About UsWine ReviewsArchivesAdvertiseContact Us
Charles Smith Wines, Washington State (United States) Cabernet Sauvignon "Chateau Smith" 2015 ($20)
 Charles Smith Wines is now owned by the massive Constellation Brands conglomerate.  Some of the wines may not be as idiosyncratic as they were previously, but the overall quality of the portfolio remains as strong as ever.  This Cabernet is a case in point.  Deeply-flavored, it offers a classic eastern Washington profile, meaning ripe but restrained flavors, firm tannins, and a classic elegance on the palate.  It has the stuffing to cellar for five years, but is lovely to drink right now. 
92 Paul Lukacs


Posted by Marguerite Thomas on May 2, 2018 at 8:55 PM

Cocktail Tip: The Gesundheit

With luck, warmer weather means we’ll soon be seeing the end of cold and flu season. Meanwhile, most of us, I think, are tying to stay out of harm’s way by washing our hands obsessively and boosting our immune system’s resistance (we hope) by getting enough sleep and eating a nutritious diet. For many people good nutrition means adding more foods rich in vitamin C to our daily meal plan. One of the simplest and tastiest ways to get more dietary vitamin C is through oranges (a single orange can provide anywhere from 70 to 100 milligrams of vitamin C).

And what does an orange marry with beautifully? Whiskey! Stay with me here--we’re still talking about the flu. Dr. William Shaffner, Chair of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been widely quoted in various media outlets for suggesting that a whiskey-based drink probably won’t prevent you getting a cold or the flu, but if you do get sick…whiskey might very well help treat the symptoms.

The alcohol in whisky dilates blood vessels somewhat, explains Dr. Shaffner, “and that makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection.” In some circles Hot Toddys are the standard treatment for cold or flu symptoms, while other folks swear by hot chai dosed with whiskey. In Ireland people apparently like whiskey mixed with ginger to combat the flu, which makes sense given that ginger has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

But even if you don’t believe that whisky can relieve flu symptoms, or that vitamin C and ginger will help you avoid getting the sniffles, this lovely cocktail will undoubtedly make you happy.

Recipe: The Gesundheit

4 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
4 ounces rye
2 ounces ginger liqueur*
1 teaspoon Cointreau

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake, strain, and pour into a glass of your choice.

*I use Stirrings Ginger Liqueur, which is nicely spicy, and sweet enough for my palate, anyway. Stirrings is relatively inexpensive at $20, and has forthright, but not too intense, gingery flavors. This brand is sweetened with cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Dalla Valle: Napa Valley Royalty
Ed McCarthy

Dalla Valle's back-story is fascinating. The winery was founded in 1982 by Italian-born Gustav Dalla Valle and his Japanese-born wife, Naoko Dalla Valle. Naoko met Gustave Dalla Valle in the late 1970s. They married and moved to Napa Valley, where they intended to open a resort and a restaurant. Gustave's family had long traditions of winemaking in Italy and Naoko's family had been sake makers. The couple quickly realized that the land they purchased, on a westward-facing hillside east of Oakville, was ideally suited for planting wine grapes. They purchased 10 additional acres of contiguous land in 1986 and planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
The Pays Nantais: Unique Geology, Enchanting Wines
Wayne Belding

To beat the summer heat, there's no better source of thirst-slaking wines than France's Loire Valley. The wines from this extensive region are perfect warm weather wines -- exhibiting an exuberant, refreshing and thoroughly enchanting style. The valley of the Loire River stretches some 625 miles across northern France and is home to an amazing array of distinctive, and attractive red and white wines interspersed throughout a region dotted with fairytale castles, grand chateaux of the renaissance, and dwellings cut into chalky riverside cliffs.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Five-Spice Chicken with Chickpea & Olive Salad

With its seductive sweet/ tangy/ spicy flavors, five-spice blend is a common component in the cuisines of China and Taiwan. Many of the premixed commercial versions are excellent (we often use McCormick's), but making your own blend using ingredients that you already have on your spice shelf can be fun and easy. The basic mix is not carved in stone, and variations on the general theme are common. Sichuan pepper, for example, is a standard ingredient in the mix, but a combination of freshly ground black pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper works just fine too. If you have anise seeds in your spice collection but not star anise, no problem. Feel free to add orange peel (fresh or dried) to the mix, and of course garlic generally improves almost any savory dish. We might have added ginger to our recipe here, but we decided to put it in the salad instead.
On My Table
An Austere Terroir and Its Rich, Ripe Fruit
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Cellers Melis, and its wine called 'Melis,' are new to most wine lovers in the U.S. because the 2015 is the first vintage released here. But the roots of the winery extend back to California, where its founders, longtime friends Javier López and Victor Gallegos, were once roommates at U.C. Davis. In 1999, the two friends decided to pursue their shared passion for the wines of Spain's Priorat region, capitalizing on Javier's skills as an agricultural engineer and Victor's winemaking expertise. In 2004 they made their debut vintage of Melis. Victor stepped back from the project in 2009 to devote more attention to Sea Smoke, the respected California winery where he is general manager and director of winemaking; Toni Sanchez, who had been involved in winemaking there since 2005, guided the production of 2015 Melis.