Live Chat: All about wine with Scott Greenberg


Live Chat: All about wine with Scott Greenberg

Syndicated wine columnist and curator of WTOP's Wine of the Week Scott Greenberg joined us on Dec. 1, to take your questions about wine from the basics to Scott's top holiday picks.

Join the conversation. Click on "Make a Comment" to leave a question for Scott Greenberg and he'll answer it Monday. 

Scott Greenberg joins WTOP's Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard Fridays at 6:40 p.m. to give his Wine of the Week choices. He'll answer your questions about wine at noon Monday. (WTOP/Amanda Iacone)  

  • Check out all of Scott's recommendations on our Wine of the Week page. 
  • We're about to get started! Feel free to submit your questions for Scott.

  • Hello.  Welcome and thank you for joining us.
  • We're pleased to welcome Scott Greenberg today. Thanks for joining us Scott. 
  • What wines did you drink during the holiday weekend? 
  • Well - for Thanksgiving, I actually opened 2 bottles of wine - that were reviewed last week on WTOP's Wine of the Week (WOTW) - we had the 2013 La Sirena Moscato Azul from legendary Napa Valley winemaker Heidi Barrett is a dry-style Muscat Canelli. While most Muscat is made into sweet wine, this version is beautiful fruit-forward but without the residual sugar. A brilliant white wine with vibrant aromas of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, peaches and lychee fruit on the nose. Nice ripeness and round mouth feel across the palate and crisp acidity reminiscent of dry Riesling with a bit of minerality and lime peel in the nice lingering finish. This is an absolutely delicious wine that will be a perfect match with turkey! $30

    And we had a bottle of a slightly off-dry version that helps balance the variety of food on the plate. The 2012 Seifried Pinot Gris from the Marlborough region of New Zealand is a great all-around choice for the celebratory table. Scents of tropical fruit, green guava and apple blossom on the nose melds with flavors of green apple, pear and kiwi fruit in the mouth. Pleasantly unctuous with a touch of ripe apricot-sweetness, the medium body has perfect acidity and a crisp, focused finish. $20
  • Check out a full run down of Scott's Thanksgiving picks including the Pino Gris and the Moscato Azul here

  • What wine would recommend for a Sunday afternoon watching football?
  • Check out a full run down of Scott's Thanksgiving picks including the Pino Gris and the Moscato Azul here

  • I actually open a couple bottles of wine while watching football with friends yesterday.
      I am on a big Spanish wine kick right now, I think there the next big thing, so these are the two wines that I opened and had with red beans and rice and leftover Turkey chili.

    The 2012 Real
    Compania Garnacha

    provided a lot of fun for the money.
    The grapes for this wine come from 20 to
    50 year old vines planted in Central Spain.
    This Garnacha is very fruity and
    bright, with an aromatic intensity that includes a wide variety of bright red
    fruit, including cherries, strawberries and raspberries.
    The nose follows
    through to the palate, where a touch of red licorice adds complexity to the
    soft and fruity finish.
    Great with rice casserole dishes and red-sauced pastas.$10

    And we opened the 2009 Bodegas Muriel
     - which is a Tempranillo that is matured for one year in very large (225
    liter) American oak barrels.
    The aroma of vanilla, coconut, roasted coffee
    combine with notes of ripe red berries and dark licorice on the elegant palate.

    The medium-bodied finish is lush and clean.
    It would match well with small
    appetizers – i.
    e. tapas – and hard cheeses. $16

    Both of these wines were great pairing for the food and best of all, they were easy to drink and affordable.

  • Also, is a Garnacha a dry or sweet wine?
  • Garnacha is traditionally made as a dry wine.  However, technically any wine can be vinified as either a sweet or dry wine.  Most red wines are made completely dry, meaning that all of the sugars are converted to alcohol by the yeasts and no residual sugar is left over.  However, if the winemaking process is interrupted before all of the sugars are converted alcohol, you are left with the sugars in the wine which make it an off-dry or sweet wine - depending on the level of residual sugar.
  • I'm not a wine drinker, however, my doctor recommends a red wine for various reasons. What would you recommend for a beginner like me?
  • Hi Vince - well, it all depends on your taste and everyone's taste is different. I have found that a lot of my friends cut their proverbial teeth on Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir tends to be a softer, more lush style of wine. The smooth tannins and bright fruit make it easy to drink on it's own but it also pairs really well with a wide variety of foods.

    By the way - I like the way your doctor thinks!!!

  • As for the actual health benefits of red wine, it turns out that red-wine has tannins and tannins contain procyanidins, which is thought to protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France seem to have higher levels of procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.

    However, it is ALWAYS advisable to drink in moderation (an 6 oz  glass, maybe two, a day) and always drink responsibly.

  • What can you do with the leftover wine? How long can Vince keep that bottle of red wine open in his fridge?
  • Red wine should be transferred to 1/2 bottle and record with the same cork from the original wine.  Once you have 1/2 bottle recorked, place it in the refrigerator to slow down the oxidation process.  Properly sealed, your wine should last you another three or four days.  If you choose to use a vacu-vin or other type of suction device to remove the air from a bottle of wine, still put it in the refrigerator to slow down the chemical process of oxidation.

    You can use this same technique with white wine, however it is my experience that white wine tends to last longer in refrigerator with less fuss than red wine.

  • What are your champagne recommendations for new year's?

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, once proclaimed, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much
    Champagne is just right.
    ” Let’s face it; sparkling wines were made for New
    Year’s Eve.
    There is nothing quite like wine with bubbles to create a festive
    atmosphere and elevate the last night of the year to celebration more festive. 

    While only wines made in the Champagne region in France
    can technically be called Champagne, all wine with bubbles is referred to as
    Sparkling wine.
    So whether you are hosting a holiday soiree or need a
    well-received hostess gift, Sparkling wines make any occasion more festive.

    So, just how should you go about finding the right

    sparkler for your particular palate? Well, price is always a factor, but many
    consumers often overlook the importance of bubbles.
    How a wine gets its sparkle
    can impact both the flavor and the feeling it creates in the mouth.
    For example,
    the French use the Méthode Champenoise in Champagne.
    The Italians use the
    Charmat method for their Prosecco.
    The wines can range from bone-dry to
    wonderfully sweet.
    The bubbles can be tiny or effervescent. They can be white,
    red or rosé.
    They can be fresh and lively or older and mellower. But it all
    adds up to a good time whenever a sparkling wine is in the glass.

    Here are a few Sparklers from around the world that
    put the “pop” in popular.

    Prosecco is an inexpensive way to enjoy a wonderfully
    crisp, refreshing sparkling wine that will make your guests feel welcome. The
    Non-Vintage La Tordera Prosecco Brunei Brut
    from Veneto, Italy is a good value.
    Scents of lemon/lime fill the bouquet while
    flavors of apple and nectarine dominate the front of the palate.
    The crisp,
    refreshing finish features citrus notes and just a hint of pear and yeast at
    the very end.

     The Loire Valley of France is home to the Non-Vintage Jean-Marc Gilet Vouvray Sparkling

    wine. This sparkler is made exclusively from Chenin Blanc, using the Méthode
    Champenoise, and sports fresh scents of white peach and nectarine on the
    bouquet and bright flavors of citrus, apple and roasted almonds on the delicate
    and complex body.
    An underlying sweetness is balanced by excellent acidity that
    buoy up the notes of mango on the refreshing finish.

    If you’re looking for a classic sparkling wine with a domestic label, the Non-Vintage J
    Vineyards Cuvée 20 Brut from the Russian River Valley of California
    is a
    great pick.
    It sports a wonderful bouquet that is full of toasted brioche,
    green apple and lemon scents.
    Tight, compact bubbles carry flavors of ripe
    apple, citrus and roasted almonds across the entire palate.
    Great acidity adds
    a crisp finish and a perfect pairing with oysters on the half shell or shrimp

     I have been a fan of Georgian sparkling wines since a friend introduced me to the Bagrationi winery several years ago. The Non-Vintage Bagrationi 1882 Reserve Brut from Tbilisi, Georgia is made from a blend of Chinebuli, Mtsvane and Tsitska, Kakhur and Mtsvane grapes that was harvested and sorted by hand, then produced in the traditional Méthode Champenoise (the method used in Champagne). Aromas of ripe apricot and white nectarine combine with well-balanced flavors of apple, pear, peach and apricot that are delivered across the palate by delicate bubbles. $26

    Many people consider Jack and Jamie Davies the founders of the high-end American sparkling wine movement. In 1965, after painstakingly restoring the historic Napa Valley Schramsberg winery in St. Helena, they introduced their Blanc de Blanc sparkler. Today, the Schramberg portfolio includes a variety of sparkling wines, but my favorite is the Non-Vintage Schramsberg Brut Rosé. Made from a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, it displays gorgeous flavors of strawberry and bright cherries on the front of the palate and notes of mango and papaya on the back end, adding delicious depth to the lovely, long finish. $38

    Of course, if you want to really splurge, the Non-Vintage Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve from the Champagne region of France is a wonderful value in authentic Champagne.Starting with the elegant bouquet of white peach and baked bread on the nose and heading in to the flavors of pear, nectarine and peach on the palate, the wine sparkles and shines. Bright acidity holds up the telltale hints of brioche and vanilla on the crisp finish. A great wine to start or end the evening with.$50

  • What is an impressionable wine to take as a hostess gift over the holiday?

  • Taking wine as a hostess gift is a tricky proposition.  First of all, is your host or hostess a wine collector, or novice?  I have found that most hosts enjoy a nice bottle of red wine or sparkling white wine. As for a specific "go to" wine, I think I would do something with a recognizable label, like the on-vintage Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve is aged for at least 3
    years in the cellar, even though the legal minimum ageing requirement is 15
    A range of different crus make up the blend. The nose is initially
    restrained, with fresh white fruit scents of apple, pear and peach.
     intermingle with curry and turmeric spices. The
    palate mimics the nose with more flavors of nectarine and peach with a touch of
    baked bread.
    The mouthfeel is ultra-clean on the attack, with an elegant and
    complex finish.
    Enjoy it with an aperitif of smoked salmon crostini. $28

    If you're unsure what they would like, get something YOU like and let them know that your gift to them is one of your favorites.

  • Do you own any of the wines you recommend on air?
  • Why yes I do! While I have to taste A LOT of wines each week in order to find just a few gems to talk about, all of that "research" pays off! Once in a while, I come across a really great wine - or, better still, a great value - and then decide to buy a few bottles for my own collection.
  • Twist-off caps versus corks? Is there a difference? Does it matter?
  • A lot of people think that a screw-cap closures indicates lower-quality wine. Not all that long ago, this statement might have been true, but not today! Screw-caps closures have come a long way, thanks in part to the innovative and trendsetting winemakers in Australia and New Zealand. Today, many bottles of fine wine, especially white wines, from all over the world have turned to screw-caps as a less expensive and more reliable closure. Best of all, it eliminates the possibility of "Cork Taint" - a term referring to a set of undesirable smells or tastes found in a bottle of wine, that can only be detected after opening. This condition is generally caused by a cork found to be tainted by the presence of the chemical compound 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA). When it comes into contact with the wine, it causes the wine to have odd aromas associated with a musty basement. The wine has a distinct flavor of wet cardboard. Make mine a screw cap!

  • Any screw cap wines you could recommend?
  • Here are my favorite screw-cap wines to enjoy during hockey games (or any sporting event of your chosing):

    If you’re looking for a crisp white wine to face off with, try the
    2011 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. For only $14, this wine delivers beautifully balanced layers of flavor, including ripe gooseberry, and passion fruit on the front of the tongue and crisp lime on the zippy finish. It would be delicious with chicken (or Pittsburgh Penguin. Editor's Note: Scott is a Caps fan).

    I am convinced that the 2012 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump – a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre from McLaren Vale may be one of the best red wine values – just $11 - coming out of Australia today. This front line of three muscular grapes possesses a huge nose full of blueberries and blackberries.  On the palate, it delivers a lush yet balanced mouthful of black fruit flavors and spices that pair perfectly with robust meals like red wings or blue jackets – uh, I mean chili or lamb stew.

    Take a "flyer" on the 2010 Tempra Tantrum by Bodegas Osborne, a Spanish wine made from a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Made in a "new world" style, the Cabernet provides structure and depth while the Tempranillo contributes dark, juicy flavors of plum, blackberry and chocolate. The abundant acidity keeps the wine bright on the finish and it is only $8 – like another great 8 I know, it’s an excellent value. - I would pair it with Duck… Anaheim Duck, that is.

    You know that screw caps are here to stay when one of the most well known wine houses in France is now using them, as evidenced by the 2007 Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Rouge, from the Rhone Valley. This wine – at $11 – is a terrific buy. It has a beautiful deep red hue that seems almost opaque. The nose displays lovely aromas of berry fruit and earthy spices that are repeated on the palate, which is full and deep. The medium-length finish has solid support from soft tannins and notes of tobacco.

  • What is the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle of wine?
  • About $40 - But seriously, about 95% of the wine produced in the world is meant to be consumed within the first one or two years of release. Very few wines are produced for aging for a long period of time.  It really has nothing to do with price, however, the quality of Grapes, the winemaking process, the oak barrels used for aging, and other factors all contribute to the increase of the price of a wine. I have found very few bottles under $20 that could benefit from any time in a cellar...
  • When did you have your "aha" wine moment?
  • It was 1994.  My wife and I were invited over to the friend's home for dinner. He was a big wine collector and wanted to teach us more about wine (at this point, I was brewing my own beer...).  He opened a bottle of 1981 Chateau Beaucastel from the Châteauneuf du Pape region of France.  It literally changed my life.  It was like drinking velvet.  I remember turning to him and saying, "I would drink if it tasted like this."  He looked at me and replied, with a twinkle in his eye, "it does."

    And that's all I have to say about that...

  • We're going to wrap up unless there are any final questions. 
  • That's all for today. Thanks so much to everyone who participated. And tune in Fridays at 6:40 p.m. to hear Scott's weekly picks on 103.5 FM

  • Thanks for hanging out with me today - Please check out the Wine of the Week segment every Friday evening at 6:40 pm.


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