06/23/17 6:00am

A can of Moustache Brewing Co. Get Up On Outta Here.
(Credit: Lenn Thompson)

As a wine geek who also enjoys beer — but who doesn’t work nearly as hard at beer drinking as I do wine tasting — it’s been fascinating to watch the evolution and revolution of the hoppy beers.

When I first started getting into India Pale Ales (IPAs) it was both the flavors (mostly dank and resinous in those days) as well as the bitterness that appealed to me. Now, there are so many different varieties of hops, each bringing different flavor profiles, that it’s harder to know what you’re getting if you just pick up any IPA off the shelf.

The most recent trendy iteration of IPA “New England-Style IPA” with its effusive tropical fruit character, unfiltered haze, creamy mouthfeel and lack bitter bite on the finish are easy to drink. Still, I miss the hop-born bitterness. It cuts through the fruity and creamy qualities and makes for a more balanced beer. (more…)

06/17/17 6:01am

A bottle of Macari Vineyards 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc. Our Lenn Thompson recommends it for Father’s Day. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

With Father’s Day coming this weekend, I’ve been bombarded with pitches from PR hacks about wines and wine pairings that are “perfect” for Father’s Day. Ignoring for a second the myth of the “perfect pairing,” most seem to center on cabernet sauvignon and the steaks that every father will apparently be enjoying on Sunday. (These same pitches sometimes get reused for July 4 and then Labor Day, by the way).

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06/16/17 6:01am

Raphael 2015 Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

This time of year it’s always great to have an armory of barbecue red red wines at one’s disposal — bottles that are fruity, not too complicated and most definitely affordable. Opinions vary on the “best” wines for food hot off the grill, but drinking what tastes good to you matters more than anything any so-called expert says. Even this one.

Our “Wine of the Week,” Raphael 2015 Cabernet Franc ($23), is a good option if you like local cabernet franc in a silky smooth style.

Winemaker Anthony Nappa has spent much of his career here on the Island dedicated to making wines that remain true to the region’s terroir and letting the vintage’s conditions shine through. (more…)

06/03/17 6:02am

A glass of merlot at Bedell Cellars. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

I spent a few days in Charlottesville, Va., last week taking part in the Virginia Wine Summit, a celebration of the Commonwealth’s wine and wine culture. I was invited to speak on a panel titled “Defining Local on the East Coast,” a vague and somewhat nebulous topic that I’m not sure we really tackled during the session, but I digress.

The summit itself was only one day but, as a speaker I was able to join my fellow panelists — mostly sommeliers and restaurateurs from up and down the Eastern Seaboard — on a tour of some local vineyards and for some walk-around tastings of other Virginia producers.

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06/01/17 11:30am

A bottle of Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

It’s almost summer (I’m choosing to ignore the weather we’ve been enduring lately) and with the change of seasons comes a change in drinking habits — as well as venues — for many.

When you’re looking for wine to enjoy by the pool, on the boat or at the beach, you’re not looking for extreme complexity and nuance. You want fresh. You want clean. You want thirst-quenching. And it’s a bonus if the wine is sealed under a screwcap, because you know you’re not going to remember to pack the corkscrew. (more…)

05/25/17 5:14am

Channing Daughters Winery 2016 Tocai Fruilano Pétillant Naturel. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

As Channing Daughters Winery’s winemaker Christopher Tracy is prone to doing, he has embraced the fresh, fun deliciousness of pétillant naturel wines with gusto in recent years.

The man who is making a half dozen different vermouths and recently released seven different roses from the 2016 vintage has taken a ‘pet nat’ program that started with just three wines — white, rose and red — and blown it out to more than a handful of wines of various colors made from a wide array of grapes.

This week’s “Wine of the Week,” Channing Daughters Winery 2016 Tocai Friulano Petillant Naturel ($28), is one of the newer additions and one of the most distinctive. (more…)