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'Tis the season for sharing cheer and libations with family and friends, but it can be overwhelming to think about finding the perfect wine for each. Stress no more, this wine gifting guide offers tips to help you select. What's on your list?


Here is a little language lesson. The Italian verb, volere, means to wish, expect, need and require. That definition should be in Webster’s under “purse”! What better gift to give the lovely lady in one’s life...especially when it's filled with wine. Natalie Myers (aka Mrs. Poet) reviews the Volére wine purse just in time for the holidays.


Is there any word bandied about more cavalierly in the restaurant industry than the word sommelier? WineTable Executive Chef Harry Haff talks consumer wine consumption and sommelier training. Are you a sommelier? How did you get interested in wine and where did you get trained?


What's happening in the wine world? WineTable is searching headlines to bring you some of the most interesting news stories of wine around the globe.


Wintry Vegetable Soup
By: Harry Haff
Posted: Dec. 05, 2012

A flavorful wintry soup that will warm you up on those chilly nights. Pair it with a sercial Madeira and play a little caramel and nutiness off the herby comfort of the broth. From WineTable Executive Chef Harry Haff.


There are plenty of gift options for wine-lovers. You see them everywhere. There are wine accessories, books, bottles, and glassware galore this time of year. While those can all be well-suited and wonderful ideas, what about giving that wine-lover in your life a gift that's truly memorable and unique this year?


If our focus on dessert and fortified wines seems like it's a bit off the beaten track and has left you asking, "Why should I try those ancient beverages?" consider the relationship Angelique Vinther has developed with the often-forgotten vintages. From disdain to desire, she's become a fan. How do dessert wines fit into the American palate? Think sweet but balanced and still relevant to today's menus. It's all about the tension--once you learn to appreciate that, you'll be on your way to enjoying new tastes.


Fortified wines don't typically take up much shelf space in today's liquor stores, but the unassuming little section represents wars, politics, history of great nations and cultural movements of the past. WineTable writer Jeff S. Cameron sketches a short history of Madeira, Marsala, Port, Sherry and Vermouth.


Flirting with a Fortified Wine
By: Robin Salls
Posted: Nov. 30, 2012

A port wine brings to mind roaring fires, decadent chocolate desserts and late nights. I’ve found by way of my friends and friends of friends that most seem to have either a love affair with ports or they’ve given port the “Dear John” letter and have moved on. I’m in the early stages of my relationship with port. By no means is a love affair taking place, but port and I are still feeling each other out, trying to decide if we’re a match or not.


In our ongoing series of 21 Questions with winemakers, we get answers to questions you may have always wondered...some you might never have thought of. Today, Natalie West, winemaker at Foppiano Vineyards tells us about herself, her thoughts on wine and reveals some of her favorite moments during winemaking. Share your thoughts in the comments section: how does getting to know a bit about a winemaker change or impact the way you think about the wine?


Grape of the Week: Furmint
By: Jeff S Cameron
Posted: Nov. 29, 2012

Furmint is a white grape variety that is one of the six types of grape used to produce the world famous and royally promoted Tokaji wine.  Furmint tends to be the primary grape in most Aszu Tokaji wine as it provides good levels of both sugar and acid and is, frequently prone to botrytis or “noble rot”, the beneficial mold which partially desiccates the grape and produces a very concentrated sweetness in wine.


Apple or Pear Tart with Hazelnuts
By: Harry Haff
Posted: Nov. 29, 2012

A dessert to follow a dinner that's sure to make your guests rethink their "I'm too full" statement. From WineTable Executive Chef Harry Haff.


If you seek pleasure in life and in wine then my suggestion to you is, do not miss out on dessert wines. This lost and forgotten soul of the wine world rarely gets the attention it deserves anymore. Once the wine of kings, it is now rarely indulged by us, maybe because we just don’t know what to expect. The holidays are the perfect time to take your indulgence to the next level (you can worry about your diet on January 1). Accompany one of these pleasure-bringing wines with your dessert this year and you will see eyes light up like the Christmas tree!


As harvest moves into late fall, it’s the opportune moment to talk a bit about late-harvest dessert and fortified wines. These wines are often overlooked as drinking wines, but they make an excellent pairing to those delicious sweets we love to enjoy, probably in decadent abundance, during the holiday season. Not sure how to go about finding the right one for your dessert? Consider our WineTable Food Pairings guide and upcoming articles your crash course in dessert and fortified wines.


Puree Cream of Squash Soup
By: Harry Haff
Posted: Nov. 27, 2012

This smooth and creamy squash soup makes for a perfect late fall light lunch or first course. From WineTable Executive Chef Harry Haff.


If you've been around wine much, chances are, you've heard the mid-November fanfare for Beaujolais Nouveau. There are some mixed feelings throughout the wine world about Beaujolais Nouveau. Some argue it's more clever marketing than time-honored tradition, but really -- if you like the wine, then what does it matter, right? If you've never tried the wine, this interview with wine shop guy Randy Walker--by his daughter, Doniree Walker--offers the best primer you could ask for (and some amazing pairings, to boot).  


Turkey Leftovers and Wine
By: Ralph de Amicis
Posted: Nov. 26, 2012

Every year in Wine Country as the vines yellow the question arises, what is the best wine with turkey? It’s a question worth asking even after the big day, when turkey leftovers are still in abundance. If you're packing in a few turkey and cranberry sandwiches this week, try them with a little malbec, suggests WineTable writer and tour guide Ralph de Amicis.


There's no doubt wine is a complex subject and learning about it can become a lifelong hobby. We can probably all relate to this humorous little poem by the Two Poets -- a little book-learning can make us think we know more than we do!


What does wine add to family celebration? It captures memories through the senses. WineTable lifestyle writers William and Natalie Myers remember their best Thanksgiving as a blend of family, love and wine. 


Early Wines of November
By: Jeff S Cameron
Posted: Nov. 23, 2012

November is famous, (or infamous, depending on your opinion) for young, early-release wines, for Beaujolais Nouveau. The young wine has become quite a commercial success exported out of the Beaujolais region of France. But other areas produce early-release wines as well, and they are definitely worth exploring.


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