Writer: Chik Brenneman

60 result(s).

Wines Two Ways: Oaked and Unoaked

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To Oak, or not to Oak, a phrase I took from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and changed the words around a little. But going a step further and delving into the tools that

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Pinot Gris/Grigio The name says it all, or does it?

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Unknown to the science at the time, these genetic mutations were first noticed hundreds of years ago in Burgundy, France, where the mutants grew side by side, and sometimes within the same plant as Pinot Noir.

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Chambourcin: A vigorous, dark hybrid

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. . . (Chambourcin) does get a little more respect than other hybrids because of its ability to improve color in other wines without taking away from the other grapes’ varietal character . . .

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Torrontés: An alternative to the common whites

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I was particularly drawn to Torrontés because of the Muscat-like flavors, but another reason was because of the challenge it presents from a winemaking perspective . . .

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Sangiovese: The king of Tuscany

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Grapes in Tuscany are a way of life, and Sangiovese, the red workhorse of Tuscany through the millennia, is as noble as they get — well, depending who you talk to.

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Pinot Blanc: A grape with an identity crisis

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Pinot Blanc — one of the offspring of Pinot Noir — is waiting for its 15 minutes of fame to come around.

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Marechal Foch

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Marechal Foch is a cold-climate red grape that has dispersed plantings in the Midwest, Northeast, and Canada.

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Muscadine: A taste of the South

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Muscadine is a grape variety from the South that is used in many culinary recipes, but also makes a fine wine.

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Petit Verdot: The forgotten Bordeaux blend grape

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Petit Verdot is one of the “big five” grapes that make up a Bordeaux blend. Learn more about this red blender.

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Vidal Blanc

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Vidal Blanc was originally develloped for Cognac production in the cold maritime regions of western France. Today it is a go-to grape in the US Northeast and Midwest as well as Canada. Plus, a recipe for Vidal icewine.

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Albariño/Alvarinho: The wine of Galicia

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Albariño/Alvarinho is the grape of the Spanish region of Galacia, and it’s catching on in the States too.

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Zinfandel Wine Case Study

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The concept of a case study to help learn or understand a process is well known in the science and medical fields. During my previous career as a clinical laboratory scientist, my

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Müller-Thurgau: Germany’s other white grape

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Prior to giving way to Riesling at the turn of the century, Müller-Thurgau was the most prominent white grape in Germany. It is still very popular as an everyday drinking wine enjoyed young.

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Mourvèdre: A Tannic grape for many wine styles

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Mourvèdre is a fine blending grape with significant tannins, but don’t overlook the varietal and rosé options.

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Symphony: 40 Years in the Making

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Symphony is a white grape bred from Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris by Dr. Harold Olmo. Grown in California, Symphony grapes are found in many wine kits.

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The many wines of Chardonel

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Chardonel, as the name implies, has Chardonnay as one of its parents and is used to make similar wine styles. Its popularity is largely along the East Coast and Midwest regions of the United States, but its wines stand up against those from any region.

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Touriga Nacional

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I was a late bloomer when it came to seeing the world. It wasn’t until 10 years ago that I had the opportunity to start traveling internationally. Despite growing up in an

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Ruby Cabernet

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When I started graduate school at UC-Davis in 1995, one of my first classes was a seminar series. Being the first session of the academic year, a round of introductions started the

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Skin Contact Decisions

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Winemakers have to decide how long to macerate their grapes to make the best wine. But how? Too little skin contact and the wines can lack color or body; too much contact and you wind up with wines that are too bitter or astringent. Learn more about skin contact to make an informed decision.

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Traminette: Little Gewürztraminer grows up

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It is so wonderful to have such friends and colleagues at WineMaker magazine who keep inviting me back to speak at the annual conference (and I am looking forward to San Diego,

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Tannat: The Tannin-rich Grape of Legend

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Tannat grapes are synonymous with highly phenolic and tannic must. Learn about this grape’s storied past and how to hit the sweet spot in the vineyard and the winery to tame this potent grape.

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Carignane/Mazuelo: A Spanish grape with many names

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Many wine grapes have different names when grown in various parts of the world. That is especially true for Carignane, which is officially called Mazuelo in its homeland of Spain. Find out how both viticulturalists and enologists handle this unique grape.

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Alicante Bouschet: An eccentric grape with a unique history

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At one time, Alicante Bouschet was one of the most popular grapes planted in the United States. Learn about the history of this grape variety and how you can add it to your winemaking quiver.

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Black Spanish

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Will the real Black Spanish stand up? I have to admit, when we first decided on this variety as a topic, I had never thought I had made wine from it. However,

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Petit Manseng

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A long time ago, brave souls looking for an easier route to the Far East set sail west across the Atlantic Ocean. Controversial at the time given the prevailing philosophy was that

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