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exploring wine with tim fish archive

Photo by: David Yellen
Tim Fish

May 2011

The Great Wine-and-Hamburger Taste-Off
In search of the perfect combo, just in time for Memorial Day
Posted: May 25, 2011 10:00am ET

Hamburgers are the all-American choice on Memorial Day. Each year, as summer approaches, I set out to find some of the best wines to enjoy with a burger. The key word here is “enjoy.” If you can’t have fun trying different wines with a hamburger, then you’re taking yourself (and the wine) way too seriously.

Here are my picks for some of the best wines to pair with an afternoon of grilling burgers in the sun.

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How to Try 200 Wines in 3 Hours
Tips from the Vegas Grand Tour for making the most of the upcoming Boston tasting
Posted: May 18, 2011 9:00am ET

When there are 200 wineries pouring their best wines and you have three hours and the clock is ticking, you need a strategy. That was obvious the minute the door opened Saturday night at Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour tasting in Las Vegas.

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Eeny Meeny Miny Moe at the Wine Shop
Wine labels help cinch the sale, so wineries invest big bucks to catch your eye
Posted: May 11, 2011 11:00am ET

Wouldn't it be great to have a wine expert on hand every time you shopped? I could use a little help with Italian wines myself. Savvy wine retailers have staff working the aisles, but most wine consumers are on their own, and they're lucky if the shelves are posted with a handful of recommendations or reviews.

Retail shelves are the frontline of the battle for the consumer coin. For that reason, wineries spend a lot of time and money on labels.

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Fear and Loathing with California Merlot
Calm down, there are plenty of good wines if you're a smart consumer
Posted: May 4, 2011 11:00am ET

I’ve been drinking California Merlot for 20 years, and it still makes me crazy. It’s one of the most popular red wines in the United States, but so much of it is damn boring.

The funny thing is, I still like drinking it. As Wine Spectator's lead critic for California Merlot since 2005, I’ve come to appreciate the challenges.

Merlot’s reputation as a soft and supple red is only partially deserved in California. In the 1990s, wineries and growers all over the state planted Merlot with the assumption it would thrive. It didn’t.

California learned what France found out long ago. Merlot is a persnickety grape, good for blending but challenging by itself. It’s every bit as difficult to grow and just as finicky about the growing season as Pinot Noir. Still, there are some great values available. Here are a few of my favorites.

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