Ken wrote: "My wife and I are traveling to Sonoma next week and I wanted to know if you could confirm something I heard. My understanding is that if you are at a winery and purchase a couple of bottles, the winery can ship the product to your home, even if you live in Georgia, is that true?"
Yes, Dorothy, some legislators have a heart. Back in October 2002, the U.S. House and Senate passed a measure allowing consumers on wine vacations in California or New York to ship limited amounts of wine home. This new law applies even to those states with heavy regulations on alcohol, like Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. The measure grew out of the slew of airline regulations following Sept. 11, specifically those limiting what you can carry on a plane. But distributors and their lobbyists have their boxers in a wad, so this privilege could be yanked before we blink our eyes. So rush out to wine country to get your legal fill. But not so fast, beer fans. You've been dissed; the measure only covers wine.
The sweeter side of life
Michael wrote: I recall reading an article in Creative Loafing about N.C. wines and wineries. I'm a fan of locally produced wine, especially muscadine. I'd like to serve it to guests, but I'm uncertain as to what foods might go best with it. Do you have any suggestions?
Muscadine, the native grape to Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida, produces sugary sweet wines with a musky flavor. Despite snobs' ostracizing this humble grape, the wine it produces can be quite tasty and food friendly. It loves spicy food, such as Asian and Indian foods. Chili also comes to mind. The earthy quality of the muscadine grape also pairs well with blue cheeses, such as Gorgonzola. You might also try fruit-based desserts such as apple tart or peach pie.
It's not all vodka
Jim wrote: [In addition to the alternative country's wines that you wrote about] "let me also suggest that you try some reds from the Republic of Georgia. That country has a long winemaking tradition, going back centuries. But Georgian reds have only recently been available in the U.S. I would give names if I could remember them, but they are remarkably smooth and good-natured."
Indeed, those wacky Ruskies have a long, time-honored swilling tradition, and their winemaking dates back to 5000 B.C. Made from grapes completely unknown in the U.S., Rkatsiteli and Saperavi, the wines can be very complex. Due to their rarity, I have never tried any Georgian wines myself, but respected wine writers such as Britain's Jancis Robinson have lauded their virtues. Some wine names to try: Tsinandali (white wine) and Kindzmarauli (a semi-sweet red).
2001 Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay ($14) : Lightly oaked juice from Down Under with creamy, buttery popcorn flavors. Soft, rich citrus that balances well with the acidity.
The Bishop Riesling 2001 ($10) A Riesling hailing from the shores of Germany, with clever labeling and simple flavors. Honeyed and spicy, with slight sweetness. Great for before-dinner relaxation.
Clos du Bois 2000 Reserve Zinfandel($25) Blackberry jammy and perky with vibrant, full-bodied oomph. The flavor lingers so long in your mouth, it will blow you away. I loved this wine.
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