Wine of The Week

Wines with spooky good values

Posted on: Friday 10/26/2012 10:15pm

Scott Greenberg, wine columnist for the Washington Examiner

Debating which wine with your spouse

Posted on: Friday 10/19/2012 6:50pm

Scott Greenberg, wine columnist for the Washington Examiner

Argentina wine served with ice and a squeeze of lime

Posted on: Friday 10/12/2012 6:53pm

Scott Greenberg, wine columnist for the Washington Examiner

Best value wines from Australia

Posted on: Friday 10/5/2012 7:25pm

Scott Greenberg, Washington Examiner wine columnist

How to avoid the red wine headache

Posted on: Friday 9/28/2012 7:25pm

Scott Greenberg, Wine Columnist for the Washington Examiner "Wine of the Week"

Wine from California's San Louis Obispo County

Posted on: Friday 9/21/2012 8:22pm

Scott Greenberg, Wine Columnist for the Washington Examiner

Wine of the Week

Posted on: Friday 8/31/2012 7:42pm

Scott Greenberg, Wine Columnist for the Washington Examiner

Wines that are worth the hunt

Posted on: Saturday 8/25/2012 1:02am

Scott Greenberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Some wines are just worth looking for.

There are many wines that I really want to review but am reluctant to write about because they may not be readily available in our metropolitan area. While this is certainly a dilemma, it should not be a deterrent. After all, there are some very good wines that just may be worth the hunt.

Since many states now allow consumers to have wine shipped directly to them - within reason - acquiring a prized wine is easier than it has been in the past. However, shipping costs definitely add to the total price tag of the wine and weather may limit when you can receive the wine.

In addition, many wine shops in the area are fairly accommodating when it comes to hunting down a particular wine, so definitely ask your favorite merchant if they can help you locate something special. Retail prices are approximate.

Jamie Kutch fell in love with wine in a chat room on the internet. It's not as strange as it seems, since many budding oenophiles often meet and get together for "offline" tastings through internet postings. But Jamie was bit harder than most by the wine bug. He left a good job in New York with his wife, Kristen, in tow to pursue a dream of making high-end pinot noir in California. The 2009 Kutch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is sourced from several vineyards throughout the Sonoma Coast and sports a lovely nose of red berry and bramble scents. Pretty flavors of cherry, raspberry and red plum wash over the tongue and finish with notes of toasty oak and minerality, balanced by moderate tannins. $40

The good news is the 2009 Alex Gambal Bourgone Chardonnay from Burgundy, France, is available in a few local wine shops. The bad news is due to its exceptional value, it can sell out rather quickly. In 1993, at the tender young age of 40, D.C. native Alex Gambal moved to France with his family for what was supposed to be a one-year sabbatical. Fortunately for wine lovers, he stayed and is now making world-class wines. His entry-level chardonnay is charming, with delicious flavors of green apples and nectarine on the front of the palate and lemon-lime citrus notes that pop in on the back of the palate and onto the bright, medium finish. $30

When my children were younger, they really wanted a dog. They convinced my wife to go along with the idea by telling her that they would name him in honor of her favorite zinfandel. And that's how we ended up with Turley. Today, we still enjoy their wines, including the 2010 Turley Old Vines Zinfandel, produced from old, dry farmed vineyards from Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and several other counties in California. This bar-raising red wine is full of character, including flavors of blackberry jam, black licorice and mocha that seduce the palate. Firm tannins support highlights of cracked black pepper and dried sage on the lengthy finish. $26

Legendary winemaker Nils Venge, a six-foot-something, broad-shouldered blonde of Danish decent, fancies himself a modern-day cowboy. His 2007 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Calif. is worth rounding up. Aromas of blackberry, cassis and cedar dominate the fragrant bouquet. Ripe black fruit - black plums and blackberries - sit on a well-balanced frame, with smooth tannins and pitch-perfect acidity. Notes of cedar, cocoa and roasted coffee linger on the supple finish. $55

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Wines That Are Easy to Find

Posted on: Saturday 8/18/2012 12:46am

Scott Greenberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - One of the questions I am most often asked is, "Where can I find that wine you wrote about last week?" As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, finding a wine that is widely available can be a challenge.

Of course, one of the most useful tools in finding any wine is the Internet. I have found some success in using search engines to locate a particular wine. My favorite online tool is wine-searcher.com. While their standard version is free, it is limited to searching inventory of wine shops that pay a fee to be listed.

Wine shop websites are also getting better at maintaining up-to-date inventories online (although it is always prudent to contact the shop to confirm availability before trekking out).

This week, I thought I would dedicate the Wine of the Week spot to wines that are widely available in our area.

Bubbles are always fun. And organic grapes are just icing in the sparkling wine, like the Prosecco grapes used to make the Non-vintage Mionetto Brut Prosecco from Italy. It possesses a lively palate with flavors of Red Delicious apple, nectarine and tangy citrus. The finish is crisp and clean, and would make a perfect pairing with fresh strawberries or grilled oysters. $12

As we glide into the last half of the summer season, I am spending a lot more time outside, cooking on the grill, so I am looking for a smooth, easy-drinking wine to compliment both the food and the mood. Enter 2010 Bolla Soave Classico from Italy. This isn't your parent's Soave. This charming white wine (Soave means "soft" in Italian) is full of aromas of white peach and white flowers on the nose and flavors of stone fruit, citrus and pear on the light-bodied frame. A touch of marzipan on the delicate finish reminds me to enjoy it with grilled chicken. $12

One of the most renowned producers in Burgundy region of France is Domaine Louis Latour. Their Louis Latour Ardèche Chardonnay from France is a value-driven white wine that has a lot to offer for the money. Crisp apple, white nectarine and lemony flavors cover the palate on a sheet of crisp acidity. Notes of steely mineral on the back end of the medium-bodied finish provides a great backdrop to roast chicken or pork loin. $11

I really enjoy off-dry (ever-so-slightly sweet) wines as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to spicy fare. The 2011 Yalumba Christobel's Eden Valley Riesling from Australia shines with floral aromas of peach nectar and mango on the bouquet and crisp flavors of white nectarine, pineapple and guava in the mouth. The bright acidity balances the sweetness of the fruit and the hint of minerality provides depth on the finish. $12

If a charming red wine is on your agenda, then the 2008 Columbia Winery Merlot from Washington State is a fun choice. Merlot grapes make up about 85 percent of the blend, but malbec, sangiovese, cabernet franc, barbera and petit verdot are also added in for balance and finesse. The nose is full of red plum, dried herbs and cedar aromatics. The palate is rewarded with flavors of blackberry, dark plum, black cherry and baking spices. A touch of tobacco highlights the soft, pretty finish. $20

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Wine of the Week: Wine Deals For Restaurant Week

Posted on: Friday 8/10/2012 8:15pm

Scott Greenberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Most of us can't wait to get out of Washington, D.C. in August. But if you're considering sticking around next week, there are two things that will work in your favor; less traffic and the annual summer Restaurant Week dine-a-thon.

From August 13th through the 19th, over 200 of the area's finest restaurants will offer three-course meals for set prices during the 18th biannual Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants will offer a three-course lunch for $20.12 (get it? 2012) and a three-course price-fixed dinner for just $35.12.

Further adding to the value-oriented experience, many of these restaurants will also offer up wine tasting specials that you can pair with lunch or dinner.

Click here for a complete list of restaurants taking part in the promotion.

Art and Soul, at 415 New Jersey Ave, Northwest is the brainchild of restaurateur Art Smith. Art grew up in a small southern town where he says, "... My cuisine is certainly a reflection of my upbringing."

But Smith has come a long way since his youth, cooking for some of the world's most famous celebrities, including a ten year stint as the personal chef for Oprah Winfrey. Art and Soul celebrates Art's southern roots with a modern spin.

Continuing with the southern theme, Vidalia restaurant, at 1990 M Street, Northwest, is planning of offering some of chef and owner Jeff Buben's classic dishes, such as shrimp and grits, on the week-long menu.

Sommelier Ed Jenks has put together a list of red and white wines that represent great quality and value, including an Argentinian Torrontes from Don Manuel Villafañe, as well as a selection of craft beers and artisanal cocktails made from small production American craft spirits.

All three of the local outposts of the Capital Grille steakhouse, in McLean, Chevy Chase and the District, are currently featuring their "Generous Pour" concept along with dry aged steaks and fresh seafood. The Generous Pour allows patrons to select any number of tastes from a pre-set list of nine premium wines for $25. During Restaurant Week, the steakhouse will also offer a three-wine tasting option for $9.

Owner Dean Gold of Dino's, at Connecticut Ave, Northwest, is extending Restaurant Week through September 6th. The free corkage policy featured Monday through Wednesday is suspended during Restaurant Week. But, Dean will be offering special wine pairings as well as 33 percent off of wines over $50 on Sunday and Monday.

And speaking of corkage policies, if you are celebrating a special occasion and have been patiently waiting to open an extraordinary bottle of wine, Restaurant Week might be the time to consider taking it out to dinner. But there are a few things you need to know before you tote your wine along with you.

Patrons should remember that corkage is a privilege, not a right. Policies vary widely from restaurant to restaurant and from state to state, so call ahead of time to let them know that you are planning on bringing in your own wine and confirm restaurant's corkage policy.

By the way, I recommend that you always offer a taste of the wine to both the sommelier and your server. A little kindness goes a long way and a sip of a unique wine just might help the server forget the bottle of wine your table didn't buy. Another tip, I always try to order at least one bottle of wine off of their wine list as a way of showing my appreciation.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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