Video: Champagne Buying Guide

Becky Sue Epstein, Champagne and Sparkling Wine Expert, explains pinot noir (red grapes) and chardonnay (white grapes), how to decide what to serve (the champagne should be sweeter than the dessert), and reasonable prices to spend for a festive toast, gift giving, or to enjoy on your own.


You can drink smarter by drinking better, cheaper, healthier, funner (probably not faster, though).

My latest DrinkSMART award goes to Tim Laird, for his simple cocktail bases that an ordinary human can make at home.

Tim Laird, America’s C.E.O., makes holiday cocktails

DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau: fleeting glory but fun with a wine gadget

After tasting the DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau earlier and enjoying the light fruitiness of the wine, I was surprised to return to the covered glass a few hours later and find the flavors had all but disappeared.

But I did not despair.  I got out a wine gadget: the Vinturi Wine Aerator — the little one that makes the fun slurping noise.  In seconds I was sipping a more rounded, more developed wine, a glass of flavor that lasted me throughout the meal.

Maybe I’ll try some more pairings tonight: more Nouveaux with different gadgets…

In love with Albariño

Suddenly one October afternoon I fell in love with Albariño, the bright and lovely Spanish white wine.  I had visited the home of Albariño before; it’s a charming, ancient land of rolling hills touched by Atlantic breezes in the northwest corner of Spain.

Yet, here I was in New York city, at the annual Great Match of Spanish wines, in the corner of a ballroom, when it hit me. The wines ranged from enchantingly light to beautifully mouthfilling.  They were well-balanced, with fruity aromas yet minerally interiors, finishing dry.  The wines worked with a variety of ethnic bites like delectable shrimp shumai, potato-pea samosas, slightly spicy Thai shaved beef and tuna empanadas.

I sipped half a dozen and smiled.  I tried them with a variety of tapas, then sighed because now it was time for me to move on.  Here are the wines I tasted:

Paco & Lola 2007 Albariño, Adega e Viñedos Rosalía de Castro

Salneval Albariño 2007, Adega Condes de Albarei

Terra Firme Albariño 2006, Agnusdei

Brandal Albariño 2007, Adegas d’Altamira

Burgáns Albariño 2007, Bodegas Martin Códex

Laxas Albariño 2007

By the way the home of Albariño is Rias Baixas [pronounced REE-ahss BY-shahss] in the region of Spain called Galicia.  These wines are all DO Rias Baixas, retailing for $10- $22.