Northwest Syrah remains delicious, in demand
Posted by Tom Armen on April 30, 2016
Whether you’re looking for a Syrah that is subtle and savory or bold and rich, it’s easy to find various styles of the famous Rhône red in the Pacific Northwest.
Despite global sales of Syrah/Shiraz being soft the past few years, the demand for Northwest Syrah remains strong, and the amount being made grows each year.
Here are a dozen delicious Northwest Syrahs we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
Hidden Gem of the Month: 2012 Jamet Côte-Rôtie Syrah Brings Densely Complex Flavors to the Table
Posted by Tom Armen on April 28, 2016
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to attend a wine event offering samples of some incredible Rhône wines, including a number of Syrah vintages. As one might expect, most of the wines that I tried were heavy in new oak flavors, brimming with intense earthiness. While these wines were delicious, by the end of the tasting, I was craving something more; I wanted a meaty, aromatic wine to offset the bombardment of woody Rhône flavors.
Pinot Gris from both sides of Columbia River
Posted by Tom Armen on April 26, 2016
For more than 15 years, Oregon has embraced Pinot Gris as its No. 1 white wine grape. Today, Pinot Gris is as strong as ever with Oregon winemakers.
Across the river in Washington, Pinot Gris plays a steady role as the distant No. 3 white wine grape, trailing Riesling and Chardonnay.
As recently as four years ago, Oregon and Washington made about the same amount of Pinot Gris. But since then, Oregon’s interest in the bright white grape has surged, with winemakers crushing nearly 14,000 tons in 2014 (the most recent year that harvest numbers are available).
Regardless of what side of the Columbia River you get your Pinot Gris on, you will find delicious examples that pair beautifully with classic Pacific Northwest cuisine, including shellfish, salmon, baked chicken, Asian-inspired dishes and grilled vegetables.
The Corkage Conundrum: How to Bring Wine to a Restaurant Without Being Rude
Posted by Tom Armen on April 24, 2016
For every incredible restaurant with a top-notch wine list, you’ll find at least 10 more with boring lists. Finding a fine restaurant that also offers an incredible array of diverse wines is a rarity, especially when cities like New York ban sommeliers from buying wines sold by private collectors. Wine Spectator’s Jim Fish suggests that many restaurants struggle with food and wine menus because the restaurant owners rely on customer satisfaction to survive. A restaurant is more likely to include wines that most people enjoy, like Napa Valley Chardonnay, instead of pushing the envelope with unusual wines. Restaurants are pushing for wines that will net them the most customers, meaning that serious wine lovers will sometimes want to bring their own wines to restaurants if they’re looking to drink something more experimental. In this atmosphere, wine collectors need a thorough guide on bringing wine to restaurants without angering the waitstaff. You might think that bringing wine to a restaurant has nothing to do with your cellar at home, but in fact, when you treat your neighborhood restaurant’s sommelier well, you stand to gain a great deal in your personal collection.
Swirl and sip over our wine quiz
Posted by Tom Armen on April 22, 2016
Much like a vintage wine, these questions could take you back to a good year.
Hey, could somebody write a new wine movie? We’re due!
It’s quiz time, wine lovers, but it is also April Fools’ Day. So, that means some of my questions might be a little more tricky than on the other 365 days of this year.
Because I focus on wines in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, these questions are going to cover those four states — but I did say it is the April Fool’s Day of a Leap Year and, well. . . I can’t be trusted.
Let’s get right to it. Find the answers, and a few explanations, at the end of this column. First an easy one.