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WineSpeed with Karen MacNeil | Littorai

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

Veteran wine writer Karen MacNeil shares insights with subscribers in her weekly newsletter, WineSpeed. Read excerpts from this week’s edition below.


(Anderson Valley, California) $80 (750ml)

Gothic cathedrals are soaring structures, but they possess a lightness and fragility at the same time. This pinot noir from the famous producer Littorai is that way too. The Anderson Valley, slanting inward like a pants pocket from the cold coast north of Sonoma, is home to a small but growing number of vivid, elegant pinot noirs. Littorai’s Cerise Vineyard is one of the best. With aging, it unfurls into rich, spicy madness. (12.9% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Littorai

Hock, the British nickname for Rhine wine, is named after the famous village of Hochheim in Germany. In which of the following regions is Hochheim located?

A. Mosel
B. Rheingau
C. Rheinhessen
D. Mittelrhein

Scroll down for the answer!

“Wines are like people. Some are perfect but boring, some are precocious but fail to live up to their promise, and some may be flawed, but the way they may develop is endlessly fascinating.”

—Michael Broadbent, English critic


In honor of National Croissant Day today, here’s the scoop on one of your favorite breakfast items. For centuries, Turkish tribes hoping to invade western Europe considered Austria a militarily strategic foot-in-the-door. Austria usually managed to defend itself, but occasionally the Turks prevailed. A brief occupation in the late 1600s had two redeeming results—both culinary. Coffee beans were brought to Vienna, instigating a revolutionary change in European drinking habits, and Viennese bakers created the croissant to commemorate the end of the Turkish siege. The rich dough’s shape was modeled after the crescent moon emblem in Turkish banners.

Windspeed with Karen MacNeil - Winespeed blog


One of the first things I remember learning about Champagne was that small bubbles were better than large ones. Now, shockingly, that notion has been turned upside down—or at least sideways—by new research. Big bubbles have a benefit. But the size debate has only just begun….Continue Reading


Refers to a wine with a level of alcohol that is out of balance with its acid and fruit. The impression of excessive alcohol produces a slight burning “hit” at the top of the nasal passages and on the palate.

B.Hochheim (pronounced HOE-hime) is located in Germany’s famous region known as the Rheingau. At first, hock implied a wine from Hochheim. Later, it came to mean any Rheingau wine; and later still, any Rhine wine. England’s Queen Victoria is credited with the line, “A bottle of hock keeps off the doc.”


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