicily and found myself amazed and enchanted by the incredible diversity of its land and the beauty of its truly unique wines. I was recently transported back to this experience by reading Robert Camuto's excellent and evocative book about the wines of Sicily, Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey. Recently, over some incredible Sicilian wines at A16 restaurant in San Francisco, I talked with Camuto to get some of the backstory. READ MORE

Thanksgiving Wine: What to Drink

Thanksgiving Wine: What to Drink As sure as turkeys will be overcooked and footballs will be fumbled on Thanksgiving, American wine writers will write columns opining on what bottles should grace the heaving dinner table. Our search for the perfect Thanksgiving wine is remarkably similar to the quest for a unifying theory of the universe. Scientists want to reconcile quantum mechanics and relativity; we seek the singular wine that can make sense of cranberry sauce, turkey, green bean casserole, and baked yams with marshmallows. READ MORE

The Perfect White Wines for Fall

The Perfect White Wines for Fall The crispness in the air is an indication that autumn has arrived—and it's time to leave light summer wines behind. And though fall is generally a red-wine-friendly time of year, I'm really excited about fall whites. READ MORE