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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

The Value Wine That Costs $100

The Value Wine That Costs $100

Don't you think aged Riojas are stunning value wines, even when they're pricey?

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

Americans Drink Plenty of Wine, but Vatican Citizens Drink More

Americans Drink Plenty of Wine, but Vatican Citizens Drink More

Don’t you think it’s great that the US is now the world’s biggest wine market? There aren’t a lot of bull markets in the US these days, but we are in a bull market for wine consumption.

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

For Champagne, Skip the Flute

Here's why a regular white wine glass is the best thing for sparkling wine.

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

Champagne's Great Growers

Champagne's Great Growers

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

Just Say No to Nouveau

Just Say No to Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau, which is made and released each fall after the harvest, typically comes from the region's less-desirable vineyards and is usually produced using industrial methods. Cru Beaujolais is a different story.

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

Just Decant It

Why Decant Wine

Don't you think decanting is beneficial for many wines, young or old? With an older wine, it's a way to separate the wine from any sediment in the bottle, which makes serving much easier. Read more >

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

Sugar-Free Champagne: Trendy and Tasty, But Don't Drink It Alone

Sugar-Free Champagne: Trendy and Tasty, But Don't Drink It Alone

Don't you think low-dosage Champagnes are better with food? The high acid levels in Champagne have traditionally been balanced by adding a little sugar, known as the dosage (pronounced dough-SAAJ) right before the cork goes in the bottle. Read more >

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

Why You Should Buy Wine in Bulk

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think it’s smarter to buy wine by the case rather than one bottle at a time? Most stores offer a discount on purchases of 12 bottles or more. Also, local delivery is often free or close to free, so someone else can do the heavy lifting for you. One caveat: shop around. A 10 percent discount at a pricey store may sound good, but still mean a more expensive bottle than one from a retailer who charges less to start with.


Related: More From Dr. Vino
In Search of Good Cheap Wine
Affordable Aged Bottles

Dr. Vino's Verdict

How to Talk to a Sommelier

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think wine style is more important than grape variety? Consider Pinot Noir: Many of the finest examples from Burgundy are light in color, high in acidity and rely more on minerality than fruit, while some critically acclaimed California Pinot Noir is dark, lower in acidity, fruity and higher in alcohol. So ordering a Pinot Noir won’t necessarily get you the kind of wine you want. Same for whites: Saying “Chardonnay” can result in anything from lean Chablis to buxom, oaked-up New World versions. Instead, tell the sommelier what style of wine you want to drink. For example: Rich or lean, round or zippy, fruity or mineral-driven, modern or traditional.

Related: More from Dr. Vino
Wine 101: Pinot Noir & Red Burgundy
Wine 101: Chardonnay

Wine Intel

Aldo Sohm Sniffs the Cork

Aldo Sohm.

Earlier this week, a piece by Tyler Colman (a.k.a. Dr. Vino) provoked a bit of controversy on Twitter with the assertion that there's no point in sniffing a wine's cork when it's presented in a restaurant. Among those who took issue were Aldo Sohm (superstar sommelier at New York's Le Bernardin) and Jordan Salcito (beverage director for Momofuku). We followed up with Sohm, who offered his view that the cork should be sniffed, at least by sommeliers. Sohm's opinion is that the practice shouldn't be ignored as a technique for detecting 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (a.k.a. TCA), the wine-ruining compound that's responsible for a distinctive musty "corked" smell. "If you have a problem, you always go to the source," says Sohm, "and 90% of the time the source is the cork" (TCA can also affect a wine before bottling, but it's comparatively rare). Won't the wine also smell like TCA? Usually, but sometimes a wine will be affected only slightly, and the cork can offer valuable confirmation that something is wrong. "We had a bunch of sommeliers together for a lunch, and one said he thought the wine was corked," says Sohm. "A very prominent American sommelier grabbed immediately for the cork and smelled it."

Sohm does note that as a person selling wine, not just drinking it, he has a different incentive for catching a corked bottle at the earliest possible moment. But it's still useful to know: Somms trust the cork.

Related: How to Tell When a Wine is Flawed
Dr. Vino's Verdict
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