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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cheap Wine Challenge

A Go-To Cocktail Party Red

A Go-To Cocktail Party Red

Here, wine experts reveal their favorite bottles costing less than $17. Many of the selections are lesser known but absolutely worth the search.

Who: Liz Vilardi, owner/wine director at Belly Wine Bar.

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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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Food & Wine Diet

Simplest, Most Delicious Beans with Chianti

These healthy recipes are all created to pair with wine (a 5-ounce glass has anywhere from 110 to 150 calories)—all for 600 calories or fewer.

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Tasting Room

Oregon's Best Gamays

Oregon's Best Gamays

2011 Bow & Arrow Gamay Noir ($19)
Scott Frank trained in France's Loire Valley before moving to Portland to make wines that emulate the Loire's fresh, clean Gamay style.

2011 Evening Land Gamay Noir ($23)
This dark-fruited Gamay, made in concrete vats, is from one of the original blocks of Evening Land's Seven Springs Vineyard, planted in 1983.

2012 Division Wine Co. Gamay Noir ($24)
Using the classic winemaking techniques they learned in Beaujolais, Tom and Kate Monroe produce just 63 cases of this cranberry-scented wine.

2010 Willakenzie Estate Gamay Noir ($26)
Burgundy-born Bernard Lacroute's winery specializes in wines from that region—Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and this fragrant, floral Gamay.

2011 Brick House Gamay Noir ($28)
Doug Tunnell has made Gamay in Oregon's Willamette Valley since 1994. His vibrant, organic bottling is from a four-acre plot on Ribbon Ridge.

Related: Where to Buy Wine Online
Portland Travel Guide
Wine Pairings

Tasting Room

Affordable Summer Wines: Chillable Reds

Palacios Remondo La Vendimia

Photo courtesy of CellarTracker.com

Pair with grilled chicken, burgers, lamb and ribs.

2012 Herencia Altés Terra Alta Garnatxa Negra ($11) Importer Eric Solomon has teamed up with Spanish winemaker Nuria Altés to make this exceptional Grenache value.

2011 Palacios Remondo La Vendimia ($16) The high percentage of Grenache in the blend of this Rioja red creates a silkiness that works very well when chilled.

2012 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais ($16) Native yeasts, 
minimal filtration and little added sulfur give this basic Beaujolais astounding freshness and flavor intensity.

2009 Boroli Madonna di Como Dolcetto D’Alba ($17) Light-bodied yet full of flavor, Italy’s Dolcetto is an excellent summertime red—especially when it’s as good as this.

2010 Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot 
Noir ($20) This 
New Zealand Pinot
is so bright and juicy 
that the wine almost tastes better cold than 
at room temperature.

Related: Summer Wines
Great Grilling Wines
Summer Wine Tips from Experts
Summer Drinks

Ray Isle's Tasting Room

I ♥ Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc

Illustration © Alex Nabaum

I don’t understand why Cabernet Franc is less popular than its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon—I love its herbal, tea-leaf scent, its lighter body and its vivid acidity. It grows well in a wide range of places, like France’s Loire Valley, northern Italy and Tuscany, California, Chile, even New York’s Finger Lakes. Here are three to try.

2010 Russiz Superiore Collio Cabernet Franc ($26) Friuli, in Italy, makes aromatic, medium-bodied, herbal Cabernet Francs. This one is a great example.

2010 Lang & Reed North Coast Cabernet Franc ($24) Bright berry flavors are the hallmark of this red from California Cabernet Franc specialist John Skupny.

2008 Arcanum Toscana ($100) A layered, complex Cab Franc blend from the vast Tenuta di Arceno estate in Tuscany; it more than rivals super-Tuscan bottlings of the same price.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Wine Pairings
French Wine Regions: The Loire Valley
F&W's Wine Tasting & Travel Guide

Wine Wednesday

Potato Chips and Wine

Keep your carrot sticks and jugs of juiced kale, I say; give me potato chips. And—the key consideration here—they actually go well with wine.

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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

Wine Wednesday

Mysterious Wine Blends

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© Cedric Angeles

© Cedric Angeles

It’s easy, with wine, to drown in the details. Most of us want to know what grape a wine is made from—Cabernet Sauvignon, say—and where it’s from. Knowing the vintage doesn’t hurt either. And before buying a wine, people usually would just as soon have some idea of whether it’s any good. But beyond that, there’s a hyperabundance of information that is fascinating to the few (wine writers, for example) and mind-numbing for almost everyone else. Try saying “You know, it's kind of amazing, but the grapes for this Central Coast Syrah were grown on a combination of decomposed granite and sandy loam soils!” to someone you're on a first date with. You’ll definitely be watching TV later, alone. 5 refreshingly unpretentious reds that are just plain good. »

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Wine Wednesday

Wine with Chicken Breasts

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© Lucy Schaeffer

Fruit-based sauces like the apricot-onion pan sauce in this recipe pair well with a ripe Chardonnay from a warm region. / © Lucy Schaeffer

Admittedly, pairing wine with chicken breasts is kind of a pump fake topic, since as anyone with a nose or a tongue (or both) knows, chicken breasts on their own are about as intensely flavorful as water, or air. But it’s a fine way to illustrate one of the basic wine pairing rules, which is “Sometimes it isn’t the meat, it’s the sauce.” Since we have about nine billion chicken breast recipes on our site at Food & Wine, I’ve hijacked some favorites as examples. »

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