A Photo Review of the 2012 Boston Wine Expo

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I just got back from the 2012 Boston Wine Expo so I thought I'd post some pictures and thoughts for those who weren't there this year.

Compared to prior years the two big changes I noticed were the layout and the mix of vendors. Rather than long aisles of tables, vendors were situated in clusters. Intermingled within these clusters were lifestyle vendors and - in a welcome addition - more food than I've seen at prior Expos.

Where else to start off before noon on a Sunday but Chateauneuf-du-Pape? I don't recall seeing them last year but they seemed to be back with a concerted collective effort. I was pleasantly surprised to see them pouring wines from the highly anticipated (if young) 2010 vintage.

First taste was from one of my favorite producers: The 2010 Le Vieux Donjon Chateuneuf-du-Pape. They're one of the few wineries in Chateuneuf who retains a "One Estate, One Wine" model (rather than offering multiple bottlings at various price points. 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault. It was showing very well in its young with its signature round brambly flavors.

Next was the 2010 Pierre Usseglio mon Aieul Chateuneuf-du-Pape. Although their entry level bottling (which runs for around $30 retail) is a blend, the mon Aieul (around $100) is 100% Grenache and more tannic than the Donjon. I asked the rep from Alain Junguenet selections for his thoughts on '07, '09 and '10 CdP. He agreed that '07 was a big ripe vintage, that '09 was tighter and needs more time, and that '10 was a "balanced" vintage. I'm looking forward to these '10s coming to market.
Remember the interspersed food and lifestyle vendors I mentioned? Here's a display from Wilson Farm from Lexington, MA - a great place to visit if you're in the Boston area.
I'd recently read on 1WineDude.com about how people should stop hating on Pinotage. A few years back I was intrigued to try some Pinotage after reading that it commonly has coffee aromas and flavors. That sounded great to me but a few I tried had no such markers and instead smelled like quirky burnt rubber. This one did deliver the coffee though. Perhaps the name - Barista - was effective in subliminally programming me to expect some mocha.
Here's an interesting new wine - the 2010 The Show Pinot Noir from Chile. The Show has been a trusty ~$10 wine for many so I was intrigued to try a Pinot Noir with the same label. Not bad says this California Pinot Noir enthusiast. 85-88 for me as I give a barrel tasting-esque range given the expo format is hard to do critical tasting within.

Similar to prior years half the tables were manned by winemakers/owners and the other half had random people pouring who didn't know anything about the wines. I had a nice visit with the principals from Inman Family pouring their highly regarded Pinot Noir. I thought the 2007 Inman Family Thorn Ridge Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was quite nice. They say they're patient in releasing their wines (some 2010 CA Pinot Noirs are already hitting the market). I like the approach of releasing wines when they're showing their best - with a little age on them - but I understand the interest wineries have in selling through vintages and paying the bills.
Mixing things up a bit, we went over to a trade tasting at Morton's Seaport location hosted by Massachusetts-based Panther Distributing. They were pouring a diverse collection of wines from around the world. First up were wines from Sada Estate, poured by winemaker Davide Sada himself. An excellent 2010 Vermentino, an every day 2010 Integolo, and an elegant 2007 Carpoli Super Tuscan were highlights of the table.
A new producer for me, from Washington, was Bergevin Lane Vineyards. Their earthy, fruity Syrahs were impressive - especially the 2008 Bergevin Lane "The Princess" Syrah.
Oregon was also an area of emphasis at the Panther tasting. The 2008 Vista Hills Treehouse Pinot Noir was delightful and a bargain at just over $20 retail.

Another Oregon Pinot that impressed me was the 2008 Adea Deano's Pinot. Very nice around $30.
From there we went over to the Grand Cru Lounge which changed venues this year. Last year's Grand Cru Lounge was in a nice room with tons of windows, but the vendors were split up onto two levels and you had to go outside to get to the Lounge. This year it was accessible from the Seaport Hotel without going outside and the space was unified.

First stop: Winderlea pouring their 2009 Winderlea Legacy Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. Unique bottle shape, cool label, and a very nice wine. We got to talking and I mentioned I was a wine blogger. They're looking forward to the 2012 Wine Blogger's Conference coming to Portland this year. Me too!
An interesting addition to the Grand Cru Lounge I didn't notice last year was a table pouring a bunch of high end California wines. Darioush, Heitz, Cakebread - stuff like that. I tasted some 2008 Littorai Chardonnay that was gorgeous - clean and lemony yet rich. I've gotta track down some of their Pinot Noir.
The food in the Grand Cru Lounge was pretty good. Especially these Spicy Tuna Tartare "Ice Cream" Cones from Union Bar & Grill. Fantastic.
There were some nice red Burgs being poured. I tasted a few from Joseph Drouhin in the $40-$80 range. It's always interesting to hear 2009 red Burgundy described as being "really fruit forward". Compared to domestic Pinot Noir (especially California and even Oregon) even a thin domestic vintage offers way more fruit in my experience. It's tough to see the virtues of wines like these in a walk-around tasting I think, but this 2009 from Joseph Drouhin was quite nice at around $80:
I've wanted to try Merry Edwards' Pinot Noir for a long time and the 2009 Merry Edwards Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir ($57) was outstanding. Classic Russian River Pinot. The winery rep suggested that if I liked the Klopp I'd probably like the more affordable RRV appellation bottling at $42. They also make a Sonoma Coast Pinot that sells for $38.

Speaking of Pinot Noir, I was thrilled to see Trifecta pouring their 2008 Nyarady Family Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. I discovered Trifecta at last year's Grand Cru Lounge and loved their 2007 Pinot Noir. The 2008 follows beautifully in its footsteps.
Those familiar with Trifecta probably think of them primarily as a Cabernet Sauvignon producer. Their Cabs are fantastic (around $100). But I was pleased to learn they're giving Pinot Noir a go as well (around $50). Trifecta is owned by Massachusetts based Pablo and Lynanne Nyarady - two of the most delightful and interesting people I've met. Definitely check out their wines if you're looking for something special you may not have heard of before. They'll be pouring at the Nantucket Wine Festival and Newport Mansions Wine Festival as well this year.
What a nice day - capped with a Patriots win and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Question of the Day: Did you attend this year? If so, what did you notice?

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Last Minute Deals for the 2012 Boston Wine Expo

Friday, January 20, 2012

 
Looking for coupon codes for this year's Boston Wine Expo? A couple last minute deals have surfaced...

The first is from Groupon and offers $50 tickets for Sunday. The current price for Sunday is $85 so this represents a good last minute savings. You may recall the early bird Sunday price was $70 so in this case you can actually save a little by procrastinating.

The second is a $25 off coupon code for Wine Spectator subscribers for the Grand Cru Lounge which reduces the price from $175 down to $150.

I'm planning on attending the Expo Sunday so ping  me on Twitter @RobertDwyer or drop me an email (wellesleywinepress@gmail.com) if you're going to be there. I'd love to say hello.

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Bytox Hangover Prevention Remedy: Might this thing actually work?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shortly before the holidays I received a sample of a few Bytox hangover prevention remedies. The product is a patch you apply before drinking and remove the morning after that, according to the manufacturer, supplies your body with vitamins and nutrients otherwise depleted while drinking thus preventing bothersome side effects commonly associated with the overconsumption of alcohol.

Not wanting to risk a raging hangover myself, and not wanting to share my tales of overconsumption, I reached out to my friend George Kaplan who agreed to test the Bytox patch in a controlled experiment and share his thoughts for our collective consideration. He happens to be an excellent drinker. And as you'll find below, an equally excellent writer.

Bytoxification

I must admit, I was more than a bit skeptical when a friend of mine approached me with the opportunity to test the latest hangover remedy, bytox™. I am usually leery of these remedies, but with a full slate of holiday parties looming on my calendar, I decided I could use any help I could get.

The Setup

Before setting out for the evening, I thoroughly read the bytox™ directions, and chose to ignore the warning to “Stay well hydrated”. Sound advice, yes, but a bit of a cheat, as anyone who stays well hydrated is unlikely to end up with a hangover anyway.

My evening’s consumption began at 7:00 with a solid meal at my favorite haunt, and ended at midnight. Per my custom, I mixed and matched and stuck to no pre-set pattern; the final tally was four Old Fashioneds (Old Overholt), three Gin & Tonics (Beefeater), and two bottles of Lone Star.

The Results

As you all can imagine, I wasn’t exactly at my best the next morning. I did get up around five o’clock to have a glass of water and gobble down 800 mg of ibuprofen, but that’s my usual morning-after-a-debacle procedure, and I wanted to stick to it. You know, this being scientific and all.

The bytox ™ did nothing at all to mitigate the day after lethargy, and I really fell off a cliff after two o’clock or so. But, skeptical though I was heading into this experiment, I must admit that the patch did help to alleviate some of the other, traditional “hangover” symptoms. The horrible metallic taste in my mouth was absent, as was the stabbing pain behind my eyes and the hollow feeling that one sometimes gets the morning after drinking too much whisky. I had only a small headache, and the day-after hangover fogginess was noticeably diminished.

The Recommendation

I would definitely use bytox ™ again. I don’t want to oversell this, of course; I was still banged up the next day, but I was able to function productively, rather than slumping senseless in a chair all day. What I did was excessive. If someone were to use this product because they usually have a little hangover after drinking a bottle of red wine the evening before, I’d hazard a guess that this handy patch would overcome the hangover altogether.

So there you have it. An impartial review of the Bytox Hangover Remedy.

For more information, and to request a sample Bytox patch for free ($1.50 shipping) visit:
http://bytox.com 

Question of the Day: What do you think of the idea of a hangover prevention patch? What are some of your favorite hangover prevention tips?

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Coming Up: Patz & Hall Wine Dinner at Legal Harborside

Monday, January 16, 2012


On Thursday, February 2nd Legal Seafoods is offering a 4-course wine dinner with Patz & Hall Winery owner Donald Patz. If you haven't been yet, this is an opportunity to visit their flagship Legal Harborside location which includes 3 levels of dining in an ambitious harborside dining mecca in Boston's Seaport District.

We visited Legal Harborside this past summer and were impressed. The first floor dining room offers casual dining similar to most Legal Seafoods and opens up nicely to the water in warmer months. The second floor offers a more refined dining experience and is where this wine dinner is going to be held. The third floor is a ritzy club scene that wouldn't be out of place in Vegas.

The location also includes a marketplace on the first floor as well as some unique features. Like Catch and Release trout fishing right in the restaurant.
Here I am with my 4 year old enjoying the program. I'm the guy on the left keeping my distance - you didn't think I'd touch the slimy fish did you?
I had a bottle of 2009 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir recently that really blew me away. 93 points for me - here are my notes:

Medium-full bodied magenta. Aromatically beautiful with rich strawberry, red raspberry, and fresh clean earth which translates brilliantly to the palate. Silky texture balanced nearly perfectly with acidity and just a touch of tannic grip.

A benchmark California Pinot Noir from and iconic pruducer. Highly recommended.


Here's the menu for the wine dinner:

Hors d’ Oeuvres

Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Aioli on Rice Crisp
King Crab Skewers with Wasabi Mayo
Patz & Hall “Dutton Ranch” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 2010

First Course

Bacon-Wrapped Scallop
parsnip purée, smoked maple vinaigrette
Patz & Hall “Zio Tony Ranch” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 2009

Second Course

Grilled Loch Duart Salmon
black beluga lentils, braised artichoke, smoked tomato
Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2010

Third Course

Braised Beef Shortribs
Creamed Cavolo Nero
Patz & Hall “Pisoni Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2008

Cheese Course

Comté Gruyère
spiced nuts
Patz & Hall “Pisoni Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2000

$135 Per Person
(excluding tax and gratuity)

For more information or to make a reservation:
http://www.legalseafoods.com/index.cfm/page/Patz-and-Hall-Wine-Dinner/cdid/45005/pid/43564

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First Look: Lunch at The Capital Grille Boston

Monday, January 9, 2012

It seems like just yesterday, but The Capital Grille Boston moved from Newbury to Boylston Street this past August. I had my first look at the space when I stopped in for lunch with a friend recently. The new restaurant is grand - graciously proportioned, sophisticated, and comfortable. More than twice as large as the original, the location is now open for lunch, served primarily in a sleek lounge area with large windows overlooking the adjacent Boylston, Dalton and Hereford streets.
I arrived shortly before they opened to take some photos of the space. The style is somewhat similar to the Burlington, Massachusetts Capital Grille but the build quality feels a touch higher at the downtown location. It also feels more spacious which is surprising given that this is a downtown location.

Some familiar portraits convey from the old site, but this is very much a 100% new space. I was thinking I might miss the old restaurant with its ornate dark wood and good old boys club feel. But after a short walk around the room I felt right at home. I can't wait to make it back for a birthday dinner.
We took a seat in the lounge for lunch, as did most others that day. Seating near the bar in the old location was tight but this one is very comfortable. A "Plates" menu option provides a good value - a choice of soup or salad along with a protein and a side for $15.
We split a wedge salad -- I feel cheated if I visit and don't get one -- along with selections from the Plates menu and a Tres Picos Garancha by the glass. I really want to try more Grenache in the coming year and this wine is a good example of why. Rich fruit flavors with caramel notes in the background. Quite affordable at retail too from around $12 (search for it at retail on wine-searcher.com).
Our server and several others recommended the Porcini Bisque. I'm glad we took their advice - it was fantastic. It's a dark creamy soup served with a streak of chive oil. Mix that in and you've got a delicious hearty start to your meal.
I couldn't pass up the Mini Tenderloin Sandwiches with Truffle Fries. Our server recommended the Lobster Roll or the "Knife and Fork" BLT but we couldn't be swayed. The tenderloin sliders were very good, but I've never been blown away by their truffle fries. Even if they sound and look delicious they're just so-so. I probably should have gone with one of the vegetable sides.
That said I enjoyed every bite, along with a wine off their higher end by-the-glass list: A 2010 Markham Pinot Noir that's unfortunately a Capital Grille exclusive. Highly recommended next time you stop in.

The Plates menu is designed to get you in and out in 45 minutes. We must have lingered a little more than normal (we were on vacation) and ended up spending about 2 hours there. Note they don't have valet service at lunch. I was able to find nearby street parking (bring your quarters) but I hear the garage near the Kings bowling alley is a good option.

The Plates menu evolves in early January to feature more wintery selections including -- get this -- a Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions.

I snapped the photo below on the way out. I think it captures the new location brilliantly. Polished and solid as a rock, but in the reflection you can see the old charm of the Back Bay neighborhood it is situated within:
Check 'em out:
The Capital Grille Boston
900 Boylston Street
617-262-8900
http://www.thecapitalgrille.com

Related Reading: A review of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

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10 Tips for Discovering Value on Restaurant Wine Lists

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Quick: Look at the Pinot Noir section of this wine list and find the domestic values.

It's not that easy, is it? Unless you really know what you're looking for and have quick familiarity with the street prices of the wines on the list you'll probably do what I do: Have a quick look at prices of the less expensive bottles and bail because the markup is 3 times retail or more.

Let's focus on the California Pinot Noir section of this list. Castle Rock is readily available at retail for $9.99. At $35 that's a 3.5X markup. The Belle Glos Meiomi is a favorite but I have a hard time paying $45 for a wine I see for $16.99 all over town.

However, notice what happens as you push further down the list. The 2008 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir at $59 is actually a very good price for an outstanding wine that's been hard to find at retail ever since it landed in Wine Spectator's Top 10 list last year.

And the 2009 Rochioli Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is an absolute steal at $65. I've been looking for Rochioli all over town - and all over the Internet - for months and was thrilled when I found it for $60. A $5 markup over street price in a restaurant for a wine I've been really looking forward to trying? Amazing.

I was going to knock out a quick post saying "Hey! I found a great deal on Rochioli Pinot at Legal Sea Foods in Burlington, MA". But I thought this would be a good time to share some tips on how I determine whether wines are a good deal with a particular focus on navigating restaurant wine lists.

Here are 10 Tips for Discovering Value on Restaurant Wine Lists:

1. Narrow Your Focus

I don't like spending a long time agonizing over whether I'm buying the best value on the wine list. It's rude to disappear mentally from the table just when everyone is getting settled in. And it's no fun. I like to focus on one category that's likely to pair favorably with the general style of cuisine at the restaurant, give the list a look and quickly decide whether to go by the glass or by the bottle.

2. Avoid Pricey Categories

Probably the most uncomfortable thing, especially when you're picking the wine but not picking up the bill, is determining how much is too much. The best way to stay out of trouble is to avoid pricey categories. Unless you're determined to impress someone with a wine from a big-name producer or elite region seek out the more affordable categories.

3. Keep it Mainstream

If you're ordering wine for a mixed group, I'd avoid trying to impress with your knowledge of obscure grapes. Never underestimate how much people like great tasting luscious wines that pair well with food. Unless you really have an angle on a crossover wine that's crowd friendly and a little off the beaten path, stay with food-friendly classics like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc - depending on the style of cuisine at the restaurant of course.

4. Develop a List of Value Producers

Take Napa Cab producers like Buehler, Honig, and Chappellet. A lot fewer people have heard of them than say Sterling, Mondavi, and Caymus. These lesser known producers tend to put out an excellent product at their price points and since their names aren't as recognizable they can sometimes be had at lower markups than their more famous peers.

5. Ask for Targeted Help Finding Values

I think most of the time, when servers are asked for a recommendation off the wine list, the question is framed in terms of "what's good?", what would go well with a certain dish, or a general request to help find a wine that's aligned with the style of wine one prefers.

If you know the category of wine you're interested in try asking: "What are some of your best values on  domestic Pinot Noir by the bottle?" Answering this question effectively requires a familiarity with street/purchase pricing that  your server may not be familiar with. If they seem in doubt and offer up a visit from a  person more familiar with their purchasing decisions take them up on the offer.

6. Ask for the Reserve List

It may seem counter-intuitive to ask to see a list of the expensive stuff when you're looking for value but in my experience this is where the better values often hide. Like retailers, restaurants are often offered closeout pricing on back vintages. Similarly if they have an extensive wine program may be looking to clear inventory.

Not recommended: Trying to play let's make a deal. Unless your server/wine steward/sommelier/GM offers up a treasure that's not on the menu I'd consider it poor form to try to haggle.

7. Start with Spectator

Wine Spectator is a great way to improve your familiarity with top producers. One thing I like about Spectator is that they list the winery-provided production level and release prices for each wine they review. I use this as a starting point when filtering for value. If the production levels are too low (say less than 300 cases) it's unlikely the wine will be available without a lot of work. When production levels get higher (say over 5,000) it's more likely the wine will be across the country.

8. Consult CellarTracker

CellarTracker is most famous for its crowd-sourced wine reviews and cellar record keeping capabilities, but two of its most underrated features are how it lists Community Average Values and the Top Stores selling each specific wine. When users enter a wine into CellarTracker they can optionally indicate how much they paid for a wine -and- where they bought it. I look at the Community Average Value when seeking to determine whether a specific wine regularly sells for less than its release price.

Take for example the 2008 Sette Ponti Toscana Oreno. Wine Spectator lists the release price for Oreno as $110. However, the CellarTracker Community Average is just $59.61 which gives me a sense that the wine is frequently sold at deep discount.

The Top Stores feature can be helpful in finding retailers that offer a wine, but inventory changes frequently so it's not necessarily an efficient way of tracking down a specific wine at retail (more on that in a moment).

I find Top Stores most useful in getting a feel for whether a wine is sold predominantly via mailing list directly from the winery -or- is likely to be available at retail. Take for example the 2009 Rochioli Pinot Noir. The Top Stores on CellarTracker makes it clear Rochioli sells most of their wine directly to consumers via mailing list.

9. Scan Wine-Searcher

On CellarTracker if you click "$ Where to Buy" it takes you to Wine-Searcher.com. CellarTracker pre-populates the search with the wine and vintage you're interested in.

Wine-Searcher.com is the leading site for finding wine availability from retailers and wineries. Since wine isn't sold on Amazon.com, and shopping sites you might use to find other consumer goods aren't tailored to the complexities of wine (bottle size, vintage, confusingly similar bottlings from the same producer, etc) Wine-Searcher can be an excellent resource.

Their information is updated every day or two, and you can filter on the retailers in your state -or- who say they can can ship to your state. From this I can get a sense for the street price of a wine. For example, the 2009 Rochioli Pinot Noir can be had for around $60:

10. Taking it Mobile

Now, I'm not not proposing you do all of this searching at the table while you're making your wine selection. Building up your familiarity with pricing and availability via Wine Spectator, CellarTracker, and Wine-Searcher is a lot of work -- a lifelong endeavor really -- attempted only by the hardest of hardcore wine deal hounds. ;)

That said, A useful mobile application for getting a picture of a specific wine at a glance is Cor.kz. Search for a wine and it can tell you the CellarTracker crowd-sourced Community rating, the Community Average Value, Community recommended drinking windows, and the best prices on Wine-Searcher.com all on one screen:

If the wine has a barcode Corkz can scan it and if it is unique to the wine (which can be problematic) it can take you directly to a list of matching wines. Pretty handy.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Although I hope these tips are helpful, I can't say that I consider myself an expert wine list navigator. There are just too many categories out there I'm not familiar with and I'm sure I'm overlooking some great deals because I'm just not aware of the producers.

That said, some restaurants don't give us much of a fighting chance with massive markups across the board. Kudos to Legal Sea Foods for offering some fantastic wines at fair prices. Their VP of Beverage Operations Sandy Block does an amazing job finding flavorful delicious wines that pair well with the food they serve.

The '09 Rochioli Pinot Noir lived up to my high hopes. A classic flavorful California Pinot Noir that paired brilliantly with a variety of dishes. It was a treat to find, especially at a reasonable price.

But what was as interesting as the wine was seeing the variable markup levels depending on the price of the wines on the list. I'll take a closer look at wine lists in the future - I don't know that I've seen this trend so strikingly elsewhere. 

Question of the Day: What tips would you share for navigating restaurant wine lists more effectively?

I'd love it if you subscribed to The Wellesley Wine Press so we can keep in touch.

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Think Fast: 10 Questions with Dr Vino

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

An interesting shift has been occurring particularly in the last few years: The books we read are written by people we actually interact with online...

Last year I read Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink by Tyler Colman. I really enjoyed it. It helps explain why interstate wine shipping laws are so fouled up.

Tyler is known as Dr Vino on his wine blog where he usually writes in short form - but sometimes goes more in depth as he did with this piece exploring ethical standards at The Wine Advocate way back in 2009.

One thing I appreciate about his writing is that it's always mindful of the acquisition process. He was in the Boston area for a visit recently so we were comparing notes on wine retailers. It was a good time to reach out to him for this 10 question interview.

If you have a chance before you read this, get a better feel for his personality from his appearance on Wine Library TV.

Q1:  Dr Vino – what kind of PhD do you carry?

Dr Vino: I got into wine writing the way so many people do, by doing a Ph.D. in Political Science.

Q2: Wine that got you into wine?

Dr Vino: There wasn't any one wine, just a lot of wines from different places--in an age of globalization and standardization around big brands, wine represents something distinctive, from a certain bend in a river, bottled at the source. It's so intellectually interesting, not to mention tasty, that it didn't take much to pique my interest.

Q3: What kind of stemware do you use?

Dr Vino: Good stemware makes a difference--I have several kinds but probably the Schott Zwiesel has survived the longest because of the titanium-infused crystal. (Schott Zwiesel on Amazon)

Q4: If you could only buy wine from one retailer in the US for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?

Dr Vino: Chambers Street Wines. They have a terrific selection, reasonable prices, and exert a tremendous influence on wine in America, one that belies their one small shop.

Q5: Best current release red wine value under $25?

Dr Vino: Jean-Paul Brun "L'Ancien" 2009 ($15) from Beaujolais is amazing if you can still find it. CellarTracker

Q6: Best white value?

Dr Vino: Domaine de la Pepiere, Clos des Briords, 2010 ($16). The 2010 has crackling acidity; fantastic wine under $20 with any food from the sea. CellarTracker

Q7: What grape variety is going to break through in the next 5 years?

Dr Vino: Romorantin! This white grape grown almost in the tiny Cour-Cheverny appellation in the Loire has got breakout written all over it! ;-)

Q8: Instantaneous wine aerators: Fad or legitimate handy accessory?

Dr Vino: I haven't tried one but I did just see the results of a recent blind tasting of NYC sommeliers -- they gave them the thumbs down. If I think a wine needs some air, I usually have time for a traditional decanter, which also showcase the wine beautifully on the table.

Q9: If you could only drink one wine every night for the rest of your life, price a consideration, what would it be?

Dr Vino: I couldn't do it! Part of the appeal of wine is that there are so many different wines out there and the seasons are always changing.

Q10: Best tip for someone that’s just starting to go wine berserkers?

Dr Vino: Try something new. Many states offer free tastings at shops--go and taste through everything. Have a wine themed party and challenge friends to bring different wines.

My thanks to Tyler for answering these questions!

What to do next:

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