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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wine Talk

What This Chef Can Teach You About Wine

Chef Chris Shepherd

Chris Shepherd, an F&W Best New Chef 2013 from Underbelly in Houston, explains why he loves Bandol, is so-so on Champagne and thinks Grüner Veltliner is the coolest wine.

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Drink This Now

Halloween Party Drinks: Scary Wines and Spooky Ciders

Ray Isle Vampire

F&W's executive wine editor is truly a good sport. He broke out his weekend gear (left) and popped by the Today Show this morning to drink Green Goblin Cider and The Velvet Devil Merlot with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Here, some of his top bottles to buy this Halloween.

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple: Cider has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. Angry Orchard is from the same people who make Sam Adams. Widely available, it's an American type cider—that is, lightly sweet and crisp. Plus it's got spooky trees blowing in the wind on the label ($9 suggested retail for a six-pack).

Green Goblin Cider: How can you argue with a goblin-labeled cider for Halloween? He's a creepy looking creature, but the cider's great, in a classic English dry style ($5 for a 500ml bottle).

Charles Smith The Velvet Devil Merlot: A perfect Halloween wine, because (a) it's got a big black pitchfork on the label and (b) it's really rich and silky (or velvety), with lots of dark fruit flavor. It's from Washington State ($12).

Watch Ray bob for cider with Today's Kathie Lee and Hoda, here.

Related: Halloween Cocktails

Tasting Room

Awesome Canned Craft Beer

Courtesy of Sierra Nevada.
Courtesy of Sierra Nevada

Courtesy of Sierra Nevada

There are now more than 180 craft breweries putting their brew into cans (out of about 875 total, not counting brewpubs). And that’s a fine thing. I mean, it may be 20 degrees outside, but you’ve still got to drink something at the beach, right? Here are 5 great canned craft beers. »

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Tasting Room

A Valentine's Day Wine Survival Guide

Great wines and cocktails to pair with every Valentine's Day scenario.
© Michael Turek

© Michael Turek

Ah, Valentine’s Day. If everything goes right, then you have a happy romantic night out with your loved one, and wake the following morning to songbirds chirping, the sun caressing you with buttery light, a suffusion of love in your heart, and no hangover at all. If things go wrong, then you get a night full of misery, anger, disappointment, shame, betrayal, and tears, but what did you expect? That's what dating’s all about. Be that as it may, Valentine’s Day is here, and no matter what your romantic situation is, you’re undoubtedly going to need a drink. Here are five suggestions to match some possible Valentine’s Day activities. »

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Tasting Room

Battening Down the Hatches with Wine Bottles to Buy by the Case

Ray Isle, Food & Wine's Executive Wine Editor

Illustration by Kathryn Rathke.

Winter is here. This means you should buy wine in large amounts, not because you’re drinking more, but because going outside—especially if you live in the Northeast—just isn’t pleasant. Five great bottles to buy by the case.>>

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Tasting Room

Ice Wine, That Peachy-Lychee-Tropical-Honeyed Nectar

Illustration by Kathryn Rathke.

Illustration by Kathryn Rathke.

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when hearty Ontario winemakers (and others) freeze their—well, their somethings—off, in order to bring you bottles of the sweet, unctuous liquid known as ice wine. Fantastic Ice Wines. »

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Tasting Room

Wine with Fajitas, Otherwise Known as “Fa-HEE-tas”

© Iain Bagwell. Food styling by Simon Andrews.

© Iain Bagwell. Food styling by Simon Andrews.

When it comes to pairing wine and fajitas—a situation that might occur for some people only after every last margarita on earth had been drained—here’s a general thought. Fajitas, which are typically served with onions, grilled bell peppers, cheese, pico de gallo, possibly guacamole, maybe sour cream and who knows what other fixings, fall into the broad pairing category of “It isn’t the meat, it’s the sauce (or condiments).” Essentially, you’re picking a wine to go with a mass of wildly different flavors. So you want one that goes with, more or less, anything. How to pick that fajita-pleasing wine. »

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Tasting Room

Great Winter Beers That Don't Taste Like Spiced Pop-Tarts

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Courtesy of Sierra Nevada

Few issues in the world are truly black-and-white. Cats, for instance. Some people think they’re nice pets; some people think they’re furry little narcissists who’d happily dine on your face if there were ever a complete collapse of civilization due to a nuclear apocalypse.  But one thing that can be divided into simple, black-and-white categories is winter beers. Basically, there are the ones that taste like something your grandmother would bake, and the ones that don’t. Here, six great winter beers.>>

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Tasting Room

Australian Shiraz: A Regional Guide

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Australia has more than 65 wine regions, each of them with its own climate and soil type. As a result, the wines from each region have their own distinctive characters. Here’s a geographic guide to Aussie Shiraz:

Shiraz: A Regional Guide

Shiraz: A Regional Guide. Art © Alex Nabaum.

Warm Climate (Pink Dots)
Regions: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Heathcote, Langhorne Creek
Character: Ripe blackberries, massively rich, lots of power
Wine to Try: 2010 Torbreck Barossa Valley Woodcutter’s Shiraz ($22)
Food Pairing: Braised short ribs

Moderate Climate (Green)
Regions: Eden Valley, Clare Valley, Margaret River
Character: Tangy blackberries, substantial body, licorice and black pepper notes
Wine to Try: 2010 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Clare Valley Shiraz ($19)
Food Pairing: Lamb chops

Cool Climate (Blue)
Regions: Great Southern, Yarra Valley, Coonawarra, Frankland River
Character: Raspberries, medium-bodied with higher acidity, herb and white pepper notes
Wine to Try: 2010 Innocent Bystander Victoria Shiraz ($20)
Food Pairing: Roast duck

Related: In Defense of Australian Shiraz

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