Home >> Columns >> Spirits

To most consumers, the concept of Illinois wine is a recent one, and indeed, there has been an explosion of new vineyards and wineries throughout the state in the past 15 years. In 1997, there were only 12 producers; today, there are more than 90.


To most consumers, the concept of Illinois wine is a recent one, and indeed, there has been an explosion of new vineyards and wineries throughout the state in the past 15 years. In 1997, there were only 12 producers; today, there are more than 90.

In the simplest of terms, an organic wine is a wine produced from organically grown grapes. The more difficult question is how are grapes grown organically, and what complexities are involved in the process?

I recently returned from South Africa, where among other adventures, I toured this amazing country's winelands.

On this trip, I brought my wife, Brigitte, and 16 adventurous customers from The Corkscrew, who signed up for a chance to discover South Africa and take an insider's tour of the winelands.

With the onset of spring, my mind always turns to light, fresh foods that wake up my palate and tantalize my taste buds. These foods call for wines with a similar theme - bright, crisp and refreshing. Fortunately, there are many such wines available from all around the world.

With a new year under way, it's time for a resolution in your wine consumption: Branch out, be more adventurous and explore some New World wines from beyond American shores.

Just the name cognac seems to conjure up images of beautiful people in fancy magazine ads - or perhaps, if you're a history buff, you see Sir Winston Churchill in his underground bunker in London during World War II. Rumor has it he consumed a bottle every day.

As a practicing physician, I'm often asked by patients, "Should I drink a glass of wine for my heart?" It seems like such a simple question that a yes or no should suffice, but in reality, the answer is more complex and requires some understanding of the effects of wine on the human body.

As summer ends, I find my choices in wines starting to change. My palate is starting to look for more depth and body to go with the cooler temperatures and more substantial food of autumn.

Each year as summer begins, I am asked, "What is your favorite wine for summer?"

Spain is a large and diverse country with a long history of wine production.

When most Americans think of New Zealand, they tend to think of it as a clean, green land that is largely populated by sheep. While this is not far from reality, there is indeed a thriving wine industry as well. Wine is produced on both the north and south islands in regions with different climates and soil types. However, it was the early success of wines from the Cloudy Bay winery in Marlborough that really focused the attention of the wine world on New Zealand. Marlborough and Sauvignon Blanc have become synonymous with New Zealand wine, but there is so much more to discover.

As the holidays are here it's time to think of special wines that can be given as gifts for your discerning friends and family. This is always a challenge as budgets and tastes vary.

In November, I will be asked several hundred times: "What wine do I serve with turkey?" The answer is considerably more complex than the question, because while turkey is easy to pair with wine, all the other dishes that adorn the Thanksgiving table make wine pairing more challenging.

I was having dinner recently at the home of my good friend and local chef David Radwine. The group at dinner was a mix of local restaurant people and serious foodies. It seemed to me a great chance to do some research on what people knew about Argentina and the wines produced there.

As I sit down to write, I am poolside at my house, sipping a chilled glass of Domaine de Figueirasse Rosé; it is a beautiful sunny day, and moments like this always make me think of France.

There has never been a better time for lovers of wine - particularly for value-priced wines, which I define as the $7 to $15 range. The selection is broad, quality is high and the sources incredibly diverse. In the past decade, Australia has dominated this category, but now wines from Argentina, Spain, Chile and South Africa are squeezing the Aussies out. The selections can be overwhelming, so find a wine merchant you trust and let them do the legwork for you; with their assistance, you can still find some bargains from Italy, Austria, France and the United States.

Most people, when asked what wine will go with fish, will say white; if pushed further, most Americans will say Chardonnay. While the answer may be reasonable, it is seldom the best choice out there. Just as all fish are not equal, neither are all white wines. A little more know-ledge will often lead to a better choice of wine to pair with the fish you are serving.

My first impression of port involved images of Victorian men retiring after dinner to the billiards room to enjoy glasses of it and cigars, the children long in bed and the ladies excused for the evening.

Champagne invokes in all of us a sense of celebration and festiveness, whether it be New Year's Eve, a wedding, birthday, birth or graduation.


Pinot Noir has been cultivated for thousands of years, since Roman times, but it took the hit movie "Sideways" to introduce the grape to the average American. Who can forget the hilarious antics of Miles and Maya as they explore California's Central Coast? This movie did more to promote Pinot Noir than all the marketing money ever spent by the region's wineries. As the laughter has died down, American wine drinkers have continued their love affair with Pinot Noir and have come to revel in the complexities of this incredible grape.

Stay connected

Twitter Facebook
Copyright ©  GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license,
except where noted.