Mary Gorman-McAdams's Recent Articles
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Mediterranean Escape! Wines of Corsica, Sardinia & Sicily
It is summer, it is hot, and I am dreaming of a getaway to some beautiful Mediterranean island. No airfare or packing needed. Just my imagination, as I plan a fun get-together with friends to explore the wealth of delicious wines that these islands have to offer.These wines might not always be our first choice for many reasons. Perhaps unfamiliar grape varieties or place names are a bit daunting? But give them a try. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
Jul 8, 2010
Ideal Storage Conditions for Wine
Over the past few years there has been a proliferation of design-led wine racks and storage solutions on the market. While many of these look great, the all important question to consider is how ideal these are for storing wine.Statistics tell us that most wine is consumed within 24 hours of purchase; hence wine storage is not an issue for most wine consumers.
May 13, 2010
On Pouring Wine: How Full Should a Glass of Wine Be?
When pouring a glass of wine how much do you pour? How full do you expect the glass to be when buying a glass of wine a in a restaurant or wine bar?I have asked various sommelier friends about this. In the US, the measure poured for a glass of wine is not regulated. Hence, restaurants and bars are pretty free to take it upon themselves to decide what constitutes a single wine glass serving.While some bars and restaurants do indicate the serving sizes on the drinks menu, many do not.
May 6, 2010
Delicious Dessert Wines for Dessert Week
It’s dessert week here at The Kitchn. Dessert wines are often over-looked, as many of us don’t bother with wine if we are having dessert, or find the challenge of pairing too complicated — but few simple guidelines should make it a fun exercise!Firstly, back to the golden rule for pairing wine with desserts – the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. Secondly, match the flavor intensity of the dessert with the flavor intensity of the wine.
Apr 29, 2010
Wine With Breakfast, Anyone?
Do you enjoy a glass of wine with breakfast? What wine would you like to sip over breakfast? Or would you drink wine with breakfast at all?This week is breakfast week at The Kitchn. While it might seem a bit strange to be talking about wine with breakfast, there are special occasions when it is fitting to enjoy a glass of wine with the first meal of the day. Particularly when breakfast starts later, as is often the case at weekends, when it actually becomes brunch.
Apr 8, 2010
Delicious (and Affordable) Malbec Wines from Argentina
In early 2009 I wrote about the fantastic value to be found in Argentinian Malbec wines. Thirteen months on, and many tastings later, I felt compelled to revisit the Malbec grape variety and the considerable diversity of wines produced.Just to recap, while Argentina must get credit for putting Malbec on the map, its origins lie in France, and specifically in Bordeaux. Malbec is a very old variety.
Apr 1, 2010
Reserva, Riserva, Reserve: What Do They Mean for Wine?
These terms: Reserva, Riserva, Reserve, Grand Reserve, Vintner’s Reserve and so forth — what exactly do they mean on a wine label? And is there any consistency between them? Simply answered, these terms mean different things, depending on the origin of the wine. Old World Wines In general, the use of these terms in the old world is fairly regulated. Firstly, it is supposed to indicate a superior wine, a wine made from riper grapes, resulting in a higher minimum alcohol.
Mar 25, 2010
River Café Wine Dinner: My Tribute to Rose Gray
It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Rose Gray last week. Rose was the co-author of the iconic River Café Cookbooks as well as co-owner of the River Café restaurant in London. In the early nineties Rose was my icon – my Alice Waters. She may not be as well known on this side of the Atlantic but in the UK and Ireland she and her partner Ruth Rogers were possibly the first of the great modern chefs where simplicity and good ingredients were everything.
Mar 11, 2010
Burgundy Wines: Demystified and Affordable
When it comes to wine, for many people Burgundy represents the ‘Holy Grail’. Elegance, pristine fruit and perhaps some of the greatest terroir expression in the wine world. But isn’t Burgundy horribly expensive and very complicated? Read on to find out more about the myths, the realities and some wonderful affordable wines.The reality is that high-end Burgundy wines, such as Grand Cru or Premier Cru wines, are very expensive.
Mar 4, 2010
Italian White Wines and Harold McGee’s Octopus Recipe Wine Pairings
After savoring the succulence of perfectly cooked octopus in Greece and Spain, cooking octopus has been on my to-do list, as I wanted to have some wine-pairing fun. I am an amateur cook that will attempt almost anything, but somehow the octopus challenge remained on the to-do list for quite a while. Until January 2010, when accidentally (or should I say serendipitously), I bought two whole, raw octopi!Early January I headed to London for my wine studies.
Feb 18, 2010
Oaked White Wine: Dated, Timeless, or on a Comeback?
The late 80’s and 90’s were boom years for big, oaky white wines, especially Chardonnay. Over the past decade, it has been all about unoaked whites, with Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc taking center stage. Is oaked white wine still a timeless classic? Largely outdated? Or is it primed for a strong comeback? What are your views?Oaked white wines were all the rage 10 to 15 years ago. All those creamy, spicy vanilla aromas and flavors were delicious. These wines made bold statements.
Jan 21, 2010
An Easy Guide to Choosing Lower Alcohol Wines
The feasting and festivities of the holidays is over. Having over-indulged, many of us have made resolutions to cut back on or cut out certain foods and alcohols during January. So how can we reduce our alcohol intake, whilst still enjoying a glass or two of wine? Obviously, one way to cut back on alcohol intake is to stop drinking it. However, if like me you enjoy the way wine enhances food, and vice versa, here are some options. Look out for lower alcohol wines.
Jan 7, 2010
The Truth About Sulfites in Wine & the Myths of Red Wine Headaches
A master sommelier dispels common myths around sulfites, including red wine headaches.
Nov 12, 2009
Languedoc Roussillon: Full-Bodied Red Wines for Cool Autumn Days
The Languedoc Roussillon is probably France’s oldest wine region, dating back over two thousand years. It is a region steeped in history, culture, food and great value wines. If you like rich, ripe red wines (under $15!) then read on for a list of wines you’ll love.When I lived in France the Languedoc Roussillon was one of my favorite regions to visit, and not just for the wine.
Nov 5, 2009
Spooky, Scary Wines to Spice Up Your Halloween Party
Are you going to a fun Halloween party and wondering what wine to bring? This is not the night for serious wines. Spice it up with some ghostly wines. Over the past few weeks I’ve been scouting out fun wines to fire up this ghoulish night; here’s a look at what I’ve found!The first wines I found were from Vampire Vineyards, which is based in Paso Robles, California. (According to their website there are rumors that the winery is actually owned by vampires.
Oct 29, 2009
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.
Oct 8, 2009
The Real Face of Zinfandel Wine: Dark and Dry
Red Zinfandel, or the ‘real’ Zinfandel, is regarded as the quintessential California wine. Incredibly popular and delicious, Zinfandel wines are perfect for a host of fun gatherings. It is no wonder it is considered California’s heritage grape.Despite the proliferation of ‘White Zin’ – the very popular pink, slightly sweet wine – Zinfandel is actually a red grape, capable of producing some of California’s most distinctive and enjoyable wines.
Sep 24, 2009
Sweet Wines That Are Cool With Ice Cream
August is Stay Cool! month at the Kitchn. As the temperatures have been rising, so has our frequency of serving ice cream for dessert. This always brings up the question of what are the best wines to serve with ice cream. Of course, you don’t have to serve wine with ice cream, but if you do here are some of my favorites.First, a handy rule of thumb is to remember that for desserts the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. As ice cream is very sweet you need an extremely sweet wine.
Aug 27, 2009
My Favorite Wine Glasses: Best Value for the Money
When I first became serious about wine, I really noticed the difference that a good glass made to my appreciation of the wine. At that time the choice of wine glass was pretty polarized. Either I spent a great deal of money (more than I could afford) or I had to be content with an industrial, heavy, thick-lipped glass. There was very little to choose from in between.Today, I can still spend a lot of money on a great glass, but I can also get a really good wine glass for a modest spend.
Aug 20, 2009
Great Wineglasses: Are They Worth the Investment?
Are good wineglasses worth the money? Does a good wineglass enhance the wine? Should you use different glassware for red, white and sparkling wines? Are all good wineglasses expensive?In my opinion, the wineglass matters. However, as with wine itself, there are many opinions about wineglasses, and, as expected, a great deal of snobbery. From my experience tasting wine professionally for many years, here are a few of my thoughts on what really matters in a wineglass.
Aug 6, 2009
Escape to Greece: Truly Unique Wines from Santorini
I have visited many wonderful places around the world, but I have to concede that the island of Santorini has to rank as one of the most spectacularly beautiful. Watching the sun set over the dormant volcano, known as the Caldero, is to experience a little bit of heaven.
Jul 23, 2009
Escape to Greece: Great Wines from The Peloponnese
I have just returned from a breathtaking wine trip to Greece, where I visited the wine regions of the Peloponnese and Santorini. With a winemaking history that dates back over 4000 years, unique soils and micro-climates, and over 300 indigenous grape varieties, it is little wonder that wine drinkers around the world are embracing Greek wines so enthusiastically. Cook up some Greek food and find yourself a great bottle of Greek wine for an easy escape to this beautiful land.
Jul 16, 2009
Wine: Heard it Through the Grapevine by Matt Skinner Book Review 2009
In May I had lunch with wine author and writer Matt Skinner, who shot to fame as the new generation sommelier from Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen in London. Matt was in the US to promote his newly launched wine book Heard it Through the Grapevine — The Things You Should Know to Enjoy Wine. With bookstores awash with wine books and guides, I was a little skeptical in the beginning. Was this just a very good PR machine at work or a book worth reading?
Jun 18, 2009
Wine: Let’s Hear It For Sparkling Rosé Wines
Inspired by the many comments about sparkling rosé wines that followed my post last week on rosé wines, I felt it only right to give sparkling rosé its day out and deserved spotlight. Almost every region that makes a sparkling wine also produces a rosé version.
May 14, 2009
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?
Apr 30, 2009
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.
Apr 16, 2009
Quick Tips: How To Preserve Wine
Don’t want to finish the bottle, but don’t want to waste the wine?? We have all experienced disappointment when the half bottle of yummy wine enjoyed last night tastes awful the next day. Indeed lots of people don’t buy a bottle of wine because they know they won’t finish the bottle, and they don’t want to waste the remaining wine.Is wine easy to preserve?
Feb 19, 2009
Wine: Bubbles on a Budget, the Prosecco Way
We all know that 2009 is a tough year economically, and we are all adjusting in our own way. But let’s not forget that it is Valentine’s day shortly. Maybe this year, the fancy restaurant is out. In difficult times, I believe that it becomes more important to celebrate the special occasions. What could be more appreciated or, as romantic as a home-cooked meal? And the celebratory bubbles don’t have to be Champagne.Today non-Champagne sparkling wines have never been better.
Feb 5, 2009
Light Alcohol Wine: German Riesling Kabinett
As the month of January is Eating Light month at The Kitchn I thought that wine should also have its say on drinking lighter, and by that I mean wines with less alcohol. There was a time when almost all table wines were 12.5% in alcohol. Not anymore!Look at the label of most wines that you buy, especially if they come from warmer climate, New World regions. You are bound to see at least 13%, but more likely 14% and even higher.
Jan 15, 2009
Affordable Wines for Gift Giving: Red and Sweet Wines
I hope you enjoyed last week’s sparkling and white wine holiday gift recommendations. This week, it’s time to move on to red and sweet wines. Whatever your budget, whatever the occasion, there are so many interesting wines to choose from that make great gifts. Happy shopping!Red wines probably form the backbone of any gathering around food. As with last week’s wines I have been keeping special notes all year on wines that I feel would make great holiday gifts.
Dec 18, 2008
Affordable Wines for Gift-Giving: White and Sparkling
As more and more Americans enjoy wine, giving wine as a gift has also grown in popularity. As usual there is the feeling that you need to spend a lot if the wine is to be appreciated. This absolutely should not be the case! With a little thought and a sense of adventure you can find a tremendous number of interesting wines which will awaken the curiosity of even the most demanding of palate. And they won’t break the bank.
Dec 11, 2008
Sud de France: Languedoc-Roussillon’s Great Value Wines
Breathtakingly beautiful, the French wine region of the Languedoc-Roussillon stretches from the south of the Rhône Valley all across the Mediterranean coastline to the Spanish border and the Pyrennées. It is France’s largest and most diverse wine region. Red, white, rosé, sparkling and sweet wines are produced.Such diversity can sometimes be confusing to the consumer.
Dec 4, 2008
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?
Nov 6, 2008
Wine Escapes: C. Donatiello’s Winery, Aroma Garden, Organic Vineyards and the Beautiful Russian River Valley
Well, here is an interesting way to learn.As a wine educator, I can vouch that there is no magic to being able to describe a wine. We can all do it. It is about training our nose to identify and put a label on a smell or taste. Over time we build up a sort of reference library in our brain for specific grape varieties and styles of wine.
Oct 30, 2008
Wine: All About Fair Trade Wine
While Fair Trade wine has been available in Europe since 2003, it was only in 2007 that the first Fair Trade wines became available in the United States.Like other Fair Trade products, Fair Trade wine means that the wine was produced in a fair and humane way, to meet the Internationally recognized Fair Trade standards. Farmers are treated with respect, paid a decent wage, and the grapes are cultivated in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Oct 9, 2008
Understanding German Wine Labels
German wines, Rieslings in particular, are among my absolute favorite wines so I am very excited that this week I am heading to the Rheingau wine region of Germany, with its famous Geisenheim Viticultural Research center.For many wine consumers German wines are an enigma. Many blatantly hate the often off-dry style, associating it with cheap, unsophisticated wines.
Sep 25, 2008
Supermarket Wines Review: Top Wine Picks from Trader Joe’s Wine Store in New York City
Trader Joe’s – the name synonymous with ‘Two Buck Chuck’, the $1.99 wine from the Charles Shaw Winery in California – also carries a broad array of wines priced anywhere from $2.99 to $60, and wines from respected regions in California, France and Italy.Having had several conversations with non-wine-geek friends about the virtues of the wine selection at TJ’s, I decided to pay the store a visit and check out the wines.It was a Sunday afternoon.
Sep 11, 2008
Wine Bottle Closures: Cork vs. Screw Cap
Do wine closures matter to you? When buying a bottle of wine are you influenced by the type of closure? Do you consider screw caps to contain cheaper or lower quality wine? Have you embraced screw caps or are you a die-hard devotee to cork?At its simplest the closure on a wine bottle must keep the wine in and oxygen out. Tradition, regulations, cost, the style of wine, and consumer acceptability all influence the closure selected by the producer.
Sep 4, 2008
Wines for Hot and Spicy Foods
Do you ever wonder why so many people automatically reach for a beer to go with African, Asian, or Caribbean foods? Answer: Beer is refreshing, and does not clash with the many feisty, fiery flavors of chilies, herbs and spices that are the signature of these many and varied cuisines.
Aug 21, 2008
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.
Jul 24, 2008
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 26, 2008
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 19, 2008