Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Tasting Room
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
FoodandWine
© 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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Wine Wednesday
FoodandWine
© 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
FoodandWine
© Fredrika Stjärne

© Fredrika Stjärne

Here’s the deal with Thanksgiving. You need a wine that goes with turkey (easy enough, turkeys don’t taste like anything). You need a wine that goes with stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows melted on top (a concept I find revolting, personally, but what can I say?), creamed onions, mashed potatoes with gravy, brussels sprouts, you name it. And, because who wants to make more than one trip to the store for this crazy holiday, you need wine that goes with pizza, too, because pizza is the single most popular food for the night before Thanksgiving. To put it more briefly, what you need is a wine that goes with everything. And that’s a dry rosé. "It’s not too big, it’s not too small; as Goldilocks would say, if she were old enough to drink, it’s just right." »

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Wine Wednesday
FoodandWine
Ray Isle Illustration by Kathryn Rathke

Illustration by Kathryn Rathke.

We don’t usually think of wine and the US military as going hand in hand (I doubt many of our guys are pouring themselves glasses of Napa Cabernet while on duty in Afghanistan), but there are actually a quite a few top-notch winemakers who also served in one of the branches of the armed forces. Why not buy one of the wines they’ve made and lift a toast to them—and everyone else who’s a veteran this week? 5 great veteran-made wines for Veteran's Day. »

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Wine Wednesday
FoodandWine
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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Wine Wednesday
FoodandWine
© Doug Ridgway

© Doug Ridgway

There are some folks who might think it a bit much, pairing wine with hot dogs—but think about it. What is a hot dog, after all, but a subspecies of sausage? And sausages, in all their varied everything-but-the-squeal wonderfulness, go great with wine. "I suspect the majority of corn dog consumers aren’t actually legal to drink, but for those of us adults who languish in eternal childhood and love these things, there ought to be a vinous option." »

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Wines Under $20
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Wines Under $20
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