Home > Lifestyle

WineSpeed with Karen MacNeil | González Byass

Veteran wine writer Karen MacNeil shares insights with subscribers in her weekly newsletter, WineSpeed


(Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Spain) $50 (375ml)

Because it was just International Sherry Week, I couldn’t resist telling you about Apóstoles, one of the most wildly seductive Sherries in existence. It comes from a solera set up in 1862, and only very small amounts are bottled (in half bottles) every year. The color of burnt oranges with a neon green tinge at the edge, Apóstoles tastes of dark roasted nuts, tangerine rind, brown butter, sea salt, crème brûlée and caramel. The flavors are so vivid and concentrated, they have an almost gravitational pull on the taster. The texture is pure satin. Sherries such as Apóstles are primordial in their appeal, and no wine lover should miss them. Drink this slightly chilled as an aperitif on a cold night.

100 points

Available at K&L Wines

At what temperature should Sherry be served?

  • A.Cool or cold depending on the style
  • B.Can be served warm depending on the style
  • C.Always served very cold
  • D.Room temperature

Scroll down for the answer!

“Saying you had a bad vintage of Napa Valley wine is like saying you had a bad truffle.”

-Robert M. Parker, Jr.


The patron saint of winemakers is Saint Martin, and November 11 is Saint Martin’s Day. (Corks usually start being pulled on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). A Roman cavalry officer, Saint Martin eventually became a monk and the bishop of Tours in the Loire Valley (France). After his death, his remains were kept in an abbey there until war caused the relics to be brought to Obédiencerie, a chapel in the monastery of Chablis. Today, Obédiencerie is within the old cellars of Domaine Laroche. In honor of the day on Friday, we tasted Domaine Laroche’s Grand Cru Chablis “Les Blanchots” 2012 ($105). A Grand Cru Chablis’ signature is purity and its sleek line—like a runway model. This wine was perfect testament. (Saint Martin, by the way, is also the patron saint of France and of geese).


The word fleshy is used to describe wines with a certain plumpness and rich core of fruit. Fleshiness is associated with certain varieties like merlot—especially when it’s ripe. In blends that combine merlot and cabernet sauvignon, merlot is often said to “put flesh on cabernet’s bones.”

Recently, the critic Robert Parker hosted a tasting of 10 cabernets and cabernet blends from Pritchard Hill. Not an official appellation, Pritchard Hill is nonetheless considered one of the top mountain districts within the Napa Valley. Here are my four top wines:

Chappellet – Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Napa Valley, CA) $200
Spice, saddle leather and sassafras. You can taste the mountains. Vivid and long. 94 points
Ovid – 2012 (Napa Valley, CA) $300
Exotic with violets, black pepper and Asian spices. Lovely arc of fascinating flavor. 94 points
Brand – 2012 (Napa Valley, CA) $250
Density and richness. Ripe and structured. Built for time. 93 points
Montagna – 2012 (Napa Valley, CA) $130
Precise and savory with wonderful chaparral flavors. Intense but not heavy. 93 points

A.Sherry tastes best when it’s drunk the way it is in Spanish bodegas—cold for certain styles, chilled for others. Manzanilla and fino should be served very cold. Nutty amontillado should be served well chilled. And even the deepest-colored Sherries—oloroso, cream, and Pedro Ximénez—taste best served at cool room temperature.


Related Articles