Gina Dallara: December 2009 Archives

clefduvin.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The Clef du Vin purportedly allows a collector to identify when his or her wines will be at their prime by mimicking the aging process.  For each second the copper-looking alloy is submerged in the wine, the wine supposedly "ages" one year.  If true, this has got to be the best gadget ever invented!!  Imagine taking the guesswork out of when to drink your precious bottles, and even out of which bottles to buy for the collection.  Imagine being able to buy only cheap, young wine and having it taste like pricy, aged collectors' items in a matter of seconds.

Bridge Wines: The Ultimate List

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Red with meat, white with fish?  Not necessarily! 

By Courtney Cochran

For years, the annals of wine drinking 101 have told us that we must drink whites with light dishes like fish and reds with sturdier fare such as steak.  Not so!  Turns out there are many wines that manage to work well with foods on both sides of the intensity spectrum - and they're primed for your food and wine pairing pleasure.  We call them bridge wines, and we've prepared a whole list of our favorites for you below, along with tips - natch - on the best fare with which to pair them.  

Get ready to start drinking outside the proverbial wine box. 

Football Wines

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footballwine.jpegBy Courtney Cochran
Twitter: @HipTastesMaven

With New Year's bowl games nearly upon us (and Super Bowl '10 just around the corner!), we decided to offer you some suggestions for wines to pair with football.  Because while these games have long been beer-centric, we're convinced there's room for a few good wines after kick-off.

Bowl Game Bruiser
There's something undeniably masculine about Petite Sirah, the hearty grape that produces massive reds like Parducci's standout Mendo bottling, True Grit.  Crafted from gnarled old vines that deliver loads of palate-pleasing black fruit, vanilla, pepper and caramel, True Grit might as well be tailor-made for the biggest grill fare - think steak, sausage, brisket and ribs.  In other words, it's just what your football fan ordered.  Game on!
2006 Parducci "True Grit" Mendocino Petite Sirah ($20)  

Top 10: Mood-Boosting Wines

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Feeling down?  Let these cheerful wines turn that frown upside down.

By Courtney Cochran

This time of year - and this year in particular (sheesh) - there's a laundry list of things that could be getting you down.  Lost jobs, money worries and holiday stress are just a few of the icky items that could very well be a drag on your otherwise sunny mood.  Happily, we're here with a list of wines known for their mood-boosting powers, all packaged into a convenient list.  So, should you need them, we offer not just a few but 10 reasons to stay cheerful this wintry season.

Top 10 Holiday Wine & Movie Pairings

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miracle.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When it comes time for the holidays, little sounds as good as a cozy night in with loved ones and a great seasonal film. So read on for our list of top holiday films - each one paired, of course, with a superb vinous partner. Because here at WineCountry, we wouldn't have it any other way.

10: Miracle on 34th Street
This 1947 holiday classic tells the tale of a precocious six-year-old who doesn't believe in Santa Claus - that is, until she meets a Macy's toy department Santa (72-year-old Edmund Gwenn, in an Oscar-winning performance) who insists he's the real St. Nick. Heartwarming and full of nostalgia, it's a can't-lose cinematic selection for the season. Pair the original black and white version of the film (our choice) with Meyer Family California Port ($35), a warm, soulful sticky tailor made for a cozy night in.

Decanting 101

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By Courtney Cochran
Twitter: @HipTastesMaven

From a purely practical standpoint, we decant wine for two reasons: to remove sediment from older bottles, and to aerate younger wines to enhance their aromas and flavors. But there's a third reason for decanting that's equally important, though rarely acknowledged: Decanting wine is one of the most visually captivating things you can do surrounding wine service, and the act adds an undeniable sense of heightened ceremony to any special occasion.

Given all of these perks, don't you think it's time you mastered the art of decanting?
trincheroBarrel_Room_TN.jpgLong Tradition of Hospitality Continues With New Ultra-Premium State of the Art Facility in St. Helena

December 1, 2009. St. Helena, Calif. - Trinchero Family Estates' highly anticipated new luxury facility, Trinchero Napa Valley, is now fully operational and open daily for tours and tastings. The property boasts a 22,000 sq. foot winery, a state-of the art culinary center and a historic tasting room and picnic area. Nestled just north of the town of St. Helena, the winery is now the exclusive home of the family's new signature Trinchero Napa Valley program; single-vineyard, 100% estate-grown Napa Valley wines.
This is the first in a series of behind-the-scenes articles that explore what it's like to be a wine writer.  I promise to deliver plenty of juicy details, insider tidbits and mouthwatering descriptors - so grab a glass and settle in.

By Courtney Cochran
Twitter: @HipTastesMaven

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