You Can Assess An Italian Restaurant Based On Its Wine

Italian wine—I can assure you—is good. Very good. However, you need to know what to choose, especially at a restaurant. Outside Italy, how can you interpret the wine list and pick a high-quality product? Cinzia Benzi, a friend and sommelier, but also the organizer of one of the most important food conferences in Italy (and the world), “Identità Golose” conceived by Paolo Marchi, gave me some valuable advice.
THESE HAVE TO BE ON THE LIST Some wines that have now become brands and are mainly produced in speci c Italian regions should always been on a good wine list. It is important that they be associated with the right regions: Chianti, Morellino, Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany); Barolo and Barbera d’Asti (Piedmont); Amarone della Valpollicella (Veneto); Nero d’Avola (Sicily); Pinot Grigio (Trentino and Veneto). It is also important that, alongside the names of the wines, you see the acronym DOC or DOCG, which respectively stand for controlled designation of origin, and controlled and guaranteed designation of origin. These are not meaningless letters, as they will make you con dent that you are buying a quality product, because they guarantee that the product has passed checks and taste tests, that they pertain to a speci c territory, and that they are truly “those” wines.

In addition to being written on the wine list, check that these acronyms are also on the bottle. If the region of origin is not speci ed on the list, ask your sommelier when you are served the bottle with the name of the wine you chose. If you’re offered a Primitivo from Tuscany, send it back: Primitivo, a DOC red, can only come from the Manduria area, in Puglia.
This has become an international word, but if you’re at a restaurant and want a good one, check to see if next to the name you nd DOCG “Conegliano Valdobbiadene – Prosecco” and “Colli Asolani – Prosecco” (or “Asolo” – “Prosecco”), which indicate even more limited production areas and products of guaranteed quality.
The price counts. Beware of a wine being sold at less than half the price of the other ones on the list. Given customs fees and markup, a quality wine can’t possibly be cheap. This doesn’t mean that you have to order the most expensive one, but once you check the average price for the same type (red, white, bubbly), choose one with a price aligned with similar wines.

The best pairing is the one that hasn’t been suggested yet, according to a French maître d’, but the truth is that the pairing has to appeal to the person eating that dish and choosing that wine. When

you think about a good plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce, Milanese-style risotto, spaghetti alla carbonara or a Sicilian arancino, you’re spoiled for choice. I would enjoy the spaghetti with tomato with a good Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC, the risotto with a Franciacorta DOCG Satén, the carbonara with a Pinot Bianco dell’Alto Adige and the arancino with a good Nero d’Avola.

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New Airline Would Give Half Of Profits To Charity

This is the golden ticket.
If a new airline raises enough funds to launch, it will donate at least 51 percent of its net profits to charity, according to the company’s website.
People Over Profit is calling its approach the “caring capitalist” model. Its efforts will support orphans, homeless people, people with disabilities and women and children in need, among others.
The airline will fly between London and two cities in India to start, Amristar and Ahmedabad.
POP said it will donate the funds through Charities Aid Foundation, which connects businesses and individuals to causes. Partnering with CAF will enable the airline to feel confident that its funds are going to vetted and worthwhile groups, the company added. 
Through CAF the company will support a number of charities including, Railway Children, which helps protect children living on the streets of India. 
“We do not want just to hand over money and walk away like many companies do,” POP said on its site. “We will regularly meet with our charity partners and be actively involved in deciding which projects to support as we want to create sustainable and transformative change whenever and wherever possible.” 
POP is pursuing the crowdfunding route in order to get the company off the ground.
It’s hoping to sell 7,000 Gold Passes, with the goal of initially raising 3.5 million British pounds ($4.8 million). The passes expire after five years and come with eight benefits, including a free return flight, extra legroom and a free meal.
It then hopes to reach a target of 10,000 Gold Passes, which translates into 5 million British Pounds ($6.8 million).
The company said it will use the money to set up the airline and apply for relevant permissions. The goal is to be up and running by next fall.
The sky’s the limit. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Where To Eat When Visiting Rome

When the weather turns nice, the sunset lingers and it feels like night will never come, you need to dine outside in Rome (or have breakfast or lunch) on a terrace or in a garden. Here are ve lovely choices, recommended by natives or adopted Romans.
The garden, planted with lemon trees and laurel, with the scent of basil and marjoram, is spread out over 7,500 square feet. The colorful little tables are just like those on the balconies of countless Italian houses. At lunch, you’ll nd Roman dishes (tonnarelli pasta with cheese and ground pepper, meatballs), and at dinner there’s pizza. All day, you can order supplì, bruschetta and burgers. Via Bartolomeo d’Alviano, 65, +39 06 2752608
A blast from the past: here you’ll nd the atmosphere of the beloved old Rome, like you see in movies (not surprisingly, it is popular with the cinema crowd). The internal courtyards, with a pergola covered with vines and wisteria, and an ancient Roman fountain serve as a backdrop for traditional dishes (fried zucchini blossoms, mezze maniche Amatriciana style). Via della Croce 81, tel. +39 06 6791178.

VIVI BISTROT Villa Pamphili. In the park of Villa Dora Pamphili, the Provençal-style venue is perfect for everything from breakfast to happy hour and on to a candlelight dinner, with a view of the park. It can also arrange to make picnic baskets. The seasonal menus range from Italian recipes (spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and botargo) to international dishes (Middle Eastern hummus and Indian curry). The entrance is at Via Vitellia, 102, tel. +39 06 5827540

International in name and concept, The Corner is a townhouse (with a hotel) surrounded by a terrace- garden with cozy chairs and a vintage gazebo, where you can enjoy a drink or have dinner (with a bar menu). The restaurant, with a tasting menu, has a room/ greenhouse where the roof opens up in summer so you’re under the pergola, the sky and the stars. Viale Aventino 121, tel. +39 06 4559735

PORTO FLUVIALE In the courtyard, which reopens in summer, you’ll dine amid plants and owers, under colorful lights like those of a village festival. It offers Roman pizza (thin and crispy) or Neapolitan-style pizza (thicker and breadier), but also trattoria fare. Depending on how hungry you are, you can order a full or half portion of your favorite dish, or a lot of cicchetti (appetizers): you’ll be charged by how much you eat. Via del Porto Fluviale, 22 tel. + 39 06 5743199.

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This Credit Card Lets You Donate Your Cash Back Rewards To Charity

Now you can put those rewards points you never actually utilize to good use.
The new Charity Charge credit card lets users donate their cash back rewards to any nonprofit of their choice, according to a release. The MasterCard issued by Commerce Bank gives cardholders one percent cash back on every purchase, to be given to up to three organizations or K-12 schools of the user’s choosing.
“I just want to make doing good part of the routine of everyday living,” founder Stephen Garten told Fast Company. “A lot of people are saying ‘what’s the point of points?’ This is an easy way for them to do good in the world.”

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Americans failed to use around $16 billion in loyalty rewards in 2010 alone — that’s almost a third of the total rewards points U.S. households earned that year, gone entirely to waste. Charity Charge, a public benefit corporation, lets people donate those otherwise-wasted points to a higher purpose.
Existing affinity cards also allow people to make a donation with each purchase, but often the return isn’t as high. Bank of America’s Susan G. Komen card, for instance, which gives part of every purchase to the breast cancer foundation, donates only 0.08 percent, according to the Chicago Tribune. So, if you were to stack up a $10,000 credit card bill, the charity would get $8. The same amount spent on the Charity Charge card would generate a $100 donation.
Importantly, Charity Charge also underwrites the ​donation processing fees, according to their website, so the full donation amount goes to the nonprofit.

The card allows users to give to any nonprofit in the U.S. For the uninitiated philanthropist, the company features some recommended options on its website, included animal rights organization the Humane League, faith-based Catholic Relief Services, or veterans’ nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project.
For users who want to be more hands-on with their giving, Charity Charge lets people change up the organizations they’re giving to at any time, and track how much they’ve contributed through the website.
“One of the big credit card companies asks: ‘What’s in your wallet?’” Garten said, according to a blog on Encast. “We prefer the question: ‘What’s in your heart?’”
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It Is Impossible To Argue About Politics Here

It doesn’t matter where you look these days, there is somebody trying to separate you from those “others” who are different. Somebody is trying to divide us, to categorize us with different labels. But there is still one completely safe space in this world – a place where these differences disappear and where we can unite in commonalities instead.

That safe space is underwater.

Photo by Amanda Walkins

Scuba diving is about community and about mutual understanding; there is an immense level of trust and cooperation that divers must utilize for successful and enjoyable dives.

Every day all around the world, people of varied nationalities and backgrounds come together to marvel at nature’s underwater playground. Diving establishes a community in the most remote parts of Earth, bringing people together and uniting us when so many other factors are trying to divide us instead.

Divers are all the same underwater – we are all visitors in a foreign land and our accents, our races, our beliefs have no meaning there. We are united as humans, venturing into the depths of the sea as lifelong students and researchers, as advocates and ambassadors.

It is impossible to argue underwater. It is impossible to shout over each other and to try to create divisions. Even a line drawn in the sand will very quickly disappear.

Underwater, we can be at peace and watch as an entire world coexists in fluid harmony as it has always done.

Photo courtesy of PADI

So this summer, while arguments rise with the temperatures, find a way to come together instead of trying to push each other apart.

Whether you are an experienced diver or you’ve never worn fins before, you are always welcome in the dive community. Each new diver adds something new to the group, and for each new certified diver, the world gains an advocate for protecting the oceans.

Photo courtesy of PADI

While divers used to predominantly be men, the diving community has seen more and more women joining in recent years. In fact, last year, PADI (The Professional Association of Diving Instructors) helped to narrow the gender gap of earned Open Water diver certifications by 1% following the organization’s Women’s Dive Day events. With that added diversity to the diving community comes cause to celebrate again this year.

On July 16th, come out and join this diving community in the second-annual PADI Women’s Dive Day. Last year’s event was a massive success, with divers – both male and female – getting together in 65 countries around the world to celebrate and honor all the fearless female divers of days past and present.

This year, PADI members, industry icons, and recreational divers will once again take part in events scheduled across the globe (400 events and counting) to celebrate and empower women in diving.

The scuba diving community continuously embraces new members from all walks of life, and the celebration of that togetherness is a welcome addition to an already wonderful group.

Photo courtesy of PADI

Wherever your summer travel plans are taking you in July, you’re bound to find a Women’s Dive Day event nearby. And if you’re staying local – even better! Get in touch with your local dive shop to see if they already have an event planned. If not, follow the fin kicks of the fearless females before you and create your own event. You’ll grow your own community and create a better sense of unity, which is sorely needed right now.


This article was completed and photos were contributed with assistance from PADI. Amanda Walkins is a PADI Diver and former PADI dive shop manager in Roatan, Honduras.

Amanda Walkins is a serial expat and travel addict. You can read more about her love for scuba diving – and for a certain scuba diver – at — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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I'm Moving Overseas. Do I Need a Foreign Credit Card Issued in That Country?

By Lindsay Konsko

As the world economy becomes increasingly intertwined, U.S. workers in many industries are being offered opportunities to work overseas. That creates some obstacles as far as using financial services and foreign credit cards. Should you apply for credit cards at foreign banks to get international credit cards issued while you’re abroad?

It’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get a foreign credit card.

U.S. credit history is meaningless

The reason is that other countries not only pay no attention to your U.S. credit report, but they also have no real way of communicating with credit bureaus from a technological and IT standpoint. The systems aren’t set up to talk to one another. Even if they were, there are issues regarding exchanging personal information internationally that would hamper the process.
More to the point, however, foreign creditors couldn’t care less about your U.S. credit history. That’s because the U.S. credit system is based on that magic nine-digit number called your Social Security number. Other countries use a host of different identifiers for their citizens.

What’s a responsible credit user to do?

Set up ahead of time

First, give yourself as much lead time as necessary to prepare for your move. Do research on what most landlords, banks, telecom, Internet and utility companies require to set up leases and accounts. That doesn’t just mean going online and reading up on stuff. It means making direct international calls to the people who make decisions. You should go straight to the source. To the extent you can set things up before you move, that’s even better. You want to have basic services up and running before you arrive.

If you want to buy property, make direct calls or emails to local real estate agents to learn about getting real estate loans and what information you’ll need to provide.

Decide on the best U.S. card

As for credit cards, since you will be unlikely to obtain a card from the local bank, you’ll want to look to the accounts you already have and optimize them for international travel. Virtually all U.S. credit cards will work overseas. Visa and MasterCard are accepted just about everywhere. American Express is accepted in many places, but not quite as broadly.

Many cards waive foreign transaction fees, but not all of them do, so make sure you have the right cards. Call each card company to find out the exchange rates that are applied to charges. This is where you must be careful. The exchange rates may vary substantially. You may not think that a penny or two difference is going to matter, but that difference will add up over time.

The all-important exchange rate

The words you want to hear on the exchange rate are “spot rate.” That means the currency will be converted at the exact exchange rate the currency markets reflect at the moment of the charge. You may get several different answers from different companies. You’ll need to calculate each number and compare it to the spot rate.

The best method is to ask what the current exchange rate is that they record charges at. Then, compare it to the spot rate. Whichever card comes closest is the one you’ll want to steer toward. Of course, you may have to weigh other considerations such as reward features.

Do it all online

You don’t have to change to a foreign address with the credit card company. You can continue to get statements mailed to your U.S. address, or you could set up a U.S. post office box. You can always check statements online or call customer service for the amounts due. You can use online payments to eliminate all the paperwork.

In each case, however, talk to customer service. Tell them you are moving overseas. They want to provide you with good service because they don’t want you going to another company. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Watch As New Yorkers Get Crushed With Despair As They JUST Miss The Subway

New Yorkers have a love-hate relationship with their subway… and this video captures much of the second part of that equation. 
Watch as commuters and tourists alike dash across the platform only to have the doors slam shut before their eyes… and in some cases, right on their toes.

Best of all, the endless frustration is set to calming classical music. 
Check it out in the clip above, created by Gothamist. 
(h/t Mashable) — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Travel Protocol: Top 8 Tips for Packing the Perfect Suitcase

Unpacking your suitcase after arriving should be seamless as you find your favorite shoes and lucky socks. Packing efficiently saves space, time, and ensures no necessary belongings are left behind.

Like any art form–preparation and thought go into a well packed bag. If you are or will be a frequent traveler, create a Packing List. Before you pack, create a list of events to be attended, adventure activities, work and evening gatherings requiring professional or evening attire. Once you’ve selected clothes to wear, remove one outfit. Let’s face it; no one wears everything they pack. There’s always something that can be cut. Select more tops than trousers or skirts because you can easily wear bottoms twice.

Top 8 Tips on How To Pack:

Lightweight and durable are the criteria to keep in mind. Unless you’re headed to an extended vacation (2 weeks plus), a carry-on will alleviate travel stress and save money. Very few airlines allow a free checked bag. Checking a bag limits options if a flight is cancelled or changed.

Luggage Scale:
It is wise to invest in a residential luggage scale if you must check a bag. Exceeding the 50-pound limit is detrimental to your wallet. Making sure you are under the weight limit prior to airport arrival is reassuring.

Photograph & Tag:
On both carry-on and checked bags, photograph your luggage, pack a business card or ID tag inside and include an external bag tag. When five identical bags slide down the luggage chute, identify yours with a distinguishing ribbon, sticker or luggage tag.

Invest in wrinkle-free, lightweight clothing with a similar color palette for layering, easy mixing and matching. Place an extra dryer or scented sheet inside your bag to reduce unpleasant odors. Pack sturdy, several collapsible travel bags for purchases. Don’t mark yourself as a robbery target. Expensive jewelry, family heirlooms and watches stay home.

Roll, Roll, Roll:
Rolling your clothes saves space while preventing creases and wrinkles. After rolling, use air-compression plastic bags to vacuum extra air. Efficiently packing the heaviest items (jeans, jackets) at the suitcase bottom. Wrap belts around the edges of the suitcase to cradle clothing. Fill the suitcase with lightest clothing at the top (rolling the entire time).

If you have a shoe fetish, it may be hard to limit yourself to three pairs of travel shoes: casual pair, tennis shoes, and evening/professional shoes. Many experts advise wearing your heaviest pair on the day of travel to keep suitcase weight low. Shoes go in shoe bags foot-to-toe, before heavy items, at the very bottom. If packing shoe soles facing the bag sides, slide shoes into shower caps or clear plastic bags first. Place socks and small articles into your deodorized shoes to save space.

Purchase travel sized toiletries under 3.0 ounces, or use destination amenities. Double-bag all necessary toiletries (liquids, gels) to prevent stains. Place this bag at the very top of your carry-on for quick retrieval at security if you are not TSA-PreCheck.

Organize all gadgets, chargers, and cables in a tech organizer for easy retrieval at security if questions arise.

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D. wrote this article with the valuable insights of Clemson University student Shannan Bloomstrand. Sharon is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS KEYE We Are Austin, popular on-air contributor, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times, The Vancouver Sun, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015.

Shannan Bloomstrand is a Summer Intern with Sharon Schweitzer at Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is a senior Language and International Health major with an emphasis in Community Development and a minor in Biology at Clemson University. Feel free to connect with Shannan on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @shannanbloom. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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The Miami of the German World

Graz is a town, some say city (depending on your definition) you might not expect to exist in the German-speaking world. It may have something to do with the fact, that you have never heard of a city called Graz to exist.

With its well-preserved old town from the Middle Ages (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage), a castle hill in the center, many colorful, well restored buildings of more than 100 years old, day and night safety for Western standards, and super-safety for world standards, Graz is a true treasure chest in many ways.

As for mentality and geography I would say Graz is the most southern of the German-speaking cities above 300.000 citizens.

Graz is highly educated, some say uber-educated, since it’s Austria’s city with the most academics per inhabitants due to several universities and colleges with up to 80.000 students.

Graz is associated with names such as Johannes Kepler (astronomer), Nikola Tesla (inventor), Friedrich Mohs (mineralogist), Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor/politician), Frank Stronach (MAGNA Automotive), Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull founder). Those were either born and raised, had studied or taught in Graz, but all of them had to leave Graz to become big, since Graz still hasn’t the capacity to provide the right environment for such talents.

Graz is definitely not perfect. It’s not edgy nor cosmopolitan, since it’s just not big enough for being edgy, nor is something revolutionary to be expected from Graz or being early adopted in Graz, despite the exceptions. Having said that I would say Graz is on the edge, on the edge of the Balkans.

As for the weather, Graz is hard to compete with, since embedded in rolling hills at the southern foothills of the Alps, protected from harsh weather systems and strong winds from the Atlantic. Normally there is no wind in Graz at all or at best a wind not noteworthy. So normally Graz is also cosy in the winter and ideal for chilling all year-long. Therefore in the days of the Austrian-Empire (Habsburg Empire) the wealthy seniors chose Graz as their place to retire. This got Graz the nickname “Pensionopolis”.

Even during the winter you can sit in a cafè’s patio soaking up the sun, which Graz has plenty of, since it has the most sunshine hours of any big city in the German-speaking world. Graz is blessed with mild Mediterranean climate it shares with northern Italy and the Balkans.

Some say Graz is already part of the northern Balkans. Others strongly object this notion and argue that Graz is the most southern big city of the German-speaking world.

All this makes Graz aesthetic, sophisticated, and as a city the most southern German-speaking outpost, located in the south of the Alps at the frontier of the German-speaking world, just like Miami or more so Key West for the USA as their most southern outposts, located on the edge of the Caribbean, participating on its mild climate and relaxed vibe.

One final hint: If you are into hurricanes, seaside, notoriously muggy weather, and crime, I suggest to stick with Miami or Key West, because Graz isn’t known for that.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Murrieta's Well Refuses to Make Wines to Win Ratings Points

Despite what many passionate winemakers will tell you about the excitement of what they do, the hard facts are that the science and making of wine are largely agricultural and biological. It’s just that Idaho potatoes and New Jersey tomatoes haven’t quite the romantic associations that a Napa Valley Cabernet or Chardonnay has accrued though literature and marketing. Wine writers like myself have to know Chemistry 101 just to be able to interview a wine maker, so we can chat about things like Brix levels, micro-oxygenation and TCA contamination.

Fortunately, as in all interviews, it is the contrarians of the industry who are the most fun and the most revealing about modern viniculture in California, where far too many wines are indeed manufactured back at the winery lab to taste a certain way and to win awards according to the preferences of the wine media.

“If I were asked by a winery to make 96-point [on a scale of 100] wine, I’d just walk away,” says Robbie Meyer (above), since 2015 winemaker at Murrieta’s Well winery in the Livermore Valley. “The people who ask for such a thing know nothing about wine.”

Holding such an opinion flies in the face of many wineries, often owned by Silicon Valley millionaires or Wall Street billionaires who want nothing more from their investment than to win high points or “Wine of the Year” from publications like Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate.

Instead, Meyer, 45, focuses on small lot harvesting and blending based on the soil and micro-climate of the acreage, called terroir. Hailing from Georgia, Meyer earned his Master’s degree in enology at the University of California, Davis, and has worked in prestigious wineries like Peter Michael, Lewis Cellars, and Jericho Canyon as well as for his own labels, Peirson Meyer and L’Angevin.

Murrieta’s Well is owned by the much larger Wente Family Estates, which has built it into their luxury wine brand. Murrieta’s Well honors the name of Joachin Murrieta, who founded a winery in the 1800s and devoted himself to “artfully blended” wines. So, too, Meyer assesses the wine from various estates owned by the winery, then blends them to reflect each vintage’s strengths, so that Murrieta’s Well wines may taste somewhat different from year to year.

Meyer works with 20 different grape varieties from 500 acres with three soil profiles ranging from 560 feet to 860 feet elevations; he plants root stocks according to the soil composition, which will affect flavors. Livermore Valley, for instance, has very gravelly coarse sandy loam, while at Pleasonton the gravel is very fine, and Las Positas has a grass pasture.

Still, Murrieta’s Well wines sell at modest prices by comparison with other well-known California small estate labels. Its white blend, called The Whip, sells for about $22 and has a wonderful aromatic bouquet that comes from orange Muscat, Semillon, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, to give it an acidic edge that makes it very food friendly. The red blend, The Spur, at about $30, is made from Petite Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc, which provide several layers of fruit and tannin.

Murrieta’s Well’s Small Lot line is more expensive and rightly so. Both the Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($58) and the Chardonnay 2014 ($44) are excellent examples of what those California varietals should taste like, not replicas of Bordeaux or Burgundy templates but expressive of the far different terroir of Livermore Valley.

The Cabernet, at 14.4 percent alcohol, skirts being massive while maintaining its tannic muscle, which should mellow further in another two years. The blend contains Petit Verdot, Melbec, Petite Syrah and Merlot, and, according to Meyer, the drought conditions of 2013 actually allowed the winery to “subsidize the minimal water requirements through our sustainable drip irrigation methods.”

The Chardonnay, at 13.9 percent alcohol has none of that overuse of oak and there is an admirable balance of fruit and acid you don’t often see in California Chardonnays, and while not cheap, it is certainly a fair price for a wine of this caliber. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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