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Q:Which wine packs the most anti-oxidants, merlot or pinot noir?

Lynn Kirk,
A:Dear Lynn,

The anti-oxidant properties are usually found in the skins and in extreme cases the pulp. Merlot grapes have thicker skins and as the wine is being made is usually soaking with them longer then say pinot noir. For more of the anti-oxidant power my suggestion would be to drink heavier richer wines like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel.

All the Best

--by William Rhodes
--The Carlyle

Q:What are some other jobs out there for sommeliers besides working in a restaurant?

emily herron,
A:Emily- There is an endless number of things one could do. Consult for wineriers, importers, distributors, write, work for a travel company- I guess it just depends on how creative you are about it.

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

My wife and I are hosting a hobo-themed dinner party, complete with stone soup! She thinks we should serve Mad Dog or Thunderbird, but I say Ripple for its esoteric value. What say you?

A:Charles... This tops the hangover question for most silly... but i could not refuse, so in my humble opinion i think E&J Gallo's Night Train Express would go best with the hobo themed dinner, hobos traveled by train so it seems fitting.

"My head hurts. That Night Train is a mean wine..." -Jake from The Blues Brothers

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

Q:what wine can i pair with woodfired chicken in jerk sauce?


Try a nice Chenin Blanc, maybe a 2005 Huet Vouvray, you need something to balance the heat of the jerk... really Red Stripe might be a nice choice as well-

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

Q:Hey Ben,

Thanks for your previous recommendations, I was able to find all the parings, except for the Austrailian Muscat, so I substituted a really yummy aged port instead. All the recommendations were a perfect match with the courses served.

I have another one. This weekend, I am planning on serving some grilled Copper River Sockeye, roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes, fresh mesclun greens with roasted walnuts and blue cheese, and chocolate fondant.

What would you recommend? I did just get four bottles of El Molino Rutherford Pinot, which I thought would go really well with the Sockeye, but I might want to sit on those for a while.

You always have an open invitation for dinner, call me from the airport so I can pick you up.

i think the el Molino is a great choice. I would serve it a little chilled.

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

Q:Hi Ben!
I am a huge Shiraz fan, but I generally find myself pigeonholed into exclusively Australian varietals and I'm looking to branch out a bit. What other regions can I look for when sourcing out a great Shiraz? Any particular bottles you love?

Rebecca Howard,
Louisville, KY
I enjoy Shiraz as well, Shiraz is the same grape variety as Syrah, you might try some Syrah from the Rhone Valley or from California if it is your favorite. If you are wanting something totally different try some Spanish Monastrell from the region of Jumilla, it will be rich and ripe like Aussie Shiraz but will have a different flavor profile.

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

Q:Hi Ben,
I recently had an Italian wine that was aged in clay jugs ungerground. It was close to a rose in color, lots of red fruit on the nose, and fantastic with shellfish. Do you know anything about this method and/or producer?

A:Annika- I believe the producer you are referring to is Josko Gravner. His wines are made in Friuli following primitive methods and indigenous grape varieties and are not for the average wine drinker. I greatly respect what he is doing because it provides a historical link to past wine-making technique. Check out this website for more info...

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

Q:I'm planning to make artichokes with homemade harissa mayo. I know artichokes are hard to pair with wine, but I want to anyway. Suggestions?

A:Sylvia- When in doubt serve Riesling or Sparkling- Harissa is spicy right? A nice light Riesling with some sweetness will do the trick- or champagne, because we should all drink sparkling wine everyday.

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

Q:What is your favorite cure for a hangover?

Funny question...

I like to drink lots of water, take something like Airboure and get a good dose of vitamin G- G being Grease, diner food always makes me feel better.

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

Q:Hey Ben,

Thanks for your answer to my previous question. I have a new one. I am planning a dinner party this weekend, courses being a fresh carrot soup, seared scallops over a bed of fresh mesclun greens with a slight balsamic reduction, lobster risotto, smoked chicken with white truffles over squid ink pasta, and apple tartartin. What wine would you recommend for each course?

Sound amazing-
Course 1
Pinot blanc from Alsace(2005 Ostertag)

Course 2
Chardonnay from the Macon-Villages(2004 Elisabeth Hugary)

Course 3
Soave(2005 PRA)

Course 4
Bourgogne (2002 Rene LeClerc)

Course 5
Australian Muscat (N.V. Burge Family)

What time is dinner?

--by Ben Giacchino
--Five and Ten

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