Hermann Moser 2015 Kremstal Grüner Veltliner “Per Due” “The Spark” ($16)

Hermann Moser

This clear, light straw-colored wine shows surprisingly bold and aromatic scents for a GV, perhaps hinting at the wine maker’s placement of “The Spark” bottling as an introduction to wine lovers unfamiliar with the grape. It’s pleasant, though, with luscious aromas of peach and melon and perhaps a floral back note of gardenia. It’s rather full-bodied on the palate, but crisp, zippy acidity holds it in balance and positions it as an excellent food wine. Stone fruit and tangy citrus come together in the flavor, with that classic “stony” minerality so typical of Austrian whites showing up alongside the fruit in a very long finish. A gentle 12% makes the decision to have a second glass, or possibly a third, an easy one.

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Markus Huber 2013 Niederösterreich Zweigelt ($20)

Markus Huber

Dark garnet, shading to a clear edge. Tart black cherry and cranberry aromas lead into a bright black-fruit flavor structured by zippy, mouth-watering acidity. Soft tannins join in on the palate, and the characteristic Austrian “stony” minerality lingers with tart cherries and a lemon-squirt of citrus in a very long finish.

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Hugh Johnson, encore!

Hugh Johnson on Wine

A while back, I wrote with both pleasure and a little sadness about the popular British wine writer Hugh Johnson’s autobiography, Hugh Johnson: A Life Uncorked.
I was pleased, because I love Hugh Johnson and his work. But I felt a little sad because I feared that this noted wine scribe’s autobiography, looking back over nearly 50 years, signaled a capstone on a great career.

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d’Arenberg 2012 McLaren Vale “The Stump Jump” ($9.99)

The Stump Jump

A typical Australian (and Southern Rhône) red blend of Grenache (46%) Syrah (39%) Mourvedre (15%), this is a very dark reddish-purple wine, shading to clear garnet at the edge. Juicy raspberries, the signature scent of Grenache, predominates in the nose at first, but there’s other ripe fruit there too, blackberries and plums, carrying over on the palate with a full, medium-bodied mixed-fruit flavor framed by tart acidity, brisk tannins and warm but not overbearing 14.3% alcohol.

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d’Arenberg 2014 “The Hermit Crab” McLaren Vale Viognier-Marsanne ($17.99)

The Hermit Crab

An aromatic white blend of Viognier (74%) and Marsanne (26%), with a portion of the Viognier spending time in French and American oak barrels to add tannic backbone, this is a fresh and aromatic wine. Clear, bright straw color with glints of gold, it offers typical Viognier floral scents at first, quickly joined by notes of peach and musky melon and a whiff of spice. Full-bodied, 13.3% alcohol, but structured with crisp acidity, its flavors follow the nose, stone fruit, orange peel, and a lemon-squirt of acidity in a very long finish. It’s a complex and interesting wine, a great buy for fans of aromatic whites.

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Leftover wine?


How long can you keep wine once the bottle has been opened?
A very long time ago – okay, it was March 1, 1999 – I posed this question in one of the first editions of The 30 Second Wine Advisor. During the ensuing 18 years it has remained one of my most frequently asked questions, along with its snarky cousin, “Is there such a thing as leftover wine?”

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Poema 2014 Catalunya Red Wine ($5.99)


A blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a clear, dark reddish-purple wine with a clear garnet edge. The simple aroma is focused on raspberries and strawberries, leading into a fresh, crisp red-fruit flavor. It’s light in weight on the palate, with clean fruit flavors structured by tart, zingy acidity, soft but persistent tannic astringency, and balanced 13 percent alcohol.

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Alvear Cream Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximenez ($14.99)

Alvear Cream

This sweet Oloroso “cream” Sherry, a blend of dry Oloroso and sweet Pedro Ximenez wine aged in solera for at least 10 years, shows a clear, dark copper-brown color in the glass, with glints of bronze against the light. Delicious aromatics, fresh cracked walnuts and a background whiff of brown sugar. Unctuous and rich, walnut and brown-sugar flavors follow the nose in a full-bodied flavor shaped by surprisingly bright and tart lemon-squirt flavor that saves the sweet wine from cloying as it becomes more evident in the very long finish. Rich, sweet flavors cloak hefty 18 percent alcohol, typical of Sherry.

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Drip, drip, no drip?

The groove catches a pesky droplet.

You pour your wine, you lift the bottle gently and, splat! A dark red Rorschach blot stains the tablecloth.
Has this ever happened to you? Heck, can any of you claim this has never happened to you? I’ve even seen certified sommeliers do it in fancy restaurants, and they are supposed to know all the tricks.

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Campo Viejo 2014 Rioja Tempranillo ($12.99)

Campo Viejo

Dark reddish-purple, only slightly more red at the edge. Typical scents of simple Rioja, fresh Bing cherries cloaked by aromatic vanilla. Bright red-cherry fruit on the palate, shaped by a brisk mix of fresh-fruit acidity and soft tannins, with a touch of vanilla joining the fruit in a medium-long finish. Food-friendly and appealing, with rational 13% alcohol.

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