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In This Issue

Special announcement: Corkmasters.com
Cool it for the dog days!
Montes 2000 Colchagua Valley (Chile) Reserve Merlot
Wine Lovers' Voting Booth: Are you studying wine?
Join me in Bordeaux in Spring 2003
California Wine Club: Not Your Ordinary Wine Club!
LocalWineEvents.com adds E-mail features
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

Cool it for the dog days!

Since ancient times, celestial observers have noted that Sirius - the brightest star in the sky - appears low in the east just before dawn in July, signaling the arrival of the hottest days of summer.

Sirius is called the "Dog Star" because it's the brightest feature in the constellation Canis Major ("the Big Dog"); and ever since those early times, the fiercest part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere is called "the Dog Days."

We're celebrating the season here now, with daily temperatures rising well into the 90s F, and enough humidity to make it feel well over 100 (38C). At this point, it's time to re-evaluate the conventional wisdom about serving red wine at room temperature.

Tradition, of course, demands serving red wines at room temperature and white wines cold, because long experience teaches us that they taste best that way. But there's absolutely no harm in putting a slight chill on your red wine when the Dog Days come barking at your door.

Bear in mind, after all, that the rule about "room temperature" is based on the temperature in drafty old European castles, where a thermometer reading in the 60s F (around 20C) was considered practically balmy. The concept of "room temperature" takes on new meaning when your air-conditioned environment is 10 degrees or more warmer than that,

So here's my Dog Days prescription: Put your bottle of red wine in the refrigerator for a short stay before dinner. Maybe 30 to 45 minutes for quality reds, a little longer for light and fruity quaffers. Don't leave it TOO long, but don't worry too much if you accidentally over-chill your bottle. When you bring it back out into summer's heat, it will warm up quickly, and the wine won't suffer from the experience.

Montes Montes 2000 Colchagua Valley (Chile) Reserve Merlot ($10.49)

Inky garnet, almost black. Spicy blackcurrant aromas are full and ripe, oak playing counterpoint to fruit. Tart, juicy berry flavors backed by puckery tannins; so much fruit that it's quite drinkable now, but the rather harsh tannins suggest it will benefit from a little cellar time. Balance and acidity make it a natural at the table, and serving it slightly chilled definitely polishes its youthful rough edges on a summer evening. U.S. importer: T.G.I.C. Imports Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif. (July 28, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with roast chicken.

VALUE: Appropriately priced in the $10 range.

WEB LINK: Montes has its English-language Website at
and the importer's Montes information page is

Wine Lovers' Voting Booth: Are you studying wine?

It certainly isn't necessary to study wine in order to enjoy it. But many wine enthusiasts find that our love of the grape impels us to want to learn more and more about the subject.

For this week's Wine Lovers' Voting Booth, we're curious about your interest in formal wine education, as we ask, "Do you have (or are you pursuing) a wine qualification?"

For your convenience and interest, the current Voting Booth page also provide links to a number of advanced wine-education institutions, where you can learn more about requirements and programs.

Even if your wine education isn't formal, I hope you'll drop by and add your information to the list. Just click to
for your "ballot."

Join me in Bordeaux in Spring 2003

There's been quite a response to our planned wine tour of Bordeaux next spring, when I will join again with French Wine Explorers to lead a tour of some of the region's top producers May 11-17, 2003.

As noted last week, you can get a preview - including a sampling of the wineries we'll visit and the fine restaurants and hotels being arranged for the tour - by visiting Best of Bordeaux Wine Tours on the French Wine Explorers Website,

If you think there's a good chance you might join us, I would urge you to contact French Wine Explorers soon, as the tour has a limited number of places, and we expect it to fill up early. For more information, send E-mail to info@wine-tours-france.com.

California Wine Club: Not Your Ordinary Wine Club!

The California Wine Club offers a monthly delivery with two bottles of award-winning wine, hand-selected from the best of California's boutique wineries. There's NO bulk-wines, NO closeouts and NO private labels!

Each month is $32.95 plus shipping and includes a fun 8-page newsletter, Uncorked. Visit the California Wine Club website at
or call (800) 777-4443.

A great gift for Moms, Dads and Grads!

Wine shipping available in the U.S. wherever permitted by law.

LocalWineEvents.com adds E-mail features

If your club or institution is planning a wine event open to the public, you'll be interested to know about a new feature from our friends at LocalWineEvents.com: You can now submit events to this Website - the largest food/wine/spirits calendar in the world - direct by E-mail.

The procedure is simple: Include the E-mail address "submit@localwineevents.com" on your E-mail list and LocalWineEvents.com will post it. Visit
for the details.

If you're simply interested in learning about wine-related events in your city or anyplace in the world,
is the place to go - you can browse the calendars online or sign up to be notified of events in your area by E-mail.

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

We're moving gradually back toward daily publication, with two Wine Advisor issues and one FoodLetter per week for now. Here's the index:

Falling dollar, rising wine (July 24)

The many grapes of Chateauneuf (July 22)

Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

Last week's Wine Advisor Foodletter: Fresh tomato sauce (July 25)

Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:


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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Monday, July 29, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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