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We welcome you to join us as we explore the French Wine Region of Burgundy known for some of the most gorgeous and expensive wines in the world. Together with our friends at Chateau de Pommard, we will taste a line-up of six wines from their ultra-lux portfolio of Burgundy wines. This is a member exclusive event with very limited seating. To check availability, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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A U.K. anti-alcohol group cries out that wine is full of sugar and calories, but their findings are full of something else
People started sending me the headlines a few weeks ago. “Just two glasses of wine could exceed whole’s day sugar intake.” “Two glasses of wine have more calories than a burger.” One compared wine to donuts. Local TV stations were reporting on a new study out of the U.K. that had found wine was packed with sugar.
I was intrigued. Was my Cabernet sweeter than candy? Are there actual cupcakes in Cupcake?
Seriously though, my first thought was, Wait, which wines?
The study in question was a report from the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), which describes itself as “an alliance of more than 60 non-governmental organizations which work together to promote evidence-based policies to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.” For this project, they commissioned a laboratory to analyze the sugar and calorie content of 30 wines from several top brands in the U.K., based on grocery data.
“Government guidelines recommend no more than 30 grams of free sugars per day for an adult—yet it’s possible to reach almost this entire amount of sugar by drinking just two medium-sized glasses of some of the most popular wine on the market,” the authors write.
But if you look at a table of the wines they analyzed, only one actually comes close to delivering 30 grams of sugar in two glasses: Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato. A 6-ounce glass contains 13.8 grams of sugar, so if you drank two full glasses of this pink sweet bubbly, you’d consume 27.6 grams.
Just seven of the 30 wines the AHA analyzed contain more than 3.1 grams of sugar, and they are all either sweet wines or fruit wines. Echo Falls Sparkling Summer Berries? Blossom Hill Spritz Elderflower and Lemon? Are these the wines you thought of when you read that your wine could be packed with sugar?
Twenty of the 30 wine brands the AHA looked at contain less than 2 grams of sugar—less than the average can of hard seltzer—and nine of those contain less than 1 gram. Those nine are typical dry wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and a Rioja.
Not so fast, says the AHA. What about the calories? The report argues that those dry wines are packed with them. “Alcohol is very energy dense, with just two medium-sized glasses of the most calorific wines analyzed containing more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger,” the authors write.
A glass of the two highest-calorie wines they looked at—Hardy Stamp Shiraz Cabernet and Yellow Tail Shiraz—contains 139 calories. According to McDonald’s website, a hamburger contains 250 calories. That’s it? Well, yes. But by comparison, a Big Mac contains more than 550 calories, and the average 4-ounce burger you cook on the grill contains more than 350, and that’s before the bun, cheese and everything else. Calories add up fast. The average glass of wine contains 120 calories, and the AHA wines match that, ranging from 100 to 139.
The AHA data doesn’t match up with the group’s scary rhetoric, which is no accident. This is not a peer-reviewed study financed by a university. The AHA exists to highlight health problems related to alcohol consumption in order to discourage drinking. It’s part of a growing neo-prohibitionist movement that appears to have decided the best way to combat excessive drinking is not to aid people with alcohol addiction but to scare people who drink moderately. I suspect people who suffer from alcoholism are not that worried about excess sugar and calories.
Unfortunately, wineries keep giving these scare tactics an opening. When it comes to nutrition, the devil is always in the details. Since most wines don’t have nutritional information on their labels, there are no details.
Most food and drinks are required to have nutritional information labels. Because alcohol beverages are not overseen by the FDA, they have long been exempt from those labels, but they have had the option to use them since 2013. Most hard seltzer brands and other new drinks have opted to do so. Most wineries have not.
A good friend of mine who is a longtime wine collector surprised me last year when he mentioned he was cutting back on wine. “How come?” I asked. “Too many calories,” he responded. Had he quit drinking? “No, I just have a glass of vodka instead.”
I explained that the average glass of wine contains about 120 calories. How many calories in vodka? Two ounces contain about 120. The devil is in the details.
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You are invited to pre-register here for our upcoming wine country experience in Paso Robles April 30th, 2022. By registering you are expressing interest in receiving further information as it becomes available including updates, exclusive discounts and offers. This experience is limited to 12 wine enthusiasts.
The beautiful Paso Robles wine country is a 3.5 hour drive north of Los Angeles and has gained tremendous respect in recent years for its wines and winemakers alike. Critics like Robert Parker and Jeb Dunnuck have praised the wines for years with scores well into the 90’s. While the area is well respected for its Rhone-style red varietals of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre or GSM blends, it too has devoted fans of other varietals that include Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Viognier to name a few.
This luxury-based trip will involve several wine-centric activities planned over the course of a full Saturday, a hotel stay of your choice, and your own transportation. Some car pooling may be arranged. Paso has limited Uber/Lift connectivity. (No shuttle service is currently planned while in Paso.)
You will meet and greet with some of the finest winemakers in Paso, taste wines from award winning wineries, dine at one of the finest restaurants and drink gorgeous wines with fellow wine enthusiasts from the Beverly Hills Wine Club community.
Hotel/transportation not included. Meals not included. Some tasting fees will be discounted or waived because of our professional trade affiliations. Inquire about current Hotel recommendations and exclusive discounts.
Though there are many lodging options in Paso Robles from $250+/night…A very possible sample itinerary:
Allegretto Resort Saturday Stay $350-550 (2night min)
10:30am L’Aventure Winery Ultra Premium Wine Tasting with Cave Tour ($45+)
12:00pm Caliza Winery Wine + Cheese Tasting ($35)
1:30 Lunch ($25-50)
3:00pm Denner Vineyards Wine + Barrel Tasting ($45)
5:30pm Tin City Tasting ($40 or less)
7:30 Dinner Les Petites Canailles $125
Optional Sunday Breakfast Allegretto Resort 8am ($30-50)
Optional Sunday Vineyard Tour + Cave Tasting
10am Booker Wines Ultra Lux Cave Tasting ($150 or less)
Optional Sunday Wine + Cheese Tasting
12:30pm Jada Vineyards ($35 or less)
Optional Sunday Wine Tasting
2:30pm Alta Colina Vineyards ($25 or less)
* Event Fee $50
** It would be highly recommended to arrive in Paso Robles on Friday but not required.
** Wine purchase at tastings are not required but encouraged $50-100 per bottle
*** Official Itinerary will be published closer to our trip date
We will adhere to Covid Policy at the time of the event as dictated by the establishments we visit in Paso Robles. Paso Robles is located in San Luis Obispo County.
Each turns holding and swirling a goblet into a rare and sensual pleasure. But how do they differ when it comes to experiencing the wine?
For the last couple of months I’ve been drinking luxuriously.
The bottles have been no different — they are the usual mix depending on regions, grapes and producers I’m curious about and articles I’m working on, with the occasional treat. But I’ve been pouring wine into five of the best wine glasses money can buy.
Over most of the last decade the top glass among wine lovers was the Zalto Denk’Art Universal, which, when I first encountered it in 2011, seemed fundamentally different and radically better than the other leading glasses.
But in the last few years several other high-end glasses have been challenging Zalto’s supremacy, which brought me to these five lead-free crystal universal glasses, each precisely designed (and marketed) to be the only glass anybody would need to drink every sort of wine.
Anybody, that is, willing to pay the roughly $60 to $90 price per glass.
Most wine drinkers, admittedly, will neither want nor need such rarefied glasses. Many casual drinkers are happy these days to use inexpensive goblets or even stemless glasses, which I would not seek out, though I am happy enough on occasion to drink wine from a tumbler.
Wine shows best in smartly shaped stemmed glasses, in which the bowl is large enough that a pour filling a quarter of the glass is generous. The bowl should be transparent, without etching or decoration, widest near the base and tapering inward to the rim to channel aromas upward.
Holding the glass by the stem helps avoid finger smudges and prevents the wine from being warmed by the heat of the hand. (This is why I generally don’t care for stemless glasses.)
The Wirecutter, The Times’s product review site, has long recommended glasses that cost $12 apiece, which are generally fine for people who enjoy wine but tend not to make a big deal of it.
The high-end glasses below are for people who care deeply about wine, who invest in their collections and drink with consideration and reverence. If wine occupies an important role in life, the choice of glasses is crucial and may demand this sort of considerable commitment.
For people like this, wine glasses must be esthetically pleasing but above all functional, enhancing the perception of wines that can often be subtle, nuanced and, in the case of older vintages, fragile and fleeting.
Choosing wine glasses is a little like selecting a car: Even the least-expensive vehicle will get you where you want to go, but the trip is a different experience in the finest Mercedes-Benz.
I am certainly not a purist who will drink only from the best. But I do love great glasses. So it was that my dining area became the arena for a wine glass smackdown, a term that I use advisedly given the lightness and seeming fragility of these five glasses.
In fact, I found each to be as durable as they were delicate. I didn’t baby them or hesitate to put them in the dishwasher. Their manufacturers consider them all dishwasher safe, a prerequisite for someone like me, whose commitment to wine does not extend to the handwashing and cloth drying of glassware.
The five glasses I’ve been testing since November include the Zalto Universal and four competitors: the Gabriel-Glas Gold Edition; the Wine Glass, from the partnership of Jancis Robinson, the renowned British wine writer, and the designer Richard Brendon; the Sensory Glass, designed by Roberto Conterno of the great Barolo producer Giacomo Conterno, in conjunction with Zwiesel Kristallglas, a German manufacturer; and the Josephine Universalfrom Josephinenhütte, which has perhaps the most interesting back story.
It was designed by Kurt Josef Zalto — that Zalto — who left his eponymous company some time ago.
“In order to grow faster, I made the compromise of accepting foreign investors into my company,” he told Forbes magazine in December 2020. “I was pushed out and they kept the ‘Zalto’ name.”
It’s worth recalling the impact of the Zaltos when they arrived in the United States in 2010. I will always remember my first encounter in early 2011.
It was at a tasting in New York City. I believe the subject of the day was Valtellina, but in this instance I recall the glasses better than the wine.
Stemmed glasses typically have a curved bowl, with some standard variations. The two most typical are the Burgundy glass, with a big, broad bowl that tapers inward toward the top, and the Bordeaux glass, taller with a narrower bowl that likewise curves inward toward the lip.
The Zalto was tall like a Bordeaux glass but rather than gently curving and arcing upward, it angled up abruptly and inward in rather a straight line. It seemed impossibly thin and light, a sensual pleasure to hold. As I swirled wine in the glass, the stem seemed to bend back and forth, delicate yet flexible and strong.
Most important, the aromas and flavors of the wine presented themselves with clarity and intensity. Altogether the glass was a joy. I bought a set of six almost immediately after the tasting, not cheap at more than $50 apiece but worth it for supplementing the conventional, serviceable Riedel Vinum Cabernet glasses that I had long been using daily at home for every sort of wine.
In the years that followed, the Zalto Universal became a standard among many wine aficionados. I saw Zaltos in wine-loving restaurants as august as Le Bernardin in New York and as modest as Cave Ox, a wine bar in the Sicilian town of Solicchiata near Mount Etna. Some restaurants, if your bottle was expensive enough or your name recognizable, would whisk away the generic glasses on the table and replace them with Zaltos.
The arrival of the Zalto Universal filled a void left by Riedel, the leading wine glass producer at the time. Riedel’s high-end crystal glasses were of exceptional quality, but the company made a selling point of painstakingly creating specialized glasses.
Not just a specific glass for Bordeaux, but one for young Bordeaux and another for aged Bordeaux, others for sangiovese, syrah, Montrachet, Chablis, Oregon pinot noir, zinfandel, riesling, you name it.
What’s more, the glasses in the high-end Riedel Sommeliers seriesseemed absurdly colossal, like something a wine snob in a parody of pretension might select to impress.
The Zalto by contrast was modestly sized. And, although Zalto made three other glasses specifically for reds, whites and sparklers, the Universal, with its suggestion that it was appropriate for all wines, appealed to my own longstanding belief that the ease of having one all-purpose glass far outweighed whatever microscopic benefits might accrue from choosing specialized glasses.
Zalto stood alone, contending with various less-expensive knockoffs until the other glass companies moved in with their own high-end universal glasses.
Of the five I tried, the Gabriel-Glas and the Jancis were very much in the Zalto mold. The Jancis has a slightly shorter stem, and the base of the bowl was more gently rounded and narrow. The Gabriel-Glas was wider at the base of the bowl than the Zalto and more abruptly angled inward; it was also the lightest of the glasses, almost feathery in the hand. To my eyes, the Jancis seemed the most classically beautiful.
The Josephine resembled the Zalto, with a significant difference: The bowl bulged slightly around the lowest part of its circumference as if it had a circular love handle before beginning to taper toward the rim, in a gentle arc rather than the Zalto’s straight line.
What’s the purpose of this unusual shape? “When the wine is agitated in the glass, the kink breaks this movement and allows the wine to flow back into the belly in a spiral motion,” a Josephinenhütte representative told me. “In doing so, it absorbs additional oxygen.”
The last glass, the Conterno Sensory, was the real outlier. It was shaped like a classic Burgundy stem, shorter than the others with a much broader, rounder bowl, which tapered inward toward the rim before gently flaring upward.
Spoiler alert: These are all wonderful glasses, gorgeous to look at and delightful to hold. Each was superior to the Riedel Vinum, the far cheaper and less exalted glass I’ve used at home for years.
Each was great with Champagnes, surprisingly even the wide Conterno Sensory. The current conventional wisdom suggests drinking Champagne and sparkling wines from smaller goblets, which channel the bubbles and aromas upward. But Champagne from the Conterno was full-flavored, forceful and intense, certainly no worse than the other glasses.
In addition to Champagne from these glasses, I drank white Burgundies, red Burgundies, red Bordeaux, dry rieslings, older Barolos and an assortment of younger wines. I found enough differences to divide them into two groups.
The Jancis and the Gabriel-Glas were, to me, the most aesthetically appealing in shape and feel. I simply wanted them in my hands because they felt so good. But there was a discernible difference in the way the wines presented in these two glasses.
Whether sparkling, white or red, wines in these two glasses seemed slightly less focused, the flavors and aromas not quite as clear or as intense. The differences were subtle but apparent.
I found in the Zalto, the Josephine and the Conterno slightly more precision, clarity and intensity to the wines. Among the high points was drinking Champagne from the Josephine, in which a pretty fountain of tiny bubbles rose directly up to the surface from the point where stem and bowl meet.
Older Barolo in the Conterno glass was predictably beautiful and nuanced, marginally better than in the other glasses. I found other differences as well. With younger reds, like a 2017 Savigny-les-Beaune, both the Conterno and the Josephine seemed to exaggerate, or reveal, the wine’s tannic structure in a way I could not perceive in the other glasses.
Was this a good thing? The wines were more puckery and astringent and less enjoyable. Such brutal honesty in a wine glass may be as welcome as a harshly lit bathroom mirror the morning after a rough night.
People who love wine and are willing to invest in top-end glasses have a lot of options. Josephinenhütte, like Zalto, also offers glasses designated for whites, reds and sparklers. Those with unlimited budget and space can follow the specialized Riedel route.
If you believe in the philosophy of one great glass for all wines, as I do, you won’t go wrong with any of these five glasses. I suspect many will find their own subjective reasons to embrace one of them. They all made me happy, but I am glad I invested in those Zaltos 11 years ago. I think they are still hard to beat.
Enjoying some classic wine and food pairings can be a great way to explore the wide range of flavor unions available. Here are some you have to try.
Unless you spend lots of time with food and wine zealots (or are one yourself), chances are no one will give you a hard time about always having the perfect pairing. However, there’s a reason why so many people are enthusiastic about certain combinations of wine and food. And while you don’t have to make a fuss about it every time you open a bottle of wine, enjoying some classic pairings can be an eye-opening way to explore the wide range of flavor unions. For anyone new to the wine game, it can be less intimidating to start with the food and follow from there with some tried and true selections. Ideal food and wine pairings don’t have to be a guessing game, and there are various guidelines to approach the task at hand.
Wine Folly indicates that congruent pairings occur when there are many similarities between the flavor profile of the food and wine, whereas complementary ones contrast in a balanced manner. The outlet goes deeper, looking at elements such as the six main taste components and intensity, noting that creativity is always welcome. For a full grasp on the way in which food and wine pairings can lead to magic, try one of these iconic matches that continue to impress palates everywhere. Many of these pairs seem like they were always meant to be, often reflecting the common saying, “What grows together, goes together.”
Champagne & Oysters
Ordering Champagne and a dozen oysters might seem like a luxurious statement, but there’s a solid reason as to why this pairing is so beloved. In fact, a 2020 study published in Scientific Reports even backs it up, reporting that “umami synergy” is responsible for the magical combination. We would have loved to have been on the research team that determined that the corresponding levels of free glutamate and nucleotides in oysters and Champagne creates the maximum amount of umami sensation.
The researchers found that aged Champagne (due to a longer time in contact with yeast cells) and European oysters were the best match, but that’s not to say you should miss out on West Coast oysters and only splurge on pricier bottles. Thanks to the balance of acidity and bubbles in sparkling wine, the study’s primary author explains that the mouthfeel is further amplified (via Decanter). If you aren’t ready to shell out the cash for a bottle of vintage Champagne, look for sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method, which requires some time spent aging on dead yeast cells, making it a good candidate to amplify the umami synergy with the oysters.
Cabernet Sauvignon & Steak
Steakhouse regulars will recognize the well-established combination of cabernet sauvignon and steak. Once you wash down a bite of steak with a bold cab, you’ll understand why they make such a great match. Sommelier Regan Jasper tells Wine Enthusiast that the duo works “as a frame,” complementing the gamey flavors of the meat with dark fruits and noticeable tannins. And Eat North explains that the wine’s astringency makes a great palate cleanser for a fatty steak. Conversely, the protein softens the wine, creating a smooth duo with plenty of weight.
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