Certain Wines for Uncertain Times


Dry sherry from the Jerez region of Spain prepares us for a dose of reality during
the nightly news broadcasts.

S.W. and Rich Hermansen
Guest Writers
[email protected]

The news from the battlefields in the Ukraine shifts from bad to better to worse. The unemployment rate in the United States has fallen dramatically, while the inflation rate has surged. The stock market indexes have bounced up and down. Tornados dance across the prairies, and forest files light up the night skies in New Mexico. Each day the uncertainties of life bear down on us.

Certain wines give us tastes of stability during uncertain and unsettling times. A sip of Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos dry sherry from the Jerez region of Spain ($18) has a hint of almonds on the nose and a slight edge on the tongue. A small crystal flute of sherry prepares us for a dose of reality during the nightly news broadcasts.

When joining friends at their home, a glass of 2020 Notorious Pink Grenache Rose ($15) from the South of France leads the way to dinner. Its blush tint suggests that it will have a lively strawberry and citrus taste, and it does. Bottles of 2016 Angeline Pinot Noir Reserve from Mendocino ($17) and 2019 Etude Lyric Pinot Noir ($18) from the Santa Barbara region of California match nicely with a range of dishes: lentils, cheeses, tuna, chicken, pork, veal, beefsteak, and lamb. These wines demonstrate that amid crises affecting supply lines we can still find superior quality at reasonable prices.

Even as bad actors strut onto the world stage, people from countries across the globe exchange products and services in good faith. The international wine market, one small example, showcases the results of winemakers agreeing to set quality and consistency standards for wines from their regions. In the Bordeaux sub-regions of France, appellation origine controlée (AOC) rules have for the past seventy-five years required vineyards using the region name on labels to meet minimum standards. Italy has followed suit with its Denomination of Origin Quality (DOC), as has Spain and Australia. Today most wine regions have adopted quality standards. Wine buyers have assurances of product quality and consistency in wines from these regions.

Winemakers know that all producers in their region share a responsibility to maintain product quality and protect the region’s reputation. Everyone on our planet has an equal responsibility to protect our environment and our quality of life.

S. W. Hermansen has used his expertise in econometrics, data science and epidemiology to help develop research databases for the Pentagon, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, and Health Resources and Services. He has visited premier vineyards and taste wines from major appellations in California, Oregon, New York State, and internationally from Tuscany and the Piedmont in Italy, the Ribera del Duero in Spain, the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale in Australia, and the Otego Valley in New Zealand. Currently he splits time between residences in Chevy Chase, Maryland and St. Armand’s Circle in Florida.

Rich Hermansen selected has first wine list for a restaurant shortly after graduating from college with a degree in Mathematics. He has extensive service and management experience in the food and wine industry. Family and friends rate him as their favorite chef, bartender, and wine steward. He lives in Severna Park, Maryland.


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