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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

Wine Wednesday

After-Dinner Wines

Ray Isle, Food & Wine's Executive Wine Editor

Courtesy of Kathryn Rathke

Sometimes it’s nice to sit back after dinner and sip something sweet purely on its own. F&W's Ray Isle names his favorite after-dinner wines.>>

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All Good Things


You know the rest of that line, right? Well, it's with some small amount of sadness that I am saying that about this blog: It must come to an end. I've had a terrific time writing it, but we've decided that in the end it's a bit strange, for a magazine that's all about bringing together food and wine, to have separate blogs on those topics.

So, from here on out, any wine blogging that I (and Megan Krigbaum, Kristin Donnelly, and various other stalwart folks) do will instead appear in F&W's primary blog, Mouthing Off. No less wine coverage, just a different venue. See you there.

Ray Isle

Dessert Wine

Wine Week, Part Two


After a morning spent with New Zealand wines, I hustled off in the afternoon to a Sauternes-Barsac tasting. Sauternes and Barsac, locate in the southwestern corner of Bordeaux, are known for producing sweet wines made with the Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and (sometimes) Muscadelle grape varieties. These wines develop their sweetness due to botrytis, or "noble rot," a fungus that pierces the skin of the grapes, letting some water out and as a result concentrating all the good sugar inside. The best of these wines have a terrific honeyed quality, but also brightness and acidity so as not to be cloying.

At this particular tasting, the producers were pouring one recent vintage wine and one older one and, remarkably, in some cases the older vintages had more freshness than the more recently released ones.

The two I tasted from Château Doisy Daëne were strikingly different. The 2005 (find this wine) was upfront with fresh grapefruit and grapefruit zest aromas. The flavors tended more to bitter citrus than sweet. The 1991 bottling, however, oozed with honey and butter and orange marmalade flavors alongside a lovely citrus acidity.

Both wines from Château Guiraud were standout, too. The 2005 vintage (find this wine) was lighter and more mellow, with orange blossom flavor and a long finish, whereas the 2002 was lively and crisp with orange notes.

The contrast between the two wines from Château Suduiraut was just as stark. The 2003 vintage (find this wine), which was a very hot year, was big and brawny with rich ripe fruit that suggested nectarines and tangelos. The 1999, on the other hand, was a bit more restrained with a perfumed nose and citrus peel notes.

Overall, it was an interesting investigation into wines that I don't normally have access to, and by the end of the tasting, my palate was surprisingly not overwhelmed, thanks to the accompanying acidity-a great thing, because I was headed back to the office to taste yet more wines, this time from Tuscany. More on that on Monday.

White Wine

Today Show: End of Summer Drinks


I was on the Today show this morning (check out the clip here), recommending a few summer's-almost-over-don't-miss-them beers and wines to Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. It was, as usual, a slightly crazy affair, but a lot of fun.

Beer-wise, I suggested people track down New Belgium's Skinny Dip, a light beer (114 calories) that doesn't taste like a light beer—i.e., doesn't taste like watery dreck. I'm not quite sure how the New Belgium brewers manage that, but if you're inclined toward light beers, you could do far, far worse. I also mentioned Hoegaarden, a classic Belgian witbier, faintly flavored with coriander and orange peel. The cloudiness (which is natural) seemed to worry KLG and Hoda, but in the end they seemed to like it; personally, I think the stuff's a no-brainer on a hot summer day. 

In terms of wine, my recommendations included the 2008 Foxglove Chardonnay ($13, find this wine), an unoaked Central Coast Chardonnay with crisp tree-fruit notes and impressive intensity; the 2008 Crios de Susanna Balbo Malbec ($15, find this wine), which for the price provides a lot of smoky blackberry fruit and works well as either a summer-grilling or winter-warming wine; and 2008 Saracco Moscato d'Asti ($15, find this wine), which is perfect for summer desserts—lightly sparkling, low in alcohol, with pretty tangerine and floral notes. 

I also got to walk down a set of stairs next to George Foreman, who was on the show, too, and looking mighty dapper in a striped, off-white suit. I have to say he drew more attention than I did.


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