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WineSpeed with Karen MacNeil | Villa Antinori

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


(Chianti Classico, Italy) $34 (750ml)

In a seemingly endless pursuit of new wines, I can sometimes forget to drink the tried and true classics—like Antinori (a name that’s right up there with Ferrari and the Vatican when it comes to things Italian). Indeed, I’d forgotten just how delicious Antinori’s Chianti Classico Riserva can be. It’s full of Tuscan sangiovese flavors—black olive, sea salt, thyme, tar, black tea and red fruits. And while some Chianti Classicos can appear sleek to the point of thinness, this one is has surprising richness and length. A T-bone drizzled with olive oil (as they do in Tuscany) would be just right. (14% abv)

93 points KM

Available at Wine.com

Which of the following grapes grown in Tejo (one of the major Portuguese wine regions) is white?

  • A. Casteláo
  • B. Trincadeira
  • C. Fernáo Pires
  • D. Touriga Nacional

Scroll down for the answer!


What Cognac is to France, pisco is to Peru—a brandy distilled from grapes, not grain. In fact, Peru is the birthplace of pisco; but don’t mention that in neighboring Chile, which claims the incendiary clear brandy at its national spirit. The drink is thought to have been created from muscat grapes in the 16th century. In Peru, pisco is produced in coastal valley regions, where conditions are perfect for developing extremely sweet grapes. Unlike whiskey or gin, Peruvian pisco must be single-distilled to proof (that is no water can be added after distillation). Pisco can be sipped neat or used in cocktails, like the summertime favorite: Pisco Sour, made from pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and bitters.


A tender new green stem that begins to grow on a vine now, in the spring. Shoots emerge from the permanent woody “arms” of a vine’s trunk. The shoots will ultimately sprout leaves and clusters of grapes.

C.Fernáo Pires is Portugal’s most planted white wine grape, grown throughout central and southern Portugal but most notably in Tejo just northeast of Lisbon. The variety makes wines with a spicy aromatic character and delicate exotic fruit notes. It is known as Maria Gomes in Bairrada, the Portuguese wine region about 50 miles south of Oporto.


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