By Sue Shelden   |   Friday, July 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

I just learned of a really great Smartphone app for wine-lovers. It is called Delectable. This fabulous app enables the user to snap a photo of a wine label and get information and reviews. It also shows what some of the top Sommeliers are drinking. The app is free and easily downloaded. I checked other similar apps and this seems to be the one most of the cognoscenti use.

For example, are you curious about what Rob Mondavi drinks? Well, in April 2014, he had Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend. His comment on the wine was “Perfection.” You can order a bottle for yourself for a mere $515–in fact, it will be shipped to your Indiana home with just a few clicks on your Smartphone.

Perhaps you’d prefer the 2011 Emblem Oso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at the somewhat more reasonable price of $57. I liked Rob’s review: “Classic rocking CS with 13% Petite Verdot. Amazing. Get it. Drink it. Love it.”

Along with the experts, you can put in your own reviews and comments and share them with friends. Keep a virtual diary of the wines you drink and learn so much more about wines in general.

To download the app, just go to Does life get any better?

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

Dr. William McCrea of the Great Western Hospital in the Wiltshire town of Swindon is most likely acquainted with medical research done at Harvard in the United States. Even if he isn’t, his own findings greatly parallel some of the Harvard discoveries, especially those related to heart health and wine consumption.

Last June 4th, I wrote about the Harvard Revelations that showed how wine consumption is good for the heart, protects against the common cold, and helps lower blood pressure. Dr. McCrea has found by testing more than 10,000 patients over ten years, that a couple of drinks of red wine a day really does reduce the risk of heart attacks by half and of stroke by 20% He suggests two glasses a day, one in the morning, one in the evening. He does not advocate large drinks — just 125ml each but points out the antioxidants in red wine prevent the clogging of arteries and raise the good cholesterol.

Far be it from me to question such useful medical guidance, but red wine in the morning has never appealed to me, except when visiting wineries starting about 10:00 a.m. when, they say, the palate is at its best. At home, I could delay a morning glass till lunch, but waking up to the Cabernets, Shiraz, and Pinot Noirs he suggests just doesn’t appeal to me. The Harvard Revelations, by the way, lean toward Merlot.

In any case, we wine lovers have another ally. For those who are vintage conscious, Dr. McCrea states that younger wines with screw caps are more effective than older wines in corked bottles because older vintages lose their antioxidants in the barrel and to the cork. My sources did not indicate whether he holds opinions about cellaring wines for extended periods.

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

Aperitif time is a very important time for my family. It’s a custom we learned in France, and while in our country a stop at the neighborhood pub on the way home from work is an approximation of aperitif time, it is not the same nor does it really serve the same purpose.

Aperitif time is time to savor the day, to appreciate surroundings, companionship, the end of the work day. While it allows for and enjoys conversation, conversation is not necessary. With exceptions — of course there are always exceptions, our pubs generally feature a TV on every wall, boisterous conversation around the bar, and an almost joyous excitement about being away from work and in this place. Nothing wrong with any of that. But it’s not aperitif time.

The quaint expression, cinq au sept — from five to seven — suggests the time frame. Not everyone or even most French  spend a full two hours sipping an aperitif before going home or going to dinner, but even in the rapidly changing Parisian scene, most still find a brief time to unwind calmly, even thoughtfully over a kir ( a dry wine blended with a creme de cassis (currant liqueur) or a Byhrr or a Cinzano — rarely a whisky or a martini. Such a pause makes the Metro more bearable, the kids at home more tolerable, the palate more stimulated, and the psyche ready for the evening.

With just the two of us, aperitif time may fold around the preparation for dinner and most often is a glass of Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc or even a Chardonnay; but with friends there is always an aperitif to allow for all the catching up needed before sitting at dinner. Aperitif time, you see,  is more than a drink; it is a social ritual well worth preserving.

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