By MICHAEL DRESSER | September 6, 2006
This white wine is unusually dry and Alsace-like for a California gewurztraminer, many of which run toward cloying sweetness. And there's none of the bitterness that afflicts some dry gewurztraminers. This wine from cool Santa Barbara County displays well-defined flavors of spices, peach and limes. It's an especially encouraging find at this price. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine.
The rich and famous islanders of Martha's Vineyard should lower their voices the next time they stop by Sunporch Books in Oak Bluffs. Little do they know that proprietor Holly Nadler has been collecting every dollop of gossip she has overheard. Among the tales Nadler shares in her new book, Vineyard Confidential: Bruce Willis reputedly hit on 137 waitresses during his Vineyard visits over the years. According to Nadler, he scored with precisely zero. Woody Allen once faxed a list of requirements to a real estate agent who was supposed to show him properties.
Almost all Maryland wineries will retain the ability to sell directly to retailers and restaurants under a compromise reached with liquor wholesalers, averting what winemakers feared could have been a death knell for their fledgling industry. Under the new proposal, which has the support of leaders in the General Assembly and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., wineries that produce less than 27,500 gallons annually will be eligible for a limited wholesaler's license. That would enable them to avoid contracting with a third-party wholesaler, which winemakers said is cost prohibitive for small operations.
By MICHAEL DRESSER | March 29, 2006
This wine is a bit of a splurge, but it is well worth it for admirers of classic Napa Valley cabernet. Joseph Phelps has been producing great cabernet for three decades, and I've been around long enough to taste most vintages. This one is as fine as any young Phelps cab I've tasted - and that's saying a lot. It's about the perfect combination of youthful accessibility and long-term aging potential. The texture is velvety, and the flavors are typical Napa - black cherry, black currant, chocolate, herbs - but with just a little more nuance and roundness than most of its peers.
February 12, 2006
Maryland's byzantine liquor laws took another turn for the convoluted worse last week. Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer has decided that last year's Supreme Court ruling in Granholm v. Heald means Maryland wineries can no longer sell directly to retailers, chiefly restaurants and hotels. That's a disaster for the local wineries, relatively few of which sell through wholesalers. That's because the economics of such trade don't work - not only would it raise the cost of Maryland wine, but the local brands would likely get lost in the shuffle of the average wholesaler's inventory.
By MICHAEL DRESSER | January 11, 2006
This is a higher-than-average price for a pinot gris, but this is a New Zealand white wine of exceptional quality - perhaps the best I've tasted from anywhere outside the grape's ancestral heartland of Alsace. It's very much in the Alsace style - rich and full-bodied. Obviously picked at a high level of ripeness, the grapes have yielded an off-dry wine with a creamy texture. The wine offers intense flavors of hazelnuts, almonds, pears, melons, oranges, honey and spices. Despite a hefty alcohol level, it goes down smoothly.
By MICHAEL DRESSER | September 21, 2005
If you're a fan of no-holds-barred zinfandel, this is a sterling example of the breed - with true "old vines" character and intense blackberry, spice and black-pepper flavors. Made from vines older than 80 years old, it's not for the faint of palate. For all its power, its texture is smooth and there's no sign of alcoholic heat in the finish. Serve with - - pizza, pasta, red meat
By CANDUS THOMSON | September 4, 2005
MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass. - The clerk behind the counter at Capt. Porky's Bait and Tackle spends a lot of time assembling the colorful rods and reels that parents buy and kids dangle off the nearby Edgartown wharf. You see the fruits of her labors everywhere. After a couple of days on this island, you get used to seeing families of fishermen - dads, moms and young ones - walking downtown streets with fishing rods in one hand and tackle boxes in the other. No doubt about it, this island is an angler's paradise.
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | July 14, 2005
LEXINGTON, N.C. - For generations, farmers in the Yadkin Valley have grown tobacco. But the demand for that plant has dropped, so many are turning to another green, leafy crop - grapes. As in the wine-making kind. And if the image of Tobacco Road morphing into Winery Way sets North Carolina stereotypes on their ear, consider this: The valley's biggest wine producer, a man who lives in a Tuscan-inspired estate, packs impeccable good ol' boy credentials. Richard Childress, 59, once made early-morning moonshine runs, raced stock cars and owned NASCAR's most famous car, the No. 3 of the late seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt.
By Gail Gibson, Lorraine Mirabella and Andrea Walker and Gail Gibson, Lorraine Mirabella and Andrea Walker,SUN STAFF | May 17, 2005
Lovers of wine, and of free markets, toasted a Supreme Court decision yesterday that struck down bans on home deliveries from out-of-state vineyards. But in Maryland, the hangover came in a hurry. Wine aficionados here are not expected to benefit from the court's widely anticipated decision because Maryland is one of a handful of states that outlaw all direct wine shipments, whether from homegrown wineries or out-of-state vineyards. In its 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court said it is discriminatory for states that allow in-state wine shipments to prohibit deliveries from wineries in other parts of the country.
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