Wine bag: Readers uncork passions, desires, questions and comments

In Wine Bag, we feature comments and suggestions passed on from you, our delicious readers. We publish the entries that are relevant to other readers, such as wines you enjoyed, interesting questions and cool stuff you’ve encountered.

Gewürztraminer? (Gesundheit!)

Chad Whelan wrote, “One wine I enjoyed tremendously when I was out in California was Gewürztraminer … the perfect wine for me! Medium dry to medium sweet. I was disappointed it was not mentioned in your ‘Debunking the wine poseur’ column (Aug. 15, 2001), but from what I understand it is an under-rated wine.

Yep, you caught us. We’ve been remiss in covering this sensual, slightly fruity and, yes, underrated, white wine. Gewürztraminer [GEH verz TRAM ee ner] originally came from Germany and makes friends easily with spicy food like Mexican or Thai. Try it with your next takeout. Wineries that produce yummy Gewürztraminer: Alexander Valley Vineyards, Pierre Sparr and Amity Vineyards.

Not flying high

Becky Hartman opined about the lack of wine flights around: “I need to find a wine bar that serves a variety of flights. I came from up North, where I worked at a wine bar that served eight to 16 different flights, red and white, weekly. I really miss it.

A wine “flight” is a beautiful thing. Typically, a flight consists of three or four 2-ounce pours of either the same grape type of wine (all Cabernet), or glasses of complementary types of wine (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon). The premise is to expose people to a large variety of wines for little cash. We’re spotting more and more flights these days, but the best way to increase their availability is to pressure your local restaurant or bar into serving them.

Zany for Zins

Neil Lynch loves Zinfandel, red Zins of course. So much so, he wrote us and told us all about it: “A gutsy, and well-rounded Zinfandel can be a totally different experience than most firm and tannic Cabernets. I would describe a Cabernet as big and square, while a good Zin is round and intensely jammy. This difference in characteristics is what sets the two apart. If that opinion upsets the Cab fan, sorry and so be it! Big and bold Cabs need time and aging to become rounder and pleasing. Full-blown, fruit-in-your-face zesty Zinfandels are ready right now! … [And] the great Zins are much more affordable than Cabs or Merlots.

We couldn’t have said it better. Zinfandel, an incredible American grape that deserves more attention, is somewhat of a chameleon; it can be either bold or demure, depending on the winemaker’s taste. To get your Zin fix, Lynch recommends Rosenblum, Dry Creek Vineyards, and Red & Green Vineyards.

Where’s my wine?

Sandra Rinaldi wrote in to ask about Vinho Verde, a Portuguese white wine, “David Rosengarten, host of a couple of programs on TVFN, raves about a Portuguese wine called Vinho Verde. He says it is crisp, dry, bubbly and inexpensive — all things that make it sound perfect to me. Here’s the problem: Where do you find such an affordable pleasure?

Quite a few readers have asked for help finding wines mentioned in the columns. We make every effort to ensure the wine’s accessibility before the article goes to print, but sometimes the wines can be difficult to locate. Often, there is little available in the market or the winery just doesn’t produce enough to be stocked on grocery store shelves. If you’re having trouble, take the column to your local, friendly wine shop and ask for help. More often than not, they will stock it, and if they don’t, they’ll be happy to order a bottle for you. The Aveleda Alvarinho Vinho Verde, which retails for under 10 bucks, is worth searching out.

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