Wine Warning!

Why Not To Love It.

The Wine Guy

There are a lot of reasons not to get into wine. I’ll tell you a few.

One: It’s expensive, or easily can be. While a few good cheap wines still exist, it’s becoming more difficult to find quality for less than $10 a bottle. That can be a lot to spend if you drink wine daily.

And the more one learns about wine, the more one is inclined to spend. You begin the taste the difference between an okay and a great Pinot Noir, and you are lured upward along the price curve as your tongue pursues mre intoxicating flavors.

Those Old Rules Can Come In Handy. Just ask James Bond.

First Published in PORT FOLIO MAGAZINE
SEPT. 23, 1999

Knowing and paying attention to the old rules can come in handy. Just ask James Bond.

When the Russian agent managed to point a gun at Bond’s heart in the novel “From Russia With Love,” Bondmentally kicked himself for not realizing at dinner an hour earlier that the blond gentleman across from him was not who he appeared to be.

The gentleman’s English accent had been perfect. But, while chatting with Bond over a nice filet of sole, the beefy guy had ordered a glass of red wine. Bond had noticed this curious behavior, but only now, with his life in danger, did Bond realize that this had been the sign the proper English gentleman was actually a Russian agent.

Sweet is Neat

First Published in Port Folio Magazine
By Alex Marshall

Learning to sneer at White Zinfandel, or any wine that is sweeter than not, is one of the first steps in wine education.

‘I’d like something dry,’ you say proudly when the waiter asks. ‘I hate sweet wines.’

But as your palate develops, you learn that some sweet wines are fantastic, with subtleties and depth of taste. They can vary from the sweeter Rieslings and Gewurztraminers, to ports and muscats, to the creme de la creme of dessert wines, Sauternes and German ‘eisweins.’

The trick is balancing the sweetness with flavor and crispness. While a pinkish white Zinfandels can taste like Kool-Aid — sweet and not much else — a good sweet wine has a sharpness that sets off the sugar on your tongue.

Searching For The Heart Of Darkness

JAN. 11, 2001

The fluid in the glass was black and dark, as if someone had emptied out his fountain pen into a glass of water. I eyed it suspiciously, then swirled, sniffed and tasted.

It was wonderful. A rich assortment of tastes cascaded over my tongue, backed up by a healthy dose of tannins. It was like a variation of a good Bordeaux.

I smiled appreciatively at the waitress. I had never heard of the wine she steered me toward: Madiran. I was in a small, French restaurant in Manhattan, Chez Bernard on West Broadway. It had classic French food at reasonable prices — and a wine list worthy of a three-star restaurant in Paris. The waitress had steered me away from the $2,000 bottles of old Bordeauxs, and to this wine I had never heard of, Madiran, for $30.

In Paris, The Wine Bar Is The Place To Drink Some Wine


PARIS — It was with some trepidation that I first walked in off the sidewalk into the small establishment on the narrow Rue Daguerre near Montparnasse with the words “Bar A Vin” written across its front glass window. It was 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night, a strange hour. In Paris, it was neither late, nor early. An uncertain hour.

I had been headed home to my nearby hotel bed, having eaten a full dinner down the street and decided I needed a good nigh’s sleep. But I couldn’t resist the pull of this small restaurant. Inside, I could see people huddled around the small bar, talking and laughing while they swirled liquid in glass goblets.