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Articles & Commentary Archive


Video Review: Nicolas Perrin Syrah


One of my earliest articles discussed Syrah, and how the grape was a victim of wine fashion. For some reason, Syrah has received the short-end of the stick when it comes to popularity among American wine consumers. Unlike Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and even Chardonnay, it's rare to see someone sit down at the bar and order a glass of Syrah. However, just because it's not an en vogue grape doesn't mean that isn't capable of producing some stellar wines. In fact, Syrah-based wines are some of my personal favorites.

Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah ViognierIn France's Northern Rhone, Syrah is the only red grape that is allowed to be planted, and many think that the the region is the grape's true ancestral home. There are certainly some fabulous expressions of Syrah that can be found in the region. While wines from some Northern Rhone appelations (Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage) can cost a fortune, the region is also home to several wines that are fantastic expressions of Syrah, but won't break your budget. One of these is the Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah-Viognier. It's a delicious Côte-Rôtie lookalike, but at $12.99, it's far more affordable than your typical Côte-Rôtie. To learn a little bit more about the wine, and for an interactive tasting, check out the video.

The Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah-Viognier is currently available at Burlington Wine Shop, for $12.99. Trust me, it's a steal. However, mention this post, and get an extra 10% off! If that doesn't encourage you to try Syrah, I don't know what will.


Football, Oysters & Riesling, and a Reminder Not to Forget Bordeaux

This past Saturday night, my fiancée and I sat down to enjoy the Patriots-Colts game, in style. Rather than choosing to enjoy traditional football fare as we cheered the Patriots on to victory, we decided to be a little fancier, and a little healthier. So, instead of loading up on pizza, chicken wings, and other snacks, we took a trip to Guild Fine Meats, and stocked up on oysters and a roast chicken for our gametime enjoyment. And of course, I was prepared to enjoy a few good wines during the game.

We enjoyed the oysters during the first half with a bottle of 2003 Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Emile, a tremendous Riesling from Alsace. Oysters are becoming a new passion of mine, and after a rough first attempt at shucking them where I put a nasty gash into my left hand, I've become quite proficient at preparing a plate of oysters. (I've also bought an oyster glove.)Shucking oysters, my new culinary passion. As my obsession with oysters has developed, I've noticed that they demonstrate a terroir in a manner similar to wine. The oysters we enjoyed on Saturday were Thatch Island Oysters, from Barnstable Harbor, in Cape Cod. I'm still enough of an oyster novice that I probably couldn't tell the difference between a Thatch Island Oyster and a Wellfleet, or a Bluepoint, but I'm excited to test my palate, and learn more about oysters in the years to come. (Note: For anyone who might also be interested in learning about oysters, I was given a great book for Christmas, called A Geography of Oysters, by Rowan Jacobsen, which has been a tremendous resource in my oyster education thus far.

However, despite my love for oysters, and delicious flavors of petrol, honeyed mineral, and citrus displayed by the 2003 Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Emile, it was a bottle of 2001 Chateau Talbot that left me awestruck on Saturday night.

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The Merlot Line: Bridging the Divide Between Wine and Sports

Like most wine lovers, wine is my beverage of choice. If there's wine around, that's what I'm going to drink, regardless of the situation. It's not that I don't like beer, or whiskey. It's just that they don't agree with me as much as wine does. The conundrum I'm often faced with is that I'm a 29-year old, sports-loving male, and for some reason, society has determined that wine conoisseurs and die-hard sports fans should be mutually exclusive entities. I'll freely admit that the majority of my friends make fun of me when they come over to my house to watch a game, and snicker as I pop open a bottle of whatever wine I deem appropriate for the occasion. Sure, the habit might be a little eccentric, but as Bud Light has reminded us countless times this year, "it's only weird if it doesn't work." I drink my wine, my team (hopefully) wins the game, and everyone goes home happy. Some people have "quinoa." I have my wine. What's the problem?

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Swiss Wines: Finally Starting to Appear in the U.S.

After a prolonged absence from writing, I'm finally finding time in my schedule, and hopefully will be making more regular updates going forward. The past few months have been rather busy. My sabbatical from wine writing can be attributed to my starting a new job, and to my indulgence of my other passion: skiing. My apologies to anyone who has been anxiously awaiting a new update.

A week ago, I had a new wine experience, which I always see as a source of excitement. While I have many favorite wines that I like to enjoy on a regular basis, my passion for fermented grape juice has always been guided by the motto, "Life is too short for one wine." I believe that this take on the classic phrase, "variety is the spice of life," is essential to remaining an energized and passionate wine enthusiast. As such, whenever I see one of the following types of wines, I always make a point to purchase and try it:

  • A wine from a country or region I have not explored before

  • A wine made from a grape varietal that I have not tried before

  • A wine made from a traditional grape varietal, but in a non-traditional geography (e.g., California Tempranillo)

About a week and a half ago, I finally had a chance to taste wine from Switzerland.

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In Honor of the Super Bowl: Vintage American-Italian Wine Commercial


Shortly after my last post, in which I lamented the lack of American wines made from Italian grape varietals, my mother emailed me this YouTube clip of a vintage Italian Swiss Colony wine commercial. If you watch it, and account for the fact that it's 50 years old, I think you'll have to agree that it's just as good as any of the commercials that were shown during last night's game. According to sources, Italian Swiss Colony was once the world's largest and most productive winery, as well as California's second largest tourist attraction after Disneyland.

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