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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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At-Home Sommelier

Italian Wines for Chicken

Italian Wine Pairings for Chicken

Photo © Michael Turek

Before launching their much-anticipated new Manhattan restaurant, Charlie Bird, sommelier Robert Bohr and chef Ryan Hardy organized a wine tasting and dinner centered around a fantastic roast chicken recipe. Here, Bohr and his sommelier wife Jordan Salcito offer their favorite pairings.

Bohr’s Picks

2007 Bellus Girasole ($28)
Bohr loves its leafy, herbal notes.

2008 Fattorie Romeo del Castello Vigo Etna Rosso ($46)
Volcanic soil gives this red a firm acidity.

2010 Paolo Bea Santa Chiara ($46)
An intense white blend from Umbria.

Salcito’s Picks

2011 Venica & Venica Malvasia ($27)
A zesty, tart white from Italy’s Friuli region.

2010 Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Rusticum ($29)
A dense white from a convent in Lazio.

2011 Arianna Occhipinti SP68 ($40)
A vivid, slightly wild blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato from Sicily.

Read More: An Italian Wine-Pairing Summit

Related: Taste Test Winners: Italian Value Wines
16 Italian-American Recipes

Ray Isle's Tasting Room

Great Passover Wines Under $15

Tasting Room

Irish Whiskey

Credit: Eric Witz
Credit: Eric Witz

Green beer: a Tipperary cocktail made with Irish whiskey. Credit: Eric Witz

As an at least partly Irish sort of fellow (my mother’s father’s family), it’s heartening that Americans finally seem to have caught on to the appeal of Irish whiskey. What makes Irish whiskey distinctive (I can hear my ancestors saying besides the fact it comes from Ireland, ya big eejit?) is that it’s typically a blend of mixed-grain and single-malt whiskies, like a blended Scotch, but is usually distilled three times rather than two; also, the malted barley used for Irish is dried in kilns rather than over peat smoke, so it lacks the smoky, sometimes iodine-y character of many Scotches. Here are three great Irish whiskies, and two classic St. Patrick's Day cocktails to enjoy them in. »

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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

Yet Another Reason to Drink Beer

© David Tsay
© David Tsay

© David Tsay

It’s possible you may have missed it, but just before Christmas a team of scientists in Seattle managed to determine the absolute configurations of isohumulones in beer!

Relieved, aren’t you? Me too. But no matter what you think, it’s evidence of sorts that people’s curiosity about beer knows no bounds; and in this case, their curiosity about how hops work.

Hops (the female flower of the hop plant) impart bitterness, and also—depending on the hop strain—resinous, piney and/or citrusy/tangy notes. Most beers have some hop character; over the years various craft brewers have also been obsessed with pushing the envelope of how hoppy a beer can get. In the wrong hands, this obsession can result in undrinkably bitter haaargh-water, but for a talented brewer it can result in beers that are delicious in large part because of their complete, crazy, in-your-face hoppiness. For the adventurous, here are 9 extremely hoppy beers that also happen to be extremely good. »

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Tasting Room

The Luke Wilson of Wine, Not Quite the Leading Grape

Ray Isle Illustration by Kathryn Rathke
Ray Isle Illustration by Kathryn Rathke

Ray Isle Illustration by Kathryn Rathke

It’s rare that one family will tolerate two stars. Think about it—Alec Baldwin? Definitely a star. Other Baldwins? Sort of famous, but just not quite real stars. Ditto Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson. Luke, excellent actor, really appealing on-screen, but just doesn’t quite have the particular audience-drawing whatever-it-is-ness that his oddly nosed older brother has. The same is pretty much true of wine regions. Usually, one grape gets to be the star. Napa Valley, for instance, produces a lot of very good Merlot, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc—but Cabernet Sauvignon is without doubt the leading grape there. 5 great red wines. »

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Tasting Room

President's Day Wines

President Andrew Jackson. © Bettmann / CORBIS
President Thomas Jefferson. © Bettmann / CORBIS

President Thomas Jefferson. © Bettmann / CORBIS

When it comes to Presidents and wine, there’s pretty much one name floating around out there: Thomas Jefferson. He made a number of attempts to grow grapes and make wine at his Monticello estate; during the five years he served as U.S. Minister to France, he undertook at least two lengthy tours of French, Italian and German wine regions; he had wine shipped to him in the U.S. from many of Europe's greatest estates; and he built a subterranean wine cellar for himself, complete with iron-barred, fortified, double-locked door (no one was getting their greedy hands on ol’ Thos. J’s private stash). So what did Jefferson drink? A lot of things: Madeira, Port, Sauternes, Bordeaux (he was particularly fond of Château Haut-Brion), Champagne, Hermitage, Rhine and Mosel Riesling, Sherry, Tuscan reds, Volnay and Montrachets from Burgundy, you name it. Here are a few wines from some of his favorite regions. »

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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

Best Super Bowl Chicken Wings and Beers

© Hector Sanchez
© Hector Sanchez

© Hector Sanchez

My secret theory about why chicken wings and football go so well together can be demonstrated by a very simple experiment. First, go to the store and buy a chicken. Next, remove its wings. Next, truss its little feet together. Now paint it brown. What does it look like? Exactly: a football. Chickens are footballs, except for the wings. And that’s why when we watch football, we eat chicken wings. 5 perfect beer and wings pairings. »

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

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