From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

The Wine List

Mark Oldman, who has taught wine courses for 15 years, brings his no-nonsense approach to bear in Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine (Penguin), a new handbook to help you navigate wine lists, labels, stores, stewards, and anything that intimidates the novice. With straightforward explanations, Oldman steers readers through wine-world jargon and—let's face it—pretension to help them select a vintage with confidence (or, as Oldman says, pretend to). All faking aside, the author picks a few of his favorite bottles.

Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
($12) from New Zealand, has the zingy bowl-of-limes acidity that I call the crackly kiwi factor. New Zealand's uniquely sunny but cool climate gives its Sauvignon Blancs a citrusy quality and a seductive aroma of tropical fruit.

Americans are generally less familiar with Argentinean wines than with, say, those from Chile. So I didn't know what to expect from the Susana Balbo Malbec 2002 ($28). It turned out to have a plummy, blackberry richness that made it downright hedonistic.

Rich, heady, with a powerful berry aroma, the Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses 2002 ($25) is one of the best bottles emerging from Priorat, a rediscovered region tucked in the mountains southwest of Barcelona.

Zardetto Prosecco NV
($11), from the Veneto region of Italy, is a bubbly that will clear your palate, amplify your appetite, and give your neighbors bottle envy. It's so uplifting it has earned the nickname Prozac-co.


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

Come On In

U.S. issued American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members, enter the first six digits of your card number to access your complimentary subscription.

Learn about membership.