It seems wine is having a moment—again. Everyone from rappers like Waka Flocka to the New Jersey Housewives seems to be constantly sipping a flirty Moscato or flinty Pinot Grigio. In fact, according to the Beverage Information Group's 2012 Wine Handbook, wine consumption rose 3 percent in 2011, making it the 18th straight year of growth. So, while we never need an excuse to devote an issue to wine, we couldn't resist going grape to cap off another harvest season.
"Lightning in a bottle" might be used to describe the creation of Sting's "Roxanne," and the same could be said of the making of his Sister Moon Tuscan red, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Madonna, Dave Matthews, and Mick Fleetwood are just a few more of the rock stars who have either invested in vineyards or gone so far as to create their own wine label. Geoff Nicholson investigates the phenomenon in Why Winemaking Rocks.
Would any of these chart-topping wines need aerating? In To Decant or Not to Decant, Kemp Minifie examines whether this ritual pour is pure pretension or truly beneficial. Minifie gets a wide range of expert opinions, from Randall Grahm's notion that the answer tends to lie in terroir to Cat Silirie's conviction that most wines improve with decanting.
In Sommeliers' Top Wines by the Glass, Patricia Reilly gets some of the world's most celebrated somms to uncork their favorite fall wines. Check out these intriguing selections—surprisingly affordable at retail—from Eleven Madison Park, the French Laundry, Noma, Le Bernardin, Le Grand Véfour, and more. The sommeliers also explain which foods go best with their choices.
Pairing wine with food is further demystified by our friends at the Institute of Culinary Education in Eight Great Tips for Food and Wine Pairings. From celebrating spices and sauces to recognizing the importance and influence of cooking techniques, these guidelines will ensure you're complementing, not fighting, the flavors of your feast come the holiday season.
Starting in November, the iPad and iPhone editions of Gourmet Live will publish on a monthly schedule. In addition to these extra-large monthly issues, you can enjoy fresh stories, videos, slideshows, and recipes on Gourmet.com each week. So as you enjoy this wine issue and those to come, help yourself to a sip of a Spiced Orange Wine you can blend yourself. Or dig in to our slideshow of wine-rich recipes, including a Chardonnay-infused Halibut with Tomato-Saffron Vinaigrette and Wine-Braised Brisket with Tart Cherries.
If you had to choose just one bottle, what would it be? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook, drop us a line, or post a comment on our blog. For more tasty bites, sign up for our weekly newsletter to get convenient access to our most-read blog posts, editors' favorite recipes, and exclusive reader offers.
The editors of Gourmet Live