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Nov 28, 201810:42 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Something New



In a city like ours, celebrating 300 years of existence, “new” does not hold the allure for us like it does to citizens of, say, Dallas or Houston or Los Angeles. We tend to be more deliberate and not-so-quick on the draw than those go-go outposts.

And yet, we are not opposed to the latest craze. We just need a good reason to kick something that works to the curb.

That philosophy of life is especially evidenced in what we eat and drink. Darn few places out there devote one day every week to a tasty dish of delightfully simple preparations, like the marriage of Monday and red beans. Or whose population respects and demands that a cocktail first concocted in the mid-1800’s be done properly. like the Sazerac.

While we have our standards, here are a few items, recently taking a place in the culinary pantheon, that may be of interest.



This ancient Japanese white grape, actually a hybrid thought to have traveled from China, maybe Europe, in the 1100’s, has finally begun the long journey to the US.

The wine resembles Muscadet, fine acid component and not overly sweet The Japanese people enjoy this beverage with their seafood of which there are endless variations and varieties. The name of the grape is the former name of the Yamanashi Prefecture, now the point of origin for the wines of this grape, at the base of Mount Fuji.

There are more than 80 wineries in Yamanashi, accounting for more than 40 percent of Japan’s total wine output. Yamanashi Prefecture makes up 95 percent of the country’s Koshu harvest. The grapes themselves are the prettiest shade of pink, which go along nicely with the color of cherry blossoms.

Koshu wines are well-structured, with peach/melon characteristics on the palate and the nose. Very clean. Low in alcohol, around 11 percent.


English Sparkling Wines

It was not so long ago that the idea of wines from Great Britain was nonsensical. Way too cold and the forbidding rocky or soggy soils were fine mostly for underbrush or peat bogs. Not to mention some haunting stories from Doyle, Dickens and Brontë.

Then the Gulf Stream become stronger and shifted a bit more towards the land and at that point in time, companies of means thought there might be possibilities to make some decent sparkling wines.

The main catalyst that gave them such a radical idea is the fact that the soils of Sussex, on the southeastern corner of England, are limestone. These are the same veins that created the White Cliffs of Dover, and the legendary chalky underpinnings of Champagne, France, less than 200 miles to the east.

The English sparkling wines are made from the same grape varietals as those of Champagne: pinot noir, chardonnay, and a smattering of pinot meuniere.

The technique used to make sparkling wine in England is the same used in Champagne. Second fermentation takes place in the bottle and one of the final steps in production, the dosage, defines the sugar level of the wine.

To be sure, English sparkling wines are not cheap, often rivaling in price their Champagne counterparts. But it is fun to ponder the better points of global warming while enjoying a quality wine with bubbles from England. 





Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.


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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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