#TasteWithKaren Live

Rosé—It’s Even Better When it Sparkles

Thursday, June 10 at 5pm PT / 8pm ET

Join Karen and vintners from the three top sparkling wine producers in California. Together they will talk about and taste their stellar sparkling rosé from different California appellations. You’ll discover why California’s North Coast is an ideal location for making world-class sparkling wine.

For more information click here


Frappato 2019

(Sicily, Italy) $38

Like diving into a pool of fresh strawberries and cherries, COS’ Frappato shows just how refreshing and berried the variety can be. The beautiful purity and vitality of this wine is simply off-the-charts. Some warm evening, chill this down a bit and watch how a light red can light up an evening. No tannin to worry about—just delicious fruit. COS began in 1980 as a summer project for three teenage Sicilian boys and has since become one of the top artisanal producers in Sicily. They were among the first Sicilian vintners to use amphorae to ferment and age some of their wines, and they farm organically and biodynamically. The COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria is also sensational—an explosion of cherries, raspberries and white pepper. (11.5% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Eataly Vino LA

The WineSpeed Blog

A. Catawba

B. Malbec

C. Ugni Blanc

D. Alicante Bouschet


Ok this was probably pretty easy if you know a little French, since mal is French for “bad,” and bec for “mouth.” But allow me to explain further. Although it is now famous in Argentina, malbec’s ancestral home is Cahors, a tiny, ancient wine region in southwest France. Here, the wine is known as le vin noir, “the black wine,” not only because of its dark color, but also because of its severe, tannic, dark flavors. The word malbec is actually a nickname for the grape’s true ampelographic name: côt. But in the nineteenth century, malbec became a slang term for someone who spoke badly of others. There must have been a lot of malbecs in Cahors, for the word became a common surname—and an affectionate term for the local grapes.

Answer: False.

Sherry is fortified and undergoes some controlled oxidation. But Sherry is not maderized. Maderization means the wine was intentionally heated. The wine that is fortified, oxidized, and maderized, not to mention sometimes aged for decades, is Madeira. Arguably the world’s longest-lived wine, Madeira at its best is a wine of such spellbinding complexity it’s almost hard to fathom. Great Madeiras do not sit in your glass; they scream with tangy deliciousness. Madeira comes from a small cluster of steeply rugged volcanic islands, the largest and most important of which is also called Madeira—from ilha da madeira, “island of the woods.” Although Madeira and its tiny sister islands are geographically part of Africa (about 310 miles off the Moroccan coast), they are nonetheless a province of Portugal (about 620 miles to the northeast).


The time (many weeks after vines emerge from dormancy, usually in May in the northern hemisphere; and in November in the southern hemisphere) when tiny white flowers appear. Vines are hermaphroditic, so the flowers pollinate themselves. Pollinated flowers ultimately become clusters of grapes. Flowering is a delicate process. To happen well, the weather must be calm, the temperatures must be moderate, and there should be no rain, frost, hail, or extreme wind, all of which could knock the fragile flowers off the vine resulting in no grapes. Flowering is happening right now in many vineyards in the U.S.

Don’t Know What Chartreuse Is? You’re Not Alone.

There are only two people alive who know the identity of all 130 herbs and aromatic plants used to make Chartreuse, the world famous emerald green liqueur from east central France. They are monks of the Chartreuse Order (the Carthusians), which was founded in 1084, in the Chartreuse Mountain Range near the alpine vineyards of the Savoie. The Order received the original recipe for an “Elixir of Long Life” in 1605 as a gift in the form of a cryptic manuscript believed to have been written by a 16th century alchemist. A hundred and fifty-nine years later, the Order’s monks finally decoded the mysterious instructions and began to produce “Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreuse,” a medicinal tonic. The tonic’s descendant—today’s Green Chartreuse liqueur—still calls for a dizzying cornucopia of botanicals (including rosemary, green bell pepper, licorice, and lavender) to be macerated in alcohol, distilled to 55% abv (110 proof), and aged for several years in oak casks. Made at the Monastery in Voiron, it’s the only liqueur in the world with a completely natural green color. By the way, Chartreuse Day is Sunday, May 16.


Percentage of all the riesling vineyards in the world that are in Germany, even though German vineyards account for just 1.5% of the total vineyards of all kinds. Grown on all the best sites in all the country’s 13 wine regions, German riesling has remarkable finesse, elegance, and aging potential. Most have 7 to 9 grams per liter of total acidity. By comparison, even briskly crisp Champagne only clocks in at 5 to 6 grams.


Sale price (in millions of US $) for a single bottle of Petrus 2000 aged aboard the International Space station, according to Christie’s auction house. Petrus 2000 “space wine” has taken the equivalent of 300 trips to the moon during its 440 days orbiting the earth. Proceeds from the available twelve bottles will go to funding the continuation of Mission WISE, research on the future of agriculture crop production in space.


Percentage of Americans (before the Covid pandemic) who had little or no ability to smell anything according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health. One in five Americans over 40 report a diminished sense of smell, and one in eight has an olfactory dysfunction. The Institute estimates that one in 10,000 people are born with no sense of smell whatsoever. (How much bad news can we take?)

Get WineSpeed

Join tens of thousands of other wine lovers. Get each week’s edition of WineSpeed delivered to your inbox every Friday. It’s fast. It’s free. It’s the smartest way to stay up to speed on wine.
Email address
First Name
Last Name
Be sure to check your inbox to confim your subscription.