(This column originally appeared in the 2/24 issue of Dan’s Papers) The Wines You Want This WeekendIn a vineyard’s yearly life cycle, winter is probably one of the least exciting on the surface. Often called ‘dormancy’ because, well, the vines are dormant, vineyard workers are busy pruning, tying the vines and preparing the vineyard for the 2005 vintage. But tasting rooms are relatively quiet, making this a great time for serious wine drinkers to visit. Without the swollen summer crowds or pumpkin-pickers, you can taste at a slower pace, chatting with tasting room staff and learning more than you probably…

Okay. My post about adding an * next to the price of any wine I review that was a media sample has started a discussion that I think is beyond worthy of more time and thought. Check out the comments I received on the post, and then head over to Joel’s post about it. I agree with both Tom and Joel on this. And if you check out Joel’s post, you’ll see a comment that spells out my feelings more completely. I think we’d all like to hear from other wine bloggers and wine blog readers…this is an interesting topic.…

Growing up and spending my first 20+ years in and around PIttsburgh, PA, I don’t think I ever saw a single Greek restaurant–not one. I guess large populations of Greeks never quite made it to Steel Country. So, I never had Greek food until I moved to Long Island…and even then it was mediocre…certainly nothing I’d write about…even if I did crave it on occasion. I mean, who doesn’t like a messy, greasy gyro now and then? My impression of what Greek food is and could be changed not long after Nena and I moved to our new house…and discovered…

My esteemed wine-blogging colleague, Professor Bainbridge, raises an interesting point when it comes to the ethics of "schwag"  in the blogosphere, while linking to an article with one man’s opinions. Honestly, I never really thought much about it…especially because most of the samples I get are intended for my offline wine writing (though they always make an appearance here as well). I don’t see any disclaimers in print publications….does anyone else? Full disclosure is never a bad thing though. So, even though I know that I’m always honest with my reviews (regardless of where the wine comes from), I’m going…

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After a successful trip to South Africa, Wine Blogging Wednesday is back, scheduled for March 9…this time hosted by none other than Andrew at Spitoon. The theme? Obscure Red Grape Varieties. What does that mean exactly? No Cabernet Sauvignon. No Merlot. No Pinot Noir. What about Sangiovese or Tempranillo? Those are out too…we’re talking obscure here people. (For a complete list of banned substances, check out Andrew’s post.) He does offer some suggestions on where to look and what to look for…so fear not! Scour your wine shops for something unique…something weird…something you’ve wanted to try but never have!

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Welcome to the First Annual Independant Food Festival and Awards. I was lucky enough to be included as a judge for this year’s festival…one of 29 people world wide. So, without further adieu…my award… The Best Use of Unripe American-Grown Grapes by a German-Born WinemakerWinner: Roman Roth, Winemaker, Wolffer Estate Vineyards Do you verjus? Literally translated as “green juice” and pronounced “vair-ZHOO,” it’s the fresh, unfermented juice of half-ripe fruit, most often grapes. While quite common in the Old World (especially winemaking regions), I wasn’t familiar with verjus until I moved to Long Island nearly six years ago.   On…

lenz

For obvious reasons, I enjoy my visits to The Lenz Winery in Peconic, NY even if I don’t actually own it, haha. Frankly, I used to be disappointed by the basic, second-label wines that they usually pour in their tasting froom. That all changed when I visited to tast their superb sparkling wines and had an experience I’d wish upon any wine lover. It was then that I could finally understand how some of their wines were rated better than Petrus in a blind tasting. Along with an impromptu vertical tasting of sparkling wines, winemaker Eric Fry popped open a…

laurelakeshome

I’ve written previously about Laurel Lake Vineyard’s 2002 Chardonnay (see the post for more information on the winery) and I found it to be a pleasant wine at a great price. Their 2002 Syrah ($20) is extremely possible in their tasting room and the last vintage sold out sooner than they expected, so I was looking forward to tasting it. Lucky for me, they sent me a bottle…two actually (the first was "off" and they wanted me to review it again).