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Mail Bonding 

Queries, quarrels and other stuff worth sharing

Once a quarter, I uncork my mailbox and let it breathe. This ritual gives you license to air whatever wine comments and questions you might have. If you have something to say, e-mail me at

A Gracious Thank You

Peter May with commented: Thanks for the mention of my Unusual Wines website in your Dec. 24 column. You comment that I have too much time -- well, maybe. My site is partly an attempt to bring back some fun into wine, which seems to be getting much too serious, with people worried about matching with food and too many others determined to make a simple beverage into something only experts can enjoy. Anyway, thanks.

A Mexican Lover

A NeutraCareLLC e-mail asked: Can you recommend which wine I should serve with beef enchiladas and beef tacos?

Matching Mexican can be easy if you're willing to stretch out of the chardonnay/cabernet comfort zone. Go for a slightly sweeter wine like Riesling or Gewürztraminer, but too sweet will drown out the subtle flavors. Find a bottle that says "Dry Riesling" like Jacob's Creek from Australia or Hogue Cellars Johannisburg Riesling. You also might try Alexander Valley Vineyards' New Gewürz.

Beaujolais Blowoffs

Craig Nance bemoans: Sigh. I never have and never will understand the yuppie herd mentality. For less than a dollar, you can put some Golden Grain in some Welch's grape juice and it will taste the same [as Beaujolais Nouveau].

Ronder Young flatters: Thank you for your review of Mommessin 2003. Tried it and was delighted it was just as you reviewed. Great job covering the first wines of the year.

This just shows you that not every wine can please every palate. True, Beaujolais Nouveau isn't the most complicated wine out there, nor is it made to be. The French quaff this light, fruity red at parties, to relax and to be with friends. If that doth a yuppie make, then sign me up.

Aging Wines

Maggie Peretto: I would like to purchase a 2001 bottle of wine to be enjoyed in 2022. What would you recommend? My price range is about $35.00.

Oh boy ... this ain't easy, since guessing a wine's age-ability is a crapshoot. It would have to be a cabernet sauvignon from Napa or Bordeaux, a pinot noir from Burgundy, or a grenache/syrah blend from the Rhone Valley like Chateauneuf du Pape. Stay with reliable producers and known names, and definitely enlist help from your local retailer. They are a treasure trove of information, including which age-able wines would be available in your area.

Recommended Wines

Barossa Valley Spires 2001 Shiraz Earthy, mixed with a luscious dark cherry tang. Well balanced, with barely a trace of tannins. $12.

Ponzi 1999 Chardonnay Soft, buttery, even oak splashed with honeysuckle and melon; this is the answer to people searching for chards with fruit. From Oregon, no less. This wine's a bargain at $25.

Rutz Cellars 2001 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast In the beginning, it's earthy, herbal stuff, like sampling mud pies as a kid. But then luscious, ripe black cherry and some black pepper arrive in your mouth. Smooth, silky tannins. $20.

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