Our HTML (graphics) edition is back!
With many thanks to the 100-plus of you who volunteered as testers (and who endured a flurry of E-mail as we tested the new software over the weekend), I'm delighted to announce that we are again offering an optional HTML (graphics) edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor, featuring photos, graphics, fonts and formatting.
If you wish to sign on for this edition, which assumes that your E-mail software supports "HTML" mail and that you have an always-on Internet connection or customarily view your mail while you're online, simply click the personalized E-mail link at the bottom of this letter to access our new subscription-administration feature; there, check the box next to "Change my subscription to HTML format" and click "Submit change," and your next edition should come in graphical format.
If you have any problem reaching the admin page or can't see the computer-generated admin link at the bottom of the page, feel free to send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know.
If you wish to continue receiving this edition in simple plain text, you don't have to do anything. But if for any reason the new distribution system causes a problem for you, please let me know!When not to age a wine
One of the more enduring myths that surround wine appreciation is the notion that wine always improves (and gains value!) as it ages. In answering E-mail questions about wine, I all too often have to gently disappoint people who have been holding as a family treasure a bottle of German Liebfraumilch, a Beaujolais or a modest New World Chardonnay, thinking that their thrift has earned them a rare and expensive item that will pay the children's college tuition.
Alas, it's not so. Only a tiny fraction of all the world's wines are meant to be set aside for long-term aging, gaining aroma and flavor complexity - and value - as they mature under carefully controlled "cellar" conditions, lying down at a constant 55F (13C). Most of these wines are expensive, and most of them are red.
But probably 99 percent of all the world's wine is made to be enjoyed soon after it's produced, bottled and sold. This doesn't mean that you can't hang on to your everyday wines for months or even a year or two. But just as with fruit and most other foods, freshness is a virtue.
This point has come to my attention in connection with several white wines of the 2001 vintage that I've tasted recently, including the Hugues Beaulieu Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet and the Domaine de Pouy Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne that I reported in last Wednesday's edition, and today's tasting, a Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy's Dolomites.
What distinguishes these modest but appealing whites isn't elegance or complexity but simply crisp and snappy freshness, a characteristic that unites good table wines with fresh fruit juice. It's not a characteristic that lasts long, though, so when you're shopping for affordable whites, "Drink the youngest available" is good advice.
One day soon I'll follow up on this theory with a 2002 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that's in line for tasting. Stay tuned!Peter Zemmer 2001 Vigneti delle Dolomiti Pinot Grigio ($9.99)
This clear, pale straw-color wine boasts inviting aromas, citric and fresh, with a springlike white-flower note that adds pleasant complexity to the scent. Its crisp and pleasantly tangy flavor focuses on dry and snappy lemon-lime, light-bodied and bone-dry. U.S. importer: Vin DiVino Ltd., Chicago. (Jan. 12, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: It was fine with veggie fare, a rich but meatless dish of vegetables in a cheese sauce over a crisp spaghetti "pancake." I can just as easily see it as a summer sipper with shrimp on the barbie.
VALUE: A good buy for this price.
WEB LINK: The winery Website is published in Italian, German and English. You'll find the English version at
Three for the price of two!
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SPECIAL FOR WINE ADVISOR READERS: Mention The 30 Second Wine Advisor and they'll give you three bottles of wine for the price of two in your very first shipment!Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
The Wine Advisor's daily edition is currently distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
Rude wine names (Jan. 10)
Two good-value whites (Jan. 8)
My top wine-value picks of 2002 (Jan. 6)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Last week's Wine Advisor Foodletter: Bucatini all'Amatriciana (Jan. 9)
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
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I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, send E-mail to email@example.com.
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, Jan. 13, 2003