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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wine Wednesday

Spooky Halloween Wines

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Grilled Beef Ribs with Smoky-Sweet Barbecue Sauce // © John Kernick

Pair chef David Burtka's frighteningly human-like beef back ribs with one of these spooky Halloween wines. / © John Kernick

Here’s the way I see it with Halloween wines. There are plenty of wines out there that are propelled by some sort of marketing gimmick—Dracula’s favorite Transylvanian Zinfandel, 2012 Mr. Bones Bug Juice, what have you—but there are also some wines that more organically have a spooky Halloween vibe to them. Here are a few possibilities that would be appropriate served out of black glasses in a Haunted House, and that also actually taste good. The list of Halloween-ready booze. »

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Wine Wednesday

Wines for October Breast Cancer Awareness

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Courtesy of Peju

Courtesy of Peju

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Though that's not normally a wine-related subject, in fact several wineries have made commitments to help fight breast cancer. Some donate profits to help fund mammograms, some help support medical center, and some contribute to breast cancer research—no matter which route they've chosen, it's a good road to take. Here are four that are doing their share »

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Food & Wine Friends

Andrew Zimmern's New Book Teaches Tolerance, Unsettles Hot Dog Lovers

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Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide

 

In his new book, Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods, out on October 30, the Bizarre Foods host and F&W contributing editor shares interesting facts and kid-friendly anecdotes on edibles that range from bats and wildebeests to familiar foods like foie gras and hot dogs. This exclusive excerpt, for example, explains why most of us have eaten buttholes. Read more >

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Wine Wednesday

Wines from the Rest of the U.S.

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Courtesy of Becker Vineyards

Courtesy of Becker Vineyards

At last count, there were wines being made in all 50 states. Now, some do face unusual difficulties—Tedeschi Vineyards in Hawaii, for instance, is the only vineyard I can think of in the U.S. located on the slopes of an active volcano—but nevertheless, there they are, wineries in every state. This fact can be easy to overlook, since California makes more than 90 percent of all U.S. wine. But as the weather has turned nicer (or, at least, is supposed to have), why not take a spin out to a local winery or two? Not a bad activity for a balmy weekend afternoon, and you’re supporting local businesses, too, which would be rather civic-minded of you. To spur you along, here are five wineries from around the country that are worth a trip. »

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Wine Wednesday

5 Grapes to Expand Your Wine Horizons

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© Cedric Angeles

© Cedric Angeles

Here in the U.S. of A., we drink a lot of Chardonnay—over 53 million cases of it from California alone. Cabernet Sauvignon, too; we love the stuff. Merlot, Pinot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, bottle after bottle of those, too. And that's all well and good. But there are thousands of different wine grapes out there in the world, and with all that abundance, why not take a flier on an oddball but tasty option? Here are five lesser-known but nifty varieties to look for. »

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Wine Wednesday

Grilled Cheese and Wine

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Mario Batali's Mortadella and Cheese Panini

Mortadella and Cheese Panini; © Con Poulos

Imagine a world without cheese—no pizza, no mac and cheese, no cheeseburgers, no cheesecake, no grilled cheese. It would mean the disintegration of society as we know it! The end of the world! Possibly the complete implosion of the entire known universe! Well, thankfully, ExxonMobil has patented the process of “cheese fracking,” insuring that none of us will ever face a future sans cheese. And that means we can go merrily on pairing wine with our grilled cheese sandwiches. And that, my cheese-fanatic friends, is a big relief. "American cheese and white bread. Shouldn’t be scoffed at, even by foodies, and never scoffed at by seven-year-olds." »

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Wine Wednesday

How to Pair Wine and Chinese Food

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Courtesy of Kobrand.

Courtesy of Kobrand.

Wine and Chinese food tends to promote a strange response among wine writers, which can be summed up as “pair Chinese food with off-dry Riesling. Or Gewürztraminer.” Well, fine, but isn’t that sort of like saying “pair French food with white Burgundy” or “pair Italian food with a red wine?” Last I heard, Chinese cuisine had enormous regional variety and a culinary tradition that extends back, oh, a few thousand years or so. 7 wine pairings for everything from Americanized Kung Pao Chicken to traditional salted baked duck tongue. »

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Wine Wednesday

All About Albariño

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Courtesy of Condes de Albarei

Courtesy of Condes de Albarei

The signature white grape of the Rias Baixas region in Galicia, on Spain’s northeastern coast, Albariño produces crisp, aromatic white wines. Typically unoaked, Albariños are stylistically akin to Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Arneis and so on, with flavors suggesting pineapple in ripe vintages, or grapefruit in cooler ones, and with a distinctive chalky-seashell mineral note. Tart and lively, it’s a great seafood wine, whether the dish is raw (oysters; sushi; whole raw narwhal, so often a weekday meal in my youth back in Greenland) or cooked. The seafood affinity also seems appropriate since Galicia is home to Spain’s fishing fleet, as well as to percebes, the odd little rock barnacles that are the signature delicacy of the region—well worth devouring, should you ever have the opportunity. 5 well-priced Albariños to get you started. »

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Wine Wednesday

Sauvignon Blanc Cheat Sheet

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Courtesy of Franciscan Estate Napa Valley

Courtesy of Franciscan Estate Napa Valley

Ah, Sauvignon Blanc. It’s zesty, it’s crisp, it’s loaded with citrusy zing, it whets the appetite and it tastes great served cold on a hot day. And, once in a while, it smells like a green pepper exploded in your glass. More on why Sauvignon Blancs sometimes have a cat-pee aroma and great bottles of it under $20. »

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Wine Wednesday

Bring on the Muscadet

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Courtesy of Domaine de la Pépière

Courtesy of Domaine de la Pépière

Ah, France. As was reported in the international press, France’s incoming president, François Hollande, is trimming back some of the bling-bling excesses of his model-marrying, Patek Philippe–wearing predecessor. Aside from brutal austerity measures like junior ministers being deprived of their bodyguards (imagine how terrifying this must make the day-to-day existence of the French Food Processing Industry junior minister, for instance), Hollande has apparently replaced Champagne with Muscadet at most official events. Sacre bleu! Madness! But actually I kind of like the idea, because I love Muscadet. »

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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.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.