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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Italy is one vast vineyard, stretching from Piedmont in the north to Sicily in the south. It is divided into 20 grape-growing regions and over 8,100 villages. There are over 2,000 varieties of Italian wines and more than 1,000 different grape varieties.

At a recent private luncheon and tasting, I sampled over a dozen Italian wines while speaking with the winemakers and representatives.

The KIN Winery from Piedmont makes only one wine:

2015 Erbaluce di Caluso. Flavor of green apple, pear, citrus, figs, almonds and wildflowers. Stellar!

Wines from Tenuta Cavalier Pepe Winery of Irpinia, Campania were:

2018 Vela Veneto Vulcano Rosato. 100% Aglianico grapes. Floral and off-dry with strawberry and red cherry flavor.

2016 “Grancare” Greco di Tufo. Green apple, toasted almond, citrus and melon; young and vibrant.

2017 Falanghina. Drier than most with a fruity aroma of apple, banana and peach. Lingering aftertaste of citrus and minerals.

Wines from Cerulli Spinozzi Winery of Abruzzo were:

2018 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Superiore. Blush-colored, made from Montepulciano grapes. Flavors of watermelon, strawberry and bitter orange.

2018 Pecorino Colli Aprutini. Green olive and brine, brioche and green figs with a bitter almond aftertaste.

2010 Torre Migliori Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Deeply colored and full-bodied with flavors of dark chocolate, black plums and spices. Wow! What a wine.

Wines from Corte Quiaira Winery of Veneto were:

2018 Corte Pinot Grigio Ramato. “Ramato” means copper-colored because of skin-contact which provides considerable flavor of tangerine, nectarine, citrus and hazelnuts.

2016 “Campo al Salice” Garganega. Flavors of almonds, apples, honeydew and pears. Long, lingering aftertaste.

2013 Monte delle Saette Goldtraminer. Goldtraminer is a white grape variety made from a cross of Gewürztraminer and Trebbiano Toscano. Clean and crisp with hints of honey, jasmine and marzipan. It has the illusion of sweetness, but it is dry.

2016 Pinot Noir. Huge red and black-berried bouquet with spices, oak and a touch of vanilla.

Wines from Giusti Winery of Veneto were:

2018 Chardonnay delle Venezie. Clean and crisp, reminds me a very good premier cru Chablis.

NV (nonvintage) Rosalia Prosecco. Extra-dry. 100 percent Glera grapes. Fruity and easy to drink.

NV (nonvintage) Spumante Rosé. Blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and Recantina grapes. Bouquet of peaches, strawberry and pomegranate. Dry and very refreshing.

2016 Valpolicella Ripasso. Bouquet and flavor of black cherries, figs, raisins and spices with a bitter aftertaste. In a word … delicious!

2014 Amarone della Valpolicella. Lush, spicy bouquet, almost portlike. Complex flavor of dried fruit, chestnuts and cherry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and quite dry. A rustic Amarone at its best!

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Sweet wines are meant for after-dinner consumption, right? Well, yes, and no. There are some sweet and some not so, that are served before and even during dinner. In France a sweet Sauternes wine is occasionally served with the main course and in Italy a chilled glass of sparkling Asti is perfect with light and mild appetizers.

Sweet wines can loosely be defined as wines having noticeable sugar, which is detected in the front of the mouth or tip of the tongue. Sweet wines can be relatively light in body compared to others that are fuller in the mouth with a syrupy rich, fat and lush taste with an almost oily texture. Although there is no legal definition for a sweet wine, it’s generally accepted that wines with over 2 percent sugar are considered sweet.

Sweet wines are made in every country and there are many methods used to make these delicious, luscious wines. The most common methods are:

Dried Grapes: Partially drying grapes after harvest; shriveling berries prior to fermentation. The drying can be in the sun on straw mats or in special rooms, which control humidity. Most European cultures maintain some tradition of partially drying grapes. Examples are Amarone della Valpolicella, vin santo, Sforzato di Valtellina and Valpolicella Ripasso.

Late-Harvested Grapes: Grapes left on the vine so natural dehydration concentrates sugars. Examples are Spätlese, Auslese and  wines labeled “late-harvest.”

Botrytis-Affected Grapes: In humid climates, grapes destined for sweet wines may be attacked by a beneficial mold, Botrytis cinerea, which dehydrates the grape and concentrates sugars. Examples are Barsac, Sauternes, Beerenauslese, Tokaji, Bonnezeaux, Cadillac, Monbazillac and Quarts de Chaume.

Frozen Grapes: Grapes are literally frozen, on or off the vine to decrease water content and increase sugar. Examples are Eiswein and ice wine.

Stopping Fermentation: Adding brandy to the grape juice, fermenting wine or postfermentation. Examples are port, sherry, Madeira, Marsala, Banyuls and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

Foods that pair with sweet wines are almonds, pistachio, cannoli, cheesecake, chocolate, custards, dried fruits, panettone, pastries, pies, puddings, sorbet, tiramisu and zabaglione, to name but a few. You can even pour sweet wine over ice cream.

Sweet desserts need sweet wines, so choose a dessert that is not sweeter than the wine or the wine will taste dry, thin, bitter and less flavorful. Serve sweet wines cold but not overchilled to get the most flavor from them.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

‘Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.’

Dave Barry

Bob Lipinski

India pale ale (IPA), although first brewed around 1760 in England, has seen somewhat of a resurgence among craft brewers beginning in the 1990s. Accounts of IPA’s origins vary, but most agree that in the late 1700s and early 1800s British brewers began adding extra hops to all beers bound for their troops serving in India and tropical climates to safeguard them from spoilage during long seafaring voyages. The hops also bestowed the beer with flavor, aroma and bitterness.

In 1829, an edition of the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser newspaper used the phrase “India pale ale,” reportedly its first mention in print. White Shield, first brewed by Worthington Brewery, is probably the example with the longest lineage, tracing to the strong Burton IPA, first brewed in 1829. As with many English beers with a long history, the popularity and formulation of IPA changed over time. Strength and popularity declined, and the style virtually disappeared in the second half of the 20th century. IPA was often used to describe pale ales and bitters of varying quality.

American-made IPAs from earlier eras were not unknown, particularly the well-regarded Ballantine’s India Pale Ale first produced in 1878 by P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Co., a now-defunct New Jersey brewery. It was a dark-amber, very hoppy, oak-aged, bitter ale with hints of caramel and a fabulous aftertaste. (I remember drinking it with pizza from its quart-size bottles.)

Traditionally, IPA is a very bitter, moderately strong ale with a malty, hoppy aroma and taste. Nowadays, many IPAs are filled with floral notes and tropical fruit flavors of banana, papaya and pineapple. Still others have hints of orange, grapefruit, citrus, berry, melon, stone fruit, caramel, espresso, wood, pine and tangy black pepper.

I enjoy drinking various types of beer with food. I’ve found that a well-marbled steak, with its rich character, matches perfectly with the more traditional types of IPAs (sans fruit and other flavors). Also, hot sausage, black beans with their mealy character and a guacamole dip with salted chips work great.

IPAs pair well with Asiago, most blue cheeses, smoked or sharp cheddar, colby, feta or an aged Monterey Jack cheese.

Some recommended IPAs that should satisfy your thirst are:

Ballast Point Sculpin

Dogfish Head

Founders All Day IPA

Fuller’s

Lagunitas

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra

Stone

Worthington White Shield

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Rioja is the grape-growing region in the northeastern part of Spain in a 75-mile stretch of land along the Ebro River. It is close to the western Pyrenees, about 250 miles south of Bordeaux, France. Rioja takes its name from Rio Oja, a mountain stream that crosses Rioja and flows into the Ebro River, northeast of Madrid.

Rioja is divided into three viticultural subzones: Rioja Alta (southwest), Rioja Alavesa (northwest) and Rioja Oriental (formerly Rioja Baja) (southeast).

The region produces mostly red wines along with some rosé, dry and sweet white wines and sparkling wines. There are many indigenous and international grape varieties authorized to make Rioja wine. Red grapes include tempranillo, garnacha (grenache), mazuelo, graciano and maturana tinta. White grapes include viura, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, verdejo, malvasía, garnacha blanca, tempranillo blanco, maturana blanca and torrontés.

Some Rioja wines to try …

2018 El Coto “Blanco” (blend of viura, sauvignon blanc and verdejo grapes). Wondrous bouquet and flavor of peaches, honeydew melon, mint and candied lemon zest. Enjoy with seafood risotto containing shrimp or broiled white-fleshed fish topped with roasted red bell peppers.

2018 El Coto “Rosado” (rosé; blend of tempranillo and garnacha grapes). Bouquet and flavor of pink grapefruit, strawberries and red cherries; quite floral, fruity and zesty. Easy to drink, providing it’s not overchilled. Serve it with bow-tie pasta tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, arugula and sun-dried tomatoes.

2015 Viña Pomal “Crianza” (100% tempranillo grapes). Aromatic, featuring black fruits and licorice with vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa and toasted wood notes. Great with some blackened fillet of beef or barbecued chicken served in a spicy, tangy, smoky sauce.

2013 Viña Pomal “Reserva” (100% tempranillo grapes). Intense aromas of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, with red fruit intermingled with tobacco and truffles. Try it with duck cooked in a sweet fruit sauce.

2018 Marqués de Cáceres “Satinela” (blend of viura and malvasia grapes). Bright yellow with a bouquet and taste of apricots, bananas, candy apples, honey, mango and peach. Off-dry with just a touch of citrus. Serve it with sweet and sour dishes, curries or a fruit platter.

The term “crianza” on a bottle of red Rioja wine means the wine was aged a minimum of 2 years, including at least 1 year in oak barrels, whereas the term “reserva” signifies it was aged a minimum of 3 years, including at least 1 year in oak barrels.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

With the “dog days of summer” upon us, it’s time to enjoy some refreshing white, rosé and red wines that are light-bodied, fruity, chillable and refreshing. Some of my recently tasted and recommended wines for “beating the heat” are:

2018 Carta Vieja Sauvignon Blanc “D.O. Valle de Loncomilla” Chile: A full aroma and taste of grapefruit, herbs, melon and citrus. It would pair nicely with some grilled clams or oysters.

2019 Domaine Bousquet Rosé: Made from a blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris grapes. A subtle bouquet and flavor of blueberry and cranberry with a perfume of summer flowers. Dry and tangy tasting with a refreshing citrus aftertaste. Serve with grilled zucchini and eggplant drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

2019 Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc: Pale straw color with an exotic aroma of jasmine and bitter orange. Apples abound in the mouth with a dry, minerally finish and lime-clean aftertaste. Broiled fish with a citrus marinade lightly anointed with some Pernod (anise liqueur) would be an ideal accompaniment.

2016 Ciprea “Pecorino” DOCG Offida, Marches, Italy: Pecorino is a white grape that grows principally in the central regions of Italy. If you like apples, pears and almonds, then this wine is for you. Flavors of peach, citrus and figs fill the mouth. Paired with spaghetti alla carbonara with a hunk of crusty bread works for me.

2016 Ca’Donini Pinot Noir, Veneto, Italy: Intense ruby color, medium-bodied with a delicate fruit taste and hints of cherry and berries. Dry with a pleasant warm finish. Perfect wine for pizza topped with mushrooms and perhaps rosemary.

2017 Bolla Bardolino, Veneto, Italy: Ruby-red color with an aroma and delicate flavor of candy-apple, cherries and raspberries. Dry with a fruity finish and a lightly spritzy aftertaste. Did anyone say ribs or a cheeseburger?

Serving Tips:

Don’t overchill the wine or it will become “numb” in taste. Serve at around 55 degrees and keep an ice-bucket filled with ice and water for a quick chill.

Visit your local supermarket and purchase several bunches of green and red seedless grapes. Remove from the stems, wash and pat dry. Place them in a zip-able bag (separate colors) in the freezer for several hours. When frozen, they make great ice cubes and when they become soft, either refreeze or pop into your mouth.

Regardless if you’re grilling and just entertaining a few friends, nothing beats a chilled glass of wine.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

When the subject of wines from Australia is brought up, most people think of “critter” (Yellow Tail) labels, “fruit-bomb” shiraz and over-oaked chardonnay. Australia produces some excellent chardonnay, pinot noir and even sparkling wines.

Australia is a grape-growing country that is slightly smaller than the United States. Australia is divided into six grape-growing states (in descending order of production): South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland. Wine is also made (to a lesser degree) in the Northern Territory. Within each state Australian appellations are subdivided into zones, regions, subregions and GIs (geographical indications).

Labeling laws

(Australian wine law, established in 1990)

Vintage Dated: Wines must be made from a minimum of 85 percent of the stated vintage.

Varietal Wine: Wines must be made from a minimum of 85 percent of the stated grape variety.

Blend: A blend must state the dominant grape variety first.

Denomination of Origin: If a place of origin appears on the labels, wines must be made from a minimum of 85 percent from that location.

Chaptalization: Adding sugar to the unfermented grape juice is prohibited.

Growing season

Australia experiences a growing season that is six months ahead of the Northern Hemisphere’s. The vintage listed on an Australian wine is the year in which the grapes were harvested, not the year in which the growing season began.

There are many good to excellent chardonnay and pinot noir wines made in Australia. Here are six wines I recently tasted.

2015 Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Chardonnay (Margaret River, Western Australia). Light yellow color with a bouquet of melon, tropical fruit and butter with citrus and green apple flavors.

2017 Bindi “Kostas Rind” Chardonnay (Macedon Ranges, Victoria). Bouquet and flavor of ripe pineapple, melon, toasted bread and hints of oak.

2016 By Farr Farrside Vineyard Pinot Noir (Geelong, Victoria). Ruby color with a full bouquet of cranberry, plums, raisins, spices and hints of coffee with a tart-berry aftertaste.

2016 Timo Mayer “Close Planted” Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley, Victoria). Cherry color with a bouquet brimming with berries, sour cherry, cola and spices.

2015 Moorooduc Estate, Pinot Noir (Mornington Peninsula, Victoria). Bouquet and flavors of blackberry, blueberry and eucalyptus. Medium-bodied with a delicious tart-berry aftertaste.

2016 Eden Road Pinot Noir (Tumbarumba, New South Wales). Full bouquet of raspberries, strawberries and candied fruit. Soft in the mouth with hints of earth and mint.

Recommended cheeses for chardonnay:

Camembert, cheddar, Edam, Emmentaler, manchego, Port Salut

Recommended cheeses for pinot noir: 

Brie, Comté, Époisses de Bourgogne, Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey Jack

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

When you mention Portuguese wines, most people think of refreshing summer rosé wines or wonderful port wines great for colder weather.

But Portugal has more to offer than just rosé and port. In fact, some of the greatest wine values in today’s market are the red and equally fine white table wines. Portugal ranks as the world’s 11th largest producer of wine and the fourth in the world in per capita consumption. The country is rapidly developing an arsenal of modern table wines, sourced from a diverse array of over 200 unique, native grape varieties.

Portugal is a grape-growing and wine-making country in Europe, which is about 360 miles long and 130 miles wide, and roughly the size of Maine.

As of 2017, there are 14 IGP (protected geographical indication) regions in Portugal: Alentejo, Algarve, Azores, Beira Atlântico, Duriense, Lisboa, Minho, Península de Setúbal, Tejo, Terras da Beira, Terras de Cister, Terras do Dão, Terras Madeirenses and Transmontano. These regions are subdivided into 31 DOC (controlled designation of origin) grape-growing regions. Portugal produces red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, along with its famous dessert wines, port and Madeira.

While there are hundreds of indigenous grapes grown in Portugal, the ones to try are Castelão, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão, Baga (all red grapes) and Alvarinho, Loureiro, Trajadura (white grapes)

Some recommended regions from which to try wines are:

Alentejo: A DOC (2003) grape-growing region south of the River Tagus and southeast of Lisbon in the Alentejano region producing red, white, rosé, sparkling and sweet fortified wines. Alentejo contains most of the country’s cork forests.

Dão: A DOC (1990) grape-growing region northeast of Lisbon in the Terras do Dão region producing red, white, rosé, nouveau and sparkling wines. Dão is named for the Dão River, a tributary of the Mondego River in north-central Portugal south of the Douro River.

Douro: A DOC (1998) grape-growing region in the Duriense region producing red, white, rosé, sparkling and licoroso (Moscatel do Douro) wines.

Vinho Verde: A DOC (1999) grape-growing region in the Minho region in the northwest producing red, white, rosé, sparkling and late-harvest wines. Approximately 85 percent of Vinho Verde wine is white. Vinho Verde translates to mean green wine, a reference to the wines’ youthful freshness, which is applied equally to the light-bodied white, red and rosé wines.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Franciacorta is a “classic method” sparkling wine made in the province of Brescia in Italy’s northern region of Lombardy. According to its DOCG (1995) regulations, Franciacorta can be made into a white or rosé sparkling wine, which can range from demisec (semisweet) all the way to extra brut (extremely dry).

Franciacorta is Italy’s highest-quality sparkling wine and is made using the same production method as champagne using pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. Aging requirements for Franciacorta are longer than champagne and most sell at a lower price.

While pinot noir is the only red grape permitted, white grape varieties include chardonnay, pinot bianco and erbamat (a local specialty). 

Franciacorta made with lower pressure in a brut style from chardonnay and pinot bianco grapes is called Satèn. A millesimato (vintage-dated) and riserva (aged over 5 years) styles are authorized.

Some recommended Franciacorta wines are:

2012 Monte Rossa “Cabochon” Brut (70% chardonnay/30% pinot noir). Full celery-apple bouquet; citrus notes along with bread dough; full-bodied, rich fruit flavored.

2014 Monogram, Castel Faglia “Dosage Zero” Millesimato (90% chardonnay/10% pinot noir). Bread toast bouquet with hints of green apple and celery. Medium-full bodied; melon, pear and citrus flavors.

2011 Corte Bianca, “Rosé” (100% pinot noir aged 3 years). Full berry nose; clean and crisp with flavors of cherry, cranberry, rhubarb, and raspberry. Full-bodied and full of flavor.

NV Ca’ del Bosco “Cuvée Prestige” (75% chardonnay/15% pinot noir/10% pinot bianco). Crisp, delicate bouquet; creamy in the mouth; hints of dried flowers, Bosc pears and Granny Smith apples.

2012 Bellavista Brut Millesimato (63% chardonnay/27% pinot noir). Straw-colored; pinpoint bubbles; bouquet of almonds, dried fruit and pears. Delicate with a strong, elegant aftertaste.

NV Cavalleri “Blanc de Blancs,” Brut (100% chardonnay). Apple and pear bouquet with hints of biscuits, celery and hazelnuts; well-balanced and quite dry with a long aftertaste.

NV Guido Berlucchi Rosé (60% pinot noir/40% chardonnay). Very fruity bouquet; plenty of pinot noir berries; good structure; balanced with an aftertaste of cranberries.

NV Majolini “Blanc de Noirs” Brut (100% pinot noir). Hint of color with a full fruity bouquet of strawberries and rhubarb. Hints of candy apple, black figs and wheat.

Cheese and sparkling wines are an extra special indulgence we need to enjoy more often. Some of my favorite cheeses to nibble on while sipping a “glass of bubbly” are Boursin, brie, blue cheese, Excelsior, Gruyere, manchego, Monterey Jack and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

I enjoy using cheese as an ingredient in cooking, and its texture, flavor and color add another dimension to the finished dish. Cheese can be added in chunks, diced or even shredded to food at the beginning, middle or even end of cooking. You can fry, bake or broil cheese; add it as an ingredient to many of your favorite recipes; or make an incredible grilled cheese sandwich. Some of my hints for cooking with cheese are…

• Bring cheese to room temperature before use in cooking.

• When melting or blending cheese into a recipe, use a low temperature for a short period. Cheese is high in protein and prolonged cooking or cooking over high heat will cause the cheese to separate and result in a stringy, tough, somewhat rubbery product. When used in the oven, never exceed 375 F or the cheese will break down.

• Hard cheeses can tolerate higher temperatures than soft cheese because more of the protein has been broken down into small, less easily coagulated fragments.

• A double boiler keeps the heat moderate, thus avoiding a hard, stringy mess.

• Do not add cheese too soon during cooking; it may curdle or melt away to a stringy mess.

• To prevent cheeses such as Swiss types and mozzarella from becoming stringy during cooking, add a little wine or lemon juice before melting them.

• When stirring cheese, use a wooden spoon and never use a slotted spoon, which will become clogged with cheese.

• Cheese works well with sauces that have been thickened with flour or other starches. To avoid a lumpy cheese sauce, add a little flour, cornstarch or arrowroot at the start of the recipe (before adding the cheese). You can heat the cheese for an extended period and the sauce will remain smooth and creamy.

• Dice, shred or crumble cheese into dishes to hasten its melting time and ensure an even distribution throughout the dish. Grated cheese blends into sauces better than chunks or julienned pieces.

• When melting cheese on top of food, add it near the end of the cooking time. For a brown crispy layer of cheese, add it early in the cooking process.

• The rind of a Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is edible and adds an incredible flavor to soups, stews, gravies and even pasta. Toss the rind into the simmering food and cook until it softens. Remove, chop into small pieces and return the bits to the pot.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

The reds are elegant and fresh with layers of delicate juicy red fruit and great balance. Stock photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Overall, the 2017 vintage in Burgundy was excellent, providing both high quality and considerable quantity. Both reds and whites have a good fruit-acid-alcohol balance.

The whites are splendid; perhaps the best vintage since 2014, with Chablis showing particularly well with floral aromas and flavors of melon, citrus and honeysuckle.

The reds are elegant and fresh with layers of delicate juicy red fruit and great balance – classic Burgundian pinot noir flavor profile. The best wines of the vintage should age well for 20 years.

At a recent trade event, I tasted over 100 wines with tasting notes below.

NV J.J. Vincent Crémant de Bourgogne (sparkling 100 percent chardonnay): Brioche, celery, dried flowers and citrus. Excellent balance.

2017 J.J. Vincent Bourgogne Blanc: Wow! So much fruit; orange blossoms, citrus.

2017 J.J. Vincent Pouilly-Fuissé “Marie Antoinette”: Subtle hints of tangerine, citrus and oil of bergamot. Don’t miss this one!

2017 Château Fuissé Pouilly-Fuissé “Tête de Cuvée”: Bouquet brimming with orange, citrus and yellow plums. Well-balanced.

2017 Château Fuissé “Les Combettes”: Light bouquet with fruit flavors of honeydew melon; fruit-acid balance is superb.

2017 Château Fuissé “Les Brûlés”: An aroma and flavor of green apples, citrus, orange, pears and honeysuckle.

2017 Domaine Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin “1er Cru Les Champeaux”: Bouquet and flavors of raspberry, cherry, spices, licorice and oak. Smooth finish; great aftertaste.

2017 Domaine Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet Chambolle-Musigny “Les Echézeaux”: Bouquet and flavor of ripe pinot noir berries; well-balanced; soft in the mouth

2017 Domaine Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet Vosne-Romanée “1er Les Rouges du Dessus”: Full bouquet and flavor of raspberries, black cherries, yellow plums and hints of earth and brown sugar.

2017 Domaine du Comte Armand “Bourgogne Aligoté”: Perfumed aroma of white peaches, citrus and green apples. Hints of almonds and pine with an underlying tartness. One of the best wines made from the Aligoté grape I’ve tasted in years.

2017 Domaine Dominique Gallois Gevrey-Chambertin “1er Cru, La Combe aux Moines”: A fruity bouquet of plums, almonds and black currants. Great aftertaste.

2017 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos du Château”: Aromas of ripe berries, citrus and violets. Great balance.

2017 Armand Rousseau “Chambertin Grand Cru”: Sweet, concentrated, jammy, spicy fruit: layers of berries, plums, spices and vanilla.

2017 Armand Rousseau Ruchottes-Chambertin “Clos des Ruchottes Grand Cru”: Medium-full bouquet and flavor of blackberries, jam, chocolate and Damson plums.

2017 Armand Rousseau “Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru”: Bouquet of jammy spices, plums, cola and cherries. Almost a sweetness in the mouth. Although young, it’s beginning to get velvety. What a wine!

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.