(Sta. Rita Hills, CA) $90 (750ml)

Thanksgiving is next week, and among the things I am thankful for is pinot noir. The lessons of pinot are many: intensity without volume; darkness within lightness; the beauty of a touch of corruption. Brewer-Clifton has a fine hand at all of these. Their 2013 “Machado” bottling (named after the family who owns the vineyard) is a pinot with a deep slow voice. A pinot that will envelop your palate…and your mind.

100 points

Available at K&L Wines

Looking for a delicious wine to pair with Thanksgiving dessert? A great Port is one of autumn’s most anticipated wine treats. Which of the following is not a term commonly used for Port?

  • A.Colheita
  • B.Crusted
  • C.LBV
  • D.Frasqueira

Scroll down for the answer!

“It takes me 12 minutes to eat a good plate of food and two hours to drink a good bottle of wine, so who cares about the food?”

—Peter Barry, winemaker/owner of the Australian estate Jim Barry


No one likes cork taint, of course. But you have to hand it to cork—the substance is remarkable. In structural composition, a cubic centimeter of cork contains roughly 40 million 14-sided cells arranged in rows and filled with a mixture of gasses similar to oxygen. With a specific gravity of 0.25, cork is four times lighter than water, yet it’s highly elastic, capable of snapping back to its original shape after withstanding 14,000 pounds of pressure per cubic inch. Cork is impervious to air, almost impermeable by water, difficult to burn, resistant to temperature changes and vibration, does not rot, and has the ability to mold itself to the contour of the container it is put into—to wit, the neck of a wine bottle.


A process practiced in warm wine regions whereby a winemaker adds acid to fermenting wine in order to boost that wine’s low level of acidity. Acidification is legal and widely practiced in many parts of the world, including California.


D.Frasqueira (Portuguese for vintage) is a term used for Vintage Madeiras that have been aged for at least 20 years in casks before bottling. Colheita (meaning harvest) Port is an aged single vintage Tawny Port. Crusted Port is a Port bottled unfiltered, and thus there is a lot of sediment (crust) in the bottle. And LBV stands for Late Bottled Vintage Port, a type of aged Port that is popular in restaurants.