May 20, 2016 |
A curious collection of small bowls were laid out on a table at Jamonera the other day: Marcona almonds, boquerones, red grapes, olives, flatbread crisps, pimento cheese spread, chorizo, salt cod, pork rillettes, three cheeses, walnuts, and squares of Hershey's chocolate. Terence Lewis, the sommelier at this Midtown Village restaurant, had assembled the foods to illustrate for the waitstaff the complexities of one wine: sherry. Ten glasses of the aperitif were lined up. One was the color of clarified butter; another, apple juice; yet another, motor oil. Aided by maps and graphics, Lewis launched into an explanation of the Spanish wine's convoluted history and production process that touched on the Moors, trade winds, yeast, and oxidation.
November 9, 2012
Buzz : When did they start making a special wine for little ladies? Marnie: I've never heard of such a thing, Buzz. What do you mean? Buzz: I saw a red wine at the state store called "Petite Sirah. " My mom always told my sister she should shop in the petites section because she was so short, but I thought that was just for clothes. Marnie: The answer is both yes and no, Buzz. Yes, we use the word "petite," which means small in French, to designate clothes made for ladies of smaller stature.
September 27, 2012
Buzz: Hey Marnie, I saw a wine bottle in the store yesterday that said it was made from organic grapes. Why not call it organic wine? Marnie: Because they mean different things, Buzz. Grapes grown naturally, without chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides, have been shown to make better wine. They have an inherent advantage in quality potential, flavor and a wine's ability to age gracefully. Organic winemaking is far more problematic; it creates a major quality control issue that leads to an inconsistent product and premature spoilage.
August 30, 2012
BUZZ: HEY, Marnie, I had guests over and they gave me a bottle of wine. After they left, I saw it was from the Columbia district in Washington. Should I dump it? How good can it be from that swamp in D.C.? Marnie: Drink it, Buzz, don't waste it. It's from Washington state's Columbia Valley, a region that makes some of the best wines in the country, not the capital's District of Columbia. Buzz: I thought the only good American wines were from California. Marnie: Well, it's true that over 90 percent of premium U.S. wines are made there, but Washington and Oregon make world-class wines too. I love recommending Washington wines in particular due to their fair prices.
June 21, 2012 |
BUZZ: Hey, Marnie, a friend offered me a glass of German riesling over the weekend. I looked at the bottle and the alcohol was only 8 percent! I can get more of a kick from a glass of German beer. Marnie: Well, Buzz, there are plenty of people who drink wine more for its delicious flavor than for its alcoholic strength. Low-alcohol wines feel light, sheer and refreshing in the mouth. We call them "light-bodied" wines. Buzz: I'd rather feel light-headed.
June 7, 2012
BUZZ: Feeling left out this week, Marnie? Marnie: Not particularly. Why? Buzz: It's Philly Beer Week. That must really chafe you wine people. Marnie: Not really, Buzz. Beer and wine are more alike than wine and spirits. Most wine lovers appreciate good beer, too. Buzz: Really? I would think your friends would be too hoity-toity to be seen swilling beer. Let me guess — they drink only the fancy ales that come in bottles with a cork. Marnie: Well, therwe is certainly appreciation in wine circles for well-crafted beers made with quality ingredients and for the most complex, "winelike" beers.
May 10, 2012
WELCOME TO Cheap Buzz, where we eavesdrop as sommelier Marnie Old attempts to teach the joys of wine and fine spirits to Buzz, a guy with no sophistication and not much money. Here's their latest conversation: Buzz: I was reading the notes on the wine signs at the State Store and, boy, are they crazy! Marnie: You mean the tasting notes? Buzz: Yes. One wine tasted like "leather. " Another was "grassy. " The worst was the one that was "chalky. " though. Who the heck would drink a wine with chalk in it?
April 12, 2012 |
BUZZ: HEY, Marnie, my brother gave me a bottle of ice wine. I think it's from Alaska. Marnie: I doubt that, Buzz. Vines die if they freeze solid in winter. Wine grapes grow in "temperate" climates from 30 to 50 degrees in latitude. Buzz: OK, but if ice wine isn't from Alaska, I bet it comes from Chile. Chile, get it? Marnie: Good one. Funny you mention Chile — it stretches through all those latitudes and makes diverse wines as a result. Geography has a huge impact on wine style.
March 1, 2012
WELCOME TO Cheap Buzz, where we eavesdrop as sommelier Marnie Old attempts to teach the joys of wine and fine spirits to Buzz, a guy with no sophistication and not much money. Here's their latest conversation: BUZZ: Hey, Marnie, I'm taking my mother to the [Philadelphia International] Flower Show this week. I was thinking about buying a rose wine to celebrate. Do they make wine out of other flowers besides roses? MARNIE: No, Buzz. Wine is made from grapes, and grapes only.
February 16, 2012
WELCOME TO Cheap Buzz, where we eavesdrop as sommelier Marnie Old attempts to teach the joys of wine and fine spirits to Buzz, a guy with no sophistication and not much money. Here's their latest conversation: BUZZ: My brother and I were at a wine tasting. He swirls the glass of wine, looks at our server, then tells her, "Nice legs. " He's married! MARNIE: Don't be silly. He was talking about the wine's "legs. " That's the slow-moving drips or "tears" that form on the glass after we swirl a full-bodied wine.