Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Inquirer: Not all are toasting changes uncorked by LCB

It is a case of vintage revenge. Wine merchants in Delaware and South Jersey are now clearing shelf space for their old nemesis: Jonathan Newman, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

The “xChairman Selections,” as one shop calls them, are the discounted wines that Newman’s new company will introduce in Pennsylvania border states this month.

Newman had risen to the unlikely status of folk hero among Pennsylvania wine lovers, partly because of his celebrated Chairman’s Selection specials. But one year ago, he resigned in protest after Gov. Rendell’s controversial appointment of Joe Conti as chief executive officer of the LCB.

While Newman’s entry into the private sector is intriguing the sip-and-swirl crowd, it also casts a spotlight back on the LCB. The $1.69 billion-a-year agency has been the subject of skepticism and upheaval since Newman left.

NAPA VALLEY REGISTER

The European tradition of mulled wine started in ancient Greece.

My friends in Great Britain insist no holiday can be merry without mulled wine. But why should the Brits have all the fun?

The European tradition of mulling wine started in ancient Greece where heat and spices were used to salvage old wine once the summer’s harvest went bad. In the Middle Ages, mulled wine was credited with medicinal and aphrodisiac powers (what serf wouldn’t love to snuggle up with a hot toddy), and in Victorian England a spot of tea was added to a glass of mulled wine and dubbed “Christmas tea.”

In the United States, nearly everyone cites eggnog as our most typical holiday libation. Historically this creamy holiday tradition has beat out mulled wine due to the availability of milk and eggs from our plentiful farms, as well as the rum that’s been an affordable U.S. import from the Caribbean.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Direct sales invigorate wine-lovers

Local wine aficionados love to grouse, often with good reason, about how state regulations can sometimes stand between them and that coveted vintage.
But they are divided over whether a favorable decision in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court would do much to make more varieties available, or cheaper, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The court is being asked to decide whether states can limit direct, winery-to-wine-lover sales.
Keith Wallace, president of the Wine School in Philadelphia, had 53 phone messages the day after the Supreme Court heard arguments, and knows that oenophiles are watching the case.

Wallace spends $30,000 a year on wine. He said that recent innovations by the Liquor Control Board mean that “you have an enormous selection available.
“The problem is that the price point is often 10 to 30 percent higher than anywhere else,” he said.

The best-case scenario, he said, would be a Supreme Court decision that dealt a mortal blow to the state-store system.

But the odds are that Pennsylvania’s unique system, criticized for decades but politically resilient, will survive relatively unchanged.

Frontpage Hero for Wine School of Philadelphia

Pillar Box 2008 Red

For a wine so damn cheap, a lot of rock star winemakers have been attached to this project. For the geeks, that means Aussie powerhouses Kim Jackson and  Chris Ringland, for starters. For the rest …

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Cellers Baronia del Montsant 2009 Flor de Englora Roure

A review of a top class Grenache blend. Glass staining and inky black, the Flor d’Englora Roure is full bodied and richly flavored. Aromas of toast, campfire, and coriander rise from the glass, with a thread of liquorice. Tobacco and mocha on the palate with a rich deep fruit flavors, plum and dark cherry.

Frontpage Hero for Wine School of Philadelphia

Zenato 2008 Ripassa Classico, Veneto

Zenato is a large-scale operation near Lake Garda in northern Italy. Despite their size, the company has consistently put out excellent –if occasionally anodyne—wines in Valpolicella. Vintage after vintage, the Zenato …

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The Big Money Wine Myth

Several studies have been released recently that call into question a basic premise of wine buying. Most wine drinkers assume that the more expensive a bottle is, the better it tastes. …

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