CVIndependent

Thu09202018

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Wine

17 Sep 2018
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Here we are in 2018, 54 years since the first screw-cap wine was released—and somehow, people are still apprehensive about this alternative wine-sealing method. At a recent wine-education seminar I was hosting, we did a side-by-side tasting of several wines. One of the first sets of wines we opened included a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, and one from California. One bottle had a cork; the other had a screw cap. The purpose behind this was not to showcase closures, but rather to highlight the differences between the same grape grown in two distinct places. As soon as the wine was opened, one of the attendees announced that, clearly, the cork-finished bottle would be a higher-quality wine. Wait … what? Are we still having this debate? Yes. Yes we are. Le sigh. The truth is ... I understand the attachment to natural cork. Hearing your wine crack open doesn’t quite…
15 Aug 2018
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Dear Katie: I just found a bottle of 2004 Fetzer chardonnay in my hall closet. It was on the floor hidden under a down comforter. Is it still good? Sincerely, Thirsty in La Quinta Dear Thirsty: No. Sincerely, Katie This answer might seem obvious to a lot of people—obvious because the idea is that chardonnay doesn’t age well. Obvious because Fetzer is an inexpensive brand. Obvious because it’s been housed in a sweatbox. Maybe obvious to some because it’s from California, and the common perception is that only wines from Europe age well. But … what if it isn’t so obvious? What if the scenario was a 1998 Caymus Special Selection? What if the bottle wasn’t in your sweltering hall closet, but rather in a temperature-controlled wine fridge or cellar? I recently celebrated a milestone birthday. Thus, it was a perfect excuse to uncork some bottles from the year of…
16 Jul 2018
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My introduction to the world of canned wine came earlier this spring, when I stumbled upon a unique beer/fruit/wine fusion called Foxie. I was delighted to see it is a collaboration between an awesome winery out of Paso Robles called Field Recordings, and Hoxie Spritzer, the Southern California company that single-handedly made drinking wine spritzers cool again. Upon the first sip, I was in love—real, lasting love. Flavors of fresh, tart grapefruit with just a touch of bitter hoppiness were all supported by a base of gloriously dry rose and bubbly mineral water. No glass. No bottle opener. Just a girl and her frosty cold can of aahhhh. I totally understand all the hype around boozy cans. Given the only way to stay sane this time of year is to spend any and all free time in a pool (or the vegetable walk-in at Costco … but they told me…
14 Jun 2018
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Oh, millennials. They’re so hard to keep up with, with all their abbreviated words and vegan, plant-based burgers. Snark aside, millennials have an overwhelming amount of consumer power—so what they want, they get. The wine world is no exception, and right now, what millennials want is the wine equivalent of the unbathed, unshaven hippie—the un-photoshopped, makeup-free, I-woke-up-like-this wine … otherwise known as “natural wine.” Given that kids these days can’t seem to use words in their entirety, these wines, of course, are also called “natty wines.” So what, exactly, is a natural wine? For starters, “natural wines” have no clear and regulated definition. They are absolutely not the same as being organic or biodynamic, although it’s safe to say all winemakers who adhere to the natural-winemaking philosophy wouldn’t think of using grapes that were not organic or biodynamic. However, organic and biodynamic wines are a result of grape-growing and grape-farming…
15 May 2018
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Wine is scary and intimidating. I get it; it has its own language full of science-y words. It comes from places we’ve never heard of, from grapes we can’t pronounce. It doesn’t help, of course, that there is a whole fleet of wannabe wine experts just waiting to correct that word you mispronounced, or inform you that even though the wine you like is ”OK,” they like one that is, by far, better. And just how do they know that this wine of theirs is superior? It got a huge score, naturally. Before I proceed to rip apart the wine-scoring system that Americans cling to like cellophane-wrapped cheese, I want to point out that we have come a long way in our wine journey. Before wine became hip in this country, we were a Jack-and-Coke, Seven-and-Seven, cosmo-drinking culture. Wine was for snobs or elitists or Europeans. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed…
18 Apr 2018
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When I took my first sommelier exam 15 years ago (gasp!), it’s safe to say that most people didn’t know what a sommelier was. In fact, I once told someone I was a sommelier, and not being familiar with that word, he was convinced I was trying to tell him I was Somalian. Fast-forward over the years, and we’ve seen the emergence of the foodie culture, the globalization of wine, and the idea of a sommelier going from obscurity to the mainstream. Hell, there’s even a movie that put this odd little profession of nerds in the Hollywood spotlight. But even with sommeliers garnering more recognition and even a little notoriety, I can’t help but wonder if people really know what it is that we do. What does it mean to be a sommelier? Sometimes I think even people in our industry have forgotten what our purpose is. For me,…
19 Mar 2018
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There are so many parties in the desert this time of year. A girl can hardly keep her calendar straight, with all the fundraisers, galas and soirees all around town. However, there is one fabulous party that, for obvious reasons, I have never been to—the White Party Weekend. Celebrities, sunshine, world-class DJs and gorgeous men splashing around in a pool … and I don’t feel invited. It all sounds like a helluva good time to me, but seeing as how I’m not exactly the attendees’ “type,” I miss out on all this fun. So, in honor of the thousands of men who descend into the valley to forget about their troubles for a glorious weekend, I, too, have decided to throw my own White Party—a White Wine Party, that is. I feel as though the timing of this party is impeccable: The days are getting longer; the weather is warming…
12 Feb 2018
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Sophisticated and balanced with a hint of pretension. Elegant and silky with a feminine nuance reminiscent of the Old West. Forward and brazen with a left hook that will leave you speechless. Seriously? What does this mean? As an avid “reviewer” of wines—which, let’s be honest, means I get to drink for a living—I can’t help but wonder if people are perplexed by this verbiage. Don’t get me wrong—I love it, but it must confuse the hell out folks: Am I supposed to like the wine that tastes like animal dander warmed by rays of Italian sunshine? I look at it this way: Wine is a lot like art and music. It is plagued by critics trying to one-up each other in describing tangible items in a way that sounds human and mysterious. I’m guilty of this, too. I’ve been known to describe certain Napa cabernets as “teenagers at prom…

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