The ABCs of AVAs By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier One of the first things you ask when meeting someone new is, “where are you from?” It’s an easy way to begin getting to know the person. Maybe you also know someone from the place and have a mutual friend. It’s also how we define ourselves. Where you were raised had an enormous impact on shaping who you are today. The same can be said about
The Port Wine Guide  By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier Port is a wine originating from the Douro river valley in Portugal and is named after the town of Oporto. The wine is a blend of grapes, the most common being Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Touriga Roriz (a.k.a. Spain’s Tempranillo). It is also “fortified”, meaning the neutral spirit Aguardente (sometimes simply referred to as Brandy) is added, which stops the remaining sugar from fermenting and
Prohibition: A Short History of The Noble Experiment By Jimmy Quaille, Certified Sommelier The 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the sale of alcohol became the law of the land for 13 years starting at 12:01 am on the 17th of January, 1920. Some states refused to appropriate funds to enforce it and other states, like Maryland never enacted the code in the first place…but not for the reasons you may think. Alcoholism certainly was
The Basics of Bubbly  By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier All Champagne is sparkling wine but not all sparkling wine is Champagne! The name Champagne is so branded that it has become a catch-all for all sparkling wine, much to the great chagrin of France. They do have a point…Champagne is a place. If the wine is not made in that place it’s not Champagne. Look at it this way; an Idaho potato has to come
Wine Gift Guide 2017 By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier Which wine should I give when I don’t know “wine”? Wine makes the perfect gift for a number of reasons. You can buy a good bottle to fit any budget, it’s the perfect “emergency” gift to have on hand in case you forgot someone, one size fits all, PLUS, it’s a gift you can enjoy yourself if you covered all your bases.  However it can be
  Thanksgiving Wine Pairing 2017 By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier The long-standing rule of matching wine and food – red wine with meat and white wine with fish – actually has a scientific explanation. Then again, I doubt too many people eat meat or fish without a compliment of side dishes…especially on such a gastronomic feast as Thanksgiving.  So how do you pair the perfect wine for a meal that is a minefield of competing
Sulfites: Headaches & Salad Bars! By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier First, a little background: Sulphur dioxide (aka, Sulfites) is a chemical compound made up of sulfur and oxygen. It occurs naturally but can also be produced in a laboratory. Measured in parts per million (ppm), it has been  used for thousands of years as an antioxidant and antimicrobial to preserve foods and beverages. As far back as the 8th Century BC, ancient Greeks who used sulfur
10 Devilish Wines For Halloween  By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier  The Phantom 2012 $16.98 Grapes: Red Blend Intense, juicy and succulent, this brawny wine screams for a steak or hearty stew. Palermo 2014 $42.98 Grapes: Red Blend Deep aromas of raspberry and ripe cherry with notes of star anise, black tea, Kirsch and blackberry. Ultra smooth! PoiZin 2015 $16.98 Grape: Zinfandel A lush and fruit driven Zin with fresh plum, bing cherry and peppercorn. The
  Wine Scores: What’s The Point? By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier Customer: What score did this wine get? Me: Off the top of my head I don’t know, but I’ve had this wine recently and I would easily give it a 90. Customer: Yeah, but I only buy wines that actually GET a 90. Me: From who? Customer: It doesn’t matter, as long as it gets a 90. There isn’t a day that goes by
Cheap Wine Vs. Expensive Wine By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier Wine is a commodity. In economics, a commodity is defined as an item produced to satisfy consumer’s wants or needs. So my short answer to explain why some wine is cheap and some expensive is supply and demand. There are, however, many costs that go into making that wine good enough to command the price no matter how high or low, the first being where the grapes are
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