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Ask The Expert - Wine Academy Superstores
Wine Academy Superstores
1900 Route 70
(Home Depot Shopping Center)
2996 Route 35 South
(at Bethany Road)
Route 9 South
(Diamond Castle Plaza)
Scott Reiner, Wine Manager at Wine Academy Superstores, in Hazlet, Lakewood and now the new location in Marlboro, doesn’t think of himself as an oenophile. He thinks of himself as a wine drinker. After having spent years in the banking industry, Scott followed his heart to the wine world. Traveling extensively in Europe as a young man with wine drinking parents, Scott spent his formative years drinking the great wines of Bordeaux (when they were affordable!). As he got older Scott started exploring the other wine producing regions of France, eventually spreading his wings to Italy and, finally, to the new world, where wine's future may very well lie. Scott’s latest mission is to spread the word and bring real, quality wine to the underserved communities of New Jersey through Wine Academy Superstores!
Champagne is perfect for any special occasion throughout the year. Actually, sparkling wines add a festive flair to any meal! What should we be looking for when buying a bottle to put that extra zest into an evening?
When Champagne is well made, it can be one of the greatest wines on Earth. Unfortunately, many Champagnes are simply fancy names fronting big business interests that mass-produce the wine. This, however, doesn’t mean that the prices get any lower. Luckily, if you look carefully, there are any number of wonderful producers around the world making sparkling wines that will absolutely knock your socks off. Cavas from Spain can be wonderful, like my current favorite, German Gilabert Brut Nature Reserva. The Brut Nature designation assures us that no sugar was added to the wine and gives us a crisp, dry wine with a lovely expression of fruit for only around $15. If you want a little sugar in your champagne, check out Vouvray, Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Francois Pinon makes a Brut that has a tiny bit of sugar that makes the wine come alive, all for around $25. Add to these two examples thousands more and you get the picture that you can drink bubbly wine without paying Champagne’s tariff.
Sweet wines like White Zinfandel are very popular. What can you recommend to people who enjoy a bit of sugar in their wines, but want to take it to the next level?
All you need to know about sweet wine is this: Germany. Most German wines have some residual sugar, but they are blessed with prodigious acidity that balances the wines and makes them among the best sweet wines on the planet. And what’s even better, there is an amazing diversity of sweetness levels, from the almost dry Kabinetts to the crazy sweet Trochenbeerenauslese. Add to these choices the regional distinctions, and you have a treasure trove of sweet loveliness!
Everyone always talks about vintage, or the year in which a wine was produced, when they talk about wine. Why should someone care about the vintage of a wine?
The vintage of a wine is important for one reason: Weather. Every year the weather of a specific region is different, so the resulting wine will be different as well. Hotter years produce riper grapes which result in fruitier, more alcoholic wines. Rainier years produce thinner wines and potentially lower yields due to rot. To some extent, all of this is trumped (except in severe years) by the producer. A good producer will make a good wine regardless of the weather conditions. Find the producers you like and only worry about vintages that are considered REALLY bad!
You always hear that you can’t drink red wine with fish; is this true?
No! It is true that fish is lighter fare and as a result wants lighter wine, but there are any number of lighter reds that will fit the bill. Burgundy and Beaujolais come to mind first. Red Burgundies are made from Pinot Noir and red Beaujolais are made from Gamay, two thinner skinned grapes that will produce a lighter wine. Both growing areas are relatively cool, so the wines made there have good acidity and are very food friendly.
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