It’s a great day when I get to celebrate a type of wine, even though truth be told, I celebrate wine EVERY day. A great glass of Sauvignon Blanc advents the end of winter and the beginning of warmer temperatures, with it’s aromas of green apples and fresh herbs. It’s truly sunshine in a glass.
New Zealand’s Marlborough region is famed for its pungent, sassy savvies, as they’re dubbed in Kiwi country, while France’s historic Loire Valley spots Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are also planted with Sauvignon Blanc. California’s fruit-driven versions (some called Fumé Blanc) express the state’s warm climate.
Check out why I dubbed Sauvignon Blanc the WILD CHILD of WHITES…
Valentine's Day doesn't have to just be February 14th. Celebrate your significant other (or raise a glass to being spectacularly single) all month long with these indulgent ideas.
One of my favorite pink bubblies, this uber-elegant Champagne is pale garnet with alluring aromas and crisp flavors. Made with primarily Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, it's a seductive sip and one that will make you fall in love.
You can't find a more stylish bottle than this beauty from J. A predominantly Pinot Noir blend, this deliciously dry yet fruity sparkling is my pick alongside sexy fare such as tuna tartare or smoked salmon.
Decadent Dessert Duo: Two sparkling reds with a dash of sweetness create pairing perfection with chocolate
Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui, Italy $23
I call this my secret weapon wine as it's such a crowd pleasure. You will want to buy this wine by the case, especially to serve alongside chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Want a unique wine that 's sure to intrigue? Go for this special liquid gold, which smells of nuts and honey but is dry and crisp on the finish. Boutique producer Bee d'Vine crafts both sweet and dry versions that will leave you smiling.
This is a sensual, stunningly photographed book that makes turning each page a new journey. Leading wine writer, Alder Yarrow, organized the book around wine's aromas and flavors, bringing them to life through pictures and words. A book for lovers who appreciate the true beauty of wine.
Want to splurge on a gift for the wine geek in your life? Get a Coravin. It is changing the wine world by allowing drinkers to access (not open) wine bottles one glass at a time. Made for collectors or any wine drinker who wants to learn by tasting more.
I recently had a chance to speak with Shari Bayer of All In the Industry, a podcast dedicated to the behind-the-scenes of the hospitality industry. We chatted about the 10th Season of Check, Please! Bay Area, why I travel around the world to taste and experience wine, the Boston Wine Expo and all of the amazing events that I’m planning throughout the course of the year!
Check it out and I hope to see you at the Boston Wine Expo this weekend.
I was recently on NBC’s Today Show with Kathie and Hoda, answering questions from readers like YOU. Thank you for all of your curiosity and, as always, you can submit those to me here and I’m happy to answer them.
If you can only choose one wine for a crowd, make it pink. Rose wines are made with red grapes but in a white wine style, which makes them easy to please drinkers of red or white wines and sweet or dry. This appealing, garnet-hued wine is dry in style but sports succulent red berry freshness. Crafted from Syrah in Chile’s sunny Colchagua Valley, it’s a wine to stock up on for year-round sipping.
Even though it says it’s for white wine, this 16 oz. lead crystal glass is an ideal all-purpose version to use for white, red, and even sparkling wine. What I like about Nachtmann is the high quality at an affordable price.
Wine Wisdom: Pairing wine and cheese
Though I’m a firm believer in the idea of drinking what you like and eating what you like, my approach to pairing wine and cheese is to either contrast or complement.
Hailing from the up-and-coming region of Lodi, this beautiful blend of white grapes including Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier is made by Lodi’s only winery devoted to white wine. It is compellingly creamy and smooth but with a core of freshness. The packaging is eye-catching, too, making it a gift option for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Pairing Tip: Creamy cheeses like brie complement the smoothness of the wine
Wine Wisdom: low-calorie wine
Most dry wines have around 125 calories per 5 oz. glass with calories coming primarily from the alcohol content. These two wines are made by the same winery, Brancott, using the same grape variety and planted in the same area of New Zealand but offer two caloric versions:
A crisp, clean, lemon-scented white that tips the scales at a mere 90 calories. Made by harvesting the grapes earlier, which leads to a lower alcohol content of only 9 percent, the wine is packs a flavor punch while still saving on calories.
2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($13)
One of New Zealand’s classic producers, Brancott is known for their signature Sauvignon Blanc. With aromatic notes of citrus fruit and fresh herbs, it showcases the uniqueness of Marlborough’s sunny yet cool growing region. A delicious value ringing in at around 125 calories a glass.
Sparkling Wines Wisdom: Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava
Sparkling wine is the overall category of wines. Champagne hails from France, Prosecco from Italy and Cava is from Spain. Champagne is made with grape varieties Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Prosecco is made with the grape Glera grown in northern Italy, and Cava is the unique sparkler from northeastern Spain using native grapes such as Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada.
Pure beauty in a bottle. Pol Roger, a family-owned winery that has been producing world-famous bubbly for more than 160 years, still crafts many of the best Champagnes. This non-vintage bottling is made from the three grapes of Champagne and reflects the elegant style Pol Roger is known for producing. Want to sip like royalty? You can since this sparkling was served at Prince William’s wedding reception.
This is my favorite Prosecco on the market and ranks among the best sparkling wines in the world in my opinion. Classy and complex, it’s also so deliciously easy to sip. Made with grapes grown in a single vineyard on the steep slopes of the hill of Cartizze in the area of Valdobbiadene, this wine reflects its birthplace. The sign of a classic. Add it to your list of must-try sparklers.
This historic property dates to 1551 and the name pays homage to one of the family members, Anna, who helped create the Codorniu legend. This cuvée blends Chardonnay with the native varieties to add a modern twist to classic Cava.
A great value that you’ll want to stock up on by the case. Hearty, spicy, and full bodied, this red is made from the grape varieties that are famed for Port production including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. Perfect for pairing with braised meats, soups, and rich winter dishes.
I recently filmed a segment on Winter Wines with my friend, chef Diane Hendriks, who hosts regular segments dubbed “Dish with Diane” on The Daily Meal. We were, of course, discussing wine and food for cold weather. These sips are ideal whether you like sparkling or sweet, white or red, affordable or extravagant. Enjoy and let me know your vinous picks for keeping warm in winter’s chill.