Dan Clifford
February 17, 2010 | Dan Clifford

Wine Cellar = Good * Return Shelf = Bad

Most everyones knows the "best place" to keep wine is in a wine cellar. For the purpose of this article lets assume a "cellar" can be any of the following:

  • 2 bottle wine rack in the kitchen
  • An empty closet in the basement, sharing space with miscellaneous items
  • A wine fridge in the kitchen, garage or alike
  • The pantry
  • The Liquor cabinet

The majority of people who buy wine with any type of frequency tend to designate a spot in their home for their wine. It is no different than having a spot for mail, magazines or video games.......it is a lifestyle.

Has anyone ever asked - Where do the bad bottles go? Great question. The bad bottles have several options, down the drain OR back to the store. I hope and prefer option two.

Over the last 20 years I have seen customers come back to the store and say "The wine I had last night was awful/bad/spoiled/corked OR even not my taste". It happens, it is part of selling wine. There are bad bottles of wine; quality and preservation.

Why does it help to return a bottle:

  1. Wine Consultants can determine specifically the issue
  2. Retailers can share this with the distributor and/or the producer
  3. We can refund your purchase and put another bottle of wine in your hand to try

The consumer works hard for their money, excuse the phrase to be "poured a bad glass".

Please share a moment or a time when you had either a special occasion or just a quite night at home when a bottle was bad, not just preference but down right spoiled.



Twitter: @dclifford & @BacchusWine

George W. Heath III
February 16, 2010 | George W. Heath III

WINE TIP OF THE WEEK - Wine is for Closers!

Some traditions are hard to change. I've had customers refused to buy a wine because it had a screw cap and not a cork despite the quality of the wine.

Does a screw cap mean cheap? Well, thirty years ago perhaps it did and of course premium wines would never think to use such a "cheap" solution.

Times and technology do change and now many very good wines are being sealed with metal closures and more wineries are using them daily.

One reason and perhaps the best reason for a winery to use screw caps is: Less spoilage and virtually no corked wines. Personally, I like the cork with all its aura and ambiance but I like the screw cap for different reasons......... shear convenience of opening the bottle without the need of a corkscrew and the ease of sealing the bottle.

Screw caps may seem less classy than the cork but Stelvlin, a company that manufactures caps, came up with a unique metal closure that doesn't look like a screw cap. Reservations concerning screw cap closures due to the "stigma of cheap" is destine to fade; the future holds that the onus screw caps have been subject to will vanish proportionately as wine lovers learn the juice under the cap is good and can be very good.

My tip..............Do not over look the wine bottles with screw caps, you could miss a fantastic opportunity to experience a new and exciting wine.

George W. Heath III

Bacchus Wine Consultant

Twitter: @BacchusWine

Dan Clifford
February 16, 2010 | Dan Clifford

WINE TALES - Not Just Any Lake

The other night while grilling, I knew I wanted a nice Merlot to go with the steak I was preparing.

I scanned my "inventory" of wine and as soon as I saw Ten Lakes Merlot 2006 from Sonoma County..........BINGO I found the perfect wine to compliment my meal.

The Ten Lakes Merlot has nice tannins and a smooth velvety finish which sent my taste buds into Merlot Heaven!

J.A.B Jr.

Bacchus Wine Consultant

Twitter: @BacchusWine

Dan Clifford
February 8, 2010 | Dan Clifford

What Corkscrew Do You Prefer?

Hi Everyone.

This morning I decided to record a quick video (my first ever & I chopped my head off but that's not the point) highlighting different corkscrews, nothing fancy......something I thought of on my way out the door.

Why corkscrews? Yesterday my brother-in-law asked me to bring over a corkscrew BUT what kind I wondered. What would he prefer, the fancy $100 model OR the $0.99 model. How could anyone have wine without a corkscrew.............

So my question to you.........What corkscrew do you prefer?



Twitter: @dclifford & @BacchusWine

Paul Kolbuc
February 5, 2010 | Paul Kolbuc

A World of Spakling Wine & Champagne

Tiny bubbles play a big role in any celebration, and there's a world of sparkling wine just waiting to be explored. Not only is the classic French Champagne always a good choice, but other countries around the globe also produce some delicious offerings. Good for more than a toast at the stroke of the New Year, sparkling wine is a perfect aperitif and pairs well with a wide range of foods.

All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. True Champagne comes only from the region of the same name in northern France, and most sparkling wine producers elsewhere respect French tradition by not using the term on their labels. Champagne is usually a blend of three grapes, two red (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and one white (Chardonnay).This classic blend produces a wine that has a good balance of sugar and acidity, and styles can range from light and fresh to toasty and yeasty, or from dry to sweet.

Quality Champagne is produced using a traditional method known as methode champenoise in which the secondary, bubble producing fermentation takes place in the bottle. This makes for desirable tiny, delicate bubbles and is generally a more expensive method than the charmat method, in which the second fermentation is done in tanks.
Spain's sparkler, Cava, is also made using the traditional French method, which they call metodo tradicional. Its distinctive fresh, crisp and earthy fruit flavors can be tasted in reasonably priced versions such as Casa Doro Brut and Segura Viudus Brut Reserva.

Italy's Prosecco is a sparkling wine made with the white grape of the same name. This dry wine has light citrus Celebrate with festive fizz from around the globe and apple flavors and is either lightly sparkling, frizzante or fully sparkling, known as spumante. Excellent examples are made by Martini & Rossi (slightly off dry) and Zardetto Brut (dry). If you prefer a sweeter option, the Italians produce many Asti sparkling wines using the charmat method. Mondoro Asti is a staff and customer favorite that has delicate, sweet, and aromatically fragrant character and flavor.

A number of French Champagne houses have taken up residence in California. The warmer climate produces a rich tasting and typically fruitier option, often available at a more affordable price. Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut Prestige and Chandon Caneros Blanc De Noirs are excellent selections. There are also U.S. producers not affiliated with the Champagne houses who create fine fizz in California and Washington state. For a full-bodied sparkling wine, try Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut (CA), and if you are serving many, Domaine Ste. Michelle (WA) is an excellent value......always very good quality, clear and crisp on the palate.

New York's Finger Lakes region is gaining considerable attention for producing excellent sparkling wine. The famous Chateau Frank Champagne house has produced sparkling wines that have outscored many California and French Champagnes including Bollinger, Taittinger, and Veuve Cliquot, in fact Konstantin Frank's legendary winery's Champagne produced in the classic methode champenoise has been served at the White House. With that said, February 2010, is Finger Lakes Sparkling Wine Month!

A bit of bubbly is a delicious companion with foods ranging from cheddar to chocolate. Just keep the different styles in mind to best complement a particular food's flavors, and you can serve it with every course. Turkey and chicken make tasty fizz companions, and lamb and ham pair nicely with a rose sparkler. Sparkling wines even pair well with egg dishes to make for a festive brunch. Serve the sweeter styles with sweets to avoid creating a flat, metallic taste combination. Many sparkling wines will bear the names of traditional French style categories.

Wine labeled Brut, the most common type, is very dry. Extra Dry, ironically, is slightly sweeter. Sec is medium sweet, Demi-Sec is sweet, and Doux is very sweet. Derni-Sec and Doux are best as dessert wines or on their own.

Paul Kolbuc

Wine Consultant

Dan Clifford
February 4, 2010 | Dan Clifford

Wine Tip of the Week - Super Bowl Parties

For a Super Bowl Party or any large celebration consider purchasing box wines.

Yes, box wines!

Box Wine Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are a great choice when entertaining a large crowd.

They are relatively inexpensive and stay fresh longer. Box wines come in convenient three and five liter sizes. Some people might think box wines are a bit unsophisticated. While "bag in a box" wines aren't going to be the best wine on the block, quality and popularity are on the rise. In addition to the varietals mentioned above, sweet tasting wines are also available "in the box."

Suffer from box wine stigma? Keep the white and pink (boxes) in the fridge and the reds out of sight. Place full decanters of red on the tables and the white and pink decanters on ice. Can you say "Out of sight, out of mind?" Try it, you will be surprised at the compliments you receive.

George W. Heath III

Wine Consultant

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