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liquid wisdom

last week, i had the privilege of attending the second day of the wine enthusiast editorial conference – a yearly meeting of some of the world’s most refined palates and esteemed writers to discuss the world of wine and plan a year’s worth of stories in three days’ time.

at the dinner after (which i’ll be writing about sometime this week – it was a truly amazing night) i sat across from wine enthusiast’s california editor, steve heimoff, an incredibly knowledgeable resource who has spent a lifetime learning about his trade.

heimoff is the author of a wonderful wine blog. his latest post asks a question that is often taken for granted by novice wine lovers and connoisseurs alike: “is a winery’s most expensive wine always its best?”

not always, heimoff says, especially if you’re buying a wine to drink immediately. while reserve bottles are often created to age well – tasting best several years from now – most of us drink more short-sightedly. heimoff says that if you’re planning to enjoy your wine within the year, you might actually be better off buying the budget bottle.

“The reserve isn’t “better” the way a Mercedes is better than a Honda. It’s different. If you’re of the school that a big wine far from its peak is better than one made for drinking tonight, then that’s where you sit. But there are other seats at the table.”

as a child of a consumer culture that usually assumes that more expensive = better quality, i’ve always assumed that the $30 or $40 must taste better than the cheap ones (and then gone ahead and bought the cheap vino anyway). heimoff’s post serves as a gentle reminder that wine doesn’t function so straightforwardly, with many other factors – for example, personal taste and what one intends to do with the wine – coming into play.

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4 Wines to Drink at the Beach

By Brenna Cammeron •Jul 06, 2009

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Ah, lazy days at the beach. Maybe you’ve secured your spot at Dennis, or just been through tourist hell in Vineyard Haven.

Either way, the seagulls caw overhead, waves crash against the shoreline, and the brightly blazing sun warms you to the point of feeling like a rotisserie chicken slowly roasting atop a deli counter.

Parched? Of course you are. But rather than reach for a warm can of beer or a rum and Coke-filled Nalgene, we suggest that you step up your shore side drinking game with a crisp and chilly glass of wine.

At the outset, drinking wine at the beach might seem like more work than it’s worth. Bottles get broken, corkscrews get lost in the sand, and there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be drinking your precious vino out of a flimsy plastic cup.

But consider the upside: wine is pretty sturdy stuff, screw caps are everywhere, and you’ll be able to enjoy your wine without the faintest hint of pretension. After all, it’s hard to get snobby about wine in board shorts or a bikini.

The best part? When you’ve finished imbibing, you can write a rambling message to the universe, tuck it into the bottle, and chuck the whole thing into the rolling waves. Unless you’re particularly eco-conscious, in which case we recommend recycling.

Either way, here are our four favorite wines for seaside consumption…

(Read more here)

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