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

Classic Recipe: The Vesper

By Christopher Null | July 1, 2008 |

In 1953, Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale, and had James Bond invent his own drink, which he called the Vesper, after a character in the book. The drink made a new appearance in the previous Bond movie of the same name, with Daniel Craig rapid-firing the recipe to a waiter so quickly I’m amazed he…

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Review: Lillet Blanc

By Christopher Null | June 30, 2008 |

Yes, even I have to fight the urge not to say it as “lillette” (hard T) instead of leelay, as it is in proper French. Lillet is an aromatic wine from the Bordeaux region in France; though not always marketed as such, Lillet is essentially a vermouth and can be substituted for dry vermouth in…

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Calorie Counts for Every Booze

By Christopher Null | June 30, 2008 |

Captain Morgan has 86 calories per shot, but Seagram’s Gin has 120. Natty Lite: 95. Smirnoff Ice: 241. If you’re curious how your favorite tipple stacks up in the alcohol content, caloric content, and carbs per serving, check out the Consumer Federation of America’s Alcohol Facts table (PDF link) showing you exactly what’s what in…

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Review: 2005 Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon “Jack’s Masterpiece”

By Christopher Null | June 21, 2008 |

Very young but full of promise, this Napa Cabernet created by Hall Wines president Mike Reynolds is a potential keeper, though I fear it’s far too young to drink today. The 2005 Cab is locked up tight as a snare drum. Even after several hours in the glass, it still hasn’t opened up much for…

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10 Drinking Achievements Before You Die

By Christopher Null | June 20, 2008 |

While we try to at least give lip service to “discriminating” drinking around here, this list of essential boozehound exploits is if nothing else lots of fun to read. Perhaps the toughest: Case In A Day – 24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I prefer to think not. You need…

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Review: 2007 Graffigna Centenario Pinot Grigio

By Christopher Null | June 14, 2008 |

Never a huge fan of Pinot Grigio, I’ve found Graffigna’s new release quite compelling as the varietal goes. Here’s a crisp and brisk wine, very citrusy (especially lemon, maybe some lime), with a bracing acidity. There’s Pinot Grigio’s telltale “meat” flavor in the finish, but, and it feels weird to type this, it works well…

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Review: NV Gallo Family Vineyards Twin Valley Chardonnay

By Christopher Null | June 11, 2008 |

The good folks at Gallo Family Vineyards (see prior review here) were kind enough to send along a four-pack of mini-bottles of Twin Valley Chardonnay, a non-vintage white that’s as close to a “picnic wine” as you’re likely to find. Like “summer wine,” the “picnic wine” term comes loaded with baggage. It implies an easy-drinking,…

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Tasting Report: Vino in Villa USA Prosecco Event, June 2008

By Christopher Null | June 10, 2008 |

Italian sparkling wine gets little love, and is often hard to find in the U.S., so it was a real treat to get to try a dozen or so Proseccos at a recent event in San Francisco, offering that rare chance to taste numerous producers and varieties side by side. First, a little primer: Prosecco…

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Review: Gekkeikan Zipang Sparkling Sake

By Christopher Null | June 6, 2008 |

Sake continues its slow but inexorable push into American cocktails and bottles, this time with Gekkeikan’s Zipang Sparkling Sake beverage. Like saké2me, Zipang is a single-serve bottle (though larger, at 250ml). Unlike saké2me though, Zipang isn’t flavored, it’s literally just sake given a light carbonation. If you like sake, you’ll really enjoy Zipang. Served nice…

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Review: 2005 Luke Donald Collection Napa Valley

By Christopher Null | June 3, 2008 |

For those whose TVs remain off on Sunday afternoon, Luke Donald is a PGA golfer, and Luke Donald Collection is his new wine label. Produced in the Rutherford region of Napa Valley (and blended from grapes grown throughout Napa), the otherwise unnamed Luke Donald Collection red is a Bordeaux-style blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43%…

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