Madeline Blasberg is a Certified Wine Consultant currently working for Etching Expressions as Official Wine Commentator & Reviewer. She has spent time living in Mendoza, Argentina where she was surrounded by wine, both personally and professionally.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Photo by Thomas Hawk

The 100-point wine rating system has become the Rosetta stone of the wine world – translating wine into quality and value terms that consumers around the world can easily understand. While the system may be helpful and certainly succeeds in driving wine sales, it does have a number of pitfalls that wine lovers need to be aware of if they hope to make smart buying decisions. (more…)

Posted by on March 9th, 2015

bruschetta

Whether they’re served hot or cold, small bites and tapas make for excellent party fare, and are best paired with good company and a great bottle of wine. But what wine will you choose? With multiple flavor combinations and trays of different hors d’oeuvres circulating through the room, wine pairings become a little like Russian roulette.

Here is a simple wine and appetizer pairing guide to help you find the perfect accompaniment to several popular starters: (more…)

Posted by on September 8th, 2014

wine-labels
Without a smooth-talking salesperson to serve as co-pilot, wandering the aisles of wine shops and supermarkets can feel like losing yourself in the Bermuda Triangle. Some wine lovers go in with a list, while others simply prefer to wing it and let wine fate determine the perfect bottle. Favorite grape varieties and familiar wine regions certainly help narrow down the search, but when everything else is equal, what really causes one bottle to win out over the other?

Art and copy has ruled the advertising world for over a century, selling us with sleek designs and compelling content. But what exactly lies behind the design of wine labels, and what, if any, are the psychological games at work? (more…)

Posted by on July 14th, 2014

Wine Tasting: Malbec

photo: vonlohmann

In a world populated by thousands of grape varieties, it’s hard to point to one that delivers quite as well as Malbec.

Genetically speaking, Malbec is France’s native son (where it is also known as Côt and Auxxerois). Its roots go back to Southwest France and the Cahors Region, but historically Malbec was never given much air time. French Malbec is generally intensely colored, but aggressively tannic on the palate and was often used in Bordeaux blends to add color, intensity, and aromas. But mostly, Malbec lived in the margins.

Over time it proved to be no match for the star-studded reputations of the French noble grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. It simply couldn’t compete. So, in 1852 Miguel Pouget, a French agronomist hired by the Argentine government, brought Malbec into an arena where, he hoped, it would have a fighting chance. (more…)

Posted by on June 16th, 2014

Jacob's Creek

photo: jofo2005

Sparkling wine has long been associated with several things: wealth, celebration, and, perhaps… a little bit of bad behavior. But when it comes to learning how to taste wine like a true bubbly connoisseur, you’ll want to brush up on the basics, thereby ensuring that any bad behavior only comes out after a few glasses – and never at the tasting table.

Tasting a wine requires that you first know what you’re up against, in this case – it means knowing that champagne and sparkling wine are not one and the same, no matter how much the bartender insists otherwise. Champagne refers to sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France. Anything else touting the same name is nothing more than a doppelgänger. (more…)

Posted by on May 12th, 2014

Vineyard 002

photo: Caliterra

In wine jargon, terroir is a term that is trending amongst oenophiles and befuddling wine novices. Though the frilly French pronunciation (ter-wahr) may scare you off, it’s actually a useful term that will help you become a savvy wine drinker – and earn a few wine vocab points along the way.

Terroir comes from the Latin root meaning “earth” and refers to the collection of environmental elements that give wine a sense of place. (more…)

Posted by on April 14th, 2014

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