About five years ago, after a lifetime of eating and drinking carelessly, I started putting on the pounds. At 5’2″, my height to weight ratio had topped new levels of embarrassment. That, and my clothes weren’t fitting anymore and I’m too cheap (or lazy?) to shop for new clothes. So for the first time ever, I had to watch what I shoveled into my mouth. Mind you, I’ve never shoved junk or processed food down my gullet but mostly gourmet this, housemade that. It turns out even gourmet and homemade can be the wrong this and that. Here are my four guidelines for how to keep wine off your hips or tummy.
Read more: How to stay thin when you drink wine for a living – four nutrition guidelines
Although most are loath to admit it, we all want to squeeze as much value from every dollar, even if we’re rolling in it. I have a friend who doesn’t want for much, but games the sales and savings cards systems with the giddy relish of a child at Chuck E. Cheese. I’ve not graduated to her level of discount-dom, but I admire and perhaps even aspire to her level of value vigilance. For bargain clothes, Groupons and anything household, she is my muse. Cheap wine (ahem… inexpensive wine), however, lies firmly within my sordid skill set. More and more Americans are drinking wine on an everyday basis, a trend I applaud with glee. But most people can’t exactly fork over $20 per night for this daily pleasure. So I’m here to serve up my favorite wine regions for super cheap, tasty wines to pair with dinner or to scratch that end-of-the-work-day relaxation itch we all have.
Read more: More flavor, less money: Buying wine on a budget
For many sparkling wine houses, this time of year produces 50% of their sales. Tis a shame that wine drinkers save up their bubbles and celebrate fizz strictly in December — a bottle of bubbly could be a celebration unto itself. But perhaps our American puritanical roots prevent us from indulging too often? Ever the eschewer, that doesn’t stop me. Come join me in my every day gustatory party with this list of consistently well-made, delicious bottles of sparkling bubbly and Champagne
Read more: Bubbles for all occasions: Great sparkling wine and Champagne for the fizzy holiday
Cool things abound this year for the alcohol-minded folks on your gift list. Or for you, if you swing that holiday way. Here are a a few ideas of the best offerings out there for wine, beer or whisky enthusiasts and one quick trip to Amazon will get you closer to being finished with your Christmas or Hanukkah shopping.
Read more: The best, most wanted wine, beer and whisky gifts for the holiday season
As we meld into more of America’s melting pot, Thanksgiving is becoming a more difficult wine pairing challenge. And every host wants to look cool/educated/sophisticated/knowledgeable when it comes to pairing food and wine. Or, at least, Food Network says you do. But no one says you need to be perfect when choosing the accompanying vino — there are, indeed, tried-and-true wines which cozy up to many variegated Turkey Day plates.
Read more: Giving wine the bird: Thanksgiving wines for Turkey Day
I have a new wine crush. Gorgeous, gabby and quite gifted, Gruner Veltliner (pronounced “GROO ner VELT leaner”) is a tall, cool Austrian pour with plenty of perk and personality. This erstwhile known as “ski country” region devotes 1/3 of its grape crop to making this white varietal, and Gruner is fast becoming my desert island pour. Others grow this cold climate lover – Germany, New Zealand and Australia – but none have perfected the groovy wine the way the charming Austrians have.
Read more: The Grooviest of White Wines: Laurenz V and Gruner Veltliner
Halloween is my third favorite holiday, after Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s not the candy (too fattening)… or the kids dressed up (oh, the horrors)… but the deliciously useless kitsch. I have a plastic skeleton, several large, furry black spiders (with webs), and a rather gruesome severed head with protruding eyeballs which don my house on October 31st. I find it entertaining to freak out the little ones while their parents watch (and likely laugh). The addition of the blaring Halloween Pandora channel adds to the drama, of course. But what’s better than enjoying this much macabre fun alone? Inviting friends over to savor torturing the tots in a group…. with wine added to heighten the brazen scare tactics. Sure, Halloween falls on a weeknight but why not embrace the moment… that’s what sick days are for.
Read more: Halloween wine party gadgets that are cheesy yet goofily fun
The ubiquitous rep of Pinot Grigio is legendary. Grown in Italy for centuries and quaffed at many a trattoria by the ceramic pitcher-full, this humble grape actually bears French roots, not Italian. Pinot Gris is the name elsewhere in the world, from France’s Alsace region to Australia to New Zealand. But it arrived later to America in the mid-1960s, planted by one of Oregon’s wine country forefathers, Eyrie Vineyard’s David Lett.
Read more: Pinot Noir’s pasty cousin, Oregon’s Pinot Gris (aka Grigio)
With Bastille Day done and over for the year, my thoughts turn to my favorite French wine region… Burgundy. The birthplace and Mecca of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which evokes reverence in the hearts of wine drinkers worldwide. Countless paragraphs have described these hallowed wines with words like ethereal, existentialist and exquisite. Have I drunk the Pinot Noir-flavored Kool-Aid as well? Or do they really deserve these accolades? The easy answer is yes, they really are that good. But are these glorious, adjective-generating wines accessible to the average wine consumer? Not always, unless you’re sporting a black American Express card. If a combination of common and financial sense prevents you from acquiring the bottles that arouse this dreamy enthusiasm, don’t fret. The delicious, delectable and distinctive flavors of Burgundy are still attainable.
Read more: For the love of France and their Burgundy wines
I’ve been compared to Andy Rooney several times in my life, my incessant, trenchant observations noted by professors and friends alike. I haven’t figured out if that’s a compliment, but at least he’s funny (to me) and has sold a lot of books. In a tip of the glass to a magnificent and gifted career, I present my list of wry pet peeves, Rooney style. Didja ever wonder …
Read more: The grapes of wrath: A few wine-related pet peeves