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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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The Food & Wine Diet

Spice-Roasted Carrots with Middle Eastern–Style Lentils with Côtes du Rhône

Spice-Roasted Carrots with Middle Eastern–Style Lentils

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. Read more >

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

Seriously, Don't Sniff the Cork

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 absurdly pretentious—not to mention pointless—to sniff the cork at a restaurant? Looking at the cork makes sense. If wine has seeped all the way up the side of the cork, that may mean the wine has been damaged due to poor storage. But in general, there’s nothing to do with the cork other than leave it on the table.

Related: More from Dr. Vino
Alexandra Guarnaschelli's Tips on Cooking with Wine
Taste vs. Price: How to Find Wine Value

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

This Old Wine

A Zippy, Delicious French White

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

2002 Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet Origine: Like another old Muscadet on the market (Domaine Michel Brégeon’s 2004), this Loire Valley white spent many years in concrete tanks on its lees (inert yeast cells) before being bottled. The result is a complex aged wine at a price comparable to Muscadets that are just a few years old. Though it’s available from just a few sources, it’s such a terrific bargain that it’s worth ordering online.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: Tart and crisp Muscadet will sometimes get darker and rounder as it ages, but this bottling is still amazingly zippy. There’s not much fruit, save for some lime zest, but there is a useful expression of what wine writers call minerality: wet rocks, oyster shells and a definite salty quality. It’s a tasty and very dry wine that’s tremendously interesting for its price.

Drink It With: Oysters Rocafella, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi’s fantastic dinner party appetizer.

Best Price Online: $17 at Crush Wine & Spirits. (Find more stores.)

Related: More Affordable Aged Wines
The Awesome Pairing Power of Muscadet
Awesome Oyster Recipes

Dr. Vino's Verdict

Wine by the Glass: Not Just for Suckers

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 by the glass is a rip-off? It's true that the markup is high. You'll usually pay as much for the glass as the restaurant paid for the whole bottle. On the other hand, it's much less expensive to try something new by the glass than by the bottle, and most restaurants are happy to pour you a splash before you even commit to a full glass. With the advent of wine preservation systems like the Coravin, more sommeliers are offering individual pours from rare bottles, too. These choices usually are expensive, but they can be a fun way to taste a fantastic wine when the cost of a full bottle would be prohibitive.

Related: More from Dr. Vino
In Search of Good Cheap Wine
Gifts for Wine Lovers

Cheap Wine Challenge

The Wine Equivalent of Smelling Salts

2012 Domaine La Grange Tiphaine, Bel Air Touraine-Amboise Chenin Blanc

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

Who: Julia Weinberg, director of partnerships and alliances of the must-download wine app Delectable. Read more >

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The Food & Wine Diet

Chicken Thigh Ragù over Pasta with Barbera

Chicken Thigh Ragù over Pasta with Barbera

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. Read More »

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Cheap Wine Challenge

A California Wine with Rhône-Inspired Finesse

Hope Family Wines Troublemaker Blend 6

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

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Dr. Vino's Verdict

How to Tell When a Wine is Flawed

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.

When is it OK to send a bottle back at a restaurant? When there's something clearly wrong with it. The most common fault is being corked, meaning that a faulty cork has tainted the wine with trace amounts of an element called 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole, or TCA for short. The scent will suggest wet cardboard or mold. Other flaws include oxidation (which can make wines taste more nutty than fruity, and turn white wines brownish) and heat damage (which can make wines taste flat and increase their risk of oxidation). Flaws like these are always legitimate reasons for rejecting a wine. If you simply don’t like what you ordered, that’s a different case.

Related: More From Dr. Vino
Affordable Aged Bottles
A Winemaker's Oregon Nouveau Party

This Old Wine

Essential Drinking for the Beaujolais-Obsessed

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

1998 Domaine J. Chamonard Morgon Le Clos de Lys: Beaujolais has come a long way since the days of Nouveau mania. The region now boasts an impressive lineup of skilled small-scale producers making fantastic wines with grapes from the 10 cru vineyard areas. The best wines from the Morgon area have often been known to age well, and this year the husband-and-wife team behind Domaine J. Chamonard released a small cache from the 1998 vintage that had been sitting in their cellars since bottling. While this wine isn't cheap (part of the region's appeal is that the best bottles rarely top $30), its quality and rareness justify the expense for any dedicated Beaujolais lover.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: Precise, red-fruit flavors are a hallmark of Beaujolais. Even at age 15, this one has plenty, though what might have once been sharp raspberry has mellowed to soft, sweet red cherry and strawberry. There's also a healthy amount of a pleasantly gamey, earthy note that comes from long aging. The fruit and funk work beautifully together on a light, silky-textured frame.

Drink It With: Something simple, like Judy Rodgers's classic herbed roast chicken with bread salad. Younger, brighter Beaujolais can work well with stronger flavors, but they could overshadow this subtler, more complex old wine.

Best Price Online: $49 at Chambers St. Wines. Find more stores.

Related: Beaujolais Guide
A Winemaker's Oregon Nouveau Party
Top-Vintage Bordeaux for Under $20

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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.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.