While wine can be made from many types of fruits and flowers, it is iconically produced from fermented grapes. Wine production dates back at least 8000 years, and today it is produced in quantity in more than 70 countries, with Italy, Spain, France, and the United States the largest producers of wine today. The world of wine is vast and complex, with more than 10,000 grape varietals in existence. This is largely due to experimental cross-breeding and grafting that has taken place for millennia, and such experiments have led to some of today’s most popular grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The primary styles of wine today include red, white, and rose. While almost all grape juice itself is white, red wine is made by allowing the juice from black (aka red) grapes to ferment in contact with its skins, while white wine is usually (but not always) made from white grapes. Rose wine is made from black grapes with limited skin contact, which provides the pinkish color.

Top Wine Posts:

Understanding the Wines of France
Wine and Beer Touring in California’s Paso Robles, 2017
Touring and Wine Tasting in California’s Anderson Valley
Harvest in Chile’s Casablanca Valley – A Dusty Paradise
Chateau Montelena’s Dream Tasting: A Retrospective of Five Decades of Wine
Exploring Port Wine: Touring Porto and the Douro Valley
Visiting Tuscany’s Tenuta dell’Ornellaia

Review: Señor Sangria Classic Red

By Christopher Null | June 12, 2009 |

Pre-mixed, bottled sangria can be a dicey proposition. I mean, is it that hard to make good sangria yourself? Well, yes, yes it is. That’s why you never make it at home, lardo — you’re too lazy. And you’ve got to have lots of fresh fruit handy. And a knife. Screw that and pop open…

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Tasting Report: 4 Upcoming French Wineries, 2009 Releases

By Christopher Null | June 6, 2009 |

Had the chance to meet and lunch with representatives of four French wine properties this week at San Francisco’s Boulevard restaurant. The properties are from all over France — Alsace, Loire, Bordeaux, and the Rhone Valley (what, no Burgundy?) — which gave us a chance to explore, in case we’d forgotten, how widely variable styles…

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Review: 2006 Hugues Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet Coteaux du Languedoc

By Christopher Null | May 31, 2009 |

That’s a big mouth of a name for a $10 wine, ain’t it? Hugues Beaulieu brings us this picpoul from the Languedoc region of France, an area best known for its reds but with also, it turns out, the potential to turn out a surprisingly tasty white. I’d never had picpoul de pinet before (seriously,…

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Review: 2006 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

By Christopher Null | May 12, 2009 |

Robert Craig sent this pre-release vintage of its 2006 Howell Mountain Cabernet, and it’s quite a wine. Very big and, certainly, worth some time in the cellar before it’s ready for prime time, the ultra-dark wine features aromas of roasted meats and smooth plum notes. Right now the wine is tight and really needs time…

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Review: Dry Sack Oloroso 15 Years Old Solera Especial

By Christopher Null | May 11, 2009 |

One reader recently asked why we don’t review much sherry around here, and the answer is simple: They don’t send us much sherry to review, and in fact they don’t sell much of it in the U.S. at all. In fact, Williams & Humbert’s Dry Sack 15-year Oloroso is the first sherry we’ve formally reviewed…

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Review: Fish Eye and Pinot Evil Boxed Wines, 2009 Releases

By Christopher Null | May 9, 2009 |

More and more producers are turning to boxes to move lots of product (they typically hold three liters vs. just 750ml of wine in a standard bottle) at rock-bottom prices. Here’s a look at two more offerings that use cardboard and plastic in lieu of glass and cork. 2008 Fish Eye California Pinot Grigio is…

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Review: NV Quady Electra and Red Electra

By Christopher Null | May 8, 2009 |

What an idea: Chill a wine shortly after fermentation begins and then filter and bottle it right there: You’re left with a quite sweet proto-wine (because most of the sugar in the grapes remains in the juice) with a low level of alcohol. In the case of Electra, which is the juice of orange muscat…

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Review: 2007 Robert Oatley Shiraz South Australia

By Christopher Null | May 7, 2009 |

This line of wines, founded by 80-year-old Robert Oatley, who originated the Rosemount Estate brand, marks a return to U.S. soil from the Australian impresario. A selection of varietals — Chardonnay, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio,  a Cabernet-Merlot blend, and a Sangiovese Rose — are being made available, all with an avowed “modern” approach to…

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Tasting Report: 2008 California Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Samples

By Christopher Null | May 5, 2009 |

What!? We’re writing about 2008 wines when many wineries are still tricking out their 2006 vintages!? That’s right: Barrel sampling season is underway for the 2008 vintage of California Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines have been in oak for a few months now and are starting to show their true colors. I spent several hours tasting…

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Review: 2008 Paul Jaboulet Parallele 45 Rose

By Christopher Null | May 1, 2009 |

Summer is nigh, which means pink wine time is upon us. Frederick Wildman submits for our approval this rose from Paul Jaboulet Aine, the pink version of the producer’s popular Cotes du Rhone Parallele 45, the red version of which is a staple at every wine shop on the planet. This rose — 50% grenache,…

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