Sunday December 21, 2014SUBSCRIBE
New Jersey Monthly Magazine
Staikos, George

The New Golden Age of Cabernet

We are experiencing a golden age of cabernet from Napa Valley unlike any before. Every vintage this century (except 2003) has been of high quality. This string of fantastic vintages has given those who love cabernet, myself included, an unusual level of comfort, security and most of all, enjoyment.

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Make the Ordinary Extraordinary

We don’t always drink wine with everyday dishes like burgers, pizza, sushi or roast chicken, but when we do, certain wines can help make an ordinary meal into something special.

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A Merlot for All Seasons

It seems like forever ago that Merlot was the most popular red wine. These days, Merlot plays more of a supporting role, but there is at least one wine-producing region where Merlot is still worthy of headline status.

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Malbec Shines in its Supporting Role

In recent years, Malbec from Argentina has won fans among wine lovers who appreciate its rich, fruit-driven style, without a lot of the sweetness you find in other power-packed reds. But while Malbec from this region can express true greatness on its own, its greatest contribution is in a supporting role.

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The Right Grapes in the Right Place

There is a fundamental understanding in the world of viticulture (grape growing) that soil and climate should dictate what grape varietals are grown at a specific location. The operators of New Jersey's Beneduce Winery are following this philosophy with promising results.

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A Wine Bar That Gets it Right

The concept of a wine bar has many different interpretations. One of my favorites in New Jersey is Bin 14 Trattoria & Wine Bar, located in the heart of Hoboken on Washington Street.

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Love the Wine? Get the App!

How many times have you forgotten the name of a memorable wine that you would like to enjoy again? The answer might be found on a smart-phone app. Or maybe a simple note pad would do.

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A Paradise for Wine Lovers

Every wine lover in New Jersey should make at least one pilgrimage to Restaurant Latour at the Crystal Springs Resort, home to one of the world’s most impressive wine cellars.

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A Pinot Noir of a Different Color

No red grape varietal has experienced a greater growth in national awareness and consumption in the last 10 years than Pinot Noir. I recently enjoyed two bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir with friends, one red and one white—yes, white.

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The Alcohol in Your Alcohol

Understanding how alcohol content influences a wine's body, texture and taste is an important step toward making better wine-buying or ordering decisions.

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Making the Most of Wine Country Travel

For many wine lovers, a trip to Napa Valley and Sonoma County in Northern California is the ultimate vacation. But a visit to wine country should be more than packing in as many tastings as time permits.

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Broken Corks and Other Wine Woes

Sometimes you run into speed bumps along the journey to enjoying a great bottle of wine. Here are my recommendations for dealing with five scenarios you might encounter.

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Improving the Wine-Shop Experience

Wine shops and liquor stores are evolving. The best of these retailers now offer value-added services that turn your shopping visit into an experience.

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Solving the Wine-List Puzzle

I equate reading a restaurant wine list to solving a puzzle. Whether it is an easy, straight-forward list or a complex and time-consuming one, there is one main clue that will help you solve the puzzle—and make a good selection.

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Wine Recommendations Made Easy

Recommending wines to friends can be complicated, especially since the availability of wines varies depending on where you buy. But do not fear, I have a plan to overcome this issue.

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Old York Rolls Out Jersey-Centric Wines

New Jersey winery Old York Cellars is launching a new Jersey-centric line of wines that will support the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. In the Garden State spirit, the new line is called What Exit Wines.

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Two Types of Pairings: Match or Contrast

There are two approaches to pairing wine with food. You can match the flavor and texture of the food or you can create a contrast. Either way, you will enhance your enjoyment of both the food and the wine.

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Don’t Go “Naked” When it Comes to Oak

Winemakers listen to consumer preferences, trust me. This is evident in the significant reduction in the use of oak in the winemaking process in recent years. It’s a good thing—but some winemakers have gone too far.

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Loire Valley is Home to Ideal Summer Wines

France has no shortage of classic wine-producing regions. Of them all, the Loire Valley produces the wines that are perhaps best suited for the warm months ahead.

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Wine-Related Gifts for Dad on His Day

The gift of wine is a great way to acknowledge the wine-loving father in your life. But there are other options to consider, such as wine accessories, subscriptions to wine publications and wine classes—all of which can enhance the enjoyment of wine.

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Alba Vineyard is Toast of NJ Wine Competition

Alba Vineyard of Milford is the big winner in this year’s New Jersey Wine Competition Awards, taking home six gold medals and earning the title Winery of the Year. In all, 140 medals were presented to 24 producers, representing the best of the Garden State wine industry.

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The Red Wine for Lovers of White

Elegant, balanced, light to medium in body, high in acidity, wonderful with food. It sounds like a lovely white wine, right? Think again. How about the red wine camouflaged as a white wine?

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Chile and Argentina: Home to Value Wines

I am often asked where the best values exist in the world of wine. After hosting a South American themed tasting over the weekend, I know what my first answer will be.

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Going to a Tasting? Here are Some Tips

You’ve been invited to a walk-around tasting, one where you will sample many wines, one after the other, using the same glass. How will you get the most out of the tasting experience?

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Finding a Blend That Suits Your Taste

Just as a great chef might use combinations of flavors to create a unique dish, many winemakers these days are using a blend of grape varietals to make expressive wines.

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In Wine, Love Should be Blind

We often base our perception of wine on label or price, but tasting wines blind can be a truer barometer of quality.

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Warm-Weather Reds From Spain and Italy

Firing up the barbie? The classic old world wine regions Rioja and Tuscany produce a number of notable reds that are perfect for grilling season.

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Wine-By-the-Glass Programs Get More Adventurous

In recent years, many restaurants have made significant upgrades to their wine-by-the-glass programs. That’s great news if you like to try different wines at dinner without springing for the full bottle.

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Store & Pour at the Right Temp

Most of us drink our white wines too cold and red wines too warm. No matter how much time and money you invest in wine, if you—or your favorite restaurant—are not storing and serving that wine at the ideal temperature, you are not getting the optimal enjoyment.

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A Rosé is not Just a Rosé

Spring is officially upon us. There’s no better time to share my passion for the most seasonal wine of all, dry rosé.

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Festival Was a Paradise of Food & Wine

Last weekend’s 5th Annual Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County was proof of the classic notion that the best way to learn about wine and food is to experience it. For three days, smelling, tasting and savoring was an on-going agenda item.

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Tainted Wine? Trust Your Nose

I recently opened a bottle of Beaujolais from Julienas, one of the 10 prized crus of the region south of Burgundy, France. I poured a glass and anxiously awaited the beautiful, bright, tart red fruit aromas and flavors that I was about to experience. One problem….they were not there.

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Time to Get to Know Port

If there is an award for the most underappreciated wine, Port would definitely be a contender. With another month of New Jersey winter to make it through, it’s an ideal time to change that attitude.

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Syrah: A Grape Worth Getting to Know

Pity the poor Syrah. Complex, versatile, balanced, but often misunderstood by wine enthusiasts.

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Tasted Any Great Wines Lately?

What have you tasted lately that you are excited about? It’s a great question to ask a wine professional—especially one who knows a bit about your personal taste.

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Sparkling for All Occasions

Versatility is not a term often used to describe a wine, particularly sparkling wine, which typically is associated with special occasions. But sparkling wine, with its many styles, can create memorable moments beyond the celebratory toast.

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Selecting Wines to Satisfy All

Recently, at a Mexican restaurant in Chicago with three fellow wine enthusiasts, I was tasked with selecting the wines for dinner. The wine list was immense, filled with amazing wines from all over the world.

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An ‘Off’ Year Yields a Pleasant Surprise

Do not judge a book by its cover and do not judge a wine by its vintage. I was pleasantly reminded of this a couple of nights ago when enjoying a bottle of wine whose vintage had prepared me for being underwhelmed.

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Great Wines that Over-Deliver

It’s great to find wines that over-deliver for the price. Here are four I’ve recently discovered.

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Ready or Not?

Some wines are ready to drink when you buy them. Others are considered “age worthy.” A few clues can help you decipher which is which.

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