Mary Gorman-McAdams's Recent Articles
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Wine Words: Bordeaux Blend
How often have you heard a wine described as a ‘Bordeaux blend‘ even when it does not come from Bordeaux, France? “Bordeaux blend’ is a wine term used to describe a wine that is styled on a Bordeaux wine. But do you know what that exactly means?If a wine is described as a Bordeaux blend, it is because it is made from some or all of the grape varieties used to make a Bordeaux wine. While it can refer to a white wine, it is generally used when describing a red wine.
Aug 20, 2012
Wine Words: Non-Vintage
Last week I described the word vintage as it applies to wine. This week’s word is the opposite: non-vintage, often shortened to NV. As a wine word, non-vintage is most often used in regard to Champagne and sparkling wine, as well as many fortified wines like Port, Sherry or Madeira.If a wine does not carry a vintage year, it is generally described as non-vintage, in that the grapes used did not come from a single vintage.
Aug 6, 2012
Wine Words: Vintage
Vintage is a wine word that you frequently hear regarding wine. For the most part it refers to the year the grapes were grown. Most wines carry a vintage year. If a wine carries a vintage year, it means that it was produced from grapes from a single year – i.e single vintage.As well as referring to the year in which the grapes grew to make the wine, the word ‘vintage’ is used to refer to the actual harvest.
Jul 30, 2012
Great Value Wines: The Undiscovered Sparkling Wines of the Loire Valley
As regular readers know, I love bubbles — not just Champagne but a wide range of sparkling wines from all over the world. Following a recent trip to the Loire Valley in France I thought I would share some of the less well-known treasures of the region — the sparkling wines. Delicious Crémant de Loire, Saumur and Vouvray sparkling wines. Perfect for any occasion, and all for $20 (or less).The Loire ValleyThe Loire Valley wine region is large and diverse.
Jun 28, 2012
Wine Words: Variety vs. Varietal
Variety and varietal are two wine words that are so often confused and misused. Unfortunately wine professionals confuse the two as much as everyday wine consumers. Do you know the difference?Variety vs. Varietal: The easiest way to remember the distinction is to remember that one (variety) is a noun and the other (varietal) is an adjective.The word variety refers to the grape variety, grown and used to make the wine such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and so forth.
Jun 18, 2012
Wine Words: Sediment
Many wine drinkers have come across little solid particles in their wine at some time. Is the wine flawed? And are they harmful? What are they? No, the wine is not flawed and they are not harmful. Sediments are natural deposits thrown by the wine over time in the bottle.Solid particles in your wine glass or bottle are known as sediment. However, most wines that are destined for early drinking do not throw sediment.
Jun 11, 2012
Wine Words: Color
The first thing we notice about a wine is its color. At its simplest, a wine is red, white or rosé. However, the different nuances of a wine’s color can suggest lots of things about the wine’s age, its grape variety and even how it was made.White winesWhite wines tend to range in color from pale lemon to lemon to varying shades of gold. Young wines often have a slight green hue and quite a watery rim.
May 14, 2012
Wine Words: Balance
Balance is a word you very often hear wine people talk about.Do you ever wonder what it means in the context of a wine? What exactly is a balanced wine?Balance is extremely important in any wine and one of its most sought after characteristics. A wine is balanced when all the different components are working in harmony – a balanced wine is one where no one component protrudes or awkwardly sticks out.
May 7, 2012
An Italian Wine Dinner Menu
There is something about Italian wine that takes you immediately to the table. Images of fun gatherings with family and friends or romantic dinners for two come easily to mind. With that thought, Faith and I decided to put together some easy ideas for an Italian wine inspired dinner. Here’s a whole menu, beginning to end, of Italian food and wine. You just add the table and the friends, and it’s a celebration waiting to happen.
Apr 27, 2012
Wine Collecting: 10 Tips for Beginners
Have you ever considered starting a wine collection but were unsure how to begin? Here are some useful tips for any readers considering having more than a few dozen bottles around at the one time.If you decide to collect wine, the most important first step is to be clear about your objectives. Are you collecting for your own everyday and future drinking pleasure? Or are you investing in an asset, which you plan to sell at a future date for a profit?
Apr 27, 2012
Do Good Wine Glasses Really Matter? 7 Factors Affecting How a Wine Glass Works
As it is Wine Week, I thought I would revisit the topic of wine glasses. Do some wine glasses enhance the wine better than others? Would you invest in expensive wine glasses? Are all ‘good’ wine glasses expensive?In my opinion, yes, the ‘glass’ makes a difference. Try it for yourself. Pour the same wine into two different glasses and taste the difference.
Apr 23, 2012
Wine Words: Sweetness
What do we mean when we refer to sweetness in a wine? Why are some wines sweeter than others? Where does this sweetness come from? Sweetness in a wine means it contains some residual sugar, measured in g/l, which makes it taste sweet. The process by which wines become sweet is due to one of the following reasons:1. Fermentation stops before all the grape juice (known as the must) sugars have been converted to alcohol.
Apr 16, 2012
Wine Words: Length and Finish
Length and Finish are words often used by wine tasters. What do they mean? And what words might you use to describe them? Length is a tasting term to describe how long the taste of a wine persists or lingers on your palate after you have swallowed (or spit, if tasting professionally) the wine…Length is essentially, as it implies, a measure. A wine’s length may be described as long, moderate or short. In general, a long length is considered a sign of high quality.
Apr 2, 2012
Wine Words: Texture
What do we mean when we talk about the texture of a wine? What words might we use to describe a wine’s texture ? When we talk about the texture of a wine, we are essentially describing the mouthfeel or tactile sensation on the palate. Read on for some thoughts on describing and characterizing a wine’s texture!I am sure all our readers are familiar with texture when it comes to tasting food. Well, it is the same with wine – that physical sensation in our mouth.
Mar 26, 2012
Wine Words: Minerality
Minerality—a word you hear bandied about by wine tasters and professionals. What exactly is minerality in a wine? What does it taste like? Where does it come from? And, do all wines have it?Defining MineralityUnfortunately there is really no real agreement among wine experts or even wine scientists as to how to define minerality in a wine.
Mar 19, 2012
Wine Words: Flavor
Last week in posting about wine ‘aromas’ I mentioned how wine flavors are closely connected to wine aromas, because when we taste a wine we also absorb its aromas through our retro-nasal passage that connects our mouth to our nose.What do we mean when we talk about flavor in wine?Flavor refers to the taste of a wine in your mouth.
Mar 12, 2012
Wine Words: Aromas
Aromas are a very important component of tasting and enjoying wine. Wine aromas are strongly linked to wine flavors and taste, since when we taste a wine we also absorb its aromas through our retro-nasal passage that connects our mouth to our nose.So what exactly do we mean when we talk about aromas in wine?If we like what we smell, we tend to want to drink the wine. Another key reason that aromas are important is to see if the wine is in good condition.
Mar 5, 2012
Wine Words: Alcohol
Alcohol in wine is created through a process called fermentation, whereby yeasts (either native or selected) convert the sugars in the grape juice into alcohol.But what do we mean when we talk about the word alcohol as it relates to wine? There are so many things implied by the word. Here are a few major issues relating to wine and alcohol.Alcohol and the GovernmentThe level of alcohol in a wine is indicated on the bottle either as degrees or by percentage of volume (written as abv or %).
Feb 27, 2012
Advice for Pairing Wine with Chocolate
Milk, dark, bittersweet — from desserts to cake to handcrafted bites, what are the best wines to pair with this wonderful food of love — chocolate? Read to discover some wines to pour with your favorite kind of chocolate this weekend.Dark ChocolateRich, dense, sensuous dark chocolate calls for a powerful wine such as Port, a French red Vin Doux Natural (VDN) like Banyuls or Maury, or even a Late Harvest Zinfandel from California.
Feb 8, 2012
Wine Words: Acidity
Do you ever wonder what we mean when we say a wine has high or low acidity? Or when your wine geek friend describes him/herself as an acid guy or girl? What does acidity in a wine taste like?Welcome to the first installment in a new series — wine words. We’ll look at a different word every week and explore what it really means in the context of wine. What are its nuances and unspoken meanings?First up: Acidity.If you have ever tasted a lemon you know what acidity tastes like.
Feb 6, 2012
The Exceptional Rise of Moscato
While not as volatile as fashion, wine consumers like to explore new things, and they can be a little fickle when it comes to dropping one wine style and taking up with another. Moscato is the latest craze that seems to be taking the US wine market by storm.Moscato: The GrapeMoscato is the Italian word for Muscat, an aromatic white grape variety that is widely planted in Italy.
Feb 2, 2012
Great Value Wine Picks from Whole Foods
It is a while since I posted on the wine offerings at the Whole Foods Market wine shop in New York City. I first visited the store shortly after it opened in 2009. This week I went back for another glimpse, in particular to seek out some delicious but good value offerings around $10-$12 / bottle. I was more than pleasantly surprised.To be honest, when I first visited the store in 2009 and sampled the wines, I was a little underwhelmed by what was on offer.
Jan 26, 2012
Budget Wine: 5 Tips to Save You Money on Wine
Happy New Year! The holidays are over. It is January, a month much associated with cutting back and shopping more wisely. Still love your wine? Read on for some great wine shopping tips to help you find the best deals, and save a few dollars.Tip #1 – Buy By the Case and Not By the BottleI have mentioned this a number of times in previous posts. While it might seem extravagant to order a case of wine, you generally get a discount of anything between 10% and 15% by doing so.
Jan 5, 2012
Bubbles Galore! Champagne & Sparkling Wines for Any Holiday Celebration
There is something about Champagne and sparkling wine that seems to automatically kick off a celebration. With the holiday season in full swing and New Year’s parties around the corner I thought I would share some thoughts on the the key sparkling wine regions of the world, and the many different styles to choose fromWhile sparkling wine is made in almost every winemaking country, the most iconic and revered sparkling wine has to be Champagne.
Dec 15, 2011
Gift Guide for Wine-Lovers: Deeply Enjoyable Wine Books
Thanksgiving is over, and so the holiday season is upon us. I love books, all books — but particularly wine books. Not just the technical academic books, but especially the wine books that tell stories, that recount history, that give us insights into the people and passion behind the wines.If you are looking for some good book ideas for your wine-loving friends, here are some of my favorite reads this year.
Dec 1, 2011
Thanksgiving Wine Choosing 101: Helpful Tips
Thanksgiving is upon us again. I am sure all of you are looking forward to relaxed gatherings with friends and family. Small or large, thoughts are not just on the food to be prepared, but also on what wines to serve if you are hosting. Maybe you have been invited to friends and are looking for a nice wine to gift. This should be an enjoyable task, not riddled with anxiety. Read on for some tips and ideas to help you chose confidently and stay within budget.
Nov 17, 2011
Pinot Noir and Thanksgiving Turkey: Excellent Bedfellows
This is the first of a few posts around wines to serve at Thanksgiving. It is on Pinot Noir, and why it is such a good all-round partner for the turkey and all the trimmings.Why Pinot Noir works so well with turkey & ThanksgivingThere is nothing novel or trailblazing about recommending Pinot Noir with turkey. They have been happy partners for a very long time. What is interesting though, is understanding why Pinot Noir remains such a firm favorite and staple at the Thanksgiving table.
Nov 3, 2011
Unlikely Companions? No! 8 Tips for Pairing Wine & Soup
It is Soup Week at The Kitchn, so I am going to look at some great wine and soup pairings and debunk the myth that soup and wine are unhappy table companions.The main reason that soup is considered difficult to pair with wine has to do with texture. Both are liquids. For some reason, conventional thinking does not find this an appealing combination.I am all for debunking myths. So, I have come up with a few tips for enjoying a glass of wine with your bowl of soup. 1.
Oct 27, 2011
Affordable Dry White Bordeaux
When we think of Bordeaux wine most of us immediately think of its famed red wines. Maybe it is time to take a more serious look at what the Bordelais are doing with dry white wines, because dry white Bordeaux is making a strong comeback.I specifically refer to ‘dry’ in my post as, after red wine, Bordeaux is most noted for its noble, sweet white wines, Sauternes and Barsac.
Oct 20, 2011
Can’t Afford Amarone? Discover These Great Value Wines From the Veneto
Pinot Grigio and Valpolicella — mostly considered straightforward, simple, easy-drinking wines. Usually correct but often of little consequence. Not so with these two wines which I recently tasted from Masi. Masi Masianico and Masi Campofiorin.Masi Agricola (commonly known just as Masi) is probably one of the most well-known and oldest wine producers in the Valpolicella region of the Veneto, Italy.
Oct 13, 2011
Cloudy Bay Te Koko: A Truly Unique Sauvignon Blanc
Looking for something extra special and different from New Zealand? If so, I recommend Te Koko from Cloudy Bay. It will change your mind about Sauvignon Blanc.New Zealand Sauvignon BlancI am sure most of our readers (certainly the wine-loving ones) are familiar with the indisputable pungency and zestiness of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine.
Oct 6, 2011
A Tribute to Joe Dressner: Wine Importer Extraordinaire
Over the past few weeks many tributes have been written to New York wine importer Joe Dressner, who died on September 17th 2011, after a relatively short illness. Joe was the founder of Louis/Dressner Selections, a leading importer of predominantly European artisan and natural wines. I first discovered his wines almost ten years ago when we moved to New York City. Since then, the words ‘Louis Dressner Selections’ on a wine label represent for me authenticity and quality.
Sep 29, 2011
Chablis Wine: One of the Finest Expressions of Chardonnay
There is one wine that I find myself constantly coming back to as an all time favorite. It is the white wine Chablis. It has a truly unique steely minerality and strident sense of place. For me Chablis is one of the best manifestations of the Chardonnay grape. Here are some reflections on Chablis, and some bottles to get you started.The Chablis wine region is located in the most northern part of Burgundy, not far from the beautiful city of Auxerre.
Sep 22, 2011
Chianti Rufina: A Jewel of Italy’s Best Known Wine Region
Before you read Mary’s post below, we wanted to let you know that Mary, our dear wine writer, is to be hugely congratulated today. This week she received the good news that she has passed the final hurdle to receive her Master of Wine degree. This is a huge achievement, one possessed by only about 300 people worldwide. You can see her Masters of Wine profile here. Congratulations Mary! I am sure most of our readers are familiar with the wines of Chianti in Tuscany.
Sep 8, 2011
Bargain Summer Red Wines from Trader Joe’s
A few weeks ago I posted on some Trader Joe’s wines. As I had purchased more I thought I’d taste through the remaining reds. As the last post showed, it can be hit or miss trying to keep within a $10 / bottle budget. Were these any better? Read on to find out…To be honest, I am personally not a big fan of buying wine in a supermarket, even if it is the much heralded and beloved Trader Joe’s.
Aug 11, 2011
Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc: Delicious, Racy & Great Value Wines
One of my all time favorite summer sippers has got to be Picpoul de Pinet, the deliciously crisp, refreshing white wine from the Languedoc region in France. Even more wonderful is the price point, as most Picpoul de Pinet wines retail for $9 to $12.The Picpoul de Pinet wine region is in the Languedoc. Just west of the Mediterranean, it is roughly triangular in shape with the historic, and beautiful cities of Agde, Sète and Pézenas as its points.
Aug 4, 2011
Wine Labeling Laws & Regulations: Do You Care?
Next week I am giving a seminar on the new European Union wine reforms and new wine labeling regulations. As I have been researching the subject I began to wonder how much this all matters to consumers. When you head out to buy a bottle of wine, does the official quality designation or quality symbol on the wine matter and does it influence your choice to buy or not to buy?The production and labeling of wine is highly regulated.
Jul 28, 2011
Good Wines at Trader Joe’s: Cheerful Summer Wine Picks
I realized that it is quite a while since I did a Trader Joe’s wine tasting. So on Monday I headed off to the Trader Joe’s Wine Store in New York City to see what I could find at less than $10 a bottle for easy summer sipping. Well, some gems and some disappointments — read on to see which I liked, and which I didn’t enjoy as much.As you all know Trader Joe’s is the name synonymous with ‘Two Buck Chuck’.
Jul 21, 2011
Chilled Tawny Port: Refreshing, Relaxing, Different
You may wonder why I am writing about Port and calling it a refreshing summer drink. Most people consider Port a winter drink, to be enjoyed curled up by the fireside. Well, not necessarily so. One of my favorite summer drinks is actually chilled Tawny Port. In fact the Portuguese themselves have long been known to enjoy this invigorating tipple on a hot summer’s day.What Is Port?Let me explain Tawny Port in the context of all Port wines. Firstly, Port is a protected designation.
Jul 14, 2011
Wine From a Barrel: Wine on Tap from Deloach Vineyards
I’ve written quite a bit about the increasing quality of bag-in-box wines. But is a box of wine not quite classy enough for you? Well then, how about a barrel instead? Deloach Vineyards has gone a step further in consumer-friendly wine packaging with its new Barrel-to-Barrel wine program. Your own barrel of wine?
Jul 7, 2011
Soave Classico Wines: Diverse, Versatile & Great Value
Over the past few years I have truly rediscovered Soave wines, in particular Soave Classico, the wines that hail from Soave’s historic heartland. Read on to find out more about these delicious, versatile and importantly, great value whites from the Veneto region in Northeastern Italy, and to see five of my top picks for drinking this summer.How To Choose Good SoaveFor many years I had almost written off Soave as boring and bland.
Jun 23, 2011
Old World & New World Wines: What’s the Difference?
I am sure that most of you have used, or at least heard bandied about, terms such as ‘Old World’ or ‘New World’ when talking about wines. What do these terms really mean? How did they originate? Do they matter? Read on to find out more.
Jun 16, 2011
A Rosé-Tasting Party to Kickstart Summer
The long, cold winter and wet spring had me scouting the wine stores early this year, hoping to spot the first arrivals of rosé wine. For me rosé is more than a simple pink wine. While a symbol of summer sipping, the diversity of styles makes rosé a versatile partner at the table. With that in mind, welcome to my annual roundup of the rosé wines.In preparation for this post I have tasted as many rosé wines as possible over the past month.
Jun 9, 2011
Yes, You Can Drink Wine With Birthday Cake. Here’s How!
It is Birthday Week on The Kitchn. This set me thinking about how easy (or difficult) it is pairing wine and birthday cake. It is probably not something you automatically consider, but believe me, it can be fun. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, strawberry, or coconut cream — birthday cakes come in all sorts of flavors and textures — so there is a lot of scope to have fun playing around with different wines. What are some of your favorites?
May 19, 2011
Give Lambrusco a Chance! Great Value Bubbly Red Wine
Forget the cloying sweet fizz from the 1980’s. Lambrusco has made a comeback. It was deliberately off my radar for two decades, but I have recently been discovering lots of exciting, lively Lambrusco wines. If you haven’t tasted any in a while, maybe now is the chance to give this sparkling wine a second chance.
May 5, 2011
6 Impressive Yet Budget-Friendly Dinner Party Wines
Spring is in the air, Passover is in progess, Easter is this weekend, and it is Dinner Week on The Kitchn. Are you planning a special get-together or dinner party? Wondering which wines to choose? Do you want to impress guests with your wine selections, yet stay well within budget? Read on for tips on what to look for.
Apr 21, 2011
Grüner Veltliner: Austria’s Most Popular White Wine
I have been writing for The Kitchn for almost three years and cannot believe that I have never dedicated a full post to one of our favorite go-to wines – Austrian Grüner Veltliner. It has become a staple in our house for its deliciousness and versatility. How many of our Kitchn readers are also ‘Grüner’ fans?Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s most important white grape variety, accounting for around one third of all white grapes planted.
Mar 31, 2011
Sokol Blosser Wines: Innovative, Delicious and Great Value
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Alison Sokol Blosser, of the eponymous Sokol Blosser Winery in Oregon to talk about and taste her family’s wines. While their signature Pinot Noir wines are very fine and noteworthy, I felt compelled to first write about Evolution White and Meditrina Red, their two delicious and innovative great value wines.
Feb 24, 2011