Sherry isn’t for grandma

Forget cream sherry. And please forget Dr. Frazier Crane sniffing it with his brother, Niles. Sherry is not cream sherry. It’s a crisp, light, slightly oxidized white wine, and it’s great. It goes with almost everything you could want to eat. There are other types of sherry as well – manzanilla, amontillado, oloroso, for example – offer deep, rich, aged flavors you will not find in any other wine. If you need a new challenge and a new learning experience, sherry is where it’s at.

Its high acid content lends a crispness that cuts through meats and cheeses, and it can easily stand up to spicy food. Sherry is made in Jerez, Spain and other small, surrounding towns. There are entire books written on the subject (see below), so I dare not go into much detail here. But just think of the best tapas you’ve ever had. Each dish different, but flavorful, typically spicy, and many times rich. Sherry is born to go with these dishes. Any tapas bar in Spain will be serving this with some of the best tapas you’ve had (dream trip). recently attested to sherry’s unsung role these days as well. Probably no thanks to grandma’s cream sherry, much of the US – and probably much of the world – has forgotten what real sherry is.


I cannot recommend Talia Baiocchi’s recent book, Sherry, enough. It’s impressive how one can make a book on sherry easy to understand, fun to read, and not remotely boring in any way. Talia somehow manages to hit on sherry basics, history, personal anecdotes, important sherry produces to know, and even cocktail recipes. It’s a wonder she got it all in one book without losing anything on each topic. If you’re a true wine lover, I beg you – please add this book to your collection. I won’t ever recommend a wine book on this blog more than Sherry.


Annual Wine Bloggers’ Conference: Charlottesville, VA

As agonizing it is that I can’t make it to my hometown of Charlottesville, VA this week, I felt that I should at least let the rest of the world know about it. For the first time in its history, the Wine Bloggers’ Conference – now in its fourth year – has come to the East Coast. And wouldn’t you know it? Charlottesville, VA, and its surrounding Monticello AVA (American Viticultural Area), won out.

Thomas Jefferson tried unsuccessfully to grow grapes at his Monticello home there. Can you imagine his reaction to this today? Hundreds of wine bloggers, writers and industry professionals buzzing throughout the town and countryside to learn about VIRGINIA WINE. As an aside, read the fantastic book Thomas Jefferson On Wine by John Hailman (Available at here). It’s a great read for both the historian and wine enthusiast.

Work has kept me away this year, but I do get to visit quite often due to the close proximity. What I am missing are the two keynote speakers, Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov, which is killing me. Ms. Robinson is one of the most famous names in wine ever (Google her), while Mr. Asimov is no lightweight himself, writing wine articles for the NY Times.

I just hope that the incredible heatwave (100+ degree today) isn’t keeping them down, and they’re finding what many of us already know – that Charlottesville, VA is a truly special place. I hope I can make it to next year in the next special place.

To follow along, search the hashtag #wbc11 on Twitter, and see their website here.

The Bubble Burst Commeth

I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again. The Bordeaux wine bubble surely must burst soon. It seems like the only topic I write about sometimes, but it’s one that just gets to me. To charge these unbelievable prices for a bottle of wine is insane. $5,000 per bottle? $500? Insane.

UK’s The Telegraph reported on this very issue recently:

As one “vintage of the century” follows another, the more anxiety there is that such rises cannot be sustained: the Bordeaux bubble begins to look like a smaller, and more rarefied, version of the housing market, constantly exceeding expectations to the point where it seems it must surely burst.

Asians continue to drive consumption, and thus, higher prices. Despite this, I can see their cellars filling over time, and their consumption slowing. Once one has enough inventory, why buy more? But for now, the Bordelais are taking full advantage.

According to, a site that reports on the the wine market states that this years prices have already started the climb higher. Chateau Pontet Canet released their 2010 vintage’s price this week to much uproar – their price was 39% higher when compared to their 2009. Other, too, have increased, 10, 18, 24%. These are great wines, but the big dogs haven’t even released their prices yet.

Keep in mind, these are futures prices. Meaning you can pay for the wine now, but as it’s the 2010 vintage, it’s still in barrels in the cellars of the French chateaux. You won’t get the bottle for two more years. Typically, the price only goes up if you wait to buy it in two years versus today. This time, I’m hoping the bubble will burst, and you can save by waiting.

Madoff Wine Auction Raises $41,530

Decanter reports that the Madoff wine auction by Morrell & Company raised over $41,000. The proceeds will benefit the victims of Madoff’s infamous ponzi scheme, for which he is serving 150 years in prison.

Surprisingly, a billionaire such as Madoff only had a handful of collectible bottles (such as top growth Bordeaux). Also surprising, auction bidders went above and beyond the value of each item. Other sources have reported that bidders often paid double for simple, easy-to-find items such as everyday decanters. As the auction director put it, it’s most likely people looking to find a talking piece. I like to think they were giving back to those who lost a lot more than 150 years in prison.

Decanter article here.

Kluge Winery Sold to Trump

Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, long in a state of foreclosure, has finally been sold…to Donald Trump. The Donald is coming to Viriginia?! Apparently he is a longtime acquaintance of Patricia Kluge and has plans to keep the winery operational. I’m very happy to hear that Central Virginia won’t be losing a winery. I just hope we won’t start to see gold Trump labels anytime soon.

Article here: