The¬†online home of Mark “The Cork Head” Stuart, Certified Wine Professional, speaker/educator, judge, and columnist.

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February 2018
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Do you have a question about a wine you have, food pairings, or anything else wine?  Scroll through the list below or simply enter your question and it will be added to the page.

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Questions & Answers:

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    What is the best wine with smoked gouda?

    This is one of the few times I recommend an oaky Napa style chardonnay as a food pairing. These partners mirror each other so well, one ends up with a decadent combination of a smooth creamy texture and lingering smokey length on the palate. Think eating carmel apples while camping...but with just a little more refinement!

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    How can I tell if a wine is 'corked'? What does that really mean?

    When a wine is referred to as "corked", it indicates a specific flaw in the wine. TCA, short for trichloroanisole, is a chemical that can live in corks or the winery itself. When it infects a bottle of wine, TCA imparts a moldy, wet cardboard smell. TCA can diminish the desirable fruit aromas in the wine as well.

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    If you could only visit 2 wineries in the San Diego area - what would they be? Looking for big reds and some whites.

    The two most important wineries in San Diego are Fallbrook Winery and Orfila Vineyards and Winery. Fallbrook has been on a quest to produce a true estate red for over a decade and in 2008 released its first estate grown series, 33 Degrees North. Both the syrah and bordeaux blend are superb. Orfila makes a wonderful sangiovese and has had great success with viognier. Temecula is not in San Diego County so I did not include selections from this up and coming area.

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    Since there is more to 'wine tasting' than simply taking a wondering if there is a preferred way of cleaning glassware and keeping it sparkling & odor free?

    Good question! Hot water is really great. Scented soaps can sometimes leave aromas behind, as can storing glasses in cabinets made from aromatic wood, such as cedar or untreated oak. I also recommend keeping a "polishing cloth" around exclusively for taking care of quailty wine stems. The best one for the money is available here.

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    Would you please explain how sherry and brandy are different? also, is sherry an aperitif, while brandy is for after dinner? Thanks!

    While Brandy is made from distilling grape juice, Sherry is actually wine which during fermentation is fortified with grape spirits, such as Brandy. Sherry is very complex to understand, and thrilling to taste all the various styles!