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Dear Friends,

I have retired and will no longer be posting to my blog. I intend to leave it up for awhile in case you would like to review some of my past articles. If you have wine related questions, you can still call. Just know that I may not be available, as I will be spending most of my time on the water, either fishing or cruising. I’ve enjoyed my time with all of you, who have attended one of my wine events and know that my love for wine also extends to you.

Cheers🍷

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In Loving Memory of Sandra Gail Loofs (1947-2019) 🌹

In case you have been checking and seen that I haven’t posted in quite awhile, my wife and partner of 53 plus years was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) in May of 2018 shortly after our return from Europe. Therefore, I have been taking a hiatus in order to care for her. IPF is a condition that has no known origin, is progressive with no known cure, and is always fatal. We suspected something was terribly wrong while on vacation in Europe, but looking back there were signs we missed years before. The disease claimed Sandra and she went to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ earlier this year. I lost the love of my life, but Heaven gained an angel.

I encourage each of you to make time to spend with...

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Often times, a teacher will use games as a way to make learning interesting for their students. I used one of my favorites the other night at a dinner party in which I served four wines in a blind tasting. The tasting consisted of the same varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon in this case) from different producers and at different price points. I know what you’re thinking; after four bottles, I would be blind too! No! In a blind tasting you cover the labels (I place the bottles inside brown paper bags) and number the bottles. After everyone has tasted and rated all of the wines, I then do the reveal including the price point of each wine.

Of course, you can serve more than four if you like, but I’ve found through experience that four is usually a good number in order to have a good time...

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I'm often questioned about how wine clubs work and I've mentioned them in some of my past articles. But, in case you might have missed the articles or you are still not certain how they work, allow me to explain. Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of wine clubs and belong to a number of them. They are a great way of experiencing limited releases and wines you can only get from the winery.

Most if not all (remember, with wine there are always exceptions) wine clubs work the same. You can join a club by signing up at the winery or most now allow you to join online. There should be no fee to join and you should be billed only for the wine purchased less the club discount (plus the appropriate tax and reasonable shipping charges if shipped). If it's anything other than that,...

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I often encounter people that say, “John, you know…I'm not really a wine drinker”. My answer of course is that you haven't been introduced to the right wine.

To all of my lady friends, please forgive me for what may appear to be a sexist analogy at first, but I'm sure that if you let it settle and give it careful consideration, you will appreciate the following. For all my gentlemen friends, when you finally discover the right wine, it will have the appearance of a super-model, but be full-bodied and well rounded with all of its curves in the right places. It will be full of character with hints of spice and everything nice. The taste will linger like a slow kiss on a warm summer's night and you will want to consume it all.

Let me pause here for a moment before I get in...

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Last month I touched on how long you can cellar/age wine. This month I'll pass along some tips on the best way to cellar/store and age the wines you've decided are worthy. The same recommendations hold true for wines you intend to consume in the near future. But, before I get into the best practices for storing wine, let's consider how the wine has been handled before it got to us.

Most wineries after bottling package their wines in 12 bottle cases. The cases are then stacked with the bottles standing, hopefully in a cool place in their warehouse prior to distribution. Once the wine is sold to either a consumer (direct sales) or distributor it is picked up by a shipper. Your wine in most cases then travels in the shipper's un-air conditioned truck to their un-air conditioned...

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Ever wonder about how long to cellar (age) a particular wine? I can only give general information here, so if you have a question about a specific wine, drop me a note and I will be happy to give you advice. But for now, I'll just speak in general terms.

Most white wines do not need to be cellared, as they are meant to be consumed immediately upon bottling. That does not mean that you can't keep some in stock. I try to rotate my stock about every two years. No, of course not all at once! When I'm in the mood for a white, I will select my oldest one from my chiller and replace it with one of the latest vintage. That way it keeps my stock fresh.

Remember, I said that I'm speaking in general terms. There are always exceptions and there are some white wines you can cellar for...

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Okay, folks. Pay attention! May is buy your Sommelier a drink month! So, every time you see me in May you MUST buy me a drink!

Alright, yes, I just made that up but, it really should be a thing. Don't you agree?

I did an article sometime back in which I mentioned participating in May Day celebrations as a kid. I recall getting out of school early and skipping or running around a maypole chasing the girls. Does anyone still do that?

May Day celebrations predate Christianity; however, as Christianity spread across Europe, it began to loose its pagan religious character. Different cultures may attach their own definition to the day but, May Day is usually celebrated on May 1st by most. Some cultures celebrate it as the day of transition from Spring into Summer. However,...

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Have you ever thought about hosting a private wine tasting for your friends? My business manager keeps on me to publish a checklist for hosting a wine tasting and I keep telling her that it's difficult to do because so much depends on what the host or hostess has in mind. There are so many variables that it is almost impossible to say, “Follow this list and your event will be successful.” My advice is to consult with a Sommelier or other wine professional that can help you plan your event.

However, since I can't ignore my business manager, I offer the following as a simplified guide to planning a wine event:

First and perhaps the most important step is determining your budget. You don't want to plan a dinner party when you only have enough money for a wine and cheese...

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I had an opportunity to attend a wine paring recently at Nona’s Italian Grill in The Woodlands pairing wines from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery (FC) located in Sonoma Valley, California. Needless to say, I was very excited as Nona’s is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in The Woodlands and Ferrari-Carano is one of my favorite wine producers.

The wine-dinner featured a first course of a fresh watermelon and feta salad on a bed of arugula topped with a yummy balsamic reduction paired with a 2017 Ferrari-Carano Rosé. The second course consisted of shrimp and jumbo lump crab capri with capers bathed in a lemon butter sauce paired with a 2016 FC Tre Terre Chardonnay....

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No, I'm not talking about libraries serving wine. Although, I suppose if you have your own library and want, you could serve wine. However, that is not what I'm talking about.

When wineries refer to their library wines, they are referring to wines from pervious releases that have been held back and allowed to bottle age in the winery's cellar. Wineries will release those stocks from time to time for sale to their wine club members (see previous article where I describe how wine clubs work) or for direct sales. It's a good way to purchase some of your favorites that have been aged in a proper cellar (see my previous articles on cellaring).

Not all wineries library their wines. Mostly due to limited production or lack of proper storage facilities. But, the ones that do are...

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As we all look forward to new adventures, allow me to wish you nothing but happiness! Speaking of happiness, I'm always happy to introduce folks to new wines and make new friends. My philosophy is that we can never have too much wine or too many friends. I hope you agree? I was privileged to make some new friends at the Ajo Restaurant/Bent Oak Winery dinner and wine pairing, which was held on February 7, 2017, at Ajo Restaurant, 121 Main St., Round Rock, Texas.

If you missed the event, I'm sorry. The Benitez brothers, Albert and Ernest, of Ajo Restaurant did an outstanding job showcasing their talent in preparing and presenting delicious courses. They served their Seared Scallops atop of corn purée, bacon, fennel, almonds and grapefruit, which is one of their signature dishes,...

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Often I'm asked a very good question regarding the tears or legs that appear on the side of the wine glass after swirling. If you have been tasting wine for awhile, you have probably heard the terms. Although tears or legs sounds like a fancy wine term, it is referring to the Marangoni effect. The Marangoni effect simply stated refers to the tension gradient between two fluids due to surface tension. For example, the different rate of fluid transfer, in this case water vs. alcohol both found in our wine, flowing down the side of our glass. Again, simply stated, the longer the tears or legs the higher the alcohol content of our wine.

So, when some wine snooty announces his wine has long legs, it simply means that the wine has a high alcohol content (probably in the 14+%). Doesn’t...

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A few years back I did an article featuring the Romanic Wines of Italy in celebration of Valentine’s Day. One of the wines I recommended was a Brunello di Montalcino from the producer Marchesi de Frescobaldi. It is still one of my favorites to share with my Valentine and a box of chocolates. And while the Italians may not have invented LOVE, I grew up watching Sophia Loren, so I believe they perfected it. And then there is the language of love sung by the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. Not to mention the food and wine. AMORE!

As the name implies, the wine comes from the hilltop town of Montalcino in the Tuscany region of Italy. Even through the first mention of Montalcino, a fortress, in historical documents wasn't until 814 AD, it is believed to have been settled...

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Have I mentioned that cruise ships offer an excellent opportunity to explore new wines, as well as new places? Most of the cruise lines offer wine tastings onboard their ships. Although the bar staff on the ships are not as knowledgeable as I am (not their fault, I just have more experience), they still offer the experience of getting familiar with wines you may not have tried before. It is certainly a good place to start. Or, you could accompany me on one of my cruises and spend a week or more educating your palate. Oh, and did I mention you’re on a cruise ship? No worries about driving home.

I know what you’re thinking. They don’t grow grapes in Alaska. It's too cold there. Well, for the most part, you are right. You cannot grow grapes outside in Alaska as it is too cold there...

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