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WineSpeed | Radio-Coteau

Weekly insights from veteran wine writer Karen MacNeil.

BY Karen Macneil | Life | Jul 9, 2018

RADIO-COTEAU | “La Neblina” Pinot Noir 2012

(Sonoma Coast, CA) $50

First I wrote, “God, is this good.” A few minutes later, I wrote, “Man, is this good.” Then I underlined both sentences and put exclamation points. Finally though, I made myself try to say why. Was it the wine’s earthy lusciousness? Its sappy texture? Its long swaths of dark, savory flavors? I know this: Radio-Coteau’s pinots pull you into them and don’t release you. They captivate your emotions and your mind. And they are so damned delicious. (Ok, I give up now). Radio-Coteau has been quietly making great pinot for more than a decade. The name, by the way, is French slang for “word of mouth.” (13.4% abv)

94 points KM

Available at K&L Wine Merchants

More Wines to Know…

Which village in Burgundy has the most Grand Cru vineyards?

A.  Pomerol
B.  Pauillac
C.  Gevrey-Chambertin
D.  Chablis

Here’s the answer…

Flute Flaunt

Well isn’t this brilliant. Just when flutes increasingly find themselves the object of Champagne-lovers’ dismay (even disdain), it’s beer to the rescue. The German Beer company Beck’s has just released beer in a can shaped like a flute. It’s not that far-fetched really. Historically, many traditional beer glasses were shaped like Champagne flutes, and both beverages derive some of their pleasure from bubbles. Curiously, one of the reasons the flute is in disfavor for Champagne is that it isn’t ideal for appreciating the wine’s aroma. (Because you can’t easily swirl the wine in a flute, volatile aromatic compounds aren’t easily released and the wine is rendered less “smellable.”) Leading us to wonder: are beer lovers less aromatically inclined?

Kisses, Licks, Bites, and…

Although everything about Tuscany seems to put a person in the mood to drink red wine, there is an historic white wine to consider: vernaccia di San Gimignano, traditionally referred to as the wine that “kisses, licks, bites, and stings.” Actually, only the best vernaccia di San Gimignanos do that; plenty of others—which are utterly neutral—just don’t appear to be good at romance. 

As its name suggests, vernaccia di San Gimignano is made from vernaccia grapes grown on the slopes surrounding the medieval hill town of San Gimignano, roughly an hour’s drive southwest of Florence. Though historically vernaccia di San Gimignano was made and aged in large old wood casks, the best modern versions are young and fresh. There are dozens of relatively small producers. One of my favorites has been Teruzzi e Puthod.

Steals under $20

Great summer quaffers!

TRAMIN Gewurtraminer 2014 (Alto Adige, Italy) $20
A thunderbolt of a wine. Intense doesn’t begin to describe it. Dry, spicy, and hugely aromatic. Bring on the Thai curry or tandoori chicken.
 
VILLA WOLF Dry Riesling 2015 (Pfalz, Germany) $14
Fruity and snappy, with light pear-ish flavors. Need a wine to drink while you’re cooking this weekend? This uber fresh riesling would be terrific.
 
WHITEHALL LANE Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Rutherford, Napa Valley, California) $20
​Fresh and simple, with touches of sage but no strident greenness. With a good salad, it’s dinner.​​

The Sherry-producing region of Spain was once under Arabic rule.

Answer: True. For almost 800 years during the Middle Ages, the region of Jerez (pronounced hare-ETH in Spanish) along the southwestern Andalusian coast was under Arabic rule. The Arabs called sherry Sekeris, although we should note that the region has had many names in its time. The Greeks called it Xera, the Romans, Ceret. Northern Spanish Castilians called it Xérès, and later Xérèz. By the late 1800s, Xérèz had become Jerez. Later, British wine importers corrupted the Spanish pronunciation of the region. After undergoing a series of evolutions, the English name became Sherry.

“Dear Karen, I’ve always heard that if you’re trying to count calories, it’s best to order a glass of white wine instead of red. How many calories are in a typical glass of wine?”  —Audrey R., Seattle, WA

Audrey, a glass of wine poured at a restaurant or bar is typically 5 ounces. A 5-ounce glass of red wine averages about 110 calories, whereas a glass of white wine usually clocks in around 104 calories. Of course, sweetness will affect the calorie count, so a sweeter wine may have an additional 5 to 10 calories.

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