A Round Of Wine For Thanksgiving: The ‘Help Yourself’ Version

holiday wine, what to serve with Thanksgiving I was having a conversation just yesterday about the joys of Thanksgiving and they boil down to this: food and family. And I dare say, for many of us, the food category includes wine. My husband and I have served Thanksgiving to our big, extended Irish family since before we had children. I do recall a much, much younger me, a woman who printed out a list of Thanksgiving-friendly wine suggestions from some expert online and took it, part-and-parcel to the wine shop. It’s actually how I fell in love with Beaucastel, after buying some for that meal. If you’ve ever paused with concern about what to serve at Thanksgiving, I’m here to relieve your fears. I’ve tasted a number of excellent wines over the past months that will be lovely with your dinner. Rather than line up pairings—an act nearly impossible for the wide-open feast—this article highlights interesting wines ...

Inside the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction

Photo Courtesy: DuVine
I recently had the opportunity to cover the Hospices de Beaune wine auction, which occurs every November in one of my favorite wine towns in Bourgogne (Burgundy) France.
The Hospices de Beaune estate (most of it Grand Cru and Premier Cru) and its prestigious wines produced by 22 hand-chosen winemakers are utterly famous. The wines are sold annually at auction on the third Saturday of November in an event conducted by Christie’s auction house. The proceeds of the sale are still used in a non-profit fashion for the conservation of the historic Hôtel Dieu. There is also a charity lot, the Pièce des Présidents, proceeds from which are generally the highest in the auction and are donated to a very small number of select organizations each year.

< p style="text-align:center;">For the full story, click over to DuVine and take a peek. Thank you!

Lirac: Five Star French Wine And Travel

Lirac Vineyard
A view of a Lirac vineyard at Château de Montfaucon. Photo Credit: Jill Barth
France’s Rhône River runs north to south, beginning in the Swiss Alps and eventually finding its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Populating its banks are world-renowned vineyards, divided into Northern and Southern designationsthe latter of which includes the Lirac Cru. In a valley where wines are classified by region – not variety – possessing this Cru designation is a key distinction, as there are only 13. Though Lirac was officially recognized as such in the 1940s, the area has been known for quality vineyards since the middle ages, famous for fresh, aromatic and structured wines.
Domaine Clos Sixte Lirac
Photo Credit: Jill Barth

The AOP – which includes the communes of Roquemaure, Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, Saint-Geniès-de-Comolas and Lirac — produces red, white and rosé wine from 782 hectares. It is home to 44 domaines and châteaux, 18 négociants and ...

Lirac Vines
Lirac, Vacqueyras, Rhône, Gigondas, Rasteau
Avignon at Night
red wine from France, south of France, travel to France for wine
Lirac, Alain Jaume, Best wine in French

#MerlotMe In The Kitchen: A #WinePW Special

wines for fall, Sonoma wine, Napa wine
#MerlotMe wines from California — an October celebration. Photo Credit: Jill Barth
Many years ago I walked into a wine store and the clerk approached me with a question: “What’s your favorite wine?” Hmmm. It’s an honest question, but anyone who has tasted as much wine as I have will never be able to provide an answer. Another version of the inquiry sounds like this, “What sort of wine varieties do you like best?” Same hesitation, on my part. Even a single variety can present itself as endless. Perhaps none more so than merlot, which thrives in France, Italy, Chile, the United States and Australia. Simplified, merlot provides silky tannins and red or dark fruit — it’s complex and depended upon in blends but can fashion a staid single varietal wine. I’ve found that versatility on the table is a characteristic that is often overlooked. To prove that ...
J Lohr, Robert Hall, Still Waters, Ancient Peaks, california wine
#MerlotMe 2
#MerlotMe 1

Lugana: An Italian White Wine For All Seasons

Lugana vineyards
Photo Credit: Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC
Lugana, surrounding captivating Lake Garda, is an Italian wine enclave in Lombardy and Veneto. If you’re looking for a full-bodied white wine to take you into the Autumn season, Lugana may be your answer. Lugana is comprised of 2,100 hectares, situated between the provinces of Brescia and Verona near Italy’s largest lake. Lake Garda provides a Mediterranean aspect to the growing environment, with cooling breezing emanating off the water and relatively stable diurnal spread. The soil here is predominantly clay-based and rich in minerals — in hilly areas of the denomination soil can tend to be sandy. It is interesting to note that the area was once that of a marshy, wet forest called Selva Lucana. To reclaim the land for agriculture, at the time grain farming, the Republic of Venice drained the land. With a Bronze Age history of vineyards, the practice of ...
Italy, Wine, Food, travel


wines from Provence, wine country, French wine
Organic vines at Domaine Dalmeran. Credit: Jill Barth
An Autumn Escape To France’s Hilltop Wine Towns
September 6, 2018, Forbes Hill towns capture the imagination and inspire travel, and Provençal villages situated around the Dentelles de Montmirail are no exception. These villages anchor gem wine regions of France’s Southern Rhône Valley, distinct cru defined by their own names: Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne, Gigondas and Vacqueyras. These islands produce some of Europe’s best wine
September 6, 2018, USA Today 10Best Eat Sip Trip Some of Europe’s most interesting wine regions are islands – environments and cultures preserved by a frame of sea. Whether planning a trip or a meal, get to know these five tempting island wine regions. New Ways To Experience Burgundy Winemaking History This Fall
August 28, 2018, Forbes When UNESCO recognized the Bourgogne (Burgundy) vineyards known as the Les Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne, it was an acknowledgment of not ...

Two French Wine Trips To Take This Fall

The vineyards of Beaumes-de-Venise with the commune of Suzette in view. Credit: JILL BARTH
I’ve recently written about two extraordinary travel opportunities for lovers of French wine. Both dive deep into culture and experience while keeping wine front and center.

An Autumn Escape To France’s Hilltop Wine Towns, published on Forbes, is all about Rhône Valley communes in Provence, along the Dentelles de Montmirail:

Hill towns capture the imagination and inspire travel, and Provençal villages situated around the Dentelles de Montmirail are no exception. These villages anchor gem wine regions of France’s Southern Rhône Valley, distinct cru defined by their own names: Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne, Gigondas and Vacqueyras.

Offering the natural, rugged side of the south of France, the Dentelles de Montmirail are a lacy, jagged skyline caused by prehistoric geological upset to Jurassic limestone. Ancient villages cling to the mountains and vineyards are planted along the terraced slopes and the hem ...

Bubbly From The Middle East And Latin America

Middle Eastern Wine, Latin American Wine High quality, affordable bubbly comes from some totally unexpected places around the world. While many winemakers use traditional production methods, local grape varieties and growing environments make these wines entirely unique. For example, champagne is made using the Traditional Method (sometimes called méthode champenoise), a technique which involves making bubbles through a second round of fermentation in the bottle. This same approach is applied in Brazil and Mexico, regional flavors and styles give these wines their own distinct profiles. Similarly, Italian prosecco is made in the Charmat Method, with the second fermentation happening in the tank, rather than in the bottle – for a fresh take on this classic style, look to Argentina. While some haven’t gone mainstream and may still be hard to source, it’s worth the effort to track down these yet-to-be-discovered bubbly wines… to see the full list, I ask you to please click over to ...

Cahors: Your Favorite Wine For Fall

Cahors for fall Where I come from, fall is a relief. Summer is hot and humid and winter is long and unfriendly. Fall, most Midwesterners agree, is the best time of year when it comes to weather. It’s a short window of time, the truly kind season, so it’s common for people to fall into tradition to make the most of nostalgia and comfort. But we’ve got nothing to lose if we shake things up a bit — if we try new things. Like, perhaps, a new wine. Cahors (“kah-OR”) wines are made from malbec, a variety featured on wine lists around the world. It’s a marginal member of the classic Bordeaux blending crew (found more in Côtes de Bordeaux than elsewhere) and Argentine growers have embraced malbec in such a way that their treatment could be seen as a full-on revival. A dash is also grown in the Loire Valley. Called côt ...
Cahors Mapa

You Might Want To Take Notes: Wine Writers On Cahors

French wine, wineophiles, This month our French Winophiles group covers Cahors. It’s a singular wine region that works with a singular grape: malbec. Malbec is situated nicely, I think, in a position to satisfy most wine drinkers. It tastes great with many foods, comes in a range of prices and represents wine regions around the world. Though South American malbec hits the headlines lately, the origins of this dark-skinned varietal are actually in the south of France. Cahors is home to the original malbec. One of the oldest wine regions in France, this relatively small spot is situated along the Lot River in Occitanie. Curious to learn more? Follow the Winophiles Twitter chat on Saturday, September 15, 2018 with our hashtag: #Winophiles. These writers have prepared background stories packed with history, food-pairings and perspective. Join us in our chat and brush up on Cahors with the following articles: Rob from Odd Bacchus tells ...

5 Surprises About Greek Wine

Assyrtiko, Savatiano, Skin contact wine, orange wine, natural wine, wild ferment, Santorini, Papaginannakos It is a coincidence that I published a story on European island wines this week and here I am, writing about Greek wines today. A coincidence, sure, but a fortunate one. Nearly all of the regions I featured had an ancient connection to Greek wines. Santorini, obviously. But also Hvar and Lanzarote. Corsica and Sicily, them too. Much olden-day influence wrapped in mystery. So much has happened since the Greeks ruled the seas, so much has changed in culture and method — even Greece itself has transformed greatly. As recently as the phylloxera (a Greek word, by the way) outbreak in the late 19th century, Greece had to decide an identity, how to move forward. Like so many regions, they replanted with what would not only survive but also sell and worked toward the future. Some old ways were retained, some new cards were dealt. There are so many fascinating ...

Wine To Match The Trees: 15 Italian Reds for Fall

Italian Reds for Fall 1.jpg There is something about fall that whispers to our senses. We seek comfort and nostalgia in the smells and tastes of spice and bounty. We long for the cool air that where I live we call “sweater weather” and the feel of chill on our cheeks. We look, oh goodness we look, for the colors of fall — in some parts of America, they call this “leaf peeping”, an attraction that causes a migration from cities into the wooded areas of the world — looking for fall colors is a beckoning. Taking inspiration from the appeal, giving into that which we seek, let’s drink to the fall colors and highlight some red wines. Ideal for this season’s meals, many-layered and long-cooked, red wines from Italy offer everything we could want from a fall drink. Variety is the spice of Italy, and here are 15 fall reds for the fall season… ...
What does wine taste like? How to taste wine. Italian wine tasting.
A lineup of fresh summer wines from Umbrian and Lazio
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Around Italy With Red Wines For Fall

Red Wines for Fall
On the first Saturday of the month, a group of food, wine and travel bloggers post about a region or a wine varietal. For September’s event, we look towards the change of season with food and wine that celebrate cooler weather and the abundance of harvest. These wines can be from any region, based on your own experience and preference. We are looking for roundup lists, pairing suggestions, travel inspiration, producer profiles and any other story that highlights red wine from Italy this time of year. The Favorite Italian Red Wines For Fall #ItalianFWT event will be Saturday, September 1, 2018. The following posts will go live early that morning and you can follow along on a Twitter chat — using #ItalianFWT — from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. CT. Marcia at Joy of Wine reveals Lacrima – The Aromatic Jewel in La ...

Cahors, The Original Malbec

The September event for our French Winophiles group centers around the region of Cahors. Here malbec is native (though it is called côt) with a history dating back to the 16th century. This email is an invitation to participate and/or mark your calendar for our Twitter chat on the topic of Cahors. We will cover the who, what and where of the region with suggestions, pairings, travel inspiration and more. No one walks away from a Winophiles chat without a long list of new things to try!
If you are a wine writer or blogger, this is your invitation to join in!
  • Contact me to tell me you’re in: Include blog URL, Twitter handle,  and any other social media details. If you know your blog post title, include that…but you can also send that a bit closer to the event. We’d just like to get a sense of ...

A Closer Look At Grower Champagne With Champagne André Jacquart

1er Cru, Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Le Mesnil, Sur Oger, Vertus
Grower Champagne, such as this exceptional bottle, from Champagne André Jacquart, is often terroir-driven. Credit: Jill Barth
Many consumers have become accustomed to assuming that the grapes for their wine somehow always grow in relation to the winery. While frequent wine drinkers learn differently very quickly, many folks that pull a wine off the shelf attribute all of the work to the name on the label. This is all part of the learning process, perhaps one of the most intricate points of understanding wine. I’ll keep it brief and very basic.
Sell Or Make
Wine grape growers work in vineyards around the world. In some cases the vineyard owner and his close associates (even family) work in the vines, in other cases the vineyard owner is a third party that hires out the care of the vines. Either way, when the grapes are harvested, the vineyard owner needs to make ...

Favorite Italian Red Wines For Fall

Next month I’m the host of the Italian Food, Wine and Travel (ItalianFWT) writers group and I’ve chosen the couldn’t-be-broader topic of Favorite Italian Red Wines for Fall. Red Wines for Fall
Italian Food, Wine and Travel
On the first Saturday of the month, a group of food, wine and travel bloggers post about a region or a wine varietal. For September’s event, we look towards the change of season with food and wine that celebrate cooler weather and the abundance of harvest. These wines can be from any region, based on your own experience and preference. We are looking for roundup lists, pairing suggestions, travel inspiration, producer profiles and any other story that highlights red wine from Italy this time of year. The Favorite Italian Red Wines For Fall #ItalianFWT event will be Saturday, September 1, 2018. Posts will go live early that morning and you can follow along on a Twitter chat ...

What We’re Drinking Now: Chill White Wine from Spain and Portugal

Chill white wines. Perfectly refreshing but so much more. White wines from the Iberian Peninsula, abundant Spain and Portugal, are not only cooling and chill but also wise cultural ambassadors for their region.
Iberian wines
A selection of white wines from Spain and Portugal. Credit: Jill Barth
What these wines offer in terms of drinkability (especially in dog-days August) comes naturally, exhibitions of indigenous varieties calibrated by geographically-centered winemaking. Native yeasts, ancient methods, attention to detail and sheer craft enthusiasm make these wines serious contenders for top-of-my-list wines to drink. And wines to talk about — interesting helps, in our house, because we talk a lot about wine. My hubby and I work together on every meal that makes a showing on L’Occasion. To achieve our partnership, we talk a lot about wine and food. This week, as we worked on this post about Iberian wines I’m simultaneously publishing a piece on ...

Tasting With The Winemaker: Robbie Meyer Of Murrieta’s Well

Tasting wine with the winemaker — there may be no better way to experience a glass than this collaborative moment. Thanks to Snooth, I recently had the opportunity to experience a virtual tasting with Robbie Meyer, the winemaker at Murrieta’s Well. He was at home in California’s Livermore Valley and I was at home in Illinois.
Photo Courtesy: Murrieta’s Well
This interstate leap is a capture of how Murrieta’s Well does things. They are comfortable at home but have a global perspective and wide reach. Growing grapes since the 1800s — on cuttings from Château d’Yquem and Château Margaux — they honor small plot, terroir-driven philosophies to produce wines with California style and French roots. In the 1930’s, the winery became part of the Wente Estate, a name deeply synonymous with California wine history.
Livermore Valley
The Livermore Valley AVA is located about 30 miles east of San Fransico. ...
Cabernet Sauvignon, California Cab
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Livermore Valley, California Wine

Why Rosé Matters, According To French Culture

Rosé wines from France
Rosé wines from France. Credit: Jill Barth
I don’t think there is a topic I’ve covered more than rosé. Part preference, part probability, it seems only natural that a Provence wine specialist would document the past, present and future of vin trois, the third color of the wine trinity. Affiliations range from the “Hampton’s Water” lifestyle crowd to the “rosé all day, which turns all year” set to the “when in France, drink rosé” philosophy. But I’m here to argue, with the proud yet slightly guarded nature of the public defender, that none of these positions get that the root of what rosé really means. IMG_3465 From my coverage on my Forbes contributor column: “The Center for Rosé Research (Centre de Recherche et d’Expérimentation sur le Vin Rosé) is located in the small commune of Vidauban, situated in Provence in southeast France. Originated in 1999 as the ...
French wine regions
what is rosé? how is rosé made?
rosé color chart, Forbes rosé

Midwestern Gardens and Missouri Wine: Augusta, America’s First AVA

American wine, where to visit wineries, wine tasting
The View from Noboleis in Augusta Missouri. Photo Credit: Jill Barth
American wine history is packed with unexpected turns and hand-of-fate outcomes. Our population has thirsted for wine since the founding fathers sipped Madiera and Thomas Jefferson’s agrarian pursuits inspired a true American wine. History isn’t complete without the Wente “mother clone” in Livermore Valley or the Judgement of Paris in Napa (with some Sonoma fruit, but that’s another story). I’ve read that New Mexico was the site of the first American vineyards and I’ve followed the prosperity of hybrids from American universities, making it possible to cultivate wine in every state of the union. Many people, despite the fact that they are told to expect the unexpected, are still surprised to find that the first officially recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the United States was awarded to Augusta, MO. 35 miles from Saint Louis along the verdant ...
wine tasting trip, Illinois wine tasting road trip
sweet wine, Missouri wine, where to taste wine, Day trips from Chicago
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