A. Rheingau (Germany)

B. Rías Baixas (Spain)

C. Vouvray (France)

D. Condrieu (France)


The tiny village of Condrieu in the northern Rhône Valley of France sits at a curve in the Rhône River. The name comes from the French coin de ruisseau, “corner of the brook.” Condrieu is famous for its white wines, all of which are made from the grape variety Viognier.


“Lady May” 2014

(Stellenbosch, South Africa) $56

When I was served this wine blind, I thought it was a fantastic Bordeaux. And now I understand why. Glenelly Estate was founded in 1682. Among the first great South African wine farms, it was bought in 2003 by one of the legendary wine women of Bordeaux—May de Lenquesaing, former owner of Bordeaux’s famous Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (today the estate has passed to her grandchildren).  “Lady May” has classic Bordeaux written all over it. Immaculate purity of fruit; magnificent structure; rich, long flavors reminiscent of cassis, cigar box, vanilla, graphite, and spices. It’s mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. You can still buy the 2014 which has the added benefit of being aged and nicely “open.” Pour it into a decanter and serve it blind this holiday season. I guarantee your friends will be surprised.

95 points KM

Available at Saratoga Wine Exchange

The WineSpeed Blog

Answer: False.

A rosé Champagne needn’t be made mostly from red grapes; in fact, many aren’t. The blend of base wines might be 80 percent Pinot Noir and 20 percent Chardonnay—or just the opposite, 80 percent Chardonnay and only 20 percent Pinot Noir. A rosé can be made either way because only a small amount of red wine is needed to achieve the pinkish color.

But when you drink them, the two rosés make will be very different. Pinot-dominant rosé Champagnes are often a bit fuller in body, with a rich fruit character. Chardonnay-dominant rosé Champagnes are often lighter, more crisp, and some would say more elegant. Among the rosé Champagnes we love are those made by Marc Hébrart, Charles Heidsieck, Gaston Chiquet, Drappier, and Gatinois.

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The thin edge of wine that forms the ring where the top of the wine touches the inside of a wineglass. By tilting the glass at 45-degree angle and looking down at the meniscus, you can get an idea of the wine’s age. The lighter the meniscus, the older the wine. In young Cabernet, for example, a deep garnet COLOR will extend from the core of the wine all the way through the meniscus to the inside wall of the glass. If the wine is significantly older, however, the core will usually be deeper in color than the meniscus.

The Incredible Crayères

In the 4th century, in order to have enough stone to construct Reims (the main town in the Champagne region), the Romans dug three hundred immensely deep quarries in the region’s famous chalky rock. These vertical chalk pits, called crayères, are used today by the houses to age Champagne. They are construction miracles that seem to defy physics, and descending into their eerily quiet, cold, dark, humid chambers is an otherworldly experience that no wine lover should miss. Because the best chalk was often well underground, many crayères go down as far as 120 feet (37 meters). They are shaped like pyramids, so the deepest parts of the crayères are also the widest and the tops of the pits are narrow. This shape limited air exposure in the quarry and kept the chalk moist and soft, thus easier to cut into large construction blocks. During World War I, when Reims was extensively bombed, about 20,000 people lived in the dark crayères where no sunlight penetrates for years. During this time, some of the crayères under Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart were makeshift hospitals, and under Pommery were a school.


Percentage drop in Greece’s wine production in 2022 versus the year before. Although numerous countries in Europe reported lower wine production in 2022, Greece’s production fell the most. Among the reasons, according to the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food: hail, frosts, and successive heat waves have had a negative effect.


Approximate amount (in millions of US$) that the recent 162nd Hospices de Beaune wine auction brought in for 820 barrels of young Burgundy wine and brandy. According to the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne this was the highest value ever achieved at a charity wine auction. Burgundy prices have hit jaw-dropping new levels in the last year, effectively pricing the wines out of range for all but the wealthiest and well-connected billionaires.


Number of billions (with a “b”) of views of #icedcoffee on TikTok so far this year. By comparison #hotcoffee had only about 60 million views on the app. According to social scientists, iced coffee has become something of an “identifier” among LGBTQ individuals. In addition, Starbucks reports that Gen Z customers overwhelming prefer iced coffee drinks to hot ones.

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