Posts in Wine Experiences
The Annual VDP Auctions: Buying Straight from the Cellars of Germany’s Best Wine Producers

There is a weekend of auctions that has not hit most wine buyers' radars, and all the wines come direct from the producers' cellars. Dating back to 1897, the VDP (its German name translates as The Association of German Quality and Prädikat Wine Estates) auctions sell primarily Riesling but Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and other varieties as well. 

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Balkan Bound & Homework on Macedonian Wines

Next Wednesday I head to the Balkans International Wine Competition. So, what great timing to be invited this week to a Wines of Macedonia tasting? I couldn’t miss it. I wouldn’t miss it. I felt this way not only because I’m landing there in a week’s time. I’m always pursuing my relentless curiosity of lesser-known - and even unknown - varieties.

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Full Circle with Villa Maria Wine Estates

To meet Sir George was a great honor. This Kiwi legend comes across as a genuinely inquisitive, down-to-earth gentleman. Sir George’s venture into wine began more as a hobby than a career. He started in 1961 by leasing an acre of land from his father. Begun as a family venture, it remains so – in spite of the fact that Villa Maria is one of New Zealand’s three largest wineries and exports to over fifty countries!

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Bad Wine – Know the Signs!

Not a member of this simultaneously très sérieux and bon vivant group, I engaged them in two radically different seminars. First came the fun stuff – a competitive blending seminar using the components of the 2006 Lynch-Bages to try to reconstitute the grand vin. Second came the stinky stuff – a presentation on wine faults. After all, the last thing you want is to be uncertain whether your Cru Classé is in top form. The group sniffed cautiously through their glasses, trying to suss out the faults exhibited

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Meeting the Young Talents of Burgundy

I joined the gatherings on Friday, eager to attend one tasting in particular: Le Salon des Jeunes Talents. This group, technically known as La Groupe des Jeunes Professionnels de la Vigne, is composed of winemakers under the age of 40. (It appeared to me this cap is a bit flexible, but I decided it would be indiscrete to ask.)  The association aims to unite the region’s young winemakers and to support their development with seminars on subjects as diverse as how to present their wines in English and how to operate and maintain high clearance tractors.

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Jeannie Explores German Wines & Asian Flavors

This Wednesday I attended an engaging, exploratory lunch hosted by Wines of Germany and led by my friend Jeannie Cho Lee MW. Here are some of the take-aways I found most fascinating: whereas Westerners tend to measure how much acidity is apparent in a wine, Asians tend to focus on how acidity feels on the palate; the progression of food and wine in a Chinese meal is quite different from that at a Western table….

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#PortDay

I often resolve to drink more Port. I love it in all its manifestations (white, ruby, tawny, vintage and, especially, colheita. Yes, there are even a few affable rosé versions but those are brand one-offs.) I always resolve drink a few of them in the upcoming winter. This winter has been no different than the last many.

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What Do You Drink with a Master of Wine?

Given the spirit of the holiday season leads to many shared meals and festive moments with friends, I’ve not surprisingly encountered plenty of pals hesitant to offer me a glass of wine. I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their pre-calculated verbal presentations. They seem to be pleading with Dionysus that I will want one of their small batch beers. Each time, I guess that they feel more confident on their beer choices than their wine choices.

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