#TasteWithKaren Live

Washington State Wine Story
Is Cab King in Washington?—Episode 6
Thursday, August 13 – 4pm PT/ 7pm ET


Broadbent Selections Madeiras
Thursday, August 13 – 5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET

Detailed Info


Albariño 2019

(Val do Salnés, Rías Baixas, Spain) $22

It’s hard not to fall in love with a wine when its seductive aromas fairly burst from the glass. Mandarin orange, starfruit, Asian pear, pink grapefruit—they all come tumbling out of the wine plus flashes of minerals and white pepper. And all of those are set against a creamy mouthfeel. I almost couldn’t believe how vivid and refreshing this wine is. Albariños are, of course, generally very tasty. But Pazo Señorans is a cut above—a wine that’s elegant, lifted, and feels like a pure ocean breeze. (14.5% abv)

92 points KM

Available at Martin Wine & Spirits

The WineSpeed Blog

A. The floral aromas winemakers hope to capture in young Sherries known as Manzanillas

B. The bottom layer of barrels (“on the floor”) that holds the oldest wines in the solera aging system

C. Sherries that are sweetened by blending dry styles of Sherry with sweet wines or grape syrup

D. The film of native yeast cells that forms on the surface of an aging Sherry in barrel


While flor does mean “flower” in Spanish, with regard to Sherry, it refers to the thin layer of native yeast cells that are allowed to “bloom” on top of manzanilla and fino Sherries as they age in casks. Flor acts to prevent oxidation and also contributes a unique tanginess to the wine. In the production of most wines around the world, as the contents of barrels slowly evaporate throughout the aging process, barrels are kept topped up with wine in order to minimize the contact the wine has with air and avoid spoilage organisms. Two traditional practices are necessary to support the development of flor. Firstly, barrels are only filled to four-fifths of their capacity. Secondly, the solera principle of blending various ages of wines is essential, as the regular addition of new wine supplements the transfer of nutrients and keeps the flor thriving. In case the flor dies off (either naturally or intentionally), the sherry will have air contact and is then classified as an Amontillado, will undergo an additional fortification, and continue aging in an oxidative way.

Answer: False.

In the late 1800s, the aphid-like insect known as phylloxera destroyed most of the vineyards of Europe, South Africa, and many in the Americas. Relatively isolated from the rest of the world, Australia was one of the last wine regions to be invaded by the pest. Swift, and it must be said—Draconian—measures imposed in the state of South Australia made it the only winegrowing region on the continent and one of the few in the world to side-step the scourge. Even today, South Australia is phylloxera-free, as a result of the strict quarantine laws it put in place in the 1890s. Those laws protected what are now some of the oldest vineyards in the world—vineyards which possess the original genetic plant material of Europe’s indigenous grapevines. Two important examples are in the Barossa Valley. The Hewitson family owns the Old Garden Vineyard which contains the world’s oldest mourvèdre, planted in 1853. And Penfold’s famous Kalimna “Block 42” of cabernet sauvignon planted in 1888 is thought to be the oldest cabernet sauvignon the world over. While definitive records do not exist, some of these vines are thought to be first generation cuttings from the famous James Busby Collection of vines originally planted at Sydney’s Botanical Gardens in the 1830s.


Dosage (doh-SAHJ) is the degree of sweetness of the liqueur d’expédition (a combination of sugar and reserve wine) added at the very end in the making of a Champagne wine. The extent of the sugar in the dosage determines whether a Champagne wine will be Brut, Extra Dry, Demi-Sec, and so on. Over the last fifteen years, dosage levels in Brut Champagne wines (one of the least sweet) have dropped an average of 2.8 grams per liter. The rise in temperatures caused by climate change means that the Champenois are harvesting riper grapes; in addition, they are leaving the wines on the yeast lees for longer, both of which mitigate against the need for as much sugar as in the past.

What Makes Wine Sexy?

It’s a WineSpeed tradition on Valentine’s Day to ask winemakers what they think makes wine sexy. Herewith, some fascinating responses from a group of winemakers and vintners we think are pretty special.

An Iron-ic Pairing

Any true Anthony Hopkins fan can recite the immortal line spoken by one of his most iconic and monstrous characters, Hannibal Lecter, in the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs:

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

I recall thinking at the time: “Chianti’s not what I would have chosen,” and it turns out that in the book, author Thomas Harris (who must be an oenophile) actually had Lecter enjoy an Amarone—incidentally, a much better pairing with liver. The film’s producers felt that movie audiences wouldn’t know what amarone was and changed the referenced wine to one they believed everyone would be more familiar with.


Day in August when the 2020 grape harvest officially began in the Napa Valley. Sparkling wine producers are typically the first to pick since high acidity and low sugar levels in the grapes are desirable for making sparkling wine. Mumm Napa and Schramsberg were the first two wineries to begin picking. In years past, this day was marked by large boisterous festivities. This year, celebrations were more muted.


Price (in U.S.$) per bottle of a new Sauternes label by Château d’Yquem (classified as a Premier Cru Supérieur in 1855). The Château’s 2017 grand vin costs $460. In 2005, CEO, Pierre Lurton, decided to give batches of wine deemed unsuitable for the celebrated noble-rot (botrytised) wine to the estate’s employees, rather than sell them in bulk. In 2014, d’Yquem bottled so-called “Sauternes 1” for their employees.  Now in 2020, with “Sauternes 6,” the château has decided to go public with the wine.


Current market value (in millions of U.S.$) of fraudulent wine on the secondary market as a result of forgeries by convicted wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan. According to wine authentication expert Maureen Downey, “almost none of it has been removed from circulation—it is being resold over and over again” by auction houses and retailers. Kurniawan was found guilty in 2013 of selling more than $1 million worth of fake fine wine each month from 2002 until his arrest in 2012.

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