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Soo…after the freakish snowstorm of Saturday it hardly feels like fall. Weird weather aside, however, ’tis fall and, even spookier, ’tis Halloween!

It’s much too cold to dress up like a skanky firefighter this year, so  instead I got myself all gussied up as some sort of wine expert over on Refinery 29.

So head on over and check out the collection of perfect-for-fall wines that are all available around the city and even better (!) are all available for $15 bones or less. And in honor of Haloween they can be like scary zombie haunted bones.

 

 

 

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Summer is over and fall has begun to settle quietly in. As with all of you, I’m gearing up to hunker down and get back to business (too many prepositions?).

Fall is wonderful; the way the light shifts from the harsh bright sunshine of summer to the soft golden hue of autumn, the chill that creeps in slowly and settles with a pleasant crispness and the scent of dried leaves that whisks away the sour odor of New York’s summer streets.

In the beginning, it may get just as warm as a summer afternoon, but suddenly, a glass of Rosé, though rosy as it always was, isn’t quite as charming. The bright, crisp, and refreshing quaffs of summer, no less delicious, just don’t seem to pair as well with the slight coolness lingering on the edge of the breeze.

It’s a confusing time…you’re not quite ready for the big hearty reds of winter but you’re through flirting with summer’s tipples.  For me, fall belongs to the red wines of Piemonte in Northern Italy.

If you’ve ever heard of Barolo or Barbaresco, you’ve heard about the most famous wines of Piemonte, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that that’s where they came from.

Barolo and Barbaresco  (made from the Nebbiolo grape) are the only two well known wines out of Italy that are identified by neither their place of origin (like Chianti, for example) nor their grape name (Montepulciano etc.).

Out of this same famed corner of Northern Italy come two less renowned grapes called Dolcetto and Barbera that produce wines by the same name (phew!).

Dolcetto is a grape that literally translates to “little sweet one.” Before you assume that I’m about to sell you on a sweet red wine (and you, like any self-respecting wine drinker, are thinking “Ew! Disgusting! Sweet wine?! Blagh!”) let me assure you that the grape’s name is entirely misleading.

Quite contrary to its name, this grape turns into an absolutely charming wine – dry, juicy, with good fruit and a fair amount of spice.

Dolcetto is the first vine to ripen in Piemonte and is often planted only on the least favorable sites in a vineyard. Many of the region’s most famed winemakers end up planting and producing Dolcetto out of sheer economy – they may have a site that’s unsuitable for Nebbiolo but instead of letting it go to waste, they’ll plant Dolcetto to sell as a simple table wine and offset profits. In the hands of the region’s star producers,  this humble little grape often ends up getting VIP treatment by default. The results have started to gain attention from wine drinkers here in the U.S – popping up in wine shops and on wine lists more and more as people realize the simple pleasures and particular food-friendliness of this little grape.

Barbera is Nebbiolo’s other ugly cousin – regarded with more esteem than poor little Dolcetto but still not as highly as Barbaresco or Barolo. Where Dolcetto is vigorous, Barbera is prodigious – capable of extremely high yields. Barbera also ripens after Dolcetto but still two weeks before Nebbiolo grapes and can thrive on sites still not ideal for Nebbiolo (a very picky grape).

Barbera, however, isn’t as charming straight off the vine as Dolcetto – with high levels of tannin and acidity that must be somehow softened. Until the 1970s this was done through blending with other varietals. Then, French winemakers suggested experimenting with aging the wine in small oak barrels. The oak barrels helped to oxygenate the wine, thus softening it, and also added richness and spice. These Barberas were suddenly structured, soft, and fruity wines that didn’t have to be blended at all! All of a sudden this grape, once only used for blending, became a good wine in its own right and quickly gained appreciation as such.

For fall, there’s nothing better than a glass of Dolcetto or Barbera – so how about a glass of both? Just the other day I was sent a sample of Cascina Degli Ulivi Bellotti Rosso 2010 – a blend of equal parts Dolcetto and Barbera – from my favorite online wine store, Plonk Wine Merchants.


Etty Lewensztain is the girl-crush lady-genius behind Plonk dedicated to bringing delicious, interesting, and affordable wine to anyone with an internet connection. She was just named one of Wine & Spirit Magazine’s 30-under-30 and she is the reason I have tried such weird wines as Plavac (Croatian) and Montsant (Spanish).

Cascina Degli Ulivi Bellotti Rosso 2010 ($18) is from a biodynamic and crazy natural winery in the heart of Piemonte. I swear, I usually don’t pay very much attention to a wine’s color but as I poured this one into my glass the color struck me – it was a gorgeous clear rose-tinted purple.

The nose was all wet leaves and hay and the first sip literally danced on my tongue. Maybe it was bottle shock – and I should have let the wine sit for a day or two longer, but the wine was lightly effervescent! Dark cherries and juicy tannins that sucked more at the tip of my tongue than the back of my mouth rounded out the first taste.

On her website, Etty suggests pairing this particular wine with a Soppressata and Wild Arugula Pizza; Rigatoni with roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and ricotta salata; or Roasted veal chops with gremolata.

I suggest pairing it with these first few days of fall.

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I’m entering into the third week of my recent unemployment. I’m starting to feel like being unemployed is a lot like being on a long sea journey and that I feel like the captain of a doomed vessel. I think that maybe I should be keeping a captain’s log as I navigate the treacherous waters of this horrible economy in my quest for employment.  It would look something like this:

Day 1: This is awesome! It’s 11 am and instead of staring at an excel spreadsheet on a computer screen…I’m in bed. At 11 am. And its WEDNESDAY. I could get used to this…

Day 3: Up early with a cup of coffee and a muffin – feeling great about embarking on my job quest. Sure the economy sucks, the unemployment figures are dismal, and the NYTimes just published its third “Young College Graduates with Degrees from Ivy League Schools are Working as Bar Managers and Paralegals Because There ARE NO JOBS” piece but there ain’t nothing gonna bring me down!

Day 5: I applied to 24 jobs two days ago. Why isn’t anyone responding? Maybe if I check my inbox for the fifteenth time this hour something will – a new email! It’s just Shopbop telling me about a sale that I can’t even think about – I’m unemployed, remember?

Day 7: Will the weekend ever end? I can’t go anywhere because I can’t spend any money because I don’t have a job and I’m not going to get closer to a job until everyone else gets back to work and responds to my applications. I hate the weekend.

Day 10: Three interviews, seven hours, and two badly blistered feet later – I need wine. Lots and lots of wine. Now.

Day 11: The blisters from wearing heels all day yesterday have only worsened. I’m super pumped that my prospective place of employment is so laid back and all but it’s severely unfair that I have to dress up, put on heels, and look professional while you get to interview me in a slouchy tshirt, black leggings, and flip flops. God, how I wish I could be you instead of me – you have a job. And no blisters.

Day 12: No follow up calls. No follow up emails. Nothing. Buy wine instead of dinner.

Day 13: Unemployment seriously ruins the weekend. Just two more days of waiting to hear nothing back from any of the next batch of 25 job applications I sent out or the people I interviewed with. Why didn’t I just lie and say, “Why yes! I am detail oriented! I am incredibly detail oriented!”? I will never be honest ever again. I will give up every shred of integrity oif that’s what it takes. What does that even mean, “detail oriented”? Who cares! I will be it! I will do anything just so I don’t have to spend another afternoon on the couch obsessively checking my inbox.

Yeah, it would look something like that –  with the lucidity and sanity of the first few days quickly giving way to the desperate rants of a madwoman.  

It’s taken every ounce of strength not to open the bottle of wine I brought with me when I moved from California as my “Celebration Wine” – the expensive wine I brought to open when I got my “first real job”.

But unemployment does not call for the good stuff – no, when you’re unemployed, you should be drinking cheap wine; cheap, cheap wine because it’s all you can afford.

Perhaps that’s why I was intrigued by a South African Chenin Blanc in the window of my corner wine shop that came with a measly $9.99 price tag. Chenin Blanc is one of my new favorite varietals. I’d only had Vouvray before, where the grape is manifested in a slightly sweet and fruity quaff that finishes with a rush of minerality – like licking granite. It’s unnervingly pleasant.

This wine, by the producer Kanu, was ripe and tasted of tropical fruits – litchi and melon – more than the ripe pears and apples I’d come to expect from Chenin Blanc. It had a tangy finish that was more like a scoop of passion fruit than a slick of granite and left me a little wanting – even at only $10/bottle.

Nonetheless, it calmed my frazzled nerves and helped me to steele myself against another day of chronic unemployment.

Sidenote: You’d think that with all this free time on my hands I’d be blogging more, right? No. Wrong. Seriously wrong. I’ve been focusing on finding ways to pay the rent and in the course of doing so have come across the opportunity to work with some seriously awesome wine people – and you’ll be hearing all about that in a bit.  I’m looking forward to branching out a bit and bringing you all more winey goodness….stay tuned!

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This is an actual photograph of Hurricane Irene. Scary.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I’ve lived through my fair share of natural disasters so I’m not one to take them lightly. Hollywood, on the other hand, has had a grand old time fantasizing about its own demise (see: Armageddon, Deep Impact, Battle LA, Volcano, et al.). I have a healthy record of outliving earthquakes, wild fires, and rock/mud slides – so I know first hand just how scary and devastating any kind of natural disaster can be! After this weekend (assuming I’m not tempting fate too wildly by assuming I’ll survive) I can at the very least add a Tropical Storm and, if I’m terribly unlucky, a Hurricane. Yippee.

So while I’m tempted to make a playlist of songs like Stormy Weather, I’m Only Happy When it Rains, End of the World, Fire and Rain (and on and on ad nauseum) while sipping Dark and Stormy’s (rum or vodka mixed with ginger beer) I’ve instead decided to take things seriously and make a Hurricane’s Guide to Wine. Because this is some serious business that deserves a serious drink.*

Magnificent Wine Co’s Steak House Red ($10.99)

The sky will darken, the winds will howl, and the rain will gush forth like blood from a mortal wound! Or something like that. Anyways, on a long and stormy day this wine is a great brooding companion. It’s packed with dark fruit and nice firm tannins (that’s the stuff that sucks at the back of your throat). If the lights go out and you’re forced to create a trashcan bonfire in your living room the only logical thing you’d want to cook over it is a thick juicy steak (amiright?) and this wine would go perfectly with it. Its all so primordial and caveman-ish – being at the mercy of the elements and praying that your internet doesn’t get knocked out because – OMG – your twitter followers depend on you!  Anyways, this is a really good big wine that will keep you company during a really big storm.

Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco ($23.94)

Hurricanes are super windy right? Let’s take up that theme and go for something breezy – something that, if you have a little too much, you’ll be swaying around your apartment like all the trees outside. Look, if its rotten outside, why not let loose and lighten up inside. Grab a glass of bubbly, put on some old-timey music so that when the lights go out and you’re lighting candles, its almost like being in a speakeasy – how hip! Pretend like you’re a drunk and bored debutante exploring the seedy underbelly! You’ll feel so dangerous and sexy you might forget all about that nasty storm raging outside!

2000 Chateau Latour Bordeaux ($1,500)

   Dude, did you hear that New York City might be totally annihilated by a hurricane this    weekend? If that’s not cause to break out the big boys, I don’t know what is. Do you have a more   appropriate occasion to make sure the expensive stuff doesn’t go to waste than to drink it during an   apocalyptic weather phenomenon? I mean, look, I’m not saying that I want to die or that I want   anyone else to die, or that anyone IS going to die! BUT if I was going to die, I’d probably want it to be with some really amazing wine in me.

 *On a more serious note, natural disasters are serious and should be taken seriously. This post is not meant to offend anyone who has ever suffered as a direct result of ANY natural disaster. I’m merely trying to make some lemonade out of a truly lemony situation and this post is intended purely as entertainment.

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Growing up, I spent 9 years at a Catholic school run by nuns of an Irish order called the Sisters of St. Louis (pronounced Loo-ee). St. Patrick’s day was as much about running around and pinching kids and teachers who dared to forget to wear green or who lazily grabbed a green marker and colored a swatch of their skin with it as it was about Sister Patricia.

Sister Patricia was our principle –hearty, stern, and mostly terrifying in only the way that a Catholic Nun can be. St. Patrick’s day also happened to be her “feast day” on which we showered her with appreciation and were, in turn, rewarded with donuts. For me, the coming of St. Patrick’s day usually brings with it a good deal of nostalgia and fond memories and so remains one of very few holidays on which I will willingly dress like I’m colorblind (ie lots of green). However, I realize that it’s a perennial favorite because it provides an excuse for carousing and binge drinking on a week night.

In honor of St. Patrick’s day, I have not only created the cute little graphic you see above (you’re welcome), but I have also decided to bring up the topic of Green Wine.

No, I’m not talking about getting a bottle of white wine and adding a few drops of green food coloring (although that is surely one way to go) a la the ubiquitous pitchers of green beer that will be consumed by people pretending to be Irish all across this great nation of ours (Note: I am actually, in fact, about a quarter Irish).

Instead, I’m talking about wine that has a “green” flavor profile. Though wines that are called “green” are usually being insulted, there are a few exceptions and today I’m going to tell you all about two of them.

 

Cabernet Franc is an interesting little grape that can count among its achievements its very famous offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc is typically grown as a blending grape for Bordeaux-style wines but growers across the wine world have, in the past couple decades, begun to produce single-varietal Cabernet Franc wines that are often noted for their uniquely vegetal quality that can evoke green bell peppers or leaves.

Try:

Wildekrans Walker Bay 2005 (South Africa) – $14

  • In a blind taste test, it would be hard not to taste Cabernet Franc’s fingerprints all over this wine with its signature rush of wet leaves and an herbal, almost minty, nose that gives way to some easy drinkin’

Chateau de Coulaine Chinon Bonnaventure 2008 (Loire Valley) – $18

  • The Loire Valley, and specifically Chinon, has been in the game of producing Cabernet Franc based blends and single-varietals longer than anyone else, so they’ve really got the formula down. Cabernet Franc’s from this area tend to be more refined and less “green” but still have that kick of bell-pepper spice that sets this grape apart.

Shneider Vineyards Cabernet Franc La Bouchet 2005 (North Fork Long Island) – $20

  • I’ll be honest – I didn’t know that Long Island produced wine until I moved to New York and I didn’t know they produced anything other than Rose until fairly recently. The North Fork, however, makes for ideal Cabernet Franc conditions, and the wines coming out of the area are serious enough to start garnering some serious attention for New York wines.

 

Vinho Verde is another interesting grape, this time grown specifically in the Minho region of Portugal. While the name of the wine roughly translates to “green wine”, it’s a reference to the sprightly quality of the wine rather than to its color. These are wines that are meant to be consumed very young – and they’re fun, flirty, and can even be slightly effervescent. With flavor notes that tend to be citrusy (think lime zest) and grassy, these lovely wines are also going to cost you about just as much as a pitcher of green beer but with a higher alcohol content (9% to your typical beer’s 5%) and, chances are, a better taste. And! It’s called green wine! Win.

Try:

JM Fonseca Twin Vines 2009 – $7

  • Slightly fizzy with lots of green fruit and a splash of lime zest, this wine will wake you right up.

Famega Vinho Verde 2009 – $8

  • Very light and on the drier side, this version of Vinho Verde has a mineral tang to go along with its lime inflected flavor. Think Perrier Lime – that gets you tipsy.

 

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Rather than lump everyone together in one post, let’s face it: Valentines Day is one of the most divisive holidays out there – it pits singletons squarely against couples. So, in honor of the holiday’s tendency to separate us into categories, I’ve crafted three distinct versions of the same post, all with the same pairing suggestions at the end:

• If you are attached this V-day please see section A

• If you are sad and single this year please skip down to section B

• If you are single and lovin’ it, head on down to section C

A. Whether you’re the bearskin-rug and glowing fireplace type of romantic or the trail of rose petals leading to the bed type (or, erm, like some of us, somewhere closer to shaving your legs for a change), wine can only enhance your Valentines Day.  As Cher Horowitz (ahem, Clueless – duh!) so famously put it, wine makes people feel like, sexy, and so should be the obvious choice. This may also explain wine’s usual starring role in any scene-right-before-they-do-it in any romantic comedy worth watching this V-day.

Chocolate is also a star player on this particular holiday – whether it’s making its cameo in a heart-shaped box or a pot of edible body paint (and god knows you’re gonna need some wine if you’ve decided to go the latter route). Luckily, wine and chocolate go together as perfectly as you and your honey. I’ve provided some great pairing options below (just skip on past all that babbling about single people…that’s not you this year!).

B. If you’re single this year, wine has the amazing ability to get you drunk – in style. Even if you’re at home shoveling ice cream while you clutch at the carton and watch cheesy movies on TV, as long as you’ve got a bottle of wine open on the coffee table, things just got classed up a notch. And you know what else? Drink just enough wine and you’ll feel great.

As long as you’re already indulging why not throw some chocolate into the mix? Chocolate and wine get along just swimmingly and they’ll both make you feel better about things…until the next morning. For tips on just how to pair your chocolate and wine, see below.

C. Alright so that whole Bridget Jones-esque scenario I just played out above? Screw it. If you’re single this year, take the opportunity to (oh, this is gonna sound so corny) appreciate yourself. Give a little love – to yourself. That’s right…I went there. And you know what’s a great way to appreciate yourself? Treating yourself to a nice bottle of wine because you deserve it. Maybe you’re planning a night with your friends this V-day – but that’s no reason not to indulge! Don’t skimp on the frills just because you’re not celebrating with someone who is going to have sex with you later.

While you’re at it, why not expand your horizons and blow your mind by bringing in wine’s (and V-day’s) ideal companion: chocolate. See my wine and chocolate pairing suggestions (all chocolate suggestions are available to order online) below for a fabulous and delicious night.

Pairing Wine with Chocolate

Note: If you want to try to go it alone, check out this nifty wine and chocolate pairing chart I stumbled upon at TheNibble.

 

Casanova Caramel Collection from Theo Chocolate: Ginger Rose Caramel, Grey Salted Vanilla Caramel, Lavender Caramel.

 

Pair with: This whole set begs to be paired with Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.

 

Try: Mossback Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2009 ($19) for its silky texture, notes of chocolate and caramel, and soft tannins. Also, a good bet would be the Chanrion Cote De Brouilly Beaujolais Domaine de La Voute Des Crozes 2009 ($16) with its rich body, floral perfume, and tasting notes of dark chocolate and a tinge of granite that would make the grey salt really pop.

CoCo Luxe Valentine’s Truffles: Champagne, Pure Devotion (pure dark chocolate), and Roses (white chocolate rose and honey ganache inside dark chocolate)

 

Pairs with: This is a set of truffles that could go well with either a Reisling or a Syrah depending on what flavors you want to bring out. If you choose a Reisling it will bring out the white chocolate and really emphasize the honey flavor of the Roses Truffle. A Syrah would be a better match for the Pure Devotion truffles, emphasizing the fruit and spice of the chocolate.

 

Try: Seven Hills Reisling Columbia Valley ($12) for its off-dry and on the sweeter side notes of honey and white peach. If you go the Zinfandel route, try Qupe Syrah Central Coast 2007 ($18 and one of my personal favorites) for its rich body, juicy flavors, and bright spice.

 

Gem Chocolates: 5-piece Sampler with Conquistadores (spicy citrus-flavored habanero chili, a hint of cinnamon in dark chocolate), Cha-Cha (cherry and chili in dark chocolate), Razzle (raspberry and vanilla white chocolate inside ganache), Masala (a blend of Indian spices in milk chocolate), and Praline (ground almonds and caramelized sugar in milk chocolate).

 

Pairs with: If you’re looking to turn up the heat on all the interesting spices in these chocolates, definitely go with Zinfandel.  If, on the other hand, you’re more interested bringing out all those fruity flavors, I’d suggest picking up a bottle of Merlot.

Try: Li Veli Orion Primitivo 2007 ($14) for its spicy nose, flavors of chocolate and cherries, and rich body.  For a Merlot, try Robert Keenan Carneros Merlot 2006 ($24 – another one of my personal favorites). With its silky mouth feel, notes of jammy berries and a tinge of cocoa, and subtle spice.

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One of the coolest parts about writing about wine is that I get to tell people I write about wine. Regardless of how the preceding conversation has gone, no matter how clumsy or bumbling I may have been, as soon as I mention that I write a wine blog,  I get taken just a little bit more seriously.

I’m much more of a wine geek than the sophisticate they may have momentarily imagined dining on caviar and not deigning to drink anything less than Latour.

Honestly? I’ve never had a sip of Chateau Latour (hardly unbelievable given the minimum $1,000 price tag) and I’m not really one for caviar. Oh sure, I probably spend more than most on my day-to-day wine but that’s just because I’d rather imbibe those calories blissfully than guiltily and, well, I am attempting a wine blog…

But as far as food goes (another area in which I am queen of the nerds), I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: some of my favorite food, for which I have an incessant craving, is best served in a Styrofoam container.

That’s right — I’m talking take-out. So what better way to marry my two great culinary loves than to pair great wine with greasy goodness? You may think it doesn’t make sense to waste good wine on cheap food, but, oh, the pleasures that await you!

I realize that pairing wine with food often presents a daunting task for even the most devoted of oenophiles. It’s hard enough understanding wine all by itself without trying to match it, like a puzzle piece, with its perfect mate — the dish that will enhance the wine and bring out its best flavors while, in turn, being elevated by its alcoholic companion.

My favorite strategy for pairing food with wine comes from Karen MacNeil, author of the celebrated Wine Bible. Macneil suggests that you use wine as a mirror and hold it up against the more pronounced qualities of a dish. Pair spicy with spicy, sweet with sweet, earthy with earthy, and so forth.

If you run into a flavor profile that doesn’t quite have its match in a wine, look to texture — is it rich? You can match it with an equally rich wine and languish in velvety mouth-feels or you can pair it with something bright and full of flavor that will match the intensity of your meal but cut through the richness with some acidity. This is one of the reasons that lobster pairs so well with chardonnay and salmon goes so swimmingly with pinot noir.

For each of my favorite take-out dishes, I’ll go through why I pair each dish with its particular wine and hope to enlighten you through example. Once you’ve successfully paired something as low-brow as Panda Express, there’s no turning back from full-on wine geekdom.

Pad Thai with Tofu: Voignier
Great pad thai is tangy, savory, and a little sweet. The tamarind-based sauce gives it that fruity acidic taste that leaves us hungering for more. Voignier is a grape that is often described as “luscious” and has a characteristic honey aroma. The grape is inherently low in acidity which makes it a perfect match for pad thai, already so tangy, and often has flavors of ripe peaches, tropical fruits (ahem, tamarind), and fresh orange peel.
Try: 2008 K Vintners, $20

Yellow Curry with Shrimp: Grüner Veltliner
Yellow curry is sweet and delicately spiced. It’s the mildest of Thai curries and the most redolent of coconut milk. The complex and delicate broth requires a wine that accents the spice without overpowering. Grüner Veltliner is an Austrian white grape that yields a sweet wine that is noted for the characteristic rush of white pepper on the finish. The combination of sweet and spicy makes it an ideal match for Thai curries.
Try: 2008 Hiedler, $16

Pad Kee Mao with Chicken: Savignon Blanc
Aka “drunken noodles,” this dish is one of my personal favorites among Thai cuisine. You get spice from the chilies, an herby fresh flavor from the mounds of Thai basil that the noodles are tossed with at the very end, and the grassy flavor that comes from bell peppers only cooked slightly. Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand, with its bright acidity and grassy herbaceous notes is a perfect match for this bold noodle dish.
Try: 2008 Jules Taylor, $15

Chicken Tikka Masala: Côtes du Rhône
The dish is rich, creamy, sweet, and redolent of spices without being spicy. The wine has a good deal of sweetness and spice as well — with a rich, smooth mouth feel that complements the creaminess of the sauce.
Try: 2008 Domaine Alary, $16

Lamb Vindaloo: Dolcetto d’Alba
Another tamarind-based spicy dish, but this time with gamey lamb and heavy heat, this dish calls for something with a lot of fruit, good spice, and a brightness to match the tang of the tamarind. Dolcetto is one of my favorite grapes — I’m tempted to describe it as the Beaujolais of Italy. It’s a lighter wine with nice acidity, lots of fruit like raspberries and cherries, and a spicy finish.
Try: 2006 Moccagatta, $16

Sweet and Sour Chicken: Albarino
Ah, the old standby. Sweet and fruity one minute and pungent the next, this is a great opportunity to get creative. Albarino has a zing to it that makes me love it for sweet and sour chicken — it also has a tendency toward sweetness and an almost unbearable lightness that lets it shimmer on your tongue instead of weigh down your taste buds.
Try: 2006 Morgadio, $13

Beef with Broccoli: Bordeaux
This traditional favorite is salty soy-goodness at its best. The good kind will also have a nice ginger and garlic flavor that is well matched by this rich red wine. The wine has notes of ginger, very soft tannins, and a velvety mouth feel that makes it easy to drink.
Try: 2005 Chateau Guiraud-Cheval-Blanc, $14

Moo Shu Pork: Priorat
Priorat is the name of the region in Spain that makes robust and earthy red wines that go well with Moo Shu Pork. Look for a blend that features syrah as the dominant blending grape — it will lend a gamey, almost funky ,quality to the wine that will accentuate the woodsy mushrooms in this dish.
Try: 2007 Joan D’Anguera La Planella, $19

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