Wine Recommendations

Posted by Keith Wallace

Wine Reviews

Good news serves a purpose bigger than just the news itself (wrap your mind around that one after three glasses of Champagne!). It also provides a perfect excuse to pop the corks on bottles that you otherwise might not have been able to justify. Here, then, are the wines we’re likely to celebrate with.

Find them here: The Wine Finder

Top Wine Picks

Guy Larmandier NV Brut Vertus 1er Cru

How can you call it a celebration without Champagne? And this one, a gorgeous, minerally, exuberant premier cru, is not only addictive to drink but reasonably priced, which itself is cause for celebration.

Lail Vineyards “Blueprint”

Lail’s J. Daniel Cuvée is one of the legends of California. The only problem is that it’ll set you back a beautiful penny, which is what makes the “Blueprint” proprietary blend such a treat. A Napa Meritage with this kind of pedigree for under $75? Now that’s a steal (but only for Napa)

Verget Chablis Montée de Tonnerre 1er Cru

One of our favorite Chablis producers. One of our favorite 1er crus. One of our favorite vintages in recent memory. Yeah, we’ll take a bottle of that.

Mollydooker “Two Left Feet”

Yes, it delivers all the oaky, succulent drama you’d expect. And yes, it’s downright gluggable. But there’s more to it than that: A sense of structure, an underlying freshness. Perfect for celebrating with friends or just enjoying a quiet glass or three on your own.

Find them here: The Wine Finder

Cool-Weather Whites

Just because autumn is here doesn’t mean that you have to give up on whites. It just means that you’ll have to choose a bit more judiciously. The ones below are a great starting point. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find an entire world of great autumn whites lining wine-shop shelves.

Foreau NV Vouvray Brut

Too often, even the most ardent wine lovers forget about Vouvray. This is unfortunate because bottlings like this offered plenty to love: Good fruit, a real sense of structure, and unexpected stoniness.

Chateau de Lancyre Roussanne

The classic white varieties of the Rhone are perfect this time of year, no matter where they’re grown and vinified. This Roussanne, from the south of the country, offers all the spicy floral character you’d hope for, as well as the rich mouthfeel that will pair perfectly with the heartier foods of the season.

Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas Blanc

And speaking of great white Rhones, check out this one from what many consider to be the first family of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Perrins of famous Chateau de Beaucastel. This Paso Robles blend of Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne is perfect right out of the cellar. Over chill it at your peril.

Muelenhof Riesling Kabinett Erdener Treppchen

When the weather turns cooler, a gently chilled Kabinett Riesling like this one is more than perfect: It’s restorative. Great fruit, zippy acid, and a flavor profile bridge the gap between summer and autumn with aplomb.

Old News

This is a bit old, as this post was originally our October 2009 Newsletter. I left it here for posterity. A lot was happening back in 2009!

Patrick McGovern

Ever notice how great winemakers are focused on purity, but equally great brewmasters are happy to mess around with crazy ingredients?

I spent Monday morning talking with Patrick McGovern, which is not bad to start the week. Pat is the UPenn scholar behind the seminal book on ancient wine entitled (surprise, surprise) Ancient Wine.

We ended up talking mostly about some of the ancient brews he has resurrected with the help of Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery. Of the four they have remade, his favorite is Chateau Jiahu, a crazy beer-mead-wine hybrid from nearly 8,000 years ago.

Philly Beer School

Pat & I are talking about having him come and teach a class at the Philly Beer School or the Wine Club sometime next year. Keep an eye out!

The Beer School’s resident brewmaster has come up with a whole new series of classes. A personal favorite is coming up at the end of the month. Old School Beers is all about brewing using wild yeasts. This is rather wonky, but there isn’t a beer or wine drinker out there who wouldn’t love this class or these brews. Could you not prove me wrong?

Garret Oliver

Garret Oliver. The brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery is talking smack about Philly. In a recent Metromix interview, the erstwhile author claims that “when it comes to high-end restaurants, there’s no place [in Philly] on the level of, say, Gramercy Tavern when it comes to both food and beer.” Hmm. Really, Mr. Oliver? Guess you need to spend a little more time out of the tank, so to speak.

Brunello 2003

On the wine front. The good state of Pennsyltucky is awash in some excellent and surprisingly cheap Brunello, in particular from the ’03 vintage. Keep an eye out for Il Poggione, Donatella Colombini Cinelli, and Caparzo… all great wines that are priced well below retail. And by cheap here, we mean under $40 (if that price tag surprises you, it’s time to take the Wines of Italy class)

Keith Wallace, Daily Beast Columnist

Finally…. gimme me some love! On Wednesday, the third installment of my wine column is coming out in the Daily Beast. Please give it a read, and write in (hopefully nice) comment. This time, I am taking on “big wine” and unveiling some of the dirty secrets they don’t want you to know about. Think your wine comes from an actual winery? Think again…

Keith Wallace is the founder of the Wine School, a contributor to the Wine Lover’s Companion, creator of Philly Uncorked show, and the wine columnist for The Daily Beast

Wine Courses

If you dream of jumping into the world of wine, now is a perfect time. A wine certification or even a diploma is the smartest way to launch your palate into the big leagues. Our fearless leader, Keith Wallace, will be personally teaching the winter semester programs.

Wine Foundation Course

The first step into the world of wine. Become a master vinologist! After taking this program, the student will be a better wine taster than most sommeliers. .

Wine Intermediate Program

The second step to a true understanding of wine. The entire world of wine -grapes, regions, history, terroir-is distilled into this exciting and informative program.

Advanced Wine Course

The ultimate program for the wine connoisseur. Each semester of the Advanced offers another deep insight into the world of wine: Diploma Oenotropae, The goal of many, possessed by very few. Earning the DO is a laudatory achievement, requiring at least two years of wine studies.

Our First Book

Over the years, many students have asked us if we ever planned on writing a book, and we always answered the same way: Someday, we’d say. Someday we’ll write something and try to sell it to someone, probably our significant others and our families. Well, someday has finally arrived: Keith and Brian recently accepted an offer by a major national publisher to write a cooking and beverage pairing book called, appropriately, Corked & Forked.

We have 11 months to develop the recipes, find the perfect pairings, and write it all up in an entertaining, easy-to-understand form. After that, it’ll be another year for the publishing house to work its magic and turn our manuscript into the form you’ll find on bookstore shelves. As we work on the book, we’ll be chronicling our successes and failures on a new blog, Check back regularly to see what we’re up to…and to see if we’ve burned down either of our kitchens. It’ll be a busy next year, but, even more than usual, a delicious one, too.

You can also check out our Corked & Forked classes. They are the series of cooking and wine pairing classes on which the book is based.

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