We have tons of upscale coffee shops, and wine is more popular than ever in North America, so Eater asks what seems to be a simple question: Natural Wine Is Everywhere in America. Where Are the Wine Bars?
I say “seems” because the answer is long and fascinating for a number of reasons: economic, cultural, and gastronomical. It’s a smart piece. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a snippet of what I mean:
It’s sad to see something so ostensibly simple become another exclusive pleasure, so I keep looking for the neighborhood wine bar of my dreams — which is honestly just a cramped room with bottles of interesting, affordable wine on the wall and, like, a cheese plate? Yet this seemingly simple thing is stupidly hard to find. It’d be sort of funny that cosseted American wine bars struggle to attain the loose charm of Paris, given that France is stereotyped as the place that’s snooty, rules-bound, and tradition-obsessed, if the result wasn’t such a bummer. While yes, there are a lot of rules, France also has a more open culture of public life; you don’t need to make plans to go out to drink wine. And though wine signifies many things in French culture, an air of sophistication because you drink it is not one of them. The appeal of enjoying wine in France, at least as the kind of person who’s moved by wine but still needs bolds on the list, is that French wine culture feels so much less precious than in America.
You might argue that spritzers and shandies are not cocktails, but that is just classist nonsense! 🙂 Besides, not everything needs to be prepared by a fancy mixologist. These cheap and cheerful mixes may be some of the best things to drink during these late great summer days.
No, it’s not two buck Chuck, and they aren’t necessarily the cheapest wines you can find, but if you are looking for good value and your local Walmart of Trader Joe’s sell wine, then you will want to read this:
via Taste-Testing Walmart and Trader Joe’s Wines: Whose Are Better? – Bloomberg
For those of you looking to branch out beyond whites, roses, and heavy reds (for BBQ), here’s a good list: Chilled Red Wines to Drink All Summer – Bon Appétit.
Beaujolais is the obvious choice for Gamay, but lots of new world producers make wine with that grape. For Carignan, you may have to look around: if you can find a place that stocks a good selection of French wine, look in the Midi section. Also check out the Spanish wine section. The challenge there is it can sometimes (often times?) be blended with heavier reds. Ask the staff for help if you want something lighter. As for Zweigelt, the challenge there is finding it at all. If you can, get some.
If you want to know more about carignan, check out this from Winefolly.com:
I love this: Why You Love Pinot Grigio So Much — And Why You Need To Move On because I am very much against Pinot Grigio. There is so much good wine in the world, and if you are a pinot grigio fan, it’s time for you to move on. Now you may think: but I like Pinot Grigio! If you do, read this article so you can make baby steps away from that wine to some better varietals like Vermentino.
Once you’ve done that, consider other whites that deliver more taste. If you hate Chardonnay (some do), then try shift to Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Fume Blanc or one of the greatest whites of all: Riesling.
Over at HisAndHerWine.com they have two great infographics on how to pair wines with pizza. I picked the one above because it focuses on specific Italian wines, but the other infographic and alot more info can be found here: 16 Best Wines to Drink with Pizza.
The best wine to drink with pizza may be the one open nearest to you, but if you want to be precise and have a better pairing, check out that site.
If you plan to go out wine drinking this weekend — or any day next week — then head over to blog.to and see what they have to say on 5 restaurants with cheap wine in Toronto.
Of the restos on the list, I have known about Le Paradis for along time. Whenever I went, I’d remark how reasonable wine prices were here compared to other places. (The food and ambiance of the place is also not bad.) If the other places are comparable, then this is a very good list indeed.
The site Wine of the Weekend has a great description of a delicious wine that is also great value (which is not surprising given it is part of the Fuzion line of wines). It is a superb summer wine, great for sipping by itself or paired with many dishes found in fusion cooking. Pinot Grigio fans should note, however, that is has alot of flavour, including “opulent peach, pear and citrus flavours on the palate”/ I love it, but fans of very subtle wines might find it too much.
See Wine of the Weekend for more information.
Oh, and the price: $8.95 at the LCBO in Ontario.
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Tagged argentina, lcbo, wine
One of the Wines of the Month at the LCBO in Ontario is CHÂTEAU D’ARGADENS 2004.
Paul Gregutt of The Seattle Times says:
‘ It’s a joy to find a wellmade, affordable bottle of Bordeaux, from a classic vintage, at a modest price. Granted, this won’t bump the Mouton off the table, but at roughly 2 percent of the cost, it delivers fine flavors of red currant and cranberry, spice and truffle. It’s supple and bright, and soundly made at just 13 percent alcohol.’
It has a nice nose and a good finish. Well worth it for $18.95. Folks (like me) used to the stuff under $10 should treat themselves to this. It’s perfect for those upcoming winter nights.
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Beppi Crosariol has a good article in the Globe and Mail arguing against ordering wine by the glass. I know what he means: once, I ordered a glass of red from a good restaurant and it was warm because the bottle was sitting on the bar fridge! Ugh! That went back.
If you want to order by the glass, see and order what was recently opened, and try and stick with fresh whites. (What is true for glasses also goes for 1/2 litres and anything that comes from an opened bottle. Although in some cases, if it’s a recently opened red, you may get the benefit of the wine opening up a bit.)
See for yourself by reading this: Wine by the glass? I’ll pass
P.S. He also had a nice, snarky comment (on this varietal) that I love:
“(Hey, if you’d wanted a white wine with no flavour, you’d have ordered a pinot grigio.)”
There are some pinot grigios that do have flavour, but why chase them around when there are so many other white varietals that do have taste?
(flickr photo from sunnyUK photostream)
Posted in food, wine
This is a delightful wine, especially for summer. And it’s cool too: made 100% from the Symphony grape, making it rather rare indeed (imho). It has a lovely bouquet — very floral — and wonderful to taste. No oak.
You can have it with spicy food, but it’s a treat to drink it by itself. It’s the kind of wine that, after you have a glass, you think: hmmmm, I think I need another glass of that.
If you are lucky enough to live in the US, it’s only $8/bottle. Here in Ontario, it is $14.95 in the Vintages section, which is pretty good for that part of your local LCBO.
What else? It won the Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competion, January 2007. And it’s perfect sipping wine on a warm summer night. You owe it to yourself to get some. 🙂
For more on this delicious wine, click here.
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