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Winetasting

Rioja Gems Part IV: Contrasting Modernists

Richard Jennings | Posted 10.09.2012 | Home
Richard Jennings

There's a gentility and refinement to the wines that's not unlike the winemaker himself, and their complexity produces both pleasure and engages the intellect, again, much like spending time with Miguel.

Rioja Gems Part III: Hugely Successful Innovator

Richard Jennings | Posted 10.03.2012 | Home
Richard Jennings

It's my pleasure to relate the details of a visit to two of the winery properties owned by one of Rioja's reigning winemaking families -- the highly successful Egurens.

SLIDESHOW: Top Olympians' Causes

Lisa M. Dietlin | Posted 09.29.2012 | Impact
Lisa M. Dietlin

If you're like me, and lots of other people, you're completely enthralled with the Olympic Games happening right now in London. I find them amazing w...

Rioja Gems Part II: Family and Tradition

Richard Jennings | Posted 09.26.2012 | Home
Richard Jennings

As is true in most longtime wine producing regions, some of Rioja's greatest producers are those that have evolved over generations, one generation sharing its wisdom, acquired over decades of successes and failures, with the next.

Rioja Gems Part I: Bodegas Franco-Españolas

Richard Jennings | Posted 09.18.2012 | Home
Richard Jennings

I've been a fan of wines from Spain's Rioja region for some years, and was therefore hugely excited to visit Rioja last month. In a trip filled with highlights, my visit to Franco-Españolas winery was a standout for me for several reasons.

Chianti: Vast Region Makes Vast Improvements

Richard Jennings | Posted 09.11.2012 | Home
Richard Jennings

We've seen quality improvement in wine over the past few decades, resulting in more and better access to better wines, from virtually all regions. A vast, region-wide example of conscious planning to make better wines is "Chianti 2000."

Greek Wines: Aromatic Whites and Ageworthy Reds

Richard Jennings | Posted 09.04.2012 | Home
Richard Jennings

Greece once dominated the world of wine. Aspects of wine enjoyment we take for granted today -- e.g., focused tastings, sommeliers, glasses designed for particular types of wine -- all developed originally in ancient Greece.

Madeira: Wine World Glory/ Patriotic July 4 Choice

Richard Jennings | Posted 09.01.2012 | Home
Richard Jennings

Our tea-partying ancestors knew a good tax break when they saw one, so America's early love affair with one of the world's great wines was born.

San Francisco Pinot Days: Pinot From All Over

Richard Jennings | Posted 08.20.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

The eighth annual Pinot Days grand tasting occupied San Francisco's Fort Mason Festival Pavilion this past Saturday. This was my sixth year attending the event, and I've seen it shrink, particularly over the past couple years.

Silver Oak: Reappraising a California Cabernet Icon

Richard Jennings | Posted 08.06.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

Why does the Silver Oak brand, whose origins date back to the early 1970s, so sharply split casual wine lovers from ardent wine geeks?

A Tour of Historic California Vineyards

Richard Jennings | Posted 07.30.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

California's first vineyards were planted starting in 1779 by Franciscan missionaries. The vines planted were what have become known as Mission grapes, or Criolla, a term that covers a few varieties traditionally used for sacramental wine.

Visit to Varner: Superb Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnays

Richard Jennings | Posted 05.23.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

The keys to the Varners' terrific Chardonnays are meticulous farming and very gentle winemaking techniques.

Spanish Wine: Great Values for Ready Drinking

Richard Jennings | Posted 07.16.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

A few tastings of current Spanish releases in recent weeks have driven home for me two facts: Spanish wines are not only great bargains, they are also ideally suited to the American palate.

The Wonder of Wine

Richard Jennings | Posted 07.09.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

One can enjoy wine on so many levels -- the aroma, the flavors, the feelings it engenders, the history and lore of it, and now the science too. Yet, like so many of the greatest things in life, there remains, ultimately, the wonder of it.

Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot: Challenging Conditions, Occasional Brilliance

Richard Jennings | Posted 07.03.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

Planting vines in the cool, high altitude Santa Cruz Mountains is a quixotic endeavor. Nonetheless, a few driven producers over the years have made some brilliant, complex, cool climate Pinot in these parts.

Try Before You Buy: Bay Area Wine Tastings

Richard Jennings | Posted 06.26.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

The single best resource both for wine newbies and those looking to deepen their knowledge of different types of wine are the neighborhood wine retailers that offer regular tastings.

Charter Oak Wines: Quiet Pursuit of Excellence

Richard Jennings | Posted 06.19.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

The wine world includes a lot of small, family-owned producers. Many produce good wines, and a multitude don't. Occasionally, however, the results are outstanding -- truly among the ranks of the region's very best.

Sta. Rita Hills: Young Appellation Fulfills Its Promise

Richard Jennings | Posted 06.13.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

Sta. Rita Hills is definitely starting to fulfill its promise as a source of characterful, balanced and terroir-driven wines, from flavorful Chardonnay and Viognier to minerally and complex Pinot Noir and Syrah.

California Wine Gets More Diverse: The Balance Movement

Richard Jennings | Posted 05.29.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

I'm very wary of dogmatism in wine, as I am in life in general. What is wonderful is that the world of wine in California gets more diverse, with more and better choices for every palate.

Mount Eden: One of California's Oldest and Greatest Producers

Richard Jennings | Posted 05.22.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

Mount Eden produces some of the most admirable, consistent and ageworthy expressions of terroir to be found anywhere in California.

Sangiovese: Italy's Most Ubiquitous Grape

Richard Jennings | Posted 05.14.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

In years where full ripening is possible, Sangiovese grapes tend to have red and black cherry aromas, with dried cherry, dried berry, spice and savory notes coming through on the palate.

Value and Versatility: Italian Sparkling Wines

Richard Jennings | Posted 05.07.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

There's a lot more to sparkling wine in Italy than Prosecco. Italy has the largest proliferation of different kinds of sparkling wines of any country.

Understanding Burgundy: Birthplace of "Terroir"

Richard Jennings | Posted 04.30.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

What is it about Burgundy that makes its wines among the world's most cherished, imitated and expensive?

Petite Sirah: French Reject Excels in California

Richard Jennings | Posted 04.23.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

Petite Sirah is, along with Zinfandel, one of California's heritage and most distinctive grapes. It can produce wonderfully complex, rich, black fruited wines, often with floral, blueberry, tar, licorice and peppery dimensions.

Acid & Smoke: The Styles of Sauvignon Blanc

Richard Jennings | Posted 04.16.2012 | San Francisco
Richard Jennings

What white wine goes well with a wide range of foods, from salads to seafood and many cheeses? Sauvignon Blanc. And what's one of the best values you can find on any restaurant wine list? Yup, again, Sauvignon Blanc.