Wine

A wine expert is called an Onophile. Hell, I just like to drink good wine.

More to come.

I like to try new wines, and really enjoy drinking fine wine. I have travelled to the Napa Valley, the New York Finger Lakes wine region, several regions of France, and to the Tuscany region of Italy. In Burgandy, my son Chris and I toured Dijon, capital city of Burgandy, and Beaune. Famous for its fine wines, Bourgogne is home to "the best wines in Christendom," including Chamberlain, Pommard, Meursault, Chablis, Pouilly-Fuisse, and a long list of other well-known names. In the medieval city of Beaune an annual three-day wine auction draws onophiles from around the world.

In Tuscany in the fall of 2002, Karen and I toured Tuscany, sampling many of the fine Chianti Reserva and Classicos, as well as some of the Montalcinos. We spent an afternoon at the Diabolo vineyard and winery, touring the facilities and attending a wine-tasting. We brought home a nice selection and had more shipped. I recommend that you try it.

We shop at Moore Brothers in Pennsauken, NJ ( www.wineaccess.com/store/moorebrosnj) to buy fine wines. Moore Brothers shops for wines personally throughout wine regions, specializing in wines from small, independent chateaus. They maintain an online portfolio of our wines. Recent ones include:

2000 Corzano e Paterno Chianti dei Colli Fiorentini Terre de Corzano
2001 Ampelidae Marigny-Neuf Sauvignon
2001 Corte Gardoni Rosso Becco
2001 Thierry Descombes Beaujolais Villages
2001 Domaine des Valanges Macon Davaye
2001 Domaine Louis Cheze Marsanne
1999 Guillaume Chardonnay
2001 Domaine des Valanges St. Veran
2001 Domaine Grosbot Barbara Saint Pourcain Rouge

We bought wine in Siena on our trip there in 2002. We now order online from their store (www.enotecatoscana.net) to buy fine Italian wines. Some of the wines we have bought there include:

The tuscany wine tradiction:
Traditional Italian Wines
Brunello di Montalcino 1997 Capanna
Brunello di Montalcino 1997 Poggio Salvi
Chianti Classico Riserva "Capraia" 1998 Rocca di Castagnoli
Chianti Classico Riserva 1999 Monsanto
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 1997 Dei
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1997 Casale Daviddi
 
The "new wave" of the tuscany wine production:
New Wave Italian Wines
Mormoreto 1999 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi (Cabernet Sauv. 60% - Merlot 25% - Cabernet Franc 15%)
Lavischio 1999 Poggio Salvi (Merlot 100%)
Sassoalloro 2000 Biondi Santi (Sangiovese Grosso 100%)
Vigorello 1999 San Felice (Sangiovese 60% - Cabernet Sauvignon 40%)
Tavernelle 1999 Banfi (Cabernet Sauvignon 100%)
Colvecchio 1999 (Syrah 100%)
 
The match of the two different styles:
Traditional + New Wave Wines
Sodi di San Niccolo 1997 Castellare di Castellina (Sangiovese 85% - Malvasia nera del Chianti 15%)
Chianti Nipozzano 1999 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi (Sangiovese 100%)
Schidione 1998 Biondi-Santi (Sangiovese Grosso 40% - Cabernet Sauvignon 40% - Merlot 20%) - Brunello di Montalcino 1997 Silvio Nardi
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 1998 Fattoria delCerro
Sant Antimo Bianco Serena 2001 Banfi (Sauvignon Blanc 100%)

Please don't discount the value of the California wines. For really excellent California Cabernets, for example, I like Chateau Montelena, Caymus, Screaming Eagle, Joseph Phelps and Jordan (depending on the year). I am a big fan of the California Merlots. Believe it or not, the 1998 Francis Coppola Diamond Series Coastal Merlot is outstanding.

A note about the Pennsylvania State Store system, run by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB). The state is the largest single purchaser of alcoholic beverages in the US, yet the state store prices are artificially kept high... much higher than those found in neighboring New Jersey or Delaware. And though there are some "premium" stores, most stores have limited or very limited wine selections, and until recently stores were not open on Sundays. Recently a few stores have been opened on Sundays. In Pennsylvania we pay a 18% "Johnstown Flood" tax on alcohol, which was enacted to help rebuild Johnstown after the famous 1934 flood and remains in force. This is on top of a 6% sales tax. The prices are not competitive, for there is no competition.

Further, the LCB outlawed direct shipments of wine from wineries within the state to "comply" with the Supreme Court decision regarding wine shipments as they pertain to the full faith and credit clause in the US Constitution. This means that any wine purchased by a consumer and shipped into the state, must be shipped to the state store system and then picked up by the consumer (after paying taxes, of course). It is an archaic political system and should be scrapped in favor of free enterprise.

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