Etty Lewensztain is the owner of Plonk Wine Merchants, an online shop focused on small-production, artisanal and altogether great cheap wine. The food- and wine- obsessed Los Angeles native cut her teeth in the wine biz running a marketing campaign to promote Chilean wine in the United States, and is certified by the esteemed Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the American Sommelier Association. Plonk Wine Merchants specializes in hidden gems from around the globe and every bottle in the store is priced below $30. Follow Plonk Wine Merchants on Twitter @ PlonkOnline.

Wine Color Chart
Editor’s Note: Ever wonder what wine connoisseurs are seeing when they look at a glass of wine? Menuism’s resident wine expert, Etty Lewensztain, uncovers the taste profiles, barreling, age, and other hints found in your wine’s color. (more…)

Posted by on January 19th, 2012

K Vintners viognier

Photo by bscjus

Red wine, it seems, has stolen all the thunder from its poor white counterpart. You never hear people raving about white wine’s health benefits, or how they can’t wait to pop open a big, brawny bottle of sauvignon blanc. Red wine, at least in America, has become the popular choice, creating hordes of red-only devotees who wouldn’t be caught dead sipping a glass of grüner veltliner.

(more…)

Posted by on January 9th, 2012

Wine Tasting Etiquette

Photo by AndyRoberts

Wine etiquette has come a long way. In the first installment of wine etiquette FAQs, I wrote about the dos and don’ts of drinking wine in restaurants, covering everything from sniffing corks and sending wine back when it’s spoiled, to bringing your own bottle and letting the sommelier pre-screen your wine for flaws.

This second edition of in the Wine Etiquette FAQ series is all about the rules of the game when sipping vino at wine tasting events. Read on to learn about when to spit or swallow, how to control your alcohol intake at large wine tastings, and which wine tasting faux pas you should avoid at all costs. (more…)

Posted by on December 13th, 2011

Wine Etiquette

Photo by Ariane Middel

Wine etiquette has changed drastically over the years, just as the profile of drinkers has changed. Gone are the days of stuffy sommeliers wielding crystal stemware in suits and ties. Instead, a new generation of tattooed, Converse-wearing wine directors has emerged, bringing a fresh breath of air into the restaurant world, and blurring the lines between what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to consuming wine when dining out. This relaxation of the rules has generated lots of questions from diners who aren’t quite sure what’s cool and what’s a complete faux pas when it comes to sniffing corks, bringing your own bottle or sending wine back.

In an effort to set things straight, here’s a selection of frequently asked questions that pertain to wine etiquette, particularly as it applies to drinking wine in restaurants. This is the first in a series of posts about wine etiquette, so keep an eye out for other posts that tackle etiquette questions related to wine tastings, dinner parties and more.  (more…)

Posted by on November 8th, 2011

French Wine Terms Barrique Sommelier Terroir Cepage Saignee

Photo by batrax

Editor’s Note: Love French wine but intimidated by all the complex terminology that comes along with it? Fear not: In this video, Etty defines five French wine terms and discusses each term in context, so whether you’re looking for a better understanding of wine jargon or simply a pronunciation guide, you’ll find it here. (more…)

Posted by on October 25th, 2011

Photo by Kelowna09

Joe Dressner, the revered wine importer and veritable poster child for the “natural wine” movement in the United States, passed away recently, bringing a wash of sadness over the wine world, but also inciting a flurry of pointed discussions centered around natural wine—including what that designation really means, and whether natural wines actually taste better than “un-natural” or commercially produced wines. (more…)

Posted by on September 29th, 2011

Photo by mike.laan

Editor’s Note: Ever wondered what it means when someone describes a wine as “brawny” or “muscular”? What about “minerality” or “high-toned”? In this video, Etty breaks down a few common wine terms with simple but thorough explanations. Watch and learn — and be prepared for a lively discussion the next time you order wine from a sommelier at dinner!

P.S. Which wine terms throw YOU for a loop? Drop us a line and we’ll help you get to the bottom of it!

Posted by on August 19th, 2011

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Photo by Randy Peterson.

Drinking a glass of red Bordeaux in the thick of the summer may seem a tad bit counterintuitive. After all, a mouthful of brawny tannins and inky, densely concentrated fruit doesn’t exactly spell refreshing. When the weather starts inching towards 100 degrees, what you’re more likely to crave is something brisk and thirst-quenching like a glass of bone-dry Provencal rosé or a crisp Muscadet from the Loire Valley.

What if you’re a die-hard red wine drinker, you ask? Lucky for you, the wine market is teeming with an intriguing subset of red wines that fare wonderfully during the summer months, particularly when served with a slight chill. (more…)

Posted by on August 15th, 2011

Try an unoaked chardonnay this summer. Photo by Robert S. Donovan.

The sweltering summertime heat beckons foods that are cooling, refreshing and uplifting. Think heirloom tomato gazpacho, citrusy ceviche, and cold, crisp watermelon. When it comes to choosing the right wines for summer, follow the same guidelines and reach for wines that are perky, vibrant and invigorating—they’ll raise your spirits and quench your thirst.

Read on to discover three categories of white wine that will keep you cool and happy all summer long. (more…)

Posted by on August 8th, 2011

Photo by Neeta Lind.

Editor’s Note: Sure, it’s easy enough to open a bottle of wine, but if you want to learn the proper technique, then this is the how-to video for you! Etty demonstrates how to open a bottle of wine like the pros do with this step-by-step guide. You’ll also learn which wines need decanting and why, and how decanting enhances the experience of drinking the wine. So watch and learn, and be prepared to impress at your next dinner party. Cheers!

P.S. What wine-opening tips or tools do you swear by?

Posted by on July 18th, 2011

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