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Elaine Smith

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On Wine: I’ve Got a Crush on You

The scene opens onto a table for two, set with white linens, candles and flowers. And what beverage completes the tableau? Is it beer, gin or chocolate milk? Of course not. It’s a bottle...

On Wine: Cafe Casual

Much has been made of Sacramento's expanding options for fine dining. But truth be told, there are only so many nights when you want to throw big bucks down on the city's white tablecloths....

Unexpected Gifts for the Wine Lover

This giving season, you want to show your appreciation to the friends and family who always open the good stuff. But what to get the collector who has everything? How many grape-motif aprons and...

On Wine: Read All About It

I'm a multitasker. Maybe that's why I like reading wine books with glass in hand. Breathing in the violets and leather of a purplish-red Dolcetto d'Alba, I more eagerly absorb the DOC maps of...

Keeping Track

It's human nature to keep records of things. The Mormons have their genealogy, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration counts fish in the Pacific, and sports leagues provide enough stats to keep 10-year-old boys...

Wine for a Good Cause

Don't you just love a good benefit gala? Sure, the chicken dinners and earnest speeches are equally tepid, but then the real fun begins: the auction. At a silent auction, you circle around rented...

Slice of Life

Life without pizza? Fuhgeddaboudit! But if you're fed up with the usual fodder, try one of these locally owned pizzerias whose pizzas are well worth remembering. Dough. Sauce. Cheese. The building blocks of pizza form a...

Sake: A Primer

My first taste of sake, a Japanese rice wine that is fermented like beer, was cheap stuff, overheated in its tetra box hooked up to the restaurant's dispensing machine. It went down like a...

Mind your Manners

The world of wine is rife with arcane ritual, invented when the elite took over what was otherwise a fun way for the peasants to get their daily antioxidants. In the modern home, wine...

Terroir: The Taste of a Place

Terroir: the environment in which a wine is grown and madeWine of Terroir: a wine with a recognizable aroma, taste and mouthfeel that link it to its place of originSome wines taste of a...

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