The Wine Review: Is it All Just Smoke and Mirrors?

Does this mean we’re all victims of our emotions? Does it mean that wine and food critics are completely full of it and you shouldn’t trust anything we say? Because I’ll guarantee if the restaurant or wine bar knows there is a critic in the house — the critic will be fawned over like the Jonas Brothers in a room full of 14-year old girls. There is something more to consider, and it’s all about you.

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Anaba: Earth, Wind and Wine in My Glass

Such is the ambiance of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape type blend from Anaba (pronounced Anń-ah-bah), the winery named after the winds of Sonoma Valley. This 2006 Coriol Red, Sonoma Valley is part of the Anaba inaugural releases of Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir and the red and a white Rhone-style blend, both named Coriol. The wines are handcrafted from Rhône and Burgundian grape varieties grown at their Carneros Estate vineyard and in selected vineyard properties throughout Sonoma County. All five of Anaba’s wines earned medals in the recent 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

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Plume Bleue – Great Bargain Wine for Grilling

Plume Bleue Vin de Pays d’Oc is a 50/50 Grenache Syrah blend made by a very good winemaker. This big fruity wine has lots of plum, cherry and dark berry flavors with just enough chewy tannins to balance it out. It has a mildly smoky flavor. This stuff just begs for some grilled lamb or pork. Chilled, it could be served with a nice summer salad. Best of all? You should be able to find […]

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Back to BBQ – Lamberts

Every year Texas Monthly Magazine ranks and reviews the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas. This year’s issue had a lot of surprises. One of the biggest surprises for me was the inclusion, for the very first time, of a restaurant that uses a mechanical cooker. Not only that, but it is not even a “joint” in my opinion, it is actually fairly upscale. Lamberts Downtown Barbecue calls what they do “fancy barbecue”, and they […]

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Bargain Wine Part 2 – Little James Basket Press

Like my last post about a bargain wine, this one is also not about a great wine. However, this is a very good one that comes close to greatness, if there is such a category for humble table wine. Little James Basket Press is a non vintage single varietal French  Vin de Table from Saint-Cosme. The wine is 100% Grenache from the Southern Rhone. Not quite as cheap as my last bargain wine, this one […]

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Sierra Nevada Summer Pilsner

For the record I do not care for pilsners. They remind me of the crap I used to steal from my dad’s refrigerator. They tend to be blank on the nose, weak at the front and have a nasty finish. Add in their low alcohol content which provides little to no mouthfeel and I don’t know how people drink them on a regular basis. On the other hand, it’s hot in Texas. Really freaking hot. […]

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Good Wine for BBQ

Despite it being a day for solemn remembrance, especially in the times we find ourselves, Memorial Day weekend, for many, also signals the opening of the BBQ and grilling season for many folks. Being in Texas, that season never ends, but for a lot of people this is the weekend when they break out the grill for the first time. It is also a weekend when family and friends gather around the grill and celebrate […]

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2007 Cono Sur Pinot Noir

Cono Sur is a very cleverly named winery in Chile that combines a play on the word “connoisseur” with the Spanish for “Southern Cone” which references the shape of South America. I first tasted this wine at a presentation with Master Sommelier Bob Bath entitled “How to Blind-Taste Like a Master Sommelier.” Everyone at our table really liked it so my wife and I set out to find it. We we stunned to find that […]

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Two Wines to Tame the Beast

My last article dealt with how to pair wine with one of the bad boys of the culinary world, asparagus. Here are two wines that I really like, and that go wonderfully with it. Both the 2006 Blanco Nieva Sauvignon Blanc and the 2006 Margerum Pinot Gris are wines that I got from Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant’s wine club, and both are wines that I have re-ordered many times. The Blanco Nieva Sauvignon Blanc is […]

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