It's All Wine and Skittles

City Pages Critic Wins Her Second James Beard Award

Last night in a Manhattan ballroom our own Dara Moskowitz won her second James Beard award, this time for Newspaper Writing on Spirits, Wine, or Beer, in recognition of the 2005 edition of this paper's annual Wine and Dine supplement. She was also a finalist in the Newspaper or Magazine Column category, which was won by Pete Wells of Food and Wine magazine. In 2001, Moskowitz won best Newspaper Restaurant Review or Critique; she was a finalist two other times in the intervening years.

Moskowitz's winning entry, "The World in a Bottle," is a witty, accessible guide to tasting your way through the wines of a single country, in this case Spain.

Why do the Spanish love oak so much? Probably for the same reason Mexicans love hot sauce, Thais love lemongrass, the Scots love oak on their whiskey, and Americans love oak on our Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon: culture plus tradition equals love. But the Spanish love it more. Consider this: Just as the Germans have a whole system to scientifically judge the sugar content of grape juice, with the sweeter wines being the most expensive and desirable, the Spanish have a whole system so that you can know how much oak you're getting, wine with the most oak being the most desirable and expensive.

Whet your appetite for wetting your whistle? You can find the tasting and shopping guide here.