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Who can resist those brilliant blue bottles?

It’s hard not to fall in love with Moscato d’Asti. This perfumed, sweet Italian white wine is well-loved by wine drinkers of all kinds. Why? Simple: it’s so easy to drink! Of course, if you go beyond the blue bottle bling, you’ll find Moscato d’Asti is much more sophisticated than you might think.

Moscato d’Asti has Italy’s top DOCG wine classification and is made with Moscato Bianco (aka Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains) – a grape that’s a thousand years (or so) older than Cabernet Sauvignon!

Moscato d’Asti Taste and Flavors

Expect sweet aromas of peaches, fresh grapes, orange blossoms, and crisp Meyer lemons. The flavor tingles on your tongue from acidity and light carbonation. The half-sparkling style (in Italian: frizzante) gives the perception that Moscato d’Asti is just lightly sweet. However, the typical bottle of Moscato d’Asti has around 90–100 g/L of residual sugar (comparatively, a can of Coke has about 115 g/L of RS).

The wine may be sweet, but alcohol levels are surprisingly low! Moscato...

What is a Teinturier Grape?

A teinturier grape is red wine grape with dark skins and flesh. In contrast, regular red wine grapes have dark skins, but clear flesh. Fittingly, the word “teinturier” comes from the French “to dye or stain.”

Teinturier grapes are not a common sight in the vineyard.

Wait, Red Wine Grapes Have Clear Juice?

Indeed! It’s actually the grape skin that creates the color of the wine.

When the skins are soaked in juice, anthocyanin (color pigment) is released, literally staining the wine as a result. For that reason, we can have such things as rosé (limited skin contact) and white Pinot Noir (zero skin contact–made like a white wine.)

Though, like most things in wine, there’s an exception to the rule. It’s near impossible to make a white Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon as the skins stain the juice almost immediately, consequently creating a not white wine. Included in this group of “always red” wines are teinturier grapes with dark skins and red flesh.

Why Do Teinturier Grapes Exist?

It’s a natural mutation. It’s thought that these red-fleshed grapes were grown to add visual depth to Aramon wine. Aramon (which is still in existence today) is a highly productive, mildew-resistant red wine variety from Languedoc-Roussillon.


One classic white. One classic red. Plus, a few others for those looking to go beyond simple chèvre for goat cheese wine pairing.

Don’t overthink goat cheese wine pairings! Just remember the following: What grows together, goes together. Goat cheese is the pride of the Loire Valley of France. So, try pairing it with wines from the Loire Valley. Sauvignon Blanc if you like whites. Cabernet Franc if you like reds. Here’s why.

Goat Cheese Wine Pairings

Best Option: Sauvignon Blanc

Going French? Look for Touraine, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Saint Bris or these regional names.

Why Sauvignon Blanc? Because your average piece of goat cheese is a blank slate, ready to be impressed upon. (A tart, earthy blank slate, but a blank slate nonetheless!) Sauvignon Blanc wines are the perfect chisels. Acidic, mineral-driven, and citrusy as hell, they impart all that goodness into the cream, giving it the extra herbal flavors you didn’t know it needed to have. Plus, it preps the palate for the next bite, which is a given, because who does a “one and done” with this combination? Seriously.

Short on Sauv Blanc? Chenin Blanc, the Loire’s most widely grown white grape is an excellent, excellent alternative. Look for white wines with Vouvray or Touraine on...

You’re the only one of you in the room

If you’re a wine enthusiast that prefers white wine then you’re a rare bird. A word to the wise, be careful with mixed company! Admitting you’re a fan of white wines to other wine people is a risky thing to do – it’s like being a skier in a group of snowboarders. It’s like being a vegetarian at an Austin Barbecue joint. (You better be ready to eat some plain white bread.)

White wine is cheap therefore you have cheap taste

This slippery slope of a logical fallacy is a favorite choice of red wine lovers. They’ve undoubtably noticed that many white wines are less expensive than red wines and it leads to the assumption that white wines are lower quality. Not true. Here’s some ammo next time this happens to you:

  • Firstly, the advancement of wine technology has made white winemaking more cost effective. There are now super high-end tools (like uber-fancy specialized pneumatic white wine presses, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, etc) that make processing white wine grapes easier and faster than ever before. In many ways, technology for white wines is leaps and bounds ahead...

A well-kept secret of the international wine scene, and certainly the most diverse wine growing state in the country, is Victoria, Australia.

Victoria has a largely Mediterranean climate and it’s home to the world’s most livable city (according to the Economist Intelligence Unit). If your view of Aussie wine is off-dry white from-a-box for warm summer days or full-on reds that turn Aunt Sharon into a one-glass wonder, be prepared for a range of options that compete with top- notch gear from France, the United States, and beyond.

And yes, most of them have screwcaps.

This guide will help you understand the most important wine and wine regions of Victoria, and what you’ll want to seek out and taste.

The Wines of Victoria Australia

Lavender and vines at de Bortoli vineyards in Yarra Valley. By Steve Lacy

Port Phillip

The individual regions of Port Phillip vary so dramatically that they are further subdivided based on their soil types, aspect, and varieties planted. This is the home of world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux Blends.

Sub-Regions of...

The climate greatly affects what wines grow and how they taste. The term “cool climate” refers to wine regions which specialize in varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Cool Climate Wines

Certain wine varieties will not fully ripen if grown in a cool climate. For example, you’ll rarely, if ever, find grapes like Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon growing successfully in a cooler region. Instead, expect to find more white wine varieties and elegant or aromatic reds. Here are a few examples of varieties that produce exceptional wines when grown in a cool climate:

Red Wines

Pinot Noir, Gamay, Schiava, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Rondo, Regent, Lagrein, Chambourcin

Red wines from cool climates tend to have higher acidity, taste more spicy, have lower alcohol, and a lighter body.

White Wines

Müller-Thurgau, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chasselas, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Madeleine Angevine, Bacchus, Solaris

White wines from cool climates tend to have higher acidity, more lemon-lime aromas, and are typically lower alcohol, with a very light body.

Cool Climate Wine Regions

Different wine varieties prefer different climates. This observation was made back in...

A new study has headlines shouting “wine will clean your brain!” So, what does this study really signify? Find out the real story.

“Wine Will Clean Your Brain!”

You might have noticed talk about a recent study that’s been of interest to wine drinkers everywhere. The study explored the long-term effects of alcohol on the central nervous system (e.g. your brain). Some of the reporting out there has come with some pretty snappy headlines (e.g. “Wine will clean your brain!”) Naturally, you’re probably a bit skeptical. Let’s take a closer look.

A recent study studied alcohol’s effect on the brain’s waste removal system (the glymphatic system). The results were surprising.

The Alcohol Brain Study

In February 2018, The Center for Translational Neuromedicine at The University of Rochester published a study about the effects of prolonged alcohol exposure on the central nervous system. In their study, they exposed mice to various levels of ethanol (alcohol) in small, intermediate, and high doses. They were trying to pinpoint how much alcohol it takes to damage central nervous system function. For their metric, they observed the glymphatic system. The results were unexpected.

What Is The Glymphatic System? Think of it as the waste removal system of your brain. It’s the distribution network of crucial compounds (glucose, amino acids, neurotransmitters) through your central nervous system.


What Did The Study Find? Good News

Low: (0.5 g/kg...

Who wants some lasagna? That’s a silly question. The answer, of course, is everyone. Everyone wants lasagna. You. Me. That guy on the bus over there. Few can resist this holy trinity of cheese, sauce, and pasta. It may be time-consuming to make, but the effort is what makes it feel like home and worth sharing with others.

So what’s the best wine to pair with a piece of Italian soul food?

Best Wine to Pair with Lasagna

Best Answer: Sangiovese (like one made into a Chianti Classico style).

Why? Because tart and savory Sangiovese drinks well with the intensity of lasagna. This is because the high acid and rustic flavor profile cuts through creamy fat and tarantellos with tomato at the same time. Heck, if you want to go the non-traditional route (Tex-Mex Lasagna anyone?), Sangio is up for the challenge.

Sangiovese is delicious, ubiquitous (it’s Italy’s top grape), and drinks well with every style of lasagna. We both could be talking about lasagna, but we might be talking about two different things. Maybe in your head, it’s red sauce all the way, stuffed with ricotta, sausage, and eggs like Nonna made. Maybe it’s thick with Béchamel and Bolognese, an oozing testament of indulgence, best enjoyed sparingly.

Of course, there are some other...

If you’re feeling righteous, drink Champagne. If you’re full of regret, try Tannat.

Breakups suck. They might even inspire you to drink. So, if you’re going to drink, you might as well do it right! Here are 6 classic breakup situations and the wines to match them.

They Cheated on You

Treat yourself to a Brunello di Montalcino.

Noooooo. When you find out your special someone is philandering, it’s devastating. If you were to write your feelings down, they might start on one extreme of the emotional spectrum and finish on the other. Either way, you’re not getting back the time and energy you spent. It’s time to pay your respects (to your past self) and move on.

There is no better way appreciate yourself than opening a bottle of good wine (just for yourself). To match the physicality of this particular circumstance, we think the best damn choice is Brunello di Montalcino. This Tuscan delight is 100% Sangiovese, it’s Italy’s favorite red grape, and, get this, the grape’s name roughly translates to “the blood of Jupiter” (oddly fitting.) Brunello is one of those wines that needs time to open up—just like you need time to let go.

If you’re even slightly into wine, you’ve probably heard about natural wine. Natural wine is the unfiltered, untamed, un-photoshopped version of what we know to be wine. In most cases, natural wine doesn’t look or taste like a typical wine. In fact, some natural wines taste more like a sour beer or kombucha!

So, what is “natural wine” anyway?

Natural Wine Definition

According to latest edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine:

Of course, there is no official or regulated definition of natural wine. So, if someone says you’re drinking a natural wine, it technically doesn’t mean anything – ask for specifics!

Natural Wine Tasting Notes

Think of it as wine unplugged. Natural wines are known for their funkier, gamier, yeastier characteristics and a cloudy appearance. They are often much less fruity and much more yeasty...

Looking to take your wine education the next level? Enter for a chance to win free tuition for the WSET Level 2 Award in Wine & Spirits! Winner announced February 20th.

We rarely do partnerships. So when we do, it’s because we believe the opportunity will truly benefit Wine Folly readers.

Today, we’re absolutely delighted to introduce one of the leading wine education organizations: WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust). If you’re looking to take your wine education to a professional level, WSET is a great choice.

For our partnership, WSET is giving away one free tuition in the United States!

Know someone who will benefit from this program? Definitely let them know! This a massive opportunity for the right person.

The Prize

One lucky entrant will win free tuition to the approved WSET Level 2 Award in Wine & Spirits Course — an $850 value.

Enter the sweepstakes here.

(Sorry, no cash or applied tuition to other WSET/wine education programs!)

  Tell Me A Little Bit More About The WSET Level 2 Award.

The Level 2 Award is WSET’s most popular program and is designed for both professionals...

Considering a trip to Oregon wine country? Get tips on where to taste, stay, as well as what you need to know before your visit.

Morning mist in Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Stoller Family Estate.

Home to distinct and shockingly elegant interpretations of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is quickly becoming the spot for wine enthusiasts.

This pastoral landscape may seem picture-perfect, but growing grapes in this cool corner of the world is not easy. Sunlight is scarce for much of the year, frosts occur at the most inopportune times, and the number one grape here (Pinot Noir) is notoriously sensitive. It requires passion to make wine in the Willamette Valley—literal passion, as in something you’re willing to suffer for.

Fortunately, the region is filled with determined, forward-thinking producers and careful stewards of the land. They all come from different backgrounds—farming/viticulture, tech, journalism—but they have one thing in common: they’re all tinkerers. They’re the kind of people who passionately debate the use of native yeast in wine, play with the microclimates in their own backyards, and are constantly seeking to perfect Pinot—or try their hand at something that grows even better.

Table of Contents Getting A Lay Of The Land The Wines How Did Wine Folly Do The Willamette Valley? Where To Eat Where To Stay What To Do When Wined Out Best Times To Visit What’s The Vibe?

Recommendations, flavor profiles, & facts about the grape behind Barolo and Barbaresco in a quick five-minute read. Let’s go!

If you like your wines big, bold, and red, Nebbiolo needs to be on your radar. Hailing from Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, this grape is known for producing powerful, full-bodied, and mercilessly tannic wines—all while looking as pale as Pinot Noir! Most famously, it’s the grape that goes into Barolo and Barbaresco, two of the world’s most revered (and more expensive) wines. Though as you’ll soon find out, Nebbiolo is also in a number of more affordable, entry-level styles of wine from Italy and beyond.

So, whether it’s your first time trying it or you’re looking for a little more information on a wine that’s got you hooked, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about Nebbiolo. Let’s get started!

Nebbiolo Wine Facts

  1. Nebbiolo is an old, old grape, first being referenced as far back as the 13th Century!
  2. The name Nebbiolo derives from nebbia, the Italian word for “fog.” This is likely from the white, powder-like natural bloom on the grapes that appears during harvest season. Or, from the fact that the best Nebbiolo sites are located above the fog that collects in the valley.
  3. Even though Nebbiolo only makes...

32 wines for beer lovers. 32 beers for wine lovers. Everybody wins with this comprehensive guide.

We’re not just wine geeks at Wine Folly, we’re beer geeks, too! Why wouldn’t we love beer? Much like wine, there’s a rich history behind the drink, endless variations and styles, and countless flavor compounds to sift through.

Also, most importantly, it just tastes good. Like, really good.

If you’re a beer drinker looking to make the jump from the taproom to the tasting room—or a wine drinker looking to do vice versa—this is the read for you.

32 Wines for Beer Lovers Table of Contents Crisp, Clean, & Light Malty, Medium-Bodied, & Hoppy Succumb to the Dark Side High-ABV Territory Sour ‘n’ Funky Let’s Get a Little Weird


Crisp, Clean, & Light Lager & Pilsner
  • Example: Czechvar Budvar, Bitburger Pilsner
  • Typical Flavors: malt, baked bread, mineral water, fresh flowers, grain
  • Wine to Try: Cava (Brut Nature)

Lovers of all things light, crisp, and refreshing need to trade in their steins for a flute of Cava Brut Nature. This extra bright, extra dry Spanish sparkler is an affordable, approachable gateway into the world of wine and pairs well with all manner of salty pub fare.

Cream Ale
  • Example: New...

It’s high time that people stop saying these 12 things about wine.

Sooner or later in your wine journey, you’re going to come across, shall we say, certain people: certain people who say certain things. They may be going for refined, but we both know they’re coming off as something else. Let them say their piece, pity them quietly, and be content in taking the high road.

  1. 1. “I only drink…”

    “I only drink…” / “I don’t drink…”

    There’s no way this sentence ever ends well. The world of wine is so big! There are over 1,400 identified grape varieties and thousands of unique wine regions. Why anyone would limit themselves to just a tiny fraction of it, simply doesn’t make sense. Maybe it’s no big thing, though. They could be in a wine phase and not even know it!

  2. 2. “Actually, it’s pronounced…”

    Pronouncing Alicante Bouschet, Gewürztraminer, and Txakoli (or Txakolina) without breaking a sweat is pretty cool. But you know what’s even cooler? Not giving people a hard time if they pronounce it wrong! (Lord knows we didn’t do it right on our first try.)

What do you buy a wine lover? Wine, maybe? Egads no! I’ve done this, and even as a wine-smart person I can attest to the fact that it’s an adventure in uncertainty –like buying art for an art collector. So instead, leave tasting to the tasters and focus on all the wonderful items that wine enthusiasts truly need, want, and lust after.

Unique Wine Gifts for Wine Lovers

Some of the wine gifts are quite new and others are tried-and-true. Please enjoy the Wine Folly Wine Gift Guide for 2017 and we hope it helps you create the perfect gift for the wine lover in your life.

Wine Gifts Under $40

A really good sommelier friend of ours ran up a sizable credit card bill after discovering Natural Whine on Instagram. Yes, we are wholly disappointed in her money management skills, but no, we can’t help but gawk in awe every time she wears her Cru Beaujolais sweatshirt.

Even wine hipsters need to wear clothes.

Pet Nat Tee $30


For those who still love the feeling of writing,...

Need to load up on bubbly, but clueless about cost and quality? Not to worry! Here’s how to find the best Champagne and sparkling wine for every budget.

Find the Best Champagne on Any Budget

There’s no doubt about it: trying to find the best Champagne can be an intimidating thing. While it’s exciting to traipse through the sparkling wine aisle, it can turn stressful pretty fast when you see the French names, opulent branding, and hefty price tags. You ask yourself,

“How much should I be paying? Is it any good? Will people actually like it?”

You panic, grab the prettiest label, and speed off to your celebration, hoping it tastes as good as it looks. We’ve been there, done that. That’s why we wrote this helpful guide full of tips and tricks on how to avoid common mishaps and get the best taste for your dollar. Think of this like a worry-free guide to buying the best Champagne (and sparkling wine) for your budget.

Table of Contents
  1. $0–$10 – Mass Consumption
  2. $10–$20 – Basic, But Delicious
  3. $20–$30 – Getting Sophisticated
  4. $30–$50 – Brand-Name Champagne
  5. $50–$100 – Vintage Territory
  6. $100+ – Prestige

Large mechanized production makes sparkling wine possible under $10.

$0–$10 –...

14 wines that are perfect for holiday celebrations, rich cuisine, and evenings in with Netflix.

Break out your ugly sweaters, digital Yule logs, and low-hanging Game of Thrones references… winter is coming. Here’s what we’re hot for when the temperature drops.

14 Winter Wines

First things first, the classics:

  1. 1. Nebbiolo

    Whoever came up with the phrase “appearances can be deceiving,” must have had Nebbiolo in mind. Yes, it looks pale and pleasant like Pinot Noir, but this Piedmontese beast has high acidity and grippy tannins that will make for an experience you won’t soon forget. Decant for 45 minutes and watch it rain complex rose, cherry, and leather flavors all over your palate. You won’t know what hit you.

    • Classic Regions: Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Valtellina, and Gattinara
    • Food Pairings: risotto, charcuterie, winter squash, mushrooms, truffles, fancy silverware, and food cooked in quenelles
    Micro Guide to Nebbiolo Wine
  2. 2. Shiraz

    ‘Tis the season for something rugged. Best described as big, brooding, and boozy, Australian Shiraz is known for its powerful black fruit flavors, savory undertones, and high ABV (14%-15%), thanks to plentiful Down Under sunshine. It’s not for...

The new guide to German and Austrian sparkling wines.

Anyone who loves Champagne needs to know about the new things happening with Sekt. What’s Sekt? It’s the term used for sparkling wines in Germany and Austria. And, it just might have the potential to roust France’s stronghold on bubbly.

Say hello to Sekt.

Getting to Know Sekt Wine

Since its inception in the 1820s, Sekt has endured a lifetime of mediocrity. This is because Sekt only maintained low quality standards, which allowed a tidal wave of cheap bubbly into the marketplace. On the positive side, everyone drinks the stuff.

In 2014, Germany consumed over 5 bottles of sparkling wine per person–FIVE times the rate in the US! Austria comes in right behind, drinking four bottles of sparkling wine per person each year. The two countries represent the largest sparkling wine markets in the world.

Of course, very little Sekt is exported because honestly, it’s not good… (Imagine what bad kids drink in public parks–my past self included.) Fortunately, some recent changes in wine governance show great promise for exceptional quality Sekt.

All About German Sekt Wine

We all may look to Champagne for bubbly inspiration, but Germany can claim three top sparkling wine houses. You may have never heard their names, but together the conglomerate brands of Rotkäppchen-Mumm, Henkell and Söhnlein, and Schloss Wachenheim produce 575.4...

One of the world’s great cuisines calls for a great wine. Here’s what to pair with Thai—a food that combines the sweet, the sour, the salty, and the spicy in perfect harmony.

Thai cuisine is unique. Take a moment to see if you can sum it up in one sentence.

No, seriously, try it. We’ll wait…

Time’s up! Not so easy is it?

What goes into your favorite Pad Thai or curry isn’t a random assembly of ingredients. It’s a complex blend of the sour, sweet, salty, and spicy, as well as the bitter and aromatic.


Wine Pairing with Thai Food

Is there a wine that can pair with such intricate fare? Of course there is! In fact, we’ve got several for the next time a Thai craving strikes.

Best Option: Riesling

If Thai cuisine is all about harmony, a nice off-dry Riesling is a welcome addition to the chorus. It’s almost too perfect: dynamite tropical fruit flavors with acidity and sweetness to cut the spice. There are even some Rieslings that feature jasmine in their bouquet! Plus, if you’re sensitive to heat, the low ABV will ensure the fire doesn’t get too out of control.


Great Alternatives

So, you’re still anti-Riesling. (You’ll get there if we have anything to do with it!) Fortunately...