By Rick Riozza

I love receiving email from you CV Weekly readers who respond to this Vino Voice column. I thought it would be enjoyable to print some samples of your emails and my responses over this past year.

Dear Rick: I know you think you’re cool because you can write a little in French & Italian and constantly pepper your articles with that stuff; but, I’m Portuguese-German and those countries have very good wines—why not write about that? (JJ, Thermal)

Hey JJ. You are so correct in stating Portugal and Germany produce great wines. One of my favorite white is the German Riesling Kabinett—especially from the Rheingau—that carry scents of fresh green apples, lively rose petals, and have great acidity to keep the sweet notes checked. If someone put a gun to my head continuously and said I could only drink ONE type of white wine forever—well brother, that wine would be the Kabinett!

And of course Vintage Port is fantastic. About 25 years ago I was fortunate to buy a case of 1963 Vintage Port at an auction for a hundred bucks. No one wanted it because it was the little known Quarles Harris brand (great name—by the way, with a great looking funky label.) Now you know that year was super-stellar and all the famous name brands sold very high. I made out! I tried the 100 pointer $300 bottle of ‘63 Taylor-Fladgate—and yes! It was stupendous! It had aged violet perfume and dark chocolate and dark fruit—powerful and intense! The Quarles Harris although not as powerful was absolutely as delicious.

Now I would be more than happy to write in Portuguese but they have a bunch of pronunciation marks and that great nasal sound that is difficult for me to find and replicate on my keyboard.

As far as German goes—have you seen how they spell those words? I’d run out of column space just discussing one and a half wines. Lebensabschnittgefährter is a relatively short word meaning “partner” or “lover” with a transient twist—as with the idea “the one I’m with presently”. “Independence declarations” translates to Unabhaengigkeitserklaerungen, and Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften means “insurance companies providing legal protection” Now I may never use these words, but wine is a very broad subject—you never know.

Dear Rick: I am an accountant and my wife and I went to a wine dinner event you wrote about and you said you’d be there. We had a great time and enjoyed the food and wine you recommended. Granted many people were there, but we didn’t recognize you anywhere. Are you much older than your photo shows? I think a great idea to help your brand is to throw a wine party with all of those great wines you talk about. Believe me it’s worth it, and, you can deduct all of the cost of your wine on your taxes. (Mr. T, Palm Desert)

Dear Mr. T: Thanks for looking out—both for me at the dinner and tax-wise. Of course I was there—if there is anything I hate, it’s allowing any food to go to waste. In fact on my card it says “Have fork & spoon, Will travel”. I’m sorry to have missed you and the Mrs., but if you think back, I was the one who kept talking with my mouth full. Next time I promise to carry on a little louder and act even more stuck-up.

I really don’t want to sound like a party-pooper, but lately I’m enjoying going over friend’s houses and trying out the wines they wish to impress me with. It gives them great joy to see me smile after gulping down their stuff and I’ll often stick around until they offer me a bottle to take home. I really wish I had more time on hand to share with you readers. Why not friend me on Facebook and I can come over and see how well you’re doing with your wine collection.

Dear Rick: Sometime ago, you wrote an article on wine tasting parties and in one part you even suggested to put out an array of those cheap wines for a “blind low-end” wine tasting party to determine the “worst”. We think that sounds fun and it wouldn’t cost that much. Were you serious (it’s hard to tell sometimes) or do you think we’d offend our guests? (Skechy, Palm Springs)

Dear Skechy: I think challenging Two-Buck Chuck to Oak Leaf and comparing Babygate Chardonnay to Arbor Mist Muscat is a cruel joke. Even if your friends and guests know beforehand that they will be getting a little sick after the wine tasting and still wish to participate, it goes to show what kind of people you’re hanging out with. Having those wines around are dangerous. Just this last Thanksgiving, a family cooked with some of the wines you’re thinking of showcasing and it ruined the entire meal. They had to throw everything out. Do the right thing and buy a couple of good bottles for the evening and don’t be thinking of wine tasting parties again.

Rick hosts and conducts at wine events and tastings about town. Contact and look for your emails reported soon.

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