February 28, 2013 |
The Pennsylvania House and Senate Appropriations Committees met this week to address modernizing everyone's favorite monopoly, the state Liquor Control Board. Right there, you've got your first problem. Pennsylvania, the land time forgot, doesn't do change. The board was founded at the end of Prohibition to, as Gov. Gifford Pinchot declared, "discourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages by making it as inconvenient and expensive as possible," a promise we can agree it has made good on to this day. We have the "temporary" 18 percent Johnstown Flood Tax that dates to 1936.
February 28, 2013
Buzz : How come wineries put so much useless information on the label? Marnie: Some label statements are required by law, Buzz, such as where the grapes were grown and who made the wine. Others help distinguish that wine from other wines. This information could be grape varieties, style terms or vineyard names. Buzz: That's what I said - useless information. All I want to know is what the wine tastes like, and that's the only thing the label doesn't tell me. Marnie: Oh, I see. I'm not sure I'd call the information "useless," but I can understand why you might find the alphabet soup on many wine labels less than useful.
February 14, 2013
Buzz: I forgot to get my wife a present for Valentine's Day. What could I pick up at the store that could save my bacon? Marnie: Wine always makes a nice gift, and there are some styles that evoke romance, like sparkling wines, sweet wines and pink wines. Buzz: Great! I don't want to spend the weekend in the doghouse, but I don't want to spend too much on a bottle, either. Marnie: No problem. Classy French Champagne and fancy dessert wines may be unavoidably pricey, but there are plenty of options that sell for less.
January 31, 2013
Buzz: It felt like 20 below the other day, and I was in line behind a lady buying white wine. Who'd want to drink cold white wine when it's freezing out? Marnie: You'd be surprised, Buzz. A lot of people simply prefer white wines over reds, and the temperature doesn't have much to do with it. We don't stop drinking juice or soda or milk in the winter, so why not enjoy our chilled wines as well? White wine consistently outsells red in the U.S., and Chardonnay is almost twice as popular as cabernet sauvignon.
January 12, 2013 |
The Wissahickon Valley spreads out like a rumpled quilt beneath the feet of Nicholas and Athena Karabots at their Karamoor Farm in Whitemarsh Township. Nick Karabots made his considerable fortune in a variety of printing, media, and real estate businesses, and the couple are noted philanthropists, giving millions mainly to help inner-city children. But Karamoor Farm, on about 240 acres bordering Skippack Pike, has never been about producing cash crops. "I like beautiful landscapes," he said simply last week, as the sun set behind a thick stand of trees at the edge of a field that has been farmed at least since the 18th century.
December 19, 2012 |
Today, upscale cruise ships are appealing to passengers who already appreciate wine and want to learn more about the global wine experience. Luxury vessels for years have been bringing aboard celebrated winemakers who interact with passengers, but now some are presenting stand-alone, state-of-the-art facilities paired with wine education programs, wine immersion classes, seminars, tastings, and extravagant wine dinners. Now Oceania Line, a cruise line that straddles the premium/luxury categories, offers wine fans La Reserve by Wine Spectator, the cruise industry's first professional shipboard wine tasting/educational facility.
December 14, 2012
L uca Sena, 62, of Society Hill, owns Penn's View Hotel and two restaurants, Ristorante Panorama and Revolution House, all in Old City. Born in Naples, Sena was 17 when he moved to Philly with his father in 1967. The rest of the family soon followed. The Sena family's first restaurant, La Famiglia, on Front Street, opened in 1976 and now is run by Luca's brother, Giuseppe. Q: Panorama opened in 1990 and you're still doing well. What's the secret to your longevity? A: I always kept an open mind, surrounded myself with younger people, having two sons [Carlo and Luca Jr.]
December 10, 2012
Fresh off his election victory but rolling toward the "fiscal cliff," President Obama knew just the right token to offer his Republican adversary, Speaker of the House John Boehner: a pricey birthday bottle of Brunello di Montalcino ('97 Poggio Antico.) If wining your frenemy for the holiday sounds like a good strategy, this is a fine time to follow the Prez's vino lead. There are two other fantastic Brunellos on sale in Pennsylvania - each with distinctly different characters. Want a bottle that says "balance, subtlety, and finesse"?
December 7, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - Publicly, they may be clinking glasses, breaking bread, and swapping political gossip. But make no mistake. Behind the social niceties will be relentless political maneuvering on what nearly everyone in Pennsylvania politics has been talking about since last month's election: who will challenge Gov. Corbett in 2014. That will be the scene this weekend at the Pennsylvania Society's annual gathering of Pennsylvania politicians in New York City. Yes, there will be a smattering of government-like forums, but mostly it will be a time of back-slapping, networking, fund-raising, and, of course, wining and dining.
December 6, 2012
Buzz: Hey, Marnie. My brother claims there's a wine called white burgundy. How could something be white and burgundy? Marnie: We may think of burgundy as a color, Buzz, but it's really the name of a place. Burgundy is a region of northern France famous for its red wines. We have come to use the name for a deep, winelike red color. Buzz: Even though the wine is white? Marnie: Wines made in the Burgundy region are called burgundies, since the Europeans name their wines after places, and this applies to both the red and white wines made there.