A Guide to Wine, Food & the Good Life

THE UNDERGROUND WINELETTER: WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT

  Historical Background From the very beginning nearly 40 years ago The Underground Wineletter was different and spelled out very clearly our mission and how we planned on implementing it. Clarity and transparency were major objectives. In the last nine years since The Underground has been on line we have been publishing the old print […]

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THE WINE EXPERIENCE & THE JOY OF OLD WINES

  Recently in a flurry of emails between several very experienced wine drinkers there were many questions and opinions about old wines including decanting, bottle variation, and different opinions on the same wine by different tasters. All the opinions were from people who have spent their lives tasting and drinking the best wines in the […]

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RESTAURANT WINE PRICING – HOW HIGH IS HIGH?

It’s truffle season and the best restaurants in the country are offering special multi-course dinners offering the rare, expensive fungus. In planning one dinner and reviewing the online wine list of a famed San Francisco three star Michelin restaurant, I was struck by the inflated pricing of the bottles. Newly released 2013 and 2014 Burgundies, […]

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WINE TASTINGS – WHAT ARE THEY ?

First, I tackled the question of Wine Writing – What Is It? (to read that article click here). Now The Underground, never afraid to venture into complex subjects, explores another enigma wrapped in a riddle: Wine Tastings – What Are They? Well, it depends. You see “wine tastings” come in many forms. They range from […]

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ATTENTION ALL WINE DRINKERS: DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DRINKING?

Do you really know the wine you are drinking?  Maybe not. Consider this. Recently I received a note from an old friend who was trying to drink a cult Napa Valley Cabernet and he had this to say: I am sitting here sipping a .. …… .. ……… It tastes like black cherry cough drops […]

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ALCHEMY?…ANOTHER REASON FOR INGREDIENT LABELING?

In an article by James Duren entitled “Bye Bye Oak Barrel: Spanish Sleuths Discover Aroma Yeast” yet another case was made by researchers to put more additives in wine. Take a look: It may be the smallest of elements which have the biggest impact on flavor.  A team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of […]

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WHERE HAS NAPA VALLEY GONE?

LONG TIME PASSING WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN? As I look back on the changes in Napa Valley over the last 40 years since my friends and I first started going there in the early 1970s, I cannot help but reflect on the great Pete Seeger song “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”. This song […]

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DO IT YOURSELF WINE

  Over the past 40 years or so I have consumed more different wines than I can possibly remember.  I have consumed, tasted, and written about tens of thousands of different wines. And, the number may well be even higher. I have never counted! The wines cover every thing from A to Z (think Albariño […]

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A SHIFTING LANDSCAPE

  INTRODUCTION Allen R. Balik is a Underground contributing editor (to read his biography click here) who also writes a bi-weekly wine column in the On Wine section of the Napa Valley Register. The article below first appeared in the February 21, 2013 edition of Napa Valley Register. It speaks to the subject of wine and […]

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GET REAL – WHO’S ON FIRST?

  ROUND TWO – PREMOX MEETS BOTOX       I have been an observer and active participant in the wine scene for over 40 years (to read the history of the Underground click here). And, I have been writing about big numbers critics and how wines are tasted for a very long time. Trust me, […]

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