One Theme, A Growing Story

Each month, Tasting Table’s Monthly Editions explores a single topic from a variety of delicious angles. Our April 2012 issue, Wine, dives deeply into our favorite bottles.

All month long we’ll be talking about the best ways to experience the grape--both at its source and in your home--with useful advice from the country’s finest wine experts.

To pop the cork, peruse our picks for the most exciting wine regions, from Spain to the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California. Cheers!

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    This remote cluster of islands never suffered damage from Phylloxera, the tiny insects that wiped out European vineyards in the 19th century. So the Canary Islands boast ungrafted vines and unique terroir (grapes are subject to both ocean breezes and volcanic ash).

    Where to Stay: The island of Tenerife has the most options, including the super-luxe Ritz Carlton (rates start at $280 for one night). Visit the other islands via short ferry rides.

    Where to Eat: The famed Spanish chef Martín Berasategui is the driving force at Tenerife’s M.B., with a menu specializing in seafood (about $170 per person for dinner).

    What to Drink:Los Bermejos Winery’s options are diverse: start your meal on the islands or at home with a funky sparkling wine, Espumoso Brut NV ($45 for 750 ml; click here to buy).

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    There are gnarled Zinfandel vines growing in the Sierra Foothills that were planted not long after the Gold Rush began. But this sprawling region’s newer granite-soil vineyards are luring winemakers back to the home of the mother lode.

    Where to Stay: The brick façade and stately dining room of Amador City’s Imperial Hotel ($105 to $145 for one night) are pure Old California.

    Where to Eat: Andrae’s Bakery serves rich Kobe-beef pastrami ($7) on its own freshly baked bread.

    What to Drink: The 2009 Clos Saron Pinot Noir ($55 for 750 ml; click here to order), made from fruit grown in vintner Gideon Beinstock’s ungrafted vineyard, shows that the grape’s earthy, mushroom-scented side can indeed be achieved in California.

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    Vineyards weren’t planted on the North Fork of New York’s Long Island until the late 1970s. Recently, a group of winemakers has revolutionized this fledgling region, experimenting with little-known grapes, incorporating unorthodox techniques and unearthing the region’s best vines.

    Where to Stay: A luxuriously renovated Victorian mansion, the Jedediah Hawkins Inn ($350 for one night) offers a glimpse of the region’s elegant past.

    Where to Eat: The Fifth Season’s perpetually changing market menu ($22 to $30 for main courses) combines the freshest local ingredients with the best local bottles.

    What to Drink: The innovative 2010 Channing Daughters Mudd West Vineyard Blaufränkisch ($27 for 750 ml; click here to buy) gives Austria’s signature red grape an unexpected yet ideal home in Long Island’s cool Northeastern soils.

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    The side of an active volcano probably isn’t the most responsible place to plant vines. Sicily’s Mount Etna sure is an exciting place to visit, though. These days, American sommeliers have been eagerly preaching the gospel of Etna’s red wines. But there are tremendous white wines here too, made with local grapes Carricante and Catarratto.

    Where to Stay: Up the smoking volcano is the teeny town of Linguaglossa. Its chic whitewashed Shalai hotel is an ideal jumping-off point for a wine tour.

    Where to Eat: Not far from Shalai is Sandro Di Bella’s Cave Ox, the hangout for local winemakers. The pizza is incredible, as is the wine list.

    What to Drink: Here are a few to look for: fresh 2009 Biondi Outis Bianco ($27 for 750 ml), citrusy 2009 Graci Quota 600 Etna Bianco ($41 for 750 ml) and the lively 2010 Terre Nere Etna Bianco ($22 for 750 ml).

  • SENT APRIL 26, 2012


    Contact Form

    Breaking down orange wine

    Confession: We're still grappling with orange wines. Our struggle is due in no small part to the category's misnomer: "Orange" wine is rarely orange. Some are barely pink and...

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  • SENT APRIL 25, 2012


    Pink Ladies

    Rosé rocks the coast

    The winemakers of the Sonoma Coast are sneaky. They produce and talk mostly about reds and whites made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively. And although those classic...

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  • SENT APRIL 23, 2012


    TT Plated: Wine

    Give new meaning to wine and dine

    We’re used to agonizing over what wine to pair with dinner feasts, but now that equation has flipped. Wine has always played a starring role in our drinking glasses, and now...

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  • SENT APRIL 16, 2012


    Somm Spot

    Wine geeks strike out on their own

    This is the year that sommeliers become masters of their own destinies. Rather than arranging pairings for someone else's menu, three well-respected somms have taken the leap to...

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  • SENT APRIL 10, 2012


    Byrrh'd Papa

    Beefed-up wine equals better cocktails

    It sometimes seems as though whiskey and gin have the bartending world in a vise grip. The true starlet of the cocktail renaissance, though, has been wine--specifically,...

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  • SENT APRIL 4, 2012


    Seder Sippin'

    Kosher Champagne, just in time for Passover

    When it comes to Champagne, New Year's and birthdays are the most common celebratory holidays. But now flutes are also appropriate at the Passover seder. This year, you can keep...

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