Mary Gorman-McAdams

Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.
What’s the Difference Between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?
Do you ever wonder why some wine bottles say Pinot Gris and others Pinot Grigio? Is there a difference? And should you prefer one to the other? Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are in fact the exact same grape variety. It is a white grape, with a grayish / brownish pink skin (hence the name gris, or gray, in French). The grape originated in France (it’s from the Burgundian Pinot family), and is known as Pinot Gris in France, where it is most cultivated in Alsace.
Apr 25, 2014
Rías Baixas Albariño: A White Wine for all Seasons
Back in March 2008 I wrote my first post for the Kitchn. The topic was the Albariño wines from Rías Baixas, which is located in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. This week, almost six years later, I am revisiting the wines, to check out what is new and what might have changed. Since my first visit to Rías Baixas back in 2006 I have consistently loved its Albariño wines.
Jan 15, 2014
Wine Words: 1855 Classification
Do you know what the 1855 Classification is? Many of you may already be familiar with the concept, and many of you may not. Often called the 1855 Classification of the Médoc, it is a special Bordeaux wine classification, but do you know what it means, exactly? The 1855 Classification is a Bordeaux wine classification. It refers back to the classification of the red wines of the Médoc and the sweet wines of Sauternes in 1855.
Jan 13, 2014
Wine Words: Crémant
Crémant is a wine word that you see on some sparkling wine labels. Do you know its origin? And, what Crémant means? Crémant is a word that describes a certain type of French sparkling wine. Crémant wines are not made all over France but only made in certain officially designated areas. The word Crémant actually originated in the Champagne region.
Dec 16, 2013
Wine Words: Canopy Management
Canopy management is a viticultural wine word. Do you know what it means? And the different processes involved? Canopy management may not be the most exciting wine word out there but, it is a very important one. Canopy management can be defined as a portfolio of vineyard management techniques, which manage a grapevine’s canopy from the time of winter pruning until harvest time. For the less geeky readers ‘canopy’ is a collective word for the all the foliage (i.e.
Dec 9, 2013
Gigondas: Southern Rhône Wines to Enjoy Right Now (Or Much Later)
I have always loved the wines from the Gigondas region in France’s Southern Rhone Valley. They are full-bodied, energetic red wines, packed with vibrant red and black fruit flavors. At a recent dinner in New York City, hosted by the Gigondas Winemakers Union, I was reminded just how well Gigondas wines age, too – ten, twenty, even thirty years. We tasted back as far as 1972 that particular evening. But you don’t have to wait — they’re delicious now as well.
Dec 4, 2013
Wine Words: Bottle Variation
Bottle variation is a wine word. It is not a word that is particularly positive. Do you know what it means? And what are the main causes of bottle variation? Bottle variation in wine means that bottles of the same wine smell and taste differently. It is essentially a wine fault. Bottle variation is not to be confused with vintage variation, which is not a fault. Vintage variation is a reflection of two different growing seasons climatically. A few weeks ago I opened a bottle of 2007 Bandol.
Dec 2, 2013
Sweet Wines for Your Thanksgiving Table
I am as guilty as the next person for leaving the selection of sweet dessert wines until last. But Thanksgiving is as much about pie as it is about the big bird, so here are some tips on both choosing and understanding the sweet wines that can really complement the end of the meal. Even though dessert is the favorite course for many people, dessert wines are among the least bought, and even less understood.
Nov 27, 2013
Wine Word: Fruit
Fruit might seem an odd word to choose as a Wine Word. “Aren’t grapes fruit?” you might ask. Of course they are, but the term ‘fruit’ when it comes to describing a wine means more than a simple acknowledgement of its botanical birthright. When describing a wine the word fruit takes on many dimensions. While wine is made from grapes the fruit words we use to describe wine aromas and flavors covers the whole gamut.
Nov 25, 2013
Wine Words: American Oak vs. French Oak
In a previous Wine Words post I gave a general overview of oak as it pertains to wine. Today I am going to explain in more detail the difference between American oak and French oak. To start off, both American oak and French oak are species of white oak. Red oak is never used for winemaking because it is too porous. While there are many different types of white oak, three are most used for wine cooperage. These are Quercus Alba, Quercus Petraea (also known as sissile oak) and Quercus Robur.
Nov 18, 2013
Wine Words: Oxidative vs. Reductive Winemaking
Oxidative and Reductive are both wine words often used to describe a style or philosophy of winemaking. Do you know what the two terms mean and how they differ? Oxidative and reductive are opposites that depend on the relative presence or absence of oxygen during winemaking. Oxidative winemaking means more aerobic winemaking in the presence of oxygen (usually controlled amounts). In contrast reductive winemaking means winemaking in more of an anaerobic environment without oxygen.
Nov 11, 2013
Enamore: Budget-Friendly Amarone-Style Wine from Argentina
Wine of the Week: Enamore by Bodega Renacer Region & Country: Mendoza, Argentina Price: $27 Continuing my South American travels, this week I am writing about a wonderful visit to Bodega Renacer in Argentina’s Mendoza region. There is so much to write about, but today I am going to focus on Enamore – Renacer’s seductive, opulent Amarone-style wine. There are many fascinating aspects to Bodega Renacer.
Nov 6, 2013
Wine Words: Barrel Fermented
Barrel fermented is a word that you often see on bottles of white wine. Do you know exactly what it means? And why it is often highlighted on a label? In general when a wine label says ‘Barrel Fermented’ it is highlighting an oak influence on the wine. While theoretically any size of barrel can be used, the term usually is an indication that the wine was fermented in small oak barrels called barrique (60 US gallons / 225 liters).
Nov 4, 2013
Spooky Wines to Spice Up Your Adult Halloween Party
Halloween in many ways kicks off the holiday season. It is a time for fancy dress, a time of ghost stories and pumpkins, a time to party. You probably have your costume all sorted, but what about the wine for your spooky Halloween gathering? In keeping with the spirit of this spooky holiday let’s see what fun, bloodthirsty wines we can find. First up is The Velvet Devil, a Merlot wine from Washington State, produced by the gregarious, whacky and ever inventive Charles Smith.
Oct 31, 2013
Cool Climate Wines from Viña Leyda: A Dynamic Pioneering Wine Producer in Chile’s Ultra-Cool Leyda Valley
It is not everyday that I exclaim “oh my goodness” when I visit a wine region for the first time. Well it happened recently when I visited Viña Leyda in Chile’s ultra cool (or should I say cold) Leyda Valley. The Leyda Valley is rapidly, and deservedly so, gaining a reputation as a leading producer of refreshing, cool climate Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines.
Oct 30, 2013
Wine Word: Phylloxera
Phylloxera is a wine word that has been around since the 1850s when it ravaged the vineyards of Europe, and spread through most of the wine producing world. Do you know what Phylloxera is? And what it can do to a vine? Phylloxera is a small aphid or louse (less than one tenth of an inch long) that feeds on the roots of grapevines until it kills the vine. It was first noticed in France in 1853, where it rapidly spread, destroying millions and millions of acres of vineyard.
Oct 28, 2013
11 Delicious & Affordable Trader Joe’s Wines to Drink With Indian Food
When choosing wines to go with a meal like Anjali’s Indian-themed sweet potato buffet you might initially feel a little perplexed. How can you pick a wine to pair perfectly with so many different and mainly spicy flavors? Awhile back I wrote a post about pairing wine with spicy foods and boiled it down to three rules. The ultimate decision depends on whether you want the wine to complement or even accentuate the heat and spicy flavors or whether you prefer a more cooling contrast.
Oct 24, 2013
Root:1: Delicious Varietal Wines from Chile for Just $12
As most readers know, I have been visiting wineries in Chile and Argentina for the past eight days. I can honestly say that it a long time since I came across such an array of wines that offer both very high quality and incredible value. First up is a range of four varietal wines that you may already be familiar with called Root:1. Suggested retail price is $12 but you often find the wines for less. Here’s what I am enjoying about them.
Oct 23, 2013
Wine Word: Mendoza
Having just visited Argentina, I declare that I am in love with Mendoza. Mendoza is a wine word – a word that you regularly see on Argentinean wine labels. Mendoza is the largest and most important wine-producing region in Argentina. Read on to find out more about this magnificent region, best known for its delicious Malbec wines. Mendoza is both a city and a province. It is essentially the gateway to Argentinean wine country.
Oct 21, 2013
Chilean Wines 101: An Overview
Chilean wine. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Chilean wines? For me it is the vibrancy, juiciness, brightness and purity of fruit that pops from the glass. And of course, let’s not forget value and the easy to understand varietal labeling that makes Chilean wine so accessible. Here’s my Chilean Wines 101 — a mini course in understanding and enjoying the vibrant wines coming from this part of the world.
Oct 16, 2013
Wine Word: Carmenère
This week I am traveling in Chile and Argentina, so I thought I would fill you in on Chile signature grape Carmenère. How much do you know about this grape variety? Firstly, Carmenère is a thick skinned, late ripening black grape variety that makes deeply colored wines, which often have a signature herbaceous or soy sauce tang. The Origin of Carmenère — France not Chile: While most associated with Chile, Carmenère is in fact native to Bordeaux.
Oct 14, 2013
Tiefenbrunner ‘Feldmarschall Von Fenner’ Müller Thurgau
Wine of the Week: Tiefenbrunner ‘Feldmarschall Von Fenner’ Müller Thurgau Region & Country: Alto Adige at 3,300 Feet Terroir Trumps Variety Price: $35 – $40 Continuing on from my post last week on the Alto Adige wine region Alto Adige, today I am focusing on one specific wine. It is the Tiefenbrunner ‘Feldmarschall’ Müller Thurgau. Made from grapes grown at 3,300 feet altitude, it is the epitome of an Alpine wine and a veritable expression of place.
Oct 9, 2013
Wine Word: Prosecco
I am sure that many readers know and love Prosecco wines. But do you know where and how these wines made? Prosecco is an Italian tank fermented sparkling wine made from the white Glera grape. Prosecco is not a synonym for any tank-fermented Glera sparkling wine. Like Champagne, it is now a protected name and can only be produced in a specific delimited geographic area – within the Veneto region of Italy.
Oct 7, 2013
Why I Love the Wines of Alto Adige
Back in 2008 I posted about the wonderful wines of the Alto Adige -– the breathtakingly beautiful region nestled beneath the snow-capped Italian Alps, just south of Austria. In mid-September I was fortunate enough to revisit the area. Once more I was captivated not just by its picture postcard beauty, but by the diversity and deliciousness of its wines –- an authentic expression of Alpine purity and focus.
Oct 2, 2013
Wine Words: DOC or DOCG — Do You Know the Difference?
DOC and DOCG are letters that you see on bottles of Italian wine. Do you know what these letters stand for? And what is the difference between the two? DOCG and DOC are both quality classifications. Under Italian wine law DOCG is the highest designation of quality among Italian wines. DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, DOCG). DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin).
Sep 30, 2013
The 60th Anniversary of Masters of Wine (And Why There Are Only 312 Of Them!)
I digress from my usual Wednesday column this week to tell you a little about my week in London last week. You see, 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the Masters of Wine title. I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 2011. In 1953, 21 members of the UK wine trade sat the exams. Six passed and thus became the world’s first group of Masters of Wine. At the time the exam was restricted to persons working in the wine trade, and in Britain.
Sep 25, 2013
Wine Words: Orange Wine
We all know red, white and rosé wine, but have you heard of orange wine? Orange wine refers to a particular style of wine — one enjoying a growing popularity. Orange wine is a term used to describe white wines that have had a very long skin maceration or have been been fully or partially fermented on their skins. Today, almost all modern wines are fermented off their skins.
Sep 23, 2013
2010 Vivera ‘Salisire’ Etna Bianco
Wine of the Week: 2010 Vivera ‘Salisire’ Etna Bianco Region & Country: Sicily, Italy Price: $20 If you have never tried the delicious white wines from the Etna region of Sicily, now is the time to start. This one is deliciously crisp and focused with a distinct volcanic minerality. The 2010 Vivera ‘Salisire’ Etna Bianco, made from the local Carricante grape variety, is an excellent example of the high quality wines being made in the region.
Sep 18, 2013
Wine Words: Green Harvesting
“Green harvesting” is a viticultural wine phrase. Do you know what it refers to? Green harvesting is the harvesting or dropping of unripe (aka green) green clusters of grapes from the vine. It is a form of crop thinning to help manage yield and to enable the remaining grape clusters to fully ripen according to the winemaker’s aims. Green harvesting is typically done around veraison.
Sep 16, 2013
2012 Etude Pinot Noir Rosé
Wine of the Week: 2012 Etude Pinot Noir Rosé Region Country: Carneros, California Price: $25 Summer may be officially over, but the rosé wine season is still with us – at least in my book. This 2012 Etude Pinot Noir Rosé is not just for summer sipping. In fact its more full body and roundness makes it ideal for autumn fare and merits its higher price tag. We enjoyed this wine last week. I was especially struck by its depth of flavor and firm structure.
Sep 11, 2013
Wine Words: Resveratrol, Red Wine, and The Health Benefits Debate
Do you know what resveratrol is? And what is your view on the health benefits? Resveratrol is a naturally occurring phenolic compound found in some plants including wine-grapes. It is considered a natural anti-microbial and antioxidant that helps the plants protect themselves from rough / unfriendly environmental conditions such as fungal / microbial attack. In grapes resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes.
Sep 9, 2013
Girly Labels in Pastel Colors: Do They Turn You On or Off to a Wine?
According to Nielsen data, 55% of U.S. wine consumers are women. So a greater awareness of this fact in wine marketing is indeed a good thing. But do we need overtly “girly” labels to ostensibly appeal to this market – labels that sometimes border on the ridiculous or even insulting? What do you think? Are you attracted by pastel wine packaging, wines labeled with overtly feminine, sexy or even provocative names? Or you find them off-putting?
Sep 4, 2013
Why I Love the Wines of France’s Languedoc Region
I am so in love with the wines from the Languedoc. Not only is the Languedoc one of France’s oldest wine regions, dating back over two thousand years, it is also the source of some of the best value French wines you can find, and an exciting hotbed of innovative winemaking.Writing from Montagnac, in the heart of the Languedoc, I have been discovering and savoring a host of exciting Languedoc wines over the past few weeks.
Aug 14, 2013
Wine Words: Recioto
Recioto is a wine word, which you see on some Italian wine labels. Do you know what it means?Recioto is an Italian wine word. It refers to wines that have been made from ‘dried’ grapes, or grapes that are harvested when ultra ripe then left out to dry and ‘raisin’ before fermentation. As such Recioto wines are naturally sweet wines. Recioto wine may also be affected by noble rot.
Aug 12, 2013
Novel Summer Sparkling Wines from the Languedoc in the South of France
One of the many things I love about wine is that you are never done discovering. We are back in Languedoc again this year, on vacation, and I have made all sorts of new delicious bubbly discoveries. On arriving our friends poured us a welcome glass of sparkling Picpoul de Pinet from Côte Mas (Domaines Paul Mas) just outside Montagnac. A first for me! Who would have thought – that the light-bodied, crisp, lemony Picpoul white wine could transform into such a delicious sparkler?
Aug 8, 2013
Wine Words: Late Harvest
Do you know what it means?Late harvest, as the term implies, means that the grapes were harvested later than is usual for the region and/or variety. Late harvested grapes are left on the vine longer to allow them ripen even more than normal, becoming richer in sugars and flavors. As they continue to ripen they also dehydrate and shrivel, further concentrating the sugars and flavor compounds.
Aug 5, 2013