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Wine Trivia - Terrior (Wine Wino)

Terrior is a term which is thrown around lightly but in truth is something quite profound. Terroir is a widely used phrase that holds true in some parts of the world more than others. A French phrase that is not translatable but simply put refers to is the land’s imprint on the grape and ultimately the wine. In California, where winemakers can take wines from throughout a widely varied County or area, the wines become more a process of the winemaker than of the location of the grapes so terroir is not as much of a factor as the terroir of Burgundy or Bordeaux where each region truly produces specialized wines typical of only their territory that reflect the land and character found in the region.

Case in point - have you ever had a wine with a distinctly minty flavor? That might have come from the Eucalyptus groves that grow in the area near the vineyard. If an wine growing area is surrounded by these groves, odds are that the distinctly minty flavor permeates all of the wines grown in this region, thus marking the terrior of those wines.


Wine Club Tasting Winner

Thank you to Kim Kelliher of the Grapeline for this winning submission from her Wino Club. We love hearing about the winning wines from all the clubs out there so please submit them to

As a side note, Kim and her husband own 'The Grapeline', a tour company specializing in wine tasting tours of the Temecula Valley Wine Region. Their luxury vans have taken many a wino from winery to winery and we were fortunate enough to take a field trip with them last summer and they took great care of us. To get more information on their services, please refer to the link at the end of her write up. Thanks again Kim for your write up!

Zin Alert! We tasted 22 Zinfandels during our most recent Wino Gals get together in the Temecula area. The resounding winner? Tobin James Cellars 2004 Zinfandel “Dusi Vineyard.” With rich fruit and berry aromas, and an intense ruby color, this Zin is bound to impress! Cherries, berries, jam: it has it all! And then it really gets your attention with a nutmeg & peppery finish. The bad news is that Tobin James of Paso Robles has sold out of the 2004 vintage. Good news is the 2005 is just about to be released! Meanwhile, you almost can’t go wrong with Zinfandels from Paso Robles. Also scoring well among the Wino Gals were Zins from Bianchi Winery and Peachy Canyon – both of Paso Robles. Then, there’s my personal favorite: Opolo. The winery produces usually three or four different Zins at a time, from various vineyards, and I’ve never tasted one I didn’t like. Cheers to Paso!

Kim Kelliher
The Grapeline, Inc.
ph: (951) 693-5755
fx: (951) 693-0274


Wine and Food Pairing for Champagne

Think of any food you would normally eat with beer and try serving your bubbly with that. That's right wine and food snobs of the world, the refreshing taste of the bubbles goes well with Thai food, sushi, sausage, gumbo, and generally all spicy savory items.

Don't forget to serve some chocolates as well at your party, but it's good to keep your food pairings unconventional!

Wine Club Tasting Tips on Campagne

Sparkling Wine Fast Facts

Instead of looking for specific varietal characteristics (since that would be almost impossible if there are 40 unlisted grapes used in the first place), here are some tips on what to look for in terms of bottle labels for drier to sweeter wines… the higher the sugar, the sweeter the wine so pair your food accordingly.

Brut 1.5% Sugar
Extra Brut 1.2% – 2% Sugar
Dry 1.7% Sugar
Sec 3.5% Sugar
Demi-Sec 3.5% - 5% Sugar

Wine Club Tasting Tiny Bubbles in Champagne

Tiny Bubbles – Tasting Sparkling Wines

Yes, romance is in the air and February beckons for a tasting of sparkling wines. Champagne from France and Sparkling for the rest of the world is technically how to refer to this beautiful celebratory wine. We tend to save this beverage for celebrations here in the United States but we’re here to tell you that as a Wino, every day you wake up is cause for celebration. In Australia, 20% of the wine sold is sparkling: they know how to celebrate down under.

Really, Sparkling Wine comes with a wide variety of characteristics. From sweet and indulgent to dry and crisp, there is no standard fix for a group of people. The sweeter wines go beautifully with desert offerings while the crisper, drier versions are great paired with a meal, especially sushi – or truly decadent with potato chips. Trust a fellow Wino on that one…

True Champagne is from the region of Champagne and they are very protective of that label. The primary grapes used there are Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. In California, bubbly is a blend of 20 to 40 different grapes! That takes quite a chemist to know how to pull that many flavors off. Each wine producing nation around the world has their own special formula, but many do use the original Champagne method of making the wine. And by the way, don’t go looking for a vintage on any French Champagne… only 3 vintage wines come out every decade.

What about Pink Sparkling Wine? It’s not just for Mary Kay parties. The skins of the Pinot Noir were in the base wine or the Pinot Noir was added in the second fermentation which is what give the rosè its color. So don’t think of the rosès as a chick drink. They are in fact quite complex and can be dry and crisp or .

Pouring a Sparkling is a little challenging. We know and we feel for the pourer at this party. We also have confidence that a good Wino can figure out how to pour but we want you to know that the glasses make all the difference in this tasting. Check out and read to section under Wine Glass 101 for our tips and suggestions. Happy tasting and we’ll see you at!

Stacy & Darcy