Wine Wisdom | The Today Show


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.



Wine Wisdom: Wine to please all palates

2014 Montes “Cherub” Rosé of Syrah, Colchagua Valley, Chile $15 

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. 

Wine Wisdom: All-purpose wine glass

Nachtmann Vivendi, White Wine Glass (Set of 4) $30

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.

Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal $30 

One of the world’s top producers of Tawny Port this lightly sweet fortified wine sports aromas of caramel and orange zest. It’s a dessert wine with class. 

Pairing Tip: The sweetness of the Port is a counterpoint to the saltiness of an aged cheese such as Asiago. 

2013 Acquiesce “Belle Blanc” Lodi, California $23 

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: 

2013 Brancott “Flight Song” Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($15) 

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. 

Pol Roger, Brut Reserve “White Foil” Champagne, France $50

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. 

Villa Sandi “Vigna La Rivetta” Cartizze Prosecco, Valdobbiadene, Italy $40  

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. 

Codorniu “Anna de Codorniu” Brut Cava, Spain $15  

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. 

Wine Wisdom: Points 

2012 Esporao “Assobio”, Douro, Portugal $13 

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. 


  1. JoAnna

    Hi Leslie, How can I find out more about what to drink when you are dieting or to keep the calories down?

  2. Mary

    Hi Leslie,
    Love you on “Check Please, Bay Area”. I was on the show in back in 2005.
    After watching the video, I have to say, Kathie Lee acted a bit rude to you, imho and they just cut you off mid-sentence at the end of the segment!
    They don’t deserve your expertise and seem like they don’t really care about it anyway.
    Just my 2 cents because I am a fan.
    Take care,
    Mary DiLorenzo

  3. Nathalie

    Someone told me cheese actually deadens the flavor of wines and cheese used to be paired with wine only when it was a poor-quality wine in order to smooth out the flavor. And that apples make a much better pairing with wine because they actually enhance the flavor… I believe this. Do you? Try it if you havent already.

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