Wine Picks & Tips From the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

[ 0 ] June 18, 2011 |

Top wine experts at the 2011 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Marnie Old, Paul Roberts and Belinda Chang share their tips for which wines and regions are best for your table – and your wallet.

When it comes to getting summer wine recommendations for you, genConnect goes directly to the most reputable source: The country’s top sommeliers.

At the 2011 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, genConnect connected with some of the finest wine gurus in the United States and beyond to get their picks for which bottles you should have on your wine racks and shelves this summer.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

Marnie Old @MarnieOldLeading wine personality, host of’s weekly wine and spirits webisode series “Uncorked,” and author of Wine Secrets, a collection of practical wine advice shared by 40 of the world’s top wine experts. Watch genConnect’s video interview with Marnie here.

Q. You recommend Rieslings in the summer. What reds would you recommend?

A. “Riesling is at the very top of my list … it is so refreshing,” Old said. “I want a wine where I can finish a glass and want another … any day at any time.”

As for which red she would pick, her favorite is Tempranillo from Spain. It’s similar to a full-bodied pinot noir in that it can be paired with seafood and meat, and ages gracefully, yet it doesn’t have the pinot noir price tags; you can easily find bottles under $20 “that just rock!”

Q. Can you find great Rieslings under $20?

A. “I think $15 … is really the point of diminishing returns in the wine aisle right now.”

“On average, every dollar you spend up to $15 gets you quite a large increase in quality but the return that you get starts to diminish over $15 … the wines do continue to get better and better but in smaller increments. And whether it makes sense for you to splurge on the $50-$60 Riesling or the $15 one, is really more about what the dollar means to you rather than the quality of the wine.”

Paul RobertsMaster sommelier and estate owner of Napa Valley’s BOND Estates, Paul was the 48th Master Sommelier in the world, earning the Krug Cup, and is the most decorated Michelin-starred sommelier. Watch genConnect’s video interview with Paul here.

Q. If you’re a Cabernet lover, what areas of the world would you look at [to purchase from]?

A. “When it coms to Cabernet, you’ve always got to start in Bordeaux,” France, Roberts said. “Their wines are getting much bigger, much more rich and powerful.” There are also some great Cabernets found in South America.

But Roberts’ top three geographic picks for “really great Cabernet” include: Bordeaux, Left Bank; Napa Valley; and the Coonawarra, known as one of  the finest wine regions in Australia.

Q. Your wines cost three figures. Why does a bottle of wine cost that much?

A. “We’ve had almost three decades of experimentation. It’s taken us a long time to get there. A lot of vineyards didn’t make the cut … but it also comes down to selection,” Roberts said, adding that the way BOND Estates is farming and land costs in Napa means “it’s not an inexpensive endeavor.”

“We’ve been very fortunate that there’s an international demand for our wines,” including demand from the United States, he added.

Belinda Chang @belinda_nyc2011 James Beard Award-winner, former wine director of The Modern and previous wine director for restaurants in Chicago and San Francisco including The Fifth Floor and Charlie Trotter’s, Chang is a TV veteran. Watch genConnect’s video interview with Belinda here.

Q. What makes Riesling so great? It travels well, correct?

A.  Riesling is very “food friendly,” Chang said. “I think it’s also one of those great wines because to me, it’s bulletproof.” For example, you can drink some, cork the rest and put in the fridge and it’s still delicious the next day – sometimes even a few days later. “I think that’s really great value added for that grape,” she said.

Q. Is there a red grape equivalent to the Riesling?

A. You need something with “really great acidity and really great structure,” she said. She suggests a California Zinfadel, since it keeps its taste, structure and acidity for days after opening.


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