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Fruity, Sweet or Dry Wines

There is often terminology thrown around that is, well, not incorrect but misleading. That is when it comes to Sweet, Fruity or Dry. Here's our attempt to clarify a little:

Fruitiness – Do not mistake fruitiness with sweetness. Tasting a beautiful dry Riesling might have a very fruity flavor and smell, but the sweet residual sugar is down to 3%, verses a very sweet Reisling as a dessert wine still carries the same fruitiness but the residual sugars are several times the amount, sometimes over 40%. A wine can carry fruit essence without being sweet. In fact, wine is made with fruit to consider that there will always be some element of fruitiness in every wine, just different types of fruit and different levels. A very fruit forward wine might be a bold Zinfandel that tastes like a cherry pie. That is not a wine that anyone would ever confuse with a sweet wine, is it?

Sweetness & Dryness – A wine can be dry and fruity or sweet and fruity but not sweet and dry. Sugar in the grapes when grown is converted to alcohol in the making of wine. If almost all the sugar is converted to alcohol, the wine is dry. If only some was converted, the wine has left over sugar, or residual sugar and is considered sweet. Understand?

Wines of Chile

It's Getting Chile in Here

Grab your hats because we're going South to the beautiful wine making region of Chile this month. Chile is considered a New World wine making region but oddly enough, or not surprising depending on how you look at it, the wine making here was perfected by the French. I'm not going to give a history lesson here but it's important to understand that the wine of Chile was started by wealthy Chilean land owners who then imported French wine makers to create the wines. Chile is the 3rd largest importer of wines into the United States and their wines can be an incredible value. This is probably because they don't have to pay for their water since it comes down directly as the snow melt from the Andes Mountains (that's a joke, really).

Chile does make some nice crisp white wines, primarily Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. While Chardonnay is produced in mass to import to the United States (as our white of choice for the moment), Sauvignon Blanc has gained ground in their production levels and is now more widely grown than their Chardonnay. Their blush wine is getting also some recognition - labeled Rosa, which might just be the wine of choice for those lovely Spring days we're anticipating any time soon.

Beautiful reds come out of Chile as well: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère. Cabernet has been the grape of choice for decades and reigns supreme. The best region for their Cabernet is the Maipo Valley in the North-Central portion of this skinny country. Quick warning: their Merlot is not always what you expect. Chilean Merlot is often blended and sometimes not even Merlot. It can be Carmenère. There is no way of telling and often even the wine maker isn't quite sure. Chile is also producing some great Syrahs which have won awards in the past over their coveted Cabernets.

So the rules of winemaking are relaxed here but their labeling is even more so. We've got all the basics like who, what, when and where. However, the only way to tell a high quality wine from a table wine might be the price. Don't turn your nose up to a great $10 bottle of wine from Chile however. Your guess can be a great one.

Happy tasting and we'll see you at!

Darcy & Stacy

Wino Food Pairings

A BIG Thank You goes out to our friend Scott Kendig, Executive Chef at Bing Crosby's Restaurant and Piano Lounge in Rancho Mirage for the beautifully paired recipe for these exotic wines from Chile.

Make sure you visit their website at, and the address is 71-743 A Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.

It really is the buzz of the Desert Area so be sure to call ahead to reserve your seats.

And by the way - the recipe is so simple that anyone really could do it... thanks again Scott!

Scott's Pork Brochettes and Shaved Fennel Salad

1 or 2 pork Loins
Cumin Coriander
Brown Sugar Mace
Fennel Spinach
Red onion 1 minced garlic clove
Salt Pepper
Vinegar 2 minced shallots (small)
Oil Lime juice

Cut the pork loin into strips. You can either use a dry rub or add a little Olive Oil for Marinade

Combine 1/2 cup Cumin, 1/2 cup Coriander, 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, and one pinch of Mace. Either rub on pork strips or Add a 1/2 cup of oil and slather the strips.

Let sit over night.

Put Pork on skewers, BBQ and serve with the beautiful fennel salad.

Chopped Fennel Salad:

(Amounts used are dependant upon how many guests. (use your best judgment)

Shave or chop the fennel. Julienne the Spinach. Shave Red Onion. Mix in a bowl and toss with the simple vinagrette and you've got a goumet salad!

Simple Vinaigrette:

1 part lime juice
3 parts oil
1 clove minced garlic
2 minced shallots (small)
Salt and Sugar to taste
Mix together well and pour over salad.

Don't forget to visit Bing Crosby's Restaurant and Piano Lounge in Rancho Mirage next time you're in the Palm Springs area and say hello to Scott... tell him how much you loved his recipe as seen in at!

Wine to Buy from Chile

With wine from Chile, there is no real way to tell from the bottles what wine is quality and what wine is not. You could look to sources like the wine magazines but that takes a lot of time and effort. Well worth it if you like reading the rest of the magazine as well.

Our recommendation for quick and easy? Go to where they have a list of winners from their competition in January. It also has some fun events that are worth reading.

Interesting tidbit to make you sound REALLY smart, the winner this year was actually a Sauvignon Blanc, the first white wine to ever win this award.