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Talking amongst ourselves

This quarterly rambling column gives you license to talk back and see your wine comments and questions in print. If you have something to say, good or bad, e-mail me at

Finding the Finds

Tim Roche, Sarasota, Florida: I'm new to Sarasota and was wondering if you know where I might find some PlumpJack Chardonnay Reserve from the Napa Valley? Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

Most of the correspondence I receive is about where to find wines. Although I make every effort to ensure the wines I review are available where my column is published, sometimes they just aren't on the shelves. The best, most reliable way to get your hands on a bottle of wine that you can't find: ask the wine retailer to order it for you. Wine shops are happy to do it since it's part of their customer service.

Zin Master

Phillip Smelser, Sarasota: I am a regular reader of [Corkscrew]. I get a kick out of your unabashed enthusiasm for wine and always learn something from your column. A couple of weeks ago I happened into a store to buy a bottle for a friend as a gift and treated myself to one of your recent recommendations -- Seghesio Zinfandel 2001. I sampled it while reading your description; I confess I could not detect grilled meats, but it was YUMMY. I don't know how you keep coming up with different ways to write about wine, but as long as you do I'll keep reading.

Finding the Errors

Oriol Vilaseca, Atlanta: You talk about "R'as Biaxas," ["Spain: It's More Than Rioja" 3/17/04], the correct spelling is "R'as Baixas," and the last "s" is pronounced "s" and not "sh". I've never heard of the four quality levels that you mention for Ribera del Duero. In Spain we all use these four levels (valid for most red wines): Joven (young), Crianza (vintage), Reserva and Gran Reserva.

I've seen both Joven and Cosecha on Spanish wine labels, so who knows what's right? But Gran Reserva is definitely one I missed. Thanks.

Forgot My Favorite

Bob Ruby, Atlanta: In your 5/12 article ["Cool It"] I was surprised that you didn't mention Rapid Ice by Vacuvin. We keep this wine-bottle-size ice pack in the freezer and find that it chills a bottle quickly without the mess of ice. I also have a couple of beer-bottle-size coolers and find that these can be used to cool the neck of a wine bottle.

Happy, Humble Retailer

Anthony "Humble Wine Guy" Dixon, Atlanta: Your article ["What's in Store?" 5/19/04] was great fun to read not only from a retailer's view but also from a consumer's view. Do I know food? Yep -- customers sometimes are a little shocked when I recommend a simple Ctes du Rhne to go with their meal instead of heading straight to a big hit-you-over-the-head cabernet from California -- I love wine and I love working with customers -- both are very rewarding to me. I just wanted to drop a line and say "Atta boy" from someone on the industry side of the fence. Keep up the good work.

Recommended Wines

Kim Crawford 2002 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough From the king of New Zealand -- capped with a screwtop no less -- comes another charming wine. Ripe Granny Smith apples and plenty of grapefruit make this great with shellfish. $16. 1/2

Lengs & Cooter 2002 The Victor Shiraz-Grenache Clare Valley Australia Chocolate, ripe raspberry, and bright mint -- oh my! As easy to drink as a sundae on Sunday afternoon. $20.

Question or comment? Contact Wine Editor Taylor Eason at 813-739-4881, or e-mail

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