Wine Wednesday with Brian Demay

Listen to Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday Review every week, and comment on Facebook for a chance to join us for the next wine event:

May 29th at Sorrento’s!

Brian will talk about the wines that we will sample, there will be perfectly-paired menu items, plus you can win prizes during the event.

You can also sign up here to win a seat for you and a guest at Wine Wednesday!

Must be 21 to attend event.


Official Rules

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

WW Justin

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

WW Wente

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

WW Tenshen

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

WW Locations

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

WW King Estate

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


Wine Wednesday with Brian Demay

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday is brought to you by Sorrento’s Italian in Norwood where Brian hosts a monthly wine dinner party.MORE

WW Schild Estate GMS

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

WW Troublemaker

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

WW Scaia Corvina 2

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

WW Shannon Ridge PS

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

WW Carne Humana

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

WW Sinister Hand

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

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Time Waits For No One

This time of year my neighborhood is decked out in Halloween decorations, so this wine definitely fits the season! You don’t often see a skull and crossbones on a wine label, but don’t let that deter you from trying this delicious Spanish red, which is 100% Monastrell, also known as Mourvedre in France. It’s a…MORE

WW B-Side Cabernet

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: B-Side Cabernet Sauvignon

I haven’t talked much about tannins on this blog, so let’s delve into it a bit, if you’re unfamiliar with the term. Tannins are defined as naturally occurring compounds that exist inside grape skins, seeds and stems. A red wine gets its color from soaking the juice with these skins, seeds and stems, but it…MORE


Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Freakshow Red Blend

I admit freely that I am a big fan of Michael David Winery. As a matter of fact, I have liked every single Michael David wine I have tried, which is a rarity for me. Named after winemaking brothers Michael and David Phillips, the winery truly put Lodi on the national wine map with the success of…MORE

WW Gran Passione

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Gran Passione Rosso

Readers of this blog know how much I love Amarone, an expensive Italian wine from Veneto that dries grapes before they are crushed, resulting in a very rich, very bold red wine. Because the process to make it is so intensive – and very regulated – the wines tend to be in the $50 to…MORE

WW Josh Cellars

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Josh Cellars Cabernet Reserve

There are so many factors that go into making wine. One bottle requires the labor of many, many people, from the wine maker right down to the people picking the grapes. But it’s more than labor – it’s also weather, the main thing people are referring to when discussing a vintage. If you’re a California…MORE

WW Canvasback

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon

I am so impressed by the quality of wines coming out of Washington State! There have been tremendous values there for quite some time, but lately, I have tried some truly magnificent wines, and this one sets the bar very high. Take the magic of Napa’s famed Duckhorn vineyards, mix it with Washington State’s Red Mountain…MORE

WW Sofia Rose

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Coppola Sofia Rosé

On a hot summer day, enjoying a heavy red wine gets a little harder. Admittedly, on days like this, I will often crank up the AC and still pour myself a nice Cabernet! But there’s something about sitting outside, feeling a warm summer breeze, and lifting a glass of crisp, chilled Rosé to your lips.…MORE

WW Shebang

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Shebang Tenth Cuvee

My daughter at dinner recently said “Dad, you take wine too seriously!” She was annoyed because I made her move as I took a picture of this week’s featured wine, Shebang Tenth Cuvee, a California red blend from Sonoma’s Bedrock Winery. My wife and I found this one totally at random on our weekly trip to…MORE

WW Lapostolle Syrah

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Syrah

One of the great things about Wine Spectator is that all their ratings are based on “blind tasting,” i.e. the critics do not know anything about the wines they rate, so they are not influenced by the label, the maker, or if they advertise with the magazine. I can tell you from experience that blind…MORE

WW Dark Knight

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Gabbiano Black Knight

I have heard it said that now is a phenomenal time to get into wine, because a lot of the old rules no longer apply. For example: you can buy a nice Bordeaux or Napa Cabernet, drink it now, and it will taste great. In years past, you pretty much had to lay down a…MORE


Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: CS Substance Cabernet Sauvignon

When I was a boy my father smoked a pipe. If you close your eyes and picture a stereotypical professor, that was my Dad: mustache, tweed coat with elbow patches, cup of coffee, pipe, smoke wafting around his head as he graded papers. I never cared for the smell of the pipe smoke, but I…MORE


Brian’s Wine Wednesday: 1000 Stories Zinfandel

Welcome to the newest trend in wine and beer: bourbon barrel aging. The idea behind this trend is simple: most red wines are aged in oak barrels, why not in charred bourbon barrels, for a more interesting flavor? To be clear, no whiskey is being added to the wine, they are just aging the juice…MORE

WW Penya Rose

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Penya Rosé

This week’s featured wine is a Rosé from the Languedoc region of France, 30 miles north of Spain. The village in Rousillon where the grapes were grown used to be part of Spain in the 17th Century, and Penya is its traditional Catalan name. There are still so many misconceptions about Rosé, so let’s clear up a…MORE

WW Ferrari Carano Siena

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

WW Jacob Heims Riesling

Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Jacob Heims Riesling

Not long ago I found out that some relatives of mine own a winery in Germany, and they specialize in Riesling. (I knew wine was in my blood!) My mother is from Bavaria, and I have not been there to visit her side of the family since I was a kid. Now I have a…MORE

WW MacMurray Pinot

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: MacMurray Estate Pinot Noir

It had been a few years since I tried the MacMurray Estates Pinot Noir. I had given the 2013 very high marks – would the 2015 be as good? The answer: a resounding YES. Before my tasting notes, some background. In 1941 actor Fred MacMurray (he of My Three Sons fame) bought some land north…MORE

WW Mt Veeder Cab 2015

Brian’s Wine Wednesday: Mount Veeder Winery 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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