Winston Churchill and Pol Roger Champagne

Winston Churchill and Pol Roger Champagne

By Bob Lipinski

“I only drink Champagne when in love and when not.” Christian Pol Roger

Pol Roger founded the Champagne house of “Pol Roger” in 1849, in Epernay, France. In the ensuing years, Pol Roger has created a name and reputation as one of finest Champagnes in the world. Perhaps the biggest lover of Pol Roger was Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In 1945, in celebration of the liberation of France, Churchill was served Pol Roger 1928 at his residence in Paris. According to his son Randolph, Winston was so enamored by the champagne he bought up all the 1928 and 1934 Pol Roger that was remaining.

Every year for his birthday, in tribute to the great friendship between the Pol Roger family and Winston Churchill, he would receive a case of Pol Roger until his death in 1965. The labels of the champagne sent to England after his death were bordered in black. To pay permanent tribute to the great statesman, Pol Roger introduced Cuvée Sir Winston Champagne. The first vintage of Cuvée Sir Winston was 1975, released in 1984. The precise blend of Sir Winston is a family secret and is produced only in the finest vintages.

Below are my tasting notes from a press event.

Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV “White Foil:” Blend of Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Chardonnay. (Pale golden color with a fruity bouquet of green apples and pears. Medium-bodied with delicate bubbles, and hints of grass and citrus.)

Pol Roger “Blanc de Blancs” 2009: 100% Chardonnay. (Pale straw-colored with a delicate bouquet and flavor of apples, brioche, chamomile, citrus, and ginger. Superbly balanced with a very long lingering aftertaste.)

Pol Roger Brut 2008: Blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. (Light yellow-colored with a full bouquet of Granny Smith apples, citrus, pears, and tangerine. Medium-bodied and full of flavor. A smooth finish and pleasing, long aftertaste.)

Pol Roger Brut Rosé 2009: Blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. (Salmon colored with a bouquet bursting of raspberries, wild cherries, pomegranate, and oranges. The wine is dry, yet a fruity flavor persists to the end.)

Pol Roger “Cuvée Prestige Sir Winston Churchill” 2006: The wine is aged for an average of 10 years before release. (An elegant and well-developed bouquet of toasted brioche, jasmine, citrus, toast, pears, and anise. Superbly balanced with a velvety texture and lingering flavors of spices, almonds, and anise. An excellent champagne to celebrate the holidays with.)

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


A Quartet of Bordeaux Wines

A Quartet of Bordeaux Wines

By Bob Lipinski

“Drinking the right wine at the right time is an art.” (Horace A. Vachell)

There is little in the world more alluring than a glass of red Bordeaux wine. In Bordeaux, centuries of blending mastery combined with a unique terrain and climate give birth to refinement and equilibrium of a highly enticing nature. Within the region of Bordeaux there are many districts that make red, white, rosé, sweet white, and even sparkling wines.

I recently attended a tasting of the wines of Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Julien, Margaux, and Sauternes with representatives from each estate pouring and discussing the wines.

Here is a list of the recommended wines I tasted (included are some tasting notes)

Château LaTour-Martillac (Pessac-Léognan): The winery makes both red and white AOC wines.

2015 Château LaTour-Martillac Blanc (spectacular bouquet of melon, pear, and citrus. Mouth-filling with an excellent balance and great aftertaste)

2013 Château LaTour-Martillac Blanc

2011 Château LaTour-Martillac Blanc

2015 Château LaTour-Martillac Rouge (dark cherry color; bouquet of black currants, smoke, black raspberry; tannic with a smooth finish and lingering aftertaste)

2010 Château LaTour-Martillac Rouge

Quartet of Bordeaux Wine

Château Beychevelle (Fourth Growth Saint-Julien): The winery makes only red AOC wine. On the label of Château Beychevelle is a “Nordic Ship,” with grape clusters on its sails.

2015 Château Beychevelle (dark, almost purple color; bouquet of black currants, oak, black cherries; powerful wine with plenty of tannin and a fruity aftertaste)

2014 Château Beychevelle

2009 Château Beychevelle

2005 Château Beychevelle

2015 Amiral de Beychevelle (second label of Château Beychevelle)

Château Kirwan (Third Growth Margaux): The winery makes only red AOC wine. Built in the late 18th century in classical style, Château Kirwan owes its name to Mark Kirwan, an Irishman from a long line of merchants who received the estate in dowry in 1760 through his marriage with the daughter of the landowner, Sir John Collingwood.

2009 Château Kirwan (ruby color with an aromatic bouquet of spicy cherry, menthol, and blueberry; medium-bodied, beginning to soften with a smooth refined finish)

2015 Château Kirwan

2010 Château Kirwan

2008 Château Kirwan

Château Guiraud (First Growth Sauternes): The winery makes both dry and sweet AOC white wines. The wines are a blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

2009 Château Guiraud (Gold-amber in color; bouquet and flavor of coconut, honey, orange, pineapple, peach, apricot, and spice; luscious and sweet finish…Wow! What a delicious wine)

2015 Château Guiraud

2010 Château Guiraud

2015 Petit Guiraud (second label of Château Guiraud)

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food; and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


Zinfandel- America’s Grape- America’s Wine

Zinfandel- America’s Grape- America’s Wine

By Bob Lipinski

Zinfandel is a classic all-American grape variety, planted in virtually all of California’s grape-growing areas. It is a thin-skinned, medium-acid red grape with a mysterious past and has been grown throughout California for over 150 years. For decades it was believed that Zinfandel came to the United States from Hungary in the mid-1860s. However, some 30 years earlier it was already growing in a nursery owned by William Robert Prince, now known as the Botanical Gardens in Flushing, Queens, New York.

In 1967, a U.S. Department of Agriculture plant pathologist first discovered the similarity of the Italian grape known as Primitivo and Zinfandel while in Bari, Italy. Italian researchers determined the primitivo grape had been grown in Apulia since the late 1700s. In 1976 a University of California scientist tested both grape varieties and determined them to be the same. That led researchers to Croatia where growers were convinced that Zinfandel was the same grape variety as the local Plavac Mali. After further DNA testing it was revealed that Plavac Mali was not related to Zinfandel. However, while the researchers were in Croatia, they heard stories about another indigenous grape that may in fact be the key to unlock Zinfandel’s mystery.

In 2001, it was confirmed through DNA testing that Zinfandel and an indigenous Croatian grape called Crljenak Kastelanski are the same. Additional research determined that Tribidrag is the oldest known Croatian name for the Crljenak Kastelanski grape variety, which appears in print as early as 1518.

George West from Massachusetts made California’s first White Zinfandel at the El Pinal Winery near Stockton, California, in 1869; the first varietally labeled Zinfandel was made in 1944 by the Parducci Winery; and the first rosé Zinfandel was introduced in 1955 by Pedroncelli Winery. Sutter Home was the winery that defined and popularized the white Zinfandel category and craze in the early 1970s.

The Zinfandel grape’s history is not only fascinating but ponder this … winemakers can produce a white zinfandel, rosé zinfandel, red zinfandel, sparkling zinfandel, late-harvest zinfandel and port wine zinfandel.

A few recommended zinfandel wines I recently tasted are:

2015 Ravenswood “Dickerson,” Napa Valley

2015 Pedroncelli “Bushnell Vineyards,” Dry Creek

2014 Pedroncelli “Mother Clone,” Dry Creek

2017 Pedroncelli “Dry Rosé of Zinfandel,” Dry Creek

2016 Kreck “Teldeschi Vineyards,” Dry Creek

2016 Kreck “Del Barba Vineyard,” Contra Costa

2015 Kunde Estate Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley

2015 Kunde Reserve Century Vines, Sonoma Valley

‘What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.’  – William Sokolin

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


Cornacchia Wines of Italy- A Hidden Treasure

Cornacchia Wines of Italy- A Hidden Treasure

By Bob Lipinski

The Cornacchia Winery is situated in the region of Abruzzo (known as Abruzzi in Italy) located in a mountainous area east of Latium in the south-central part of Italy off the Adriatic Sea. In this region the two most prolific and popular grape varieties are Trebbiano (a white grape) and Montepulciano (a red grape).

The winery, which dates to 1577, is run by Barone Cornacchia’s son Filippo and daughter Caterina. It specializes in Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and a single vineyard “Le Coste” wine in addition to the everyday Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and a riserva from the prestigious Colline Teramane DOCG.

Cornacchia Winery

I tasted some of the wines with Caterina Cornacchia on several occasions and here are my notes.

2016 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (100% Trebbiano grapes): If you don’t like Trebbiano because it’s thin and neutral-tasting; well you’ve been drinking mass-produced examples. What a wine! Medium-bodied with citrus notes of orange along with almonds, apple, cantaloupe, hazelnuts, melon, pears, and wild flowers.

2015 Pecorino “Colli Aprutini” (100% Pecorino grapes). No, not the cheese! Pecorino is a white grape that deserves considerably more attention. Straw-colored with flavors of apples, citrus, figs, peaches, pears, and tropical fruit. Quite dry, with a bitter almond aftertaste.

2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (100% Montepulciano grapes). Dark almost purple color with plenty of dark fruit, blackberries, black cherries, jam, anise, chestnuts, and a spicy warming aftertaste. Not a mass-produced wine! Forget a bottle, buy a case!

2012 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Vigna Le Coste” (100% Montepulciano grapes). This elegant “single-vineyard” wine was aged for 14 months in Slavonian oak barrels. Deep ruby color with flavors of plum, spices, black currants, cherries, and earthy overtones of mushrooms and chestnuts.

2011 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Colline Teramane” DOCG “Vizzarro” (100% Montepulciano grapes). The wine was aged for more than 2 years in oak barrels. Rich, dry, full-bodied and powerful with concentrated fruit; flavors of jam, blackberries, black licorice; with dried leaves, vanilla, and plenty of tannin to ensure longevity.

Two cheeses from Abruzzo worth searching out are Scamorza and Scanno.

Scamorza, a cow’s milk cheese, similar to mozzarella is light yellow, with a rindless pear-shaped exterior and soft to semisoft texture. It is mild and slightly salty tasting and often smoked (affumicato). In southern Italian dialect, the name scamorza means “dunce.”

Scanno, a sheep’s milk cheese from the mountain village of Scanno is traditionally eaten with fresh fruit. The exterior is black with a buttery pale-yellow interior. The flavor has a mild burnt tinge to it.

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


That’s “Amari:” Bittersweet Endings To Any Meal

That’s “Amari:” Bittersweet Endings To Any Meal

By Bob Lipinski

Amari (plural of amaro), the Italian term for “bitters,” refers to distilled spirits containing an infusion of bittering “botanicals” such as herbs, roots, or barks. Some of the many botanicals used include gentian, rhubarb, quinine, aniseed, saffron, peppermint, cloves, bitter orange, and cinnamon. Bitters were originally produced to soothe and relax the stomach after meals and there­fore are often referred to as “digestives.” They are also used as ingredients in some cocktails.

Aperire, a Latin word, which means to open, is the origin of the word apéri­tif—a beverage that usually “opens” lunch or dinner as a stimulant to the appetite. Most apéritifs have an initial sweet taste with a somewhat bitter aftertaste because of the use of quinine. This slight bitterness whets the appetite and cleanses the palate.

Unfortunately, many consumers cringe at the bitter flavor of some amari, preferring sweeter beverages to run across their palates, while others look upon bitters as a “cult” or “rite of passage” beverage. There appears to be growing interest in this category, which can easily be shown by the vast number of article and cocktails about bitters in the news.

Although Italy has the lion’s share of amari, we also find delectable offerings from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, The United States, and many other countries. Here are some of my favorites from Italy.

Aperol (22 proof, Veneto): Luminous orange color. Made from an infusion of aromatic herbs, spices and roots, including bitter orange, gentian and rhubarb.

Averna (68 proof, Sicily): Dark brown with colalike aroma and bittersweet taste; hints of black pepper, cloves, licorice and vanilla.

Branca Menta (60 proof, Lombardy): Dark, red-brown color; bouquet and flavor of spearmint, chocolate, citrus, menthol and herbs.

Campari (48 proof, Lombardy): Ruby-red, bitter beverage; bouquet and taste of bitter orange, cherry and strawberry, with a bittersweet aftertaste.

Cynar (34 proof, Veneto): Brown color; bouquet and taste of almonds, herbs, honey and walnuts.

Fernet-Branca (80 proof, Lombardy): Dark brown, extremely bitter; contains more than 40 herbs and spices.

Ramazzotti (60 proof, Lombardy): Dark brown, bittersweet; made from 33 different herbs, roots and spices.

There is no one correct way to serve amari; they are great served “neat” (room temperature), refrigerator chilled or on the rocks. Each can be served as a tall drink, filled with sparkling mineral water (or sparkling wine) and garnished with a wedge of lemon, lime or even orange. A maraschino cherry on top may provide a finishing touch.

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


Recent Discoveries- Wines & Spirits

Recent Discoveries- Wines & Spirits

By Bob Lipinski

As an author and professional taster, I generally taste and evaluate more than 100 alcoholic beverages (wine, spirits, beer, and saké) per week. Some are good, some are very good to excellent, while others are not very good.

During the last month I had an opportunity to taste some very interesting wines and spirits that I’d like to share with you.

Moletto Grappa di Prosecco, Italy (80 proof) Crystal-clear with a delicate, refined and perfumed bouquet of pears, fennel, and chamomile flowers. Surprisingly smooth with hints of ginger, orange, and apples. Serve slightly chilled.

Lazzaroni Amaro Liqueur, Italy. Dark brown-colored with an intense bouquet of ginger, spices, cloves, rhubarb, and cola. Semisweet with flavors of peppermint, black pepper, herbs, and a touch of bitterness. Great over ice or as a tall drink with some sparkling mineral water.

Laird’s “Straight” Applejack “1780” Scobeyville, New Jersey, 86-proof. Made from an astonishing 17 pounds of apples including Winesap, Fuji, Red and Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Granny Smith and Jonathan. Amber-colored with overtones of baked apples and cider. Very complex and full-tasting with flavors of apples, burnt sugar, vanilla, and orange peel. Warming, smooth finish and very long aftertaste. I love this straight with some ice cubes with perhaps a splash of water. It is superb!

Richland “Single Estate” Rum, Georgia, USA: Made from pure sugarcane grown in the state of Georgia. Amber-colored with a distinctive bouquet and flavor of cinnamon, grass, vanilla, nutmeg, maple syrup and spices. Smooth with virtually no burn. Excellent rum.

Absolut Ruby Red Vodka (Sweden): I am a Scotch n’ soda drinker and generally don’t drink “clear spirits” with seltzer. Boy was I surprised when I added ice and seltzer, then gave it a stir with my swizzle stick and brought it to my nose. Powerful aromas of grapefruit abounded. I drank deeply and was rewarded with flavors of grapefruit that continued well into the second sip. Absolutely (pardon the pun) delicious!

2016 Ferrari-Carano “Fumé Blanc” (Sonoma, California): Perfumed bouquet loaded with honeysuckle, melon, and stone fruit. Flavors of dill, pineapple, citrus and passionfruit. Don’t miss a bottle.

2017 Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé, France (blend of Grenache, Cinsaut, and Vermentino). Dry and very clean with flavors of strawberries, red cherries, and plums and a lingering berry aftertaste. Perfect for summertime!

2015 Steele Zinfandel “Pacini Vineyard,” Lake County, California (aged 12 months in oak). Bouquet and flavor of spicy cherries, cranberry cola, and menthol with undertones of vanilla, nutmeg, and dried plums. Big mouthful of a well-made-wine.

2017 Rei Manfredi Bianco, Basilicata, Italy (blend of Müller-Thurgau and Gewürztraminer) Really perfumed with citrus overtones and flavors of litchi, jasmine, and tropical fruit.

2017 Rapitalà “Piano Maltese” Sicily, Italy (blend of Catarratto, Grillo, and Chardonnay). Dry, clean and crispy with an aroma and flavor of citrus, pears, delicious apples, and roasted almonds, Slightly tart with a wonderful aftertaste.

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


Drinking Older Bordeaux Wines

Drinking Older Bordeaux Wines

By Bob Lipinski

“No, Agnes, a Bordeaux is not a house of ill repute.” (George Bain 1920–2006, Canadian author, Champagne is for Breakfast, 1972)

At a fabulous private wine event, I had the opportunity of tasting wines from three classic Bordeaux wineries dating back to 1982. The wineries were Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Château Branaire-Ducru, and Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste. Leading the sit-down discussion were representatives from each of the Bordeaux estates.

My tasting notes of some of the wines are below.

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte (Martillac, Graves) Red wines are made from a grape blend that varies by vintage; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Red wines are aged in oak barrels for about 18 months.

2010 “Blanc:” (Blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 5% Sémillon grapes) Bouquet and flavor of coconut, marzipan, citrus, peach, mango and ripe melons. 10 months in oak.

2012 “Blanc:” (Blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc / 5% Sauvignon Gris / 5% Sémillon grapes) Flavors of peach, apricot, and citrus, with hints of caramel and star anise. 10 months in oak.

2012 “Rouge:” Dark colored with huge mouthful of black tea, black currants, spices, and black cherries.

2009 “Rouge:” Full-flavored with red fruits abounding; spices, perfumed bouquet, cinnamon and raspberries.

2000 “Rouge:” Notes of sweet cherries, cranberry, licorice, and black raspberry with light tannins. Elegant.

1998 “Rouge:” Maroon-colored with an earthy bouquet; black currants, dark fruits, sweet cherries, leather, mushrooms. Velvety and very long aftertaste. Wow!

Château Branaire-Ducru (Saint-Julien; fourth growth—1855 Classification). Produces only red wine from a grape blend that varies by vintage; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Wines are aged in oak barrels for 16 to 20 months,

2011: Dark color with a bouquet of cedar, sweet cherries, chocolate, and spices. Some tannin to lose. Overall quite young.

2010: Closed, tight nose; heaps of fruit, well-balanced, tannin and plenty of cherries.

2008: Perfumed bouquet, violets, dried red fruits, well-balanced, still tannic, some black currants.

2005: Bouquet loaded with brown baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), wonderfully structured, softening. Still youthful.

1989: Perfumed bouquet of roses, cherries and violets. Medium-full bodied and elegant but thinning out. Drink by 2020.

1982: Brick-color; certain sweetness of fruit; soft, elegant with some tannin, Hint of tea and orange peel. Drink by 2020.

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste (Pauillac; fifth growth—1855 Classification). Produces only red wine from a grape blend that varies by vintage; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.

2009: Dark red color with a complex bouquet of fruits, blackcurrant, cedar, spices, licorice. Youthful.

2006: Bouquet of black currant liqueur with hints of cedar, black tea. Still tannic.

2005: Garnet-color with hints of cherries, black currants, spices and wet stone. Still quite youthful.

2000: Brick-color; bouquet of cherries, mint, licorice, and plums. Still quite flavorful and fruity.

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


20 Great Wine Quotes To Stimulate Your Palate

20 Great Wine Quotes To Stimulate Your Palate

By Bob Lipinski

I love reading quotes, especially funny, historical, inspirational or those from well-known individuals. With that in mind I’d like to share 20 of my favorite wine quotes that may stimulate you to reach for a bottle of wine.

“Life is too short to drink bad wine.” (Author Unknown)

“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” (Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755–1826, French politician and writer)

“The fine wine leaves you with something pleasant. The ordinary wine just leaves.” (Dr. Maynard A. Amerine, 1911–1998, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis)

“Wine is one of the agreeable and essential ingredients of life.” (Julia Child, 1912–2004, American master chef)

“Wine is the intellectual part of a meal. Meats are merely the material part.” (Alexander Dumas, 1802–1870, French novelist)

“Where there is no wine, there is no love.” (Euripides 480–406 BC, Greek playwright)

“If food is the body of good living, wine is its soul.” (Clifton Fadiman, 1904–1999, American writer and editor; New Yorker book reviewer)

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” (Galileo Galilei, 1564–1642, Italian Mathematician, Astronomer and Physicist)

“I love everything that’s old: old friends, old times, old man­ners, old books, old wines.” (Oliver Goldsmith 1730–1774, She Stoops To Conquer, 1773)

“Wine is a substance that is wonderfully appropriate to man, in health as well as in sickness, if it be administered at the right time, and in proper quantities, according to the individual constitution.” (Hippocrates, Greek Physician 460–377 B.C.)

“Wine is like sex in that few men will admit not knowing all about it.” (Hugh Johnson, 1939–, British author)

“What is better than to sit at the end of the day and drink wine with friends, or substitutes for friends”? (James Joyce, 1882–1941, Irish novelist and poet)

“When it comes to wine, I tell people to throw away the vintage charts and to invest in a corkscrew. The best way to learn about wine is in the drinking.” (Alexis Lichine, 1913–1989, wine writer and winery owner)

“I feast on wine and bread, and feasts they are.” (Michelangelo, 1475–1564, Italian artist)

“The metamorphosis of grape juice to wine is a natural process, but the creation of truly fine wines requires balanced contribu­tions of tradition, expertise, and innovation.” (Angelo Papagni, Papagni Vineyards, Madera, California)

“Wine can be considered with good reason as the most healthful and most hygienic of all beverages.” (Louis Pasteur, 1822–1895)

“There are two reasons for drinking wine: one is when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other is when you are not thirsty, to prevent it. Prevention is always better than cure.” (Thomas Love Peacock, 1785–1866, English novelist and poet; Melincourt, 1817)

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” (André L. Simon, 1877–1970, French wine writer, The Commonsense of Wine)

“You Americans have the loveliest wines in the world, you know, but you don’t realize it. You call them “domestic” and that’s enough to start trouble anywhere.” (H.G. Wells, 1866–1946, British novelist and historian, and social reformer)

“Our Italian winery workers were full of red wine and garlic. They never caught anything. The germs couldn’t get close enough to them.” (Karl L. Wente, Wente Vineyards, California)

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


Grana Cheese For Grating

Grana Cheese For Grating

By Bob Lipinski

Adding grated cheese to a dish of pasta is something we do automatically, sometimes without regard to the type of cheese we’re using, or which is suggested in the recipe. Not all grated cheeses are alike. These hard-grating cheeses belong to a group known as grana (in Italian), which means they have a flaky, grainy or granular texture; sharp, well-aged and hard to very hard. These cheeses are suitable for grating when they begin to get old. Grana cheeses can be made from cow, sheep, or even goat’s milk. Although most are made in Italy, some are produced in Greece, Switzerland, Argentina, and the United States.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the most popular grana cheeses, but keep in mind, “all Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses are grana, but not all grana cheeses are Parmigiano-Reggiano.” Italian hard cheeses were once referred to as cacio duro. The word “Grana” is legally protected by Grana Padano Protected Designation of Origin, such that only Grana Padano can use the term to sell its produce in EU countries.

Grana Cheese

Some examples of grana cheeses from Italy are Asiago, Bagozzo, Crotonese, Grana Padano, Granone Lodigiano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, Piave, and Vacchino Romano.

Grana cheese from Greece– Kefalotyri; from Switzerland– Sapsago and Sbrinz; from Argentina—Reggianito; from United States—Dry Jack

Grana cheeses will keep for several months if wrapped in damp cheesecloth then enclosed in aluminum foil and refrigerated. You can purchase grana cheese either previously grated or in chunk form. If purchasing already grated, plan on using it within 60 days since it will begin to dry out. When using chunks, grate only the cheese you need at one time and refrigerate the unused portion. Hard cheeses may be frozen for up to eight weeks, but should then be used for grating, shredding, or cooking.

Tip: Liven-up popcorn by sprinkling it with grated, grana cheese.

In addition to sprinkling on pasta, many grana cheeses are great enjoyed by the chunk with a piece of crusty bread and glass of wine (red or white) or even whiskey. Let the cheese come to room temperature for optimum enjoyment.

My wine recommendations are

  • 2016 Standing Stone Riesling (Finger Lakes, New York)
  • 2016 Gundlach-Bundschu “Dry” Gewürztraminer (Sonoma, California)
  • 2016 Four Graces “Pinot Gris” (Willamette, Oregon)
  • 2016 Shooting Star “Chardonnay” (Lake County, California)
  • 2013 Podere Ruggeri Corsini “Barbera Armujan” (Piedmont, Italy)
  • 2011 La Spinona “Barolo Sorì Gepin” (Piedmont, Italy)
  • 2015 Poggio al Sole “Chianti Classico” (Tuscany, Italy)


Wild Turkey “Rare Breed” Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey “Barrel Proof”

Jim Beam “Black Label” Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


The 2016 Burgundies Have Arrived

The 2016 Burgundies Have Arrived

By: Bob Lipinski

There has been much praise directed at the 2016 vintage in Burgundy, France from many well-known and respected writers and critics. The vintage was definitely quality over quantity due to lower yields in the vineyards because of frost. One thing that stood out was the abundance of spicy berries and fruit in both the white and especially reds. The wines are fresh, fruity, and well-balanced with good (not high) levels of acidity and less oak aging. The red wines have abundant flavors of raspberry, strawberry, cherry, spices, citrus, and stone fruits. White wines are aromatic, clean, crisp and loaded with peach, pears, hints of oak, butter, and citrus.

Bob Lipinski


Although both the red and whites can be cellared for several years, they are delicious right now. Of the many wines I sampled there were quite a few that really stood out and are worth searching for. There were too many fine wines to comment on each.



J.J. Vincent “NV Crémant de Bourgogne” (100% Chardonnay)

J.J. Vincent “Bourgogne Blanc”

J.J. Vincent “Pouilly-Fuissé Marie-Antoinette”

Jacques Prieur “Meursault Clos de Mazeray”


Domaine Dominique Gallois “Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Petits Cazetiers”

Domaine Dominique Gallois “Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, La Combe aux Moines”

Domaine Dominique Gallois “Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru”

Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier “Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, Clos de la Maréchale”

Domaine Lignier-Michelot “Bourgogne Red” (Pinot Noir)

Domaine Lignier-Michelot “Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes”

Domaine Lignier-Michelot “Morey-Saint-Denis En la Rue de Vergy”

Domaine Lignier-Michelot “Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Faconnières”

Domaine Lignier-Michelot “Clos de la Roche Grand Cru”

Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet “Gevrey-Chambertin Symphonie”

Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet “Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes”

Domaine Sylvain Cathiard “Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Thorey”

Domaine Sylvain Cathiard “Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Murgers”

Jacques Prieur “Corton-Bressandes Grand Cru”

Jacques Prieur “Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru”

Armand Rousseau “Gevrey-Chambertin Clos du Château”

Armand Rousseau “Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St-Jacques”

Armand Rousseau Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes Grand Cru”

Armand Rousseau “Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru”

Domaine Parent “Corton Les Renardes Grand Cru”

Although many people love eating cheese while drinking wine, it’s a rarity to find any cheese at serious wine tastings or judgings. The alkalinity of the cheese neutralizes the acidity of the wine, obscuring its sensory characteristics.

Several of my favorites French cheeses from Burgundy may be a little difficult to find, but the search is worth it.

Charolais: A soft texture, cylindrical or flat drum-shaped (with concave sides) goat’s (or goat and cow’s) milk cheese made in Charolles, Burgundy. It is generally eaten fresh; however, it does age well.

Lormes: A semisoft cheese with a bluish-gray exterior and a delicate and pleasant taste, which is made in Burgundy. It is made into truncated cones when made from goat’s milk and flat disks when made from cow’s milk.

Soumaintrain: A semisoft, wheel-shaped, cow’s milk cheese made in Burgundy. Soumaintrain has a shiny-orange exterior, a yellow interior, and is quite pungent smelling with a creamy taste.

Bob Lipinski, author of 10 books; writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR