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Articles are from the Star Ledger unless otherwise indicated.

Red wines to meat

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on December 24, 2015

If winter arrives, these delicious red wines will complement hearty fare.

I don't know of a better good-value red wine than the 2012 Donnachiara Campania Aglianico.

Aglianico is a tannic grape grown principally in Italy's Basilicata and Campania regions. In Campania, it produces the muscular Taurasi, and the more approachable Campania-designated Aglianico wine.

Donnachiara winery was founded in 2005 by Chiara and Umberto Petitto, but its vineyards have been in the Petitto family for 150 years. Currently, Ilaria Petitto, a lawyer and daughter of Chiara and Umberto, manages the business.

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Wine gifts are as traditional as wine itself

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on December 17, 2015

These holiday wine gifts will bring smiles and appreciation.

Italy's Lombardy region produces Franciacorta, Italy's most prestigious sparkling wine. It's made in the Champagne method, meaning the second fermentation, which creates the bubbles, takes place in the bottle not in a tank. Chardonnay and pinot noir are Franciacorta's primary grapes; pinot blanc is a minority partner.
Ferghettina winery.jpgFerghettina winerycourtesy of Ferghettina

I enjoyed the 2010 Ferghettina Brut Nonvintage Franciacorta made by owner Roberto Gatti and his two children Laura and Matteo, both university graduates in enology. With only five percent pinot noir, this chardonnay-dominated sparkler deposits elegant pear and apple flavors with a refined texture and lingering finish.

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Oregon wineries singing happy birthday

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on December 10, 2015

Oregon winemaking is celebrating its 50th birthday with its first love- pinot noir- still embraced.

David Lett fathered the Oregon wine movement by ignoring the advice of his teachers in the wine department of the University of California at Davis in 1965. Forsaking warm, sunny California, Lett headed north with cuttings of pinot noir to rainy, cool climate Oregon.

It took a decade before Lett brought his Eyrie Vineyards pinot noir to the market. Lett's wines were translucent cranberry-colored, fruit and floral fragrant, light as a feather and bursting with raspberry, strawberry and pumpkin pie spice flavors. They were delicious and elegant wines.

Today Oregon's founding wineries are owned by the founder's children, or wine conglomerates; organic farming, new wine styles and expanded vineyards have appeared.

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Elegance in a wine bottle

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on December 03, 2015

This is the season of special dinners with the finest wines; here is a selection that will grace any table.

In the wine world, the name Rothschild means elegance, quality and perseverance; it is all found in the Barons de Rothschild Brut Multi-Vintage Champagne.

The three branches of the Rothschild family- chateaux Lafite, Mouton and Clark- united around the Champagne concept. And why not? In Bordeaux, every luncheon and dinner begins—and often ends—with a glass of Champagne.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild, owner of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, presented the Barons de Rothschild Brut Multi-Vintage Champagne in October at Manhattan's excellent Jean-Georges restaurant.

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Wines you can party with

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on November 20, 2015

No sooner is the Thanksgiving Day table cleared than holiday party planning begins.
For a casual group party, buying white and red wines can be expensive. In today's market, the sweet spot for value is between $13 and $20; here you'll find wines with individuality, tradition and style. Below $13 the wine is likely to be a manufactured beverage.

The Filomusi Guelfi wine estate is in southern Italy's Abruzzo region; family-owned since the 18th century, Lorenzo Filomusi Guelfi inherited it in 1982.

The young, talented winemaker Lorenzo Costantini produced the ruby-colored 2012 Filomusi Guelfi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo that's erupting with black pepper, black olive and black cherry scents. Its medium body is clothed in blackberry and herbal flavors stitched with integrated tannins that are soft, but not meek.

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Wines that favor the flavors of Thanksgiving Day

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on November 20, 2015

Finding wines to match the array of foods on Thanksgiving Day is challenging enough, with the rainbow of flavors from the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, gravy and desserts.

Add individual wine preferences and budget considerations, and it's easier to find your way through a corn maze than a wine store.

Some reach for red wines like zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, or syrah.

I think white is the better choice for next Thursday's plethora of flavors- but some family members will only smile when they see red, so, here are a few selections that will favor the flavors and please the purse.

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Unique Champagne gifts for the holidays

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on November 12, 2015

Champagne has two stunning choices for your holiday gift giving.

Last week, Spectre, the latest James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig, arrived at theaters. Craig— who resembles Vladimir Putin more than the suave Sir Roger Moore-- is performing his fourth rendition of our superhero, seducer par excellence, bon vivant and slayer of evil.

Bond, the character, bonded with Bollinger in the movie Live and Let Die when Roger Moore ordered a bottle of Bollinger from room service "slightly chilled." An expert of elegance, Moore got the temperature correct: drinking Bollinger—or any champagne-- iced-cold retards the aromas and flavors of this exquisite wine.

Last week, Cyril Delarue, the 33-year old, sixth-generation member of the Bollinger family, and Jerome Philipon, president of Champagne Bollinger were in Manhattan at The Modern restaurant. With his Hollywood looks and Bond-like relaxed manner, Delarue presented the 2009 Bollinger Champagne in its 007 sleek black box.

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White Bordeaux is part of Chateau Lagrange's palate

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on November 05, 2015

Most wine consumers see red when thinking of Bordeaux.

But white is a more tranquil color. Not the sweet white of Sauternes or Barsac, but the dry, white wines of Medoc, the esteemed area known as the Left Bank.

Bordeaux is divided by two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne. On the Right Bank, lies the renowned Saint Emilion and Pomerol appellations. The larger Left Bank is home to the 61 chateaux, whose red wines were classified in 1855, from First to Fifth Growths, along with the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac. I think, it's this lack of historical recognition that has made Bordeaux's dry white wines an afterthought.

Chateau Lagrange was classified a Third Growth in 1855. Its history starts in 1289 when the religious Order of the Temple had a hospital on the property. Over the centuries, the land was divided into tenant farms; owned by wealthy members of Bordeaux society and the politically powerful, who developed the vineyards and chateau.

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Disznoko shows Tokaji's future is capturing its past

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on October 29, 2015

Tokaj exudes history, while tokaji oozes pleasure.

Two hours by car southwest of Budapest, Hungary lies the ancient wine region and town, Tokaj. Starting in 1730, its vineyards were classified First to Third Growths, and a royal decree in 1757 created the Tokaj appellation.
Tokaji- meaning from Tokaj- wine was sweet, and during the 17th and 18th centuries, coveted by Europe's royalty from London to Versailles to Saint Petersburg. From that high point, history was less kind.

At the end of the 19th century, phylloxera destroyed Tokaj's vineyards; after replanting, two World Wars and the imposition of Communism eliminated Tokaji's quality. Hungary's independence in 1991 was Tokaj's opportunity to revive its exquisite Tokaji.

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Biserno continues Antinori's affair with Bordeaux

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on October 22, 2015

I want to yell, "Mom, the Antinoris are doing it again."

For more than 600 years, the Antinoris have made Chianti and Chianti Classico wines; then, 40 years ago, Bordeaux entered the family's blood stream, and Tuscany has never been the same.

Brothers Marchesi Lodovico and Piero Antinori witnessed their cousin produce Sassicaia, a Bordeaux-styled wine, from cabernet sauvignon planted at his estate in Bolgheri, a remote area along the Tuscan coast. From Sassicaia's inception in 1948, it was served only to family and friends; but with the first commercial release in 1968, Sassicaia became renowned, and one of Italy's most expensive wines.

Without doubt, Sassicaia influenced Piero Antinori, who, in the mid-1970s, blended sangiovese- the primary grape of Chianti Classico- with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, creating Tignanello and Solaia. Both were acclaimed by the wine world, and wine writers created a new name to explain them: super Tuscan.

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Domaine Laroche brings modernity to Chablis

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on October 15, 2015

Domaine Laroche has deep roots in Chablis. In 1850, Jean Victor Laroche purchase a parcel of land in Chablis and planted the family's first chardonnay vines. For the next 117 years, the Laroche family produced wine from its 15 acre vineyard; then, fifth-generation, 21-year old Michel Laroche entered the business in 1967.

In the following 11 years, Laroche hitched his vision to his youthful energy, expanding the family's vineyards to 247 acres across the four Chablis classifications: petit chablis, chablis, premier and grand crus.

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Ornellaia brings Bordeaux to Bolgheri

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on October 08, 2015

Ornellaia was born in Italy, but conceived in Bordeaux.

In 1981, Lodovico Antinori founded Ornellaia in Bolgheri- then an undeveloped area near Tuscany's coast, but famed for Sassicaia, a cabernet sauvignon-based wine owned by Antinori's cousin.

Antinori planted cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot with a vision of making a Bordeaux-styled wine. In the 1990s, Ornellaia's reputation flowered, but the costs of producing a world-class wine required more money.

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MacRostie chardonnays keep their balance

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on October 01, 2015

For decades, I've enjoyed chardonnays made by Steve MacRostie.

MacRostie founded his eponymous Sonoma County winery in 1987 after more than a decade as the winemaker at Sonoma's Hacienda Winery. I appreciated Hacienda's balance, and, in the 1980s, had its wines on my list at Le Delice restaurant. And in the 1990s, MacRostie chardonnay retained a prized placed on my list at Sonoma Grill.
As a chef, I valued balance. Too much alcohol, oak flavor, tannins or fruitiness in the wine destroyed my dish; MacRostie's chardonnays never did that.

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Emilio Moro's quality begins in its vineyards

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on September 24, 2015

Bodegas Emilio Moro embodies the story of Ribera del Duero's wines.

Ribera del Duero is two hours by car north of Madrid, Spain. For ages, its wineries followed the Spanish model of producing huge quantities of insipid wines at rock-bottom prices.

In 1982, Spanish wine authorities granted Ribera del Duero its own appellation; there were only eight wineries at the time, but one was Spain's most famous: Vega Sicilia.

In 1932, Emilio Moro was born in Penafiel, the wine center of Ribera del Duero. Over a lifetime, Moro developed vineyards and produced bulk wine. In 1959, Moro's son was born; also named Emilio, he followed in his father's footsteps.

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Goldeneye's pinot noir is thrilling

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on September 17, 2015

Pinot noir aficionados never confuse Goldeneye, one of America's best pinot noir wineries, with GoldenEye the James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan.

Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond novels, named his Jamaican estate Goldeneye and wrote all the stories there. Twelve years after Fleming's death, Bob Marley bought it, and, in turn, sold it to record producer Chris Blackwell. Today Goldeneye is a resort on Jamaica's north coast.

Goldeneye winery was established by Dan Duckhorn in 1996, and named for a species of duck.

Duckhorn founded his eponymous Napa Valley winery in 1975; while he made delightful Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon wines, Duckhorn's fame arrived through merlot-based wines and the rightly-acclaimed Three Palms Vineyard merlot bottling.

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Kosher wines for Rosh Hashanah

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on September 10, 2015

On Sunday night, Jews in New Jersey and throughout the country, will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Wine is an integral part of the Jewish celebration and kosher wines are as modern as the year 5776.

Start the celebration with the kosher nonvintage Drappier Carte d'Or Champagne. For two centuries, the Drappier family has produced champagne where Romans once planted vines, and ages it in cellars built by monks in 1152.
In 1952, the Carte d'Or cuvee was created with 80 percent pinot noir; the balance was divided between chardonnay and pinot meunier. That recipe remains intact, with a slight adjustment for nature's yearly impact at harvest.

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Friends and friendly wines make your Labor Day party

By John Foy for The Star-Ledger on September 03, 2015

Last week, I had my summer moment on the New Jersey shore.

It was a sun-filled, blue sky midafternoon when I joined a circle of friends anchored in sand clinging chairs a few yards from the breaking waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

I brought a bottle of 2014 Cenyth Rose' made from Sonoma County cabernet franc grapes by winemaker Helene Seillan. Before its chill was removed by the sun's rays and surrounding heat, we drank it from plastic vessels shaped like wine glasses and decorated with turquoise-colored fish.

I was reminded by my partner Rose that I would resemble the wine's brilliant red color if I did not apply more sun screen. But the wine was refreshing-- just what rose' is meant to be.

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