Reflect on these wines as the old year ends

This is traditionally a time of reflection. Over the next few weeks, I’ll endeavor to approach the new year ahead with a focused, fresh, revitalized attitude toward my wine choices. Here are some fine options: Matar by Pelter, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, 2014 ($32; non-mevushal): This is a lovely, summery, fresh, crisp and aromatic blend of… Read More

Looking to spend $1,000 on whisky?

I’ve never really had much interest in the lifestyles of the rich, nor do I begrudge anybody their wealth, but I do try to stay nominally on top of the “super expensive, top-shelf, trophy-style” single malt Scotch whisky category. Recently, however, folks have asked me for serious recommendations for purchase. A reader told me they… Read More

Like their vinegar, love their wine

Special to WJW I first noticed De La Rosa Real Foods & Vineyards through their non-wine products — organic olive oils, vinegars and grape juice. I eventually got to taste some of their wines in various settings — on their own, accompanying meals, against competing wines. I was and remain impressed. De La Rosa offers… Read More

Getting pickled? Here are the best wines

The other day a buddy presented this wine-pairing challenge: What goes with homemade pickles? This is fairly tricky. For one thing, vinegar can make wines seem thin and acidic on the palate. Hot spice tends to make alcohol seem hotter, not only throwing off perceptions of a wine’s balance, but also potentially neutering those qualities… Read More

Make sangria, watch the smiles

The novelist Kingsley Amis wasn’t far off when he described sangria as “cheap, easy to make up and pretty harmless — so that you can drink a lot of it without falling down.” A mixture of wine, fruit, sugar and traditionally a bit of brandy, sangria reportedly originated on the Iberian Peninsula where it was… Read More

The key to this cocktail is balance

Special to WJW A seemingly simple concoction of iced tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire and usually also lemon juice and then something spicy like horseradish or Tabasco, a well-made Bloody Mary is refreshingly tangy, rich, and earthy. A badly made Bloody Mary is, well, deeply inadequate. Try to get too fancy with additional vegetables, and you… Read More

The right way to make a wine breathe

Special to WJW Going through my email bag to answer some of your questions about kosher wines and spirits. If you have a question, from the simple to the seriously technical, feel free to email me at What does letting the wine breathe mean? The idea is metaphorical. A wine “breathes” in the sense… Read More

A few bottles to brighten your mood

Special to WJW Being originally from California, when I want to lighten the mood, I usually reach for a something from the Golden State, like the dependably delicious Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($27) from Napa Valley, or the always enjoyable Covenant Red C Rose 2016 ($35) from Sonoma. Both are absolutely fine choices, and I… Read More