Wine Wednesday with Brian Demay

Brian Demay’s next wine event is Wednesday, September 25th at 7pm a Sorrento’s!

Each month, Brian gets a fun group of listeners together to talk about each wine that we taste, how each is made and why they taste the way they do, plus a fabulous dinner AND great prizes during the event!

Must be 21 to attend event.


WW Silver Palm Cabernet

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Silver Palm Cabernet

Every now and then you luck out with a restaurant wine list choice. More on that in a minute. The rules for what grapes go into a particular wine vary from country to country. France has very strict rules for what can be considered Bordeaux, for example, as does Italy for Chianti, Spain for Rioja,…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Stellenbosch Faithful Hound

As good as American wines are, there is a wide world of wine out there, and it’s a lot of fun to explore. Take, for example, the Stellenbosch region of South Africa, a university town settled by the Dutch in the late 17th century. Nestled on the banks of the Eerste River and the foothills…MORE

WW The Burn

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Borne of Fire Cabernet

I have written before on this blog about the tremendous wines coming out of Washington State. I was a particular fan of the Duckhorn Canvasback Cabernet previously reviewed, which got a high rating from me despite its $39 price tag. This week’s wine hits a new mark for quality and value. My new favorite Cabernet from…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Mount Veeder Cabernet

On a trip to Napa several years ago, I had two Cabernets from the same vineyard, that tasted completely different. Both were very good, but one had a much more interesting flavor, with layers of fruit, spice, and tremendous aroma. I was shocked when I found out that the grape for both wines was the…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Ferrari-Carano Siena

A question I get a lot from people headed out to Napa or Sonoma is “what winery should I visit?” Ideally you want a place that is gorgeous, with wines that match, and Ferrari-Carano definitely fits the bill. TripAdvisor consistently mentions the gardens at Ferrari-Carano as one of the most beautiful in California wine country,…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Cote Des Roses

French wine can be an expensive proposition. Top-shelf Bordeaux and Burgundy run into the hundreds per bottle on the low end, and into the thousands for certain collectible wines. Needless to say, out of the range of most to afford. Thankfully, other regions in France are more accessible to wine lovers, and at the forefront…MORE


Wine Stories: Rose & The Wines of Southern France

Brian Demay and wine ambassador Jim Teegarden of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits discuss French Rosé, and the history of the wines of Southern France, specifically Languedoc. The delicious wines we taste from Gerard Bertrand are: * Cote Des Roses * Ballerine Brut Etoile Rosé * 2016 Cigalus (the wine served at the Nobel Prize…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Orion Primitivo

In the world of wine there are no guarantees, because taste is so subjective. But I’m confident of this: if you like Zinfandel, you’ll enjoy Primitivo, too. For many years America sought to claim Zinfandel as its own indigenous grape, native only to California. It wasn’t until the 1960s that scientists realized Zinfandel was actually…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Paraduxx

I have been to Napa three times, but still one of my fondest memories was visiting Duckhorn Winery for the very first time. There’s something about the place: a gorgeous tasting room with huge windows overlooking the vineyard, with a beautiful garden and huge trees, under which are set cozy seating and tables. The day…MORE

WW Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Once the weather gets warmer, it’s hard to beat a nice Sauvignon Blanc. Done right, the balance between fruitiness and acidity is perfectly refreshing. Sadly, most inexpensive Sauv Blancs either have no flavor, or basically taste like sweet fruit juice. Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc is a happy exception, and delivers perfect flavor at a very…MORE


Wine Stories Podcast – Wines of Northwest Italy

Brian Demay and sommelier Steve Tartaglia planned to do a “Wines of Italy” segment but realized the regions and history of Italian winemaking are too varied and vast to do only one, so this is the first of a series. Behold: The Wines of Northwest Italy, and specifically the delicious alpine wines of this storied…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon

Until recently, more than 80% of the wine produced in Washington State was consumed in Washington State. Despite over 71,000 square miles of vineyards in the state(!!), for a long time most wine there was made by and for Washington residents. Thankfully, that has changed in a big way, and most big-name wine families are…MORE

WW Rainwater Madeira

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Leacock’s Rainwater Madeira

In honor of Independence Day, I decided to be patriotic and review the wine our Founding Fathers drank to toast the Declaration of Independence way back in July of 1776. It’s a wine that used to be everywhere in Colonial America, but is a bit harder to find these days. I had to go to…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Wairau River Pinot Noir

Although wine making in New Zealand began in the early 1800s, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the world took notice. As I have mentioned previously, the wine that put NZ on the map was Sauvignon Blanc, but lately there have been some very nice 90+ point Pinot Noirs, including this week’s featured wine, from…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Infinito

I talk a lot in these reviews about how better wine is made from vines that don’t have the most ideal growing conditions; when you have rich, fertile soil, and incredible moisture, you end up with watery, uninteresting grapes and poor quality wine. Ideally, grape vines should be stressed, with dry conditions that force the…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Allegrini Valpolicella

It’s time to delve into the sometimes confusing world of Italian wines. Like France, Italy names its wines by the region in which it is grown. Valpolicella is a region in Northeast Italy, near the border with Austria. Fun fact: the word means literally “Valley of many cellars.” Needless to say, they have been making…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Contrade Malvasia Chardonnay

One of the first wines I tasted as a young wine explorer was a dessert wine made of the Malvasia grape. It was in Virginia, and the wine steward told those gathered at the tasting that it was a favorite of the founding fathers. Malvasia is one of the grapes used to make Madeira, a…MORE

WW The Spur

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Murrieta’s Well The Spur

The Livermore Valley wine region is literally where the California wine industry started. It’s where Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the 1760s. Then in the mid-1800s, Robert Livermore planted the area’s first commercial vineyards. A few years later, winemaking pioneer C. H. Wente arrived and established California Chardonnay in the region. James…MORE


Wine Stories with Brian Demay

Brian Demay and sommelier Steve Tartaglia tackle the origin and history of oak aging. From oak casks which transported wine in horse-drawn carriages across Europe to the oak barrels which traversed the ocean, it has played a huge part in the story of wine. Brian considers it a “happy accident” that we used oak to…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Justin Cabernet Sauvignon

I am becoming more and more a fan of Paso Robles, along California’s Central Coast. I have mentioned on this blog before how important it is for grapes to be able to cool down at night to preserve freshness and acidity. The term for this is called diurnal shift, and Paso Robles offers the widest…MORE

WW Vecchia Modena

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Vecchia Modena Premium Lambrusco

A wine friend of mine recommended this bottle, and I’ll be honest: my expectations for a sparkling Lambrusco were quite low. Happily, I was not only delighted with this wine, I now realize I need to stock up and keep a case of it on-hand for all occasions. Frankly, you should too! This is a perfect,…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Wente Sandstone Merlot

Most wine lovers remember the line from the movie Sideways where Miles becomes upset with his friend Jack, who suggests they and the women in their group all have a glass of Merlot. Jack : “If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.” Miles Raymond : “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Tenshen Red Wine

There are days when you’re eating light, and a big red wine just doesn’t go with that salad, or sushi, that you’re having. And then, there are days when a big, bold red wine with zing is just what the doctor ordered. That’s what you get with Tenshen, a delicious red blend from winemaker Joey…MORE

WW Santa Julia

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Santa Julia Mountain Blend

As much good wine as there is available to explore, I still break them all down to two categories: quick and slow. There are millions of wines that are pleasant enough, you like the taste, but you’re not going to spend much time thinking about them during, or after, you have a glass. I consider…MORE

WW Rodney Strong Cabernet

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon

Here is some awesome news if you like California wine: the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons were spectacular. Extremely dry conditions, no crazy spikes in heat or cold, no excessive rain during harvest – all of this contributed to excellent quality of grapes overall in Sonoma and Napa, and the wines which were made from…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Locations I (#4)

The “I” in the name of this wine stands for Italy. Winemaker Dave Phinney, whose claim to fame is the mega-popular Prisoner wine brand, among other things, has lent his expertise to the Locations wines. What started out as four distinctive red wines from France, California, Italy and Spain has grown to eight, as well…MORE

WW Imagery Cabernet

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Imagery Cabernet

When I visited Sonoma last year, I was taken with the thriving art scene. Galleries were all over, and local art was on display everywhere, providing an interesting counterpoint to the rugged nature of Sonoma overall.  No winery reflects that unique aesthetic more than Imagery Winery. Founded by Joe Benziger, of the famed Benziger winemaking…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: King Estate Pinot Gris

At a wine event recently someone asked “if I order Pinot, what will the server bring me?” It was an interesting question, because when you think “Pinot” the wine that probably comes to mind is Pinot Noir, a very popular red wine. But the fact is, there are many different varieties: Pinot Blanc, the aforementioned…MORE

WW Klinker Brick

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Klinker Brick Zinfandel

One of the biggest successes of the California wine industry in the 1970s was taking the red Zinfandel grape and making it into a spritzy, sweet white wine, often in a box. To this day that’s what many people think of when they see the word “Zinfandel,” which is such a shame – because it’s…MORE

WW Juggernaut

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Juggernaut Cabernet

I have to hand it to the Bogle family: they have been making high quality, affordable wines for over 50 years now. You may have seen their Phantom label in stores, a rich red blend I have reviewed previously. Juggernaut is their latest venture, a small production division harvesting grapes from their best hillside vineyard…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Schild Estate GMS

Schild Estate is a family winery located in Australia’s famed Barossa Valley, established in 1952. Ed Schild took over the operations of the winery when he was just 16 after the untimely death of his parents, and he’s still working the vineyard with his children, and now grandchildren. Three generations of Schild family members manage…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Troublemaker Red Blend

Knowing a good wine used to mean knowing the vintage, or year it was bottled. Most winemakers harvest grapes during a specific year, from a specific area or vineyard, and label their bottles accordingly, but some wines may be labeled “NV,” or non-vintage. Non-vintage wines mean juice from two or more different years are blended…MORE

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Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Scaia Corvina

I talk a lot about oak aging on this blog. Over the years I have learned a lot about the different types of oak barrels winemakers use, and the specific flavors the different types of oak impart to the wines; everything from caramel, cinnamon and vanilla to mocha, oregano and pepper. Each winemaker has a…MORE

WW Noble Vines

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Noble Vines 337 Cabernet

There are nights when you want a bold, full-bodied wine to go with a special dinner, and nights when you want an everyday wine to go with burgers or pizza. Burger night doesn’t mean you want a bad wine, just a decent but affordable one that you can pick up at Kroger. This week’s selection…MORE

WW Intrinsic Cabernet

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon

There is a lot of experimentation going on in the wine world today, especially in Washington State, and I love it. Not only are we seeing interesting blends and grape varieties that are new to the American continent, but winemakers are also experimenting with aging techniques. There’s still plenty of traditional aging in new French…MORE

WW The Franc

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: The Franc, Cosentino Winery

My wine career began in Virginia about 20 years ago. I had just moved from Ohio to Charlottesville, and toured a winery there with my wife. We both fell in love with the rolling hills, the rows of vines, the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance, and the whole idea of wine and winemaking. It wasn’t…MORE


Wine Stories with Brian Demay – Episode 13 “Sonoma”

Brian Demay and sommelier Steve Tartaglia discuss Sonoma, its history and terroir, and sample three delicious wines from this storied region: Wind Gap Chardonnay, Lioco Pinot Noir, and Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel      MORE

WW Villa Antinori

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Villa Antinori Toscana

2015 was a great vintage in Tuscany: hot, dry days, cool nights, and a light August rain which refreshed the vines just in time for harvesting. The saying “rising tides raise all ships” certainly applies, as even less expensive labels are putting out spectacular wines! On my bucket list of places to visit, Tuscany is…MORE

WW Hahn Cabernet

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Hahn Estates Cabernet

There are wines that you save for special occasions, and wines you buy repeatedly because they are a good value, and of reliable quality. The Hahn Estates Cabernet is an everyday wine, always reasonably priced, and always good quality. Whenever I see the red rooster on the label I pick up a bottle. So why the…MORE


Wine Stories #6 – Bubbly!

Brian and Steve talk about bubbly, just in time for NYE: how is it made? When did it start? Plus three delicious examples, a Spanish Cava, an American sparkler made in New Mexico with transplanted vines from Champagne, France, and a French wine that can indeed be called Champagne! Here are the wines we discussed:MORE


Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Gruet Blanc de Noirs

The United States is one of the top wine-producing countries in the world. Every state in the union makes wine, but not every state makes world-class wine. We tend to think of California, Washington State or Oregon for those; but what about New Mexico? This week’s featured wine is a sparkler from Albuquerque, with grapes harvested…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah

This wine was a very pleasant surprise. I was at a farmer’s market with my wife and we felt obliged to buy something there, so we picked up a bottle of Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah, not knowing anything about the winery, except that it is 100% sustainably farmed. I like wineries that don’t rely on…MORE

WW Cline Ancient Vine

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel

#40 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2018 is Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel. Every year I usually peruse the WS list, look at the prices, and think “oh well,” but in this case, you can find this wine for around $15 at Kroger! So I picked up a bottle, and after I tasted it,…MORE


Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Dashe Zinfandel

There are so many California Zinfandels available at rock-bottom prices these days that it becomes difficult to even distinguish between them. They’re all big, fruity, and to be quite honest: bland and one-note. That is not the case with the 2014 Dry Creek Zinfandel from Dashe Cellars. This Oakland based winery takes a definitive non-industrial…MORE

WW Kung Fu Girl

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Kung Fu Girl Riesling

I am a big fan of German Riesling, from the Mosel River Valley. It is, in my opinion, the best example of what Riesling should be, and almost a miracle, when you consider how far north the vineyards lie! Thanks to south-facing vineyards which are extremely steep, and angled to catch every ray of sun,…MORE

WW Rengo Amarone

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Rengo Amarone

One cold day about 10 years ago my wife and I were at a wine tasting in New York. We tasted a lot of wines that day, none were particularly good. A friend of ours said “When you’re done, come on over to the bar.” We did, and he and his friend had open a…MORE

WW Dog Point

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir

On a recent trip to Napa, I tasted a LOT of Pinot Noir. This finicky grape is thin-skinned, and temperamental, requiring extra care when harvesting. Most wineries harvest it at night, so the grapes remain cool, and pick by hand, even wearing gloves so the grapes stay as pristine as possible from the vineyard to…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Carne Humana

Continuing my Hallowine series, it’s time to talk about one of my favorite red blends: Carne Humana, an odd name for a wine, because it means literally “human flesh,” but it’s a perfect wine to get people talking if you bring it to a Halloween party. I am happy to report, there are no meat…MORE

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Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Sinister Hand

Once October hits, it’s always fun to find wines with spooky labels to bring to a Halloween party. This week’s featured wine fits the bill: Sinister Hand, complete with blood dripping from an armored hand. So…what is the story behind the name? Owen Roe Winery writes, “during the 17th century, the O’Neills and O’Reillys were…MORE

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