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CategoryWine Wednesday Archives - WCI Blog

“Terrior” And The Hand That Feeds It

March 2nd, 2016

shutterstock_1950688editGetting into wine is easy….go buy a bottle and drink it. Find what you like, buy again, rinse and repeat.
However, there is so much more to enjoying, learning and studying wine than only getting your new favorite bottle (or box) time after time.

If you’ve recently taken the leap into learning more about different grapes, regions, and winemaking processes, you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen the word “terrior.” Pronounced *terhe-WAH,* the laymen’s meaning of the word is that the grapes taste like where they are from in the world, country, region, even down to vineyard locations.

That’s a very easy and basic explanation but it’s true: A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a big grapefruity bomb, while the exact same grape from California or South Africa can show more floral and grassy notes and flavors. Ever had a good Burgundy (Pinot Noir) from France? Put it side by side with a California Pinot and you’ll be surprised at the differences. Even comparing something as close in region as, say, a Russian River Pinot from Sonoma up against one from Santa Barbara down the cost, shows amazing differences that you can actually taste and track from vintner to vintner.

shutterstock_124991384editTalking terrior can also be the main crux in the differences when discussing “Old World” vs. “New World” wines and production methods. You can taste more rustic, earthy understones on a Syrah or GSM blend from the Southern Rhone region in France vs. the more fruit-forward versions produced here in the USA.

Believe it or not, part of the final test to become a sommelier is to blindly taste wines and be able to identify WHERE that wine game from and the exact grape. Being able to identify terrior in this manner takes years of practice and knowledge and goes to show you just how important it is.

Next time you’re buying wine, grab a Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon and grab one from South America or South Africa. You’ll be amazed at the differences…and it’s all based on terrior. Be sure to keep your wine stored carefully and you can continue to enjoy them for years.

Wine Wednesday: Big Bottles and You

February 17th, 2016

Every year, some of the best Napa and Sonoma wineries gather and have an annual “Magnum” party to raise money for charity. It’s a chance to showcase the hard work and amazing wines of those who have made a life of doing so. But why is it a “Magnum” party and not a normal party where guest can drink legendary wines out of a normal bottle?


The reason is simple: Magnum-sized (and larger) bottles allow for much longer cellaring periods vs. normal 750mL wine bottles or splits (350mL). How is that possible, you ask, as you scramble to purchase every magnum you can find?

It is the fact that there is TWICE the wine in a Magnum, but the SAME amount of air space between the wine and the cork if you stand the bottle up. It means long-term aging of any wine, humble or legendary, is much more possible in a big bottle. Options for varietals that will really age well in big bottles are California Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Nebbiolo-based Italians….well….pretty much ANY wine will age better in a Magnum or larger!

So go find your local wineshop expert and say “Big bottle, please,” the next time you want to wow your dinner guests either that night, or in 20 years.

Our Top Holiday Wine Picks

December 21st, 2015

What’s the holidays (or any season for that matter!) without a good glass of wine? Thing is, there are just so many labels and vintages to choose from it can get pretty confusing even for the true-blue connoisseur. It’s especially the case if you have quite a varied guest list – think, varied palates as well. But it’s no rocket science, believe us! There are lots of bottles out there that can readily cover most of the bases. All you need to do is to get better acquainted with them. Once you find your favorites, you can purchase some wine racks to keep them safe. That being said, check out our top holiday wine picks and find out which of these will bring that extra holiday cheer to your dinner tables:

Cheers to the holidays!Chardonnay

More than just a few surveys have shown that Chardonnay is in fact, the number-one take-home wine. It accounts for over one-fifth of purchases in wine stores which is pretty impressive. If you think about it, it’s doesn’t really come as a surprise because this grocery store standby is easy to find and delivers impressive quality for under 10 bucks. Our personal pick is Bogle Chard which sports a slightly creamy texture, walking the fine line between toasty oak and spice flavors. It also packs in lively green apple and melon fruit flavors, making it a sure crowd pleaser.

Pinot Gris

Our choice is this lovely California Pinot Gris, hailing from the same grape variety as its Italian counterpart. However, it has bigger body, greater juiciness, and richer flavor which are all perfect for the cold, winter season. It boasts of bold aromas of poached pear, tropical fruit, flowers and spice. Overall, it still sports a crisp and refreshing taste, but those extra layers of flavor make it one of the best winter whites to enjoy.


Definitely an alternative to Champagne, especially if the budget doesn’t permit the latter this season. Let’s face it, more than half of the population is always broke right before Christmas with all the insane holiday shopping to complete. But who says you can’t enjoy a good glass of the bubbly despite a swollen budget? This Italian bubbly is super versatile around the holidays. We recommend serving it well-chilled in a flute or toss in a sugar cube and dash of bitters for an effervescent “Champagne” cocktail. While the refreshing lemon, grapefruit, and melon flavors aren’t quite Champagne, you still get the “fizz” at a price your wallet will love and your guests will enjoy as well.

Cabernet Sauvignon

If there will be more guests of the male persuasion on your dinner table, then the Cab might be the bottle you’ll be wanting to pop open. This serious and manly red wine is indeed the king of flavors. We recommend well-loved labels like the Beringer Knight’s Valley Reserve. It packs in plenty of powerful blackberry flavor and a long smooth finish. This “manly” red will go down well even with wine novices.


If your table will be a conglomeration of taste buds, you’ll need something that’s equally popular with the college kids, the sweet-toothed ladies, and men wanting to pump the o’l charisma around. With its distinctive floral, citrus, and honey aromas, and a sweet but balanced flavor, Moscato is your wine. This baby is all about the simple pleasures of enjoying a good glass of wine in good company. It’s wonderfully low in alcohol but with a hint of refreshing fizz. It will give the young ones the right amount of buzz while keeping the adults at a contented pace. Plus, it goes down extremely well with fruity and spiced desserts like apple or pumpkin pie.

Investing in Wine – Does the Dollar Have you Down?

October 23rd, 2010

Investing in WinesInvesting in stocks can be scary. What else can we invest in? I know, you know this! WINE.

This is coming straight from CNBC as they discuss with Charles Klatskin why investing in wine can be profitable.

Why does it make sense? Wine is a ‘fluid’ market. Asia and other third world countries are buying our wine and bidding it straight up. Charles Klatskin is a real estate developer turned wine investor who is having great success doing this very thing.

Klatskin shows off a few wines including a Lafite Rothschild 1982. Rothschild is worth around $5,000 a bottle at this time. Another one of his wines came out at $70 a bottle and is now $3,000 a bottle after a few years.

Between Bordeaux and Burgundy they are the best investments. California has a half-dozen wines that can appreciate like this but most are coming from France.

It’s interesting that Klatskin keeps his wines at 50 degrees, which is colder than most. He advises to simply start reading all you can about wines to get you started. Once you invest your own money, you really learn a lot. Team up with a quality store and they will help you. Klatskin only buys futures and that is the only way you are going to make money. He also checks the weather report!

Is it a hobby or is it an investment? This is no cheap hobby, that’s for sure! Klatskin advises that you need $150,000 to start investing in wine.

The big question we all want to know is can you make any money your first year? After two years, once the wine is delivered, you will make money.

Klatskin made more money in wine, than he ever made in anything else. What was his average return? Are you ready for this? His average return is 20% per year.

Worst moments? The 80’s were the worst.

Are you ready to start investing in wines? If there is anything left in your bank account after the past few years, you may want to look into it! If you already invest in wines now, what is your average return?