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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
After a bleak situation four years ago, which saw Spain (lots of wine made there) vying with the Netherlands (um—gin, maybe?) for the World Cup, we are back once again to a final matchup between two great wine-producing countries: Germany vs. Argentina. I am certain that fútbol fans around the world are breathing a sigh of relief about this.
If nothing else, though, this particular game will allow you to drink great wine while supporting your side (great beer, too, when it comes to Germany). And it also puts the two great sides of wine against each other: white vs. red.
Germany, of course, is the homeland of Riesling, one of the world’s great white grapes, while Argentina has become a Malbec powerhouse, lifting a once–obscure French variety into supermarket ubiquity. This situation doesn’t mean you have to drink white if you’re a fan of Thomas Müller and co., nor does it mean you have to drink red if Lionel Messi and his teammates are who you support—but, you know, why not? Here are some suggestions:
What goes best with...? That’s the baseline wine-pairing question, and every wine expert worth his or her Riedel decanter has an answer for it. But realistically—and especially during the summer—there are plenty of times when a glass of wine will find its way to your hand with no food anywhere nearby. Cocktail parties, pre-dinner lounging around, beach house afternoons hanging out with friends, you name it. For these occasions what you want is the ideal aperitif wine: something light and crisp, not too high in alcohol and endlessly refreshing.
At the recent Food & Wine Classic in Aspen , which I was lucky enough to attend, I spent my time in the Grand Tasting tent hunting up some ideal, affordable, white wine candidates for this category. Here were my top picks:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how drinking alcohol in moderation can help you live to 100.
Yes: The Summer of Riesling has officially started. So what does that mean for you?
In case you missed the first six iterations of this restaurant-centric love-fest for all things Riesling, what happens is that, beginning June 21, a plethora of restaurants around the country agree to feature several Rieslings by the glass throughout the entire summer. There are also tastings, dinners, hootenannies (well, one hopes) and so on. The list of participants can be found at summerofriesling.com.
The purpose, of course, is to build awareness for Riesling, a great white grape that suffers from several misconceptions: First, that all of it is sweet (it isn’t), second, that it all comes from Germany (it doesn’t, though Germany is undoubtedly Riesling’s homeland), and third, that it’s weird and you’d be better off buying Chardonnay (definitely not).
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