Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Avada Reflects Sherry’s Staying Power

Written by Sheri Varasdi on .

Alvear_Pedro_Ximenez_de_AnadaPedro Ximenez: International man of mystery? World class athlete? Millionaire playboy? None of these, actually. As unusual as it may sound, Pedro Ximenez is a grape,  otherwise known as PX to aficionados of the wine world. There is a story about a man of the same name, (or something close to it,) who is allegedly responsible for bringing this grape to Spain. Unfortunately, he was also none of these things, but this white grape varietal has a distinguished reputation all its own.

Pedro Ximenez the grape has been known to star in variations of white table wine in Chile. Fortified wines in Argentina very similar to those most commonly made in Jerez, Spain are derived from a closely-related varietal known as Pedro Gimenez. And in Australia, PX is used to make the fortified or sherry type wines known as Apera.

California Cabernet is King

Written by Sheri Varasdi on .

AngelineCalifornia cabernet.  It’s one of the most well-known and well-respected wines in the world.  And California itself accounts for 90% of wine production in the U.S. Take a stroll down your nearest supermarket wine aisle, and you will notice how prolific cabernets from California regions have become. There’s good reason for this, but there’s also been criticism surrounding the rising prices of some California cabs.

Zios Albarino Hits All the Right Notes

Written by Sheri Varasdi on .

ziosEvery once in a while, the stars align, the moon is full, and everything in the world seems right.  You might not be able to explain it, but something magical is happening and suddenly, in between delectably juicy bites of your baby lamb tenderloin and sips of a pretty darn decent Chianti, you have a flavor epiphany.  This is it! You think to yourself.  This is what all those Wine Spectator folks have been talking about! A total eclipse of the sun: the light goes off; there is darkness. And then, bang! It hits you.  The sun comes back out and it seems as if it has never before shone so brightly.  You, my friend, have just experienced a perfect pairing. 

La Violette Blooms with Subtle Complexity

Written by Sheri Varasdi on .

We’ve all heard the phrase “bigger is better,” and perhaps, at least once in every person’s life, this has proven true.  But a wise and witty master sommelier once taught a roomful of eager oenophiles that this isn’t necessarily true when it comes to assessing the quality of wine, and that sometimes, it is the bigness of a wine that earns the high scores of the most respected experts.

That said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with preferring big wine flavors—nothing at all—and there’s nothing wrong with taking the advice of your favorite wine expert.  The point he was trying to make is simply this:  form your own conclusions and don’t believe the hype.  Which, of course, has been a common theme of this column from the start. Perhaps instead of saying “bigger is better,” we should say “interesting is better,” or “cleaner is better,” but then we’d be alienating those wine drinkers who don’t share our palate preferences. And there is an interesting paradox which exists when it comes to enjoying more delicate wines.

Spain Showcases the Best Wines its Regions Have to Offer

Written by Sheri Varasdi on .

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As one of the leading Old World wine producing countries, Spain continues to churn out some of the best wines in the vina_gormazworld.  As the world’s third largest wine producing nation, behind Italy and France respectively, Spain has literally had thousands of years to get it right. And while Spain is the most widely planted wine producing nation, 80 percent of the country’s wine production comes from only 20 different grape varietals.  Amongst one of Spain’s centuries old regions is the Denominacion de Origen (D.O.) of Ribera del Duero, located along the Duero river on the northern plateau of the Iberian peninsula.  While this region has long been established for wine growing and production, it was, until the 1970s, mostly recognized as the location of Vega Sicilia, one of Spain’s most notable wineries.