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Columns – Jessica Dupuy

Five Takeaways From a Week In Burgundy
Jessica Dupuy
Oct 31, 2017

Burgundy can evoke any number of thoughts and feelings among wine enthusiast, experts, and professionals. Certainly ideas of legendary Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Grand Cru and Premier Cru spring to mind, as do memories of studying maps, regional history, and wine guides to try to comprehend its intricate and confusing framework. Emotions vacillate between wonder, excitement, and intimidation at the thought of zipping around the Grande Route du Vins for a few days. I know this because that's how I felt when invited by the Burgundy Wine Board to spend an exploratory week in the region. Having been a self-guided student of wine for the past decade or so, I was eager to see the iconic region with my own eyes.

What Makes A Good Wine List? A Few Master Sommeliers Weight In
Jessica Dupuy
Sep 19, 2017

When it comes to writing a wine list for a restaurant, the challenges are wide and varied. In countries such as France, Italy, or Spain, you're pretty much assured that the wine list will be driven by the region in which you are in. But what happens when you're elsewhere? 'One thing that's different is that the whole globe comes to the UK and the US with wine, which means we're constantly trying to achieve balanced diversity with wine lists,' said Master Sommelier Joe Spellman of Justin Vineyards and Winery at a recent panel discussion at TEXSOM, an annual educational wine conference in Dallas, Texas. The panel discussion included a handful of sommeliers from across the country who gave their input on putting together a wine list.

Chilean Wine Through the Lens of Viña Montes
Jessica Dupuy
Aug 8, 2017

When it comes to Chilean wine, most American consumers have a vague familiarity As one of the leading South American wine producing countries, Chile has done an excellent job of producing and exporting a hefty sum of quality, price-point driven labels that consumers can readily find on the shelves, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Carmenère, and to a lesser extent, Sauvignon Blanc among the most recognized varieties. But with more than 500 years of viticultural history as well as more than a 1,000-mile expanse of coastal wine producing geography, all along a narrow strip of land book-ended by the Pacific Coast to the west and two dominant mountain ranges to the east, Chile has a lot more to offer than just the limited selection commonly found on your grocer's shelves.

Field Notes from Lirac
Jessica Dupuy
Jun 27, 2017

I'm the road this week in the Rhône Valley, a land that has held sway for me for years ever since I took a road trip through the region as a university student. There's just something that makes my heart swoon when seeing fields of lavender, sunflowers, and vineyards for miles peppered with little stone houses dawning blue doors and window shutters. Of course, back then, I had no understanding of wine. So when the association representing Rhône Valley Wines offered an invitation to join them on a road trip through the both the southern and northern parts of the region, stopping at as many Cru appellations as possible along the way, I jumped at the chance.

Rosé Around The World
Jessica Dupuy
May 16, 2017

What makes rosé so great? If you ask me, it's diverse range of flavors from crisp and refreshing and to ripe and juicy. And though some may mistake it as being sweet, the best examples of rosé are usually fruity on the nose but dry on the palate. Combining notes of citrus, melon, berries, herbs and much more--rosé can across both boundaries and can pair with anything from sushi to roast chicken to a juicy burger.

Austrian Alternatives
Jessica Dupuy
Apr 4, 2017

Like many European countries, Austria looks back on a very eventful history--and that's putting it mildly. But one thing that has stayed true throughout its storied past is its cultural affinity for beautiful food and wine. Austrian wine has its own intriguing story that dates back to before the 16th century. But it wasn't until recently that the country's modern wine industry suffered a monumental set back in 1985 when it was discovered that a number of Austrian wineries illegally used the primary ingredient in antifreeze to alter the taste of the wines. While it greatly effected the credibility of the wine industry at the time, the silver lining is that the modern Austrian wine industry of today is regulated in such a way to demand that producers make a clear representation of the grape. As a whole, the country has a set criteria for sustainability that encompasses everything from farming, energy, waste, and social standards.

A Willamette Valley Wine Awakening
Jessica Dupuy
Feb 21, 2017

About eighth years ago, my husband surprised me with a trip to Oregon's Willamette Valley. It was before I had spent any time writing about or studying wine. I remember being taken with the beauty of the valley. Sweeping views from every hillside with some of the most vivid shades of green I had ever seen. While I was certainly enamored with many of the wines we sampled, I was uniquely struck by how interwoven the whole production of wine was. Somehow I could taste the elements of working with dirt, weather, and vine with just the swirl of my glass. It tasted like farming. (In a good way.) It wasn't just some beverage that had magically arrived in my glass. It was the first time I remember wine tasting like something more than just a beverage. It tasted like a place.

A Case for Bordeaux
Jessica Dupuy
Jan 3, 2017

As wine drinking has become less formal for most consumers across the globe, Bordeaux winemakers have expanded their approach with wines that are ready to drink earlier and are better suited to how we live and eat today. That means there's a trend towards less tannic, less extracted wines. The result is a wider range of foods suitable for enjoyment with the wines, as well as a shift away from the perception of Bordeaux as being only for special occasions and fine dining. There's also a focus on broadening the styles of wine produced, expanding from age-worthy reds to include a growing number of dry white wines, rosés, sparklers and dessert wines.

Fallen Out of Love With Wine? Why Lower Alcohol Wines May Bring You Back
Jessica Dupuy
Nov 22, 2016

Among the everyday conversations I have about wine, there's one particular comment I hear on a regular basis that always puzzles me: "I can't drink wine because it gives me a headache." A lot of people write off wine altogether, claiming the tannins or sulfites are the culprit for the post-wine head pounding. But I'd argue there's a more likely candidate that's causing the pain. I'm no scientist, nor am I a doctor, but I'd be willing to bet that sugar and alcohol are the primary offenders. I may be wrong, but if you consider the points below, you may find your way to a better wine experience.

Finding Franciacorta
Jessica Dupuy
Oct 11, 2016

Many of us are fairly familiar with the sparkling styles of wine in the world from France's Champagne and Crémant, to Spain's Cava and Italy's better-known sparkling classics like Moscato D'Asti and Prosecco. But when it comes to Franciacorta, it's a wine and region that remains largely unknown and under the radar across much of the globe. Much of that may be due to its relatively young heritage, which began in the 1960s. Others may argue that its limited export quantities have kept it from finding a seat at the table in markets like the US. (Only a little more than 10 percent of these wines makes it out of the country each year.)

Wink Lorch Debunks Misunderstandings of the Jura
Jessica Dupuy
Aug 30, 2016

Make no mistake, when it comes to the Jura, Wink Lorch is an expert. The British ex-pat has spent the latter part of her career tirelessly sipping her way through every grape and wine style imaginable from this tiny little wine region. And from every oxidative--not oxidized--high acid, savory, unusual drop, she's got a quick wit to prove it.

Impressions from Wine Travels in Germany
Jessica Dupuy
Jul 19, 2016

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining the German Wine Institute for a week in the angelic wine regions of the Pfalz and Baden. Following weeks of rain throughout the southern part of the country, the clouds parted to reveal blue bird skies…and a veritable heat wave. Temperatures hovered into the 90s during the heat of the day--which was a bit daunting considering the theme of our trip was to actively experience German vineyards and wine through outdoor exercise. Our merry group of journalists included two Americans, a French Canadian, a Pole, a Norwegian, a Finn, and 2 Danes. And if that sounds like the beginning to a bar joke, you wouldn't be far off.

Why You Should Be Drinking Portuguese Wines
Jessica Dupuy
Jun 7, 2016

Sitting on the far western tip of Europe surrounded by Spain the vast Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is only 380 miles long and 140 miles wide. To put it in context with the United States, it's about the size of the state of Maine. But despite its small boundary lines, it's a country that is densely divided into a mind-boggling number of official wine regions. The country alone has more than 200 micro climates and 250 types of indigenous grapes, which is the highest density of anywhere in the world in terms of space and quantity of grapes planted. It's diversity of grapes, terrain, wine styles and philosophies make it one of the most intriguing countries to explore.

In Anticipation of a Sunny Summer, A Rosé Roundup
Jessica Dupuy
Apr 12, 2016

As spring struggles to push sunny days through in many parts of the country, there's no denying its vibrant presence in the release of 2015 Rosé wines. Rosé is commonly associated with France, particularly the Provence region in Southern France, which is largely devoted to the production of Rosé. But while there are countless examples of excellent and affordable Provençal Rosés, it's worth noting that this style of wine is expertly made all over the world. Often brimming with bright red fruits balanced with crisp citrus acidity, it's the perfect style of wine to bridge the gap between red wine and white wine lovers alike--especially in warmer climates. As the spring season evolves to summer, these are a few favorites from the New World, the Old World, and even the Really Old World--with a selection from Israel.

Wine and Cheese Pairing: A Challenge for Wine Lovers and Sommeliers
Jessica Dupuy
Mar 1, 2016

When it comes to wine and food pairings, sommeliers often complain about obvious ingredient challenges such as asparagus, ginger, and artichoke--a particular food item that Food & Wine editor Ray Isle once said cropped up from the earth with the primary mission to mess up a wine pairing. One other challenging pairing: Cheese. Sure, a sharp cheddar can help melt away tannins on a big red Bordeaux. And the sweeter nature of a ruby port can cover up the savoriness of most other cheeses. But are these the right pairings? Generally, you want either the food or the wine to be the dominant focus with the other element as a complement to enhance the overall enjoyment. But what do you do with a cheese plate?

Finding the Verve in Vermouth
Jessica Dupuy
Jan 19, 2016

When I lived in France many years ago, meals often began with a small glass of Dolin over ice. Smooth and refreshing, it was the perfect way to whet the appetite. But here in the States, vermouth is rarely peddled as anything other than an afterthought intended to splash as a mixer in the occasional cocktail. While I've held fast to the long-established European tradition of savoring a little pre-dinner vermouth--particularly with Lillet and lemon in the summertime--it seems Americans have never really taken to the time to appreciate the humble appertivo.

Save the Wine for Holiday Dinners, Letting the Cocktails Lead the Show
Jessica Dupuy
Dec 8, 2015

As a wine and food writer, I'm often asked for the best wines to pair with just about anything. From specific meals and special occasions to sporting events, holiday parties or simply the best wine to be drinking right now, I've become the default Dear Abby for friends and family in search of good wine. And now, with the holiday season upon us, the requests have started to flow. But this year, I'm changing up my usual list of handy reds and whites to suggest. Instead, I'm pushing cocktails.

A Grape Future for the Lone Star State
Jessica Dupuy
Oct 6, 2015

It often comes as a surprise to many people to hear that Texas has a thriving wine industry. Anyone who has traveled through the state's Hill Country region in the past few years has seen evidence of a wine community that attracts tourists from all over the country. But Texas wine is an industry that stretches far beyond the confines of the picturesque Hill Country. In fact, as the fifth largest wine producer in the USA, there are eight wine appellations--or American Viticultural Areas--across the state. Texas and wine have quite a long history. The first wave of Texas wine arrived in the 1600s when Spanish missionaries planted the vineyards in the western part of the state--right about where El Paso is today.

Brettanomyces: Beauty or Beast?
Jessica Dupuy
Aug 11, 2015

When it comes to styles of wine, personal preferences for individuals can spread widely across the board. Whether you like vibrant and crisp dry white wines, or deep, brooding, fruity red wines, it's generally accepted as your preferred taste. But when a wine begins to attract descriptors like rustic, barnyard, wet leather, stinky and just plain funky, a few red flags begin to fly. While many have mistaken this funkiness to just be a normal characteristic of certain wines, the reality is that it's really the result of the presence of brettanomyces, a natural yeast that tends to thrive on fruit skins and can create a number of aromatic compounds in wine that evoke stinky, barnyard-esque descriptors.

German Wine in America: Süss oder Trocken?
Jessica Dupuy
Jun 16, 2015

A few years ago, I had the great fortune of visiting the majority of the wine regions along Germany's southwestern boundaries. While tasting through a wide variety of wines from the Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Baden and Wurtemburg, I was struck by the vast array of German dry wines, from red Portugieser, Lemberger and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) to white Silvaner and dry Riesling. Returning to the US, I've managed to uncover a handful of these dry-style German wines, but the discoveries are few and far between. Last year, I sat in on a seminar at TexSom given by Master Sommeliers Laura Williamson and Tim Gaiser that focused primarily on the beauty of Germany's dry wines and the growing demand for them among German consumers, particularly younger ones.