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.
Wine Words: Barrique
Barrique is a wine word that most of you will probably already be familiar with. The word ‘barrique’ means barrel, but not just any type of barrel. Do you know specifically what a barrique is? The word ‘barrique’ refers to a specific size and shape of oak barrel. In making wine there are many different sizes of barrels used. Barrique barrels are relatively small barrels, but not just any small barrels.
Sep 29, 2022
Discovering Vegan Wine: What! Isn’t All Wine Vegan?
As it is Vegan Week at The Kitchn, I thought we would look at vegan wines. What is a vegan wine? Are all wines vegan — or not? If not why not? And how can I find vegan-friendly wines? This guide helps you tell whether a wine is a vegan or not, and what goes behind the winemaking process. As we all know wine is made from grapes. Essentially wine is fermented grape juice as discussed in my post last year on winemaking.
Sep 3, 2022
What Exactly is a Corked Wine and What Does Corked Wine Taste Like?
Most wine drinkers are probably familiar with the term ‘corked wine’, but I hazard a guess that not as many wine drinkers really know what a corked wine tastes like, how a wine becomes corked in the first place, or how to detect a corked wine. To find out more, read on. Wine being corked doesn’t mean that is has tiny particles of cork floating in it, or that it simply tastes like cork.
Aug 18, 2022
Wine and Soup: Easy Pairing Tips
February is Soup Month at The Kitchn, so I thought that I would look at some great soup and wine combinations. Traditionally, soup has been considered a difficult course to pair with wine. The reason for this is texture. Pairing liquid with liquid simply did not seem like an appealing combination. Well, as we all know, there is soup and there is soup.So don’t let incumbent ideas about food pairing stop you from enjoying a glass of wine with your next soup dish.
May 13, 2022
Delicious American Wines for Your 4th of July Party
July 4th weekend and Thanksgiving are the two times in the year when I insist on serving only American wines. Every year the array to choose from grows, and can become mind-bogglingly confusing, especially if you want to stray from your habitual wines and venture into something different. Read on for some delicious suggestions to get your July 4th party going.Did you know that the United States is now the largest wine consuming country in the world?
May 12, 2022
Wines of South West France: Exciting & Excellent Value
Keeping in the spirit of exploring new wines and wine regions for 2011, I am taking you on a little tour of the red wines of South West France. Still fairly undiscovered as a wine region, the area offers excellent value, and it is home to a diverse array of interesting wines and appellations.South West France is essentially the area between Bordeaux to the north and Spain to the south with the Languedoc to the southeast.
May 11, 2022
Lots of Cheap Wines: At Less Than $10 Per Bottle! Budget Wines
Welcome to our latest review of bargain wines — wines for less than $10. We have survived 2009, but most of us will still be watching the pennies through 2010. As wine lovers, can we really get quality as well as value for less than $10? Read on to find out!As the pain of the recession continues to be felt throughout the country, wine stores are awash with promotions and deals. Last week I decided to evaluate some of these ‘not to be missed’ deals.
May 11, 2022
Kir and Kir Royale: Two Iconic French Wine Cocktails
Cocktail WeekKirKir Royale I was introduced to Kir many years ago while living in France. Every Sunday, before a fabulously long lunch, friends, family and neighbors would gather for the apéritif’ hour to chat, laugh, comment on the state of the nation and nibble on a wide selection of savory, salty snacks. Typically, Kir was the drink of choice and on special occasions Kir Royale. Kir originated in Burgundy, France.
Mar 9, 2022
Why Beaujolais Is the Best Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner — And Our 5 Favorites!
Since it’s Thanksgiving this month, I’m digressing from my usual one wine format. Normally I like to stick to American wines for Thanksgiving, but I just had to mention the most versatile Thanksgiving wine of them all: Beaujolais. Refreshing, fruity, not too full-bodied or tannic, with wines to meet everyone’s taste and most importantly budget.Beaujolais wines work so well at the Thanksgiving table.
Nov 3, 2021
The Truth About Sulfites in Wine & the Myths of Red Wine Headaches
A master sommelier dispels common myths around sulfites, including red wine headaches.
Jul 9, 2020
How To Choose Good Cheap Wine from the Big Brands: Cabernet Sauvignon
We’ve all been there. It is 6:30pm and you get a call from a friend inviting you over for a casual dinner. Your only option is the supermarket or local grocery store. The shelves are lined with the well known big brands. How do you decide which Cabernet Sauvignon is best for you?Research shows that packaging and label design have a significant influence over what wines customers buy. But if you are also interested in the taste how do you decide which is better?According to A.
Jun 9, 2019
10 Budget Wine Picks for a Polenta Dinner
It was ‘polenta party’ time at Faith’s house last week, and she served it with a delicious dish of beef braised in red wine. My mouth is watering already. So, the big question we pondered was, what wine or rather what wines to serve alongside this robust, meaty, yet creamy dish. Here are some thoughts on how to choose wines to go with this meal, and some specific budget picks.
Jun 5, 2019
7 Budget-Friendly Spring Wines from the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop
It has been a while since I did a review of Trader Joe’s wine offerings. Excited to see what ‘spring picks’ I could get for circa $10 / bottle I headed off to the New York City store. Overall I was pretty happy with my findings! Here are seven great spring wines, each for a very budget-friendly price. (There’s even a print-out guide to take to the store with you!) I probably could have managed my timing better. Friday afternoon around 5 p.m.
Jun 5, 2019
Decanting Wine: When and Why to Decant Wine
Do you have a wine decanter and how often do you use it? Do you believe that decanting wine makes a difference? Why are some wines decanted and others not?Personally I love wine decanters and over the years have amassed quite a few. My collection includes one or two special ones that were wedding gifts, but for the most part my collection comprises simple, inexpensive, everyday decanters. I keep one permanently on the kitchen counter, so that it is always readily on hand.What is decanting?
Jun 5, 2019
Why Sherry Is So Extraordinary
Sherry wines are really quite extraordinary. They are diverse, delicious and incredibly versatile. They are also some of the most under-appreciated and undervalued wines in the world.So many people tell me they dislike sherry. When questioned further, this is usually a result of a bad experience with an out-of-condition, poorly stored sherry. Also, some people think that sherry is old-fashioned – their grandmother’s tipple! Well, let me try dispelling the myth.
Jun 4, 2019
Cheap Wine: Best Pinot Noir Under $20
Since the movie Sideways in 2005, sales of Pinot Noir have skyrocketed throughout the world and especially in the United States. Unfortunately, unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, it is difficult to make high volume, inexpensive Pinot Noir that still smells and tastes like Pinot Noir. So can you get quality at under $20 a bottle?
Jun 4, 2019
Adventures in Canadian Wine: Montreal and Québec City
We are just back from a glorious vacation in Québec (Montreal and Québec City). While I would love to talk about the vibrant and historic old city quarters, the influence of explorer Jacques Cartier, the changing of the Guard at the famous Citadel in Québec City, or the 400-year dual culture and language struggle between French and English — I will leave all that for another day. Instead let me share my observations on the buying wine in these cities.
May 24, 2019
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.
May 24, 2019
Winery Spotlight: Bodegas Montecillo Rioja
I have long been a fan of Rioja wines. It is such an exciting region, and today it produces a wealth of great wines that will woo the traditionalist as much as the modernist. In New York this past February I had the great pleasure of spending some time with one of Rioja’s most brilliant and beloved female winemakers, Maria Martinez Sierra, from renowned winery Bodegas Montecillo.
May 24, 2019
Amarone: One of Italy’s Greatest Symbolic Wines
Any lovers of Amarone out there? Despite being one of Italy’s most symbolic wines it is little understood and often much under-appreciated. A recent tasting of the best the region has to offer certainly opened my mind. Amarone is a style of red wine produced in the Valpolicello area of the Veneto in northeastern Italy. Think Verona and Romeo & Juliet and you are there!
May 24, 2019
How To Choose Good Cheap Wine from the Big Brands: Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio wines have experienced unprecedented growth in the United States over the past 20 years. After Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio is the second most popular white wine. Unfortunately, some wine snobs tend to dismiss Pinot Grigio as boring and at best innocuous. But, as the expression goes, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Pinot Grigio does not deserve all the bad press it gets.
May 3, 2019
Wine Retailing: Do Supermarkets Offer the Best Choice?
What is your view on selling wine in supermarkets?In the United States, many states (35 to be precise) allow wine to be sold in supermarkets, but many including New York prohibit the sale of wine in grocery stores and supermarkets. Just recently, Governor Paterson proposed changing the law, so that supermarkets could sell wine. However, the proposal did not come to fruition.What is your view? Is this debate a straightforward yes or no? Or is the situation much more complicated?
May 2, 2019
Whole Foods Market Opens New Wine Store in Manhattan
Manhattan finally has a Whole Foods Market wine store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Eager to explore, I popped along to see what exciting wines I could find!This is Whole Foods’ fourth attempt at selling wine in New York City. The store at Columbus Circle was deemed illegal under New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) law, and licenses for both the Bowery and Union Square Whole Foods’ stores were denied.
May 2, 2019
Wine Word: Tannin
I am sure most of you have heard someone describe a wine as tannic. What exactly does this mean? What does tannin feel and taste like? Well, if you have ever had a cup of very strong black tea then you have definitely tasted tannin. Tannin in wine is a textural sensation. Something we feel rather than taste. Tannin gives a wine form and grip. It is a structural element that helps frame a wine. All grapes contain tannin. Some have more and some have less.
May 2, 2019
Wine Words: Frizzante and Spumante
Frizzante and Spumante are two wine words most associated with Italian sparkling wine. Do you know what the difference is between these two words? Both frizzante and spumante describe the level of effervescence (i.e. the strength of the bubbles) in a bottle of sparkling wine. Wines labeled ‘frizzante’ are what we call gently sparkling, while wines labeled ‘spumante’ are more effervescent and fully sparkling. Frizzante wines have between 2.5 and 3.
May 2, 2019
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.
May 2, 2019
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).
May 2, 2019
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.
May 2, 2019
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 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