Posted: October 31, 2012 By Robert Taylor
Posted: October 16, 2012 By Robert Taylor
Tailgating is religion in Baton Rouge, La., and when it comes to a huge game between national championship contenders, the Tiger faithful pull out all the stops. Some of them even pull a few corks.
On Saturday night, the defending South Eastern Conference Champion Louisiana State Tigers hosted the undefeated South Carolina Game Cocks at Tiger Stadium, or as I've always known it, Death Valley. As the saying goes here, "You don't just walk into Death Valley." Sometimes, though, you drive up in a fine wine–laden white Hummer.
Posted: October 2, 2012 By Robert Taylor
When "normal" people think of wine experts, occasionally a few unsavory words come to mind: Geek. Snob. Bibulous fusspot. Coincidentally, those same words are commonly associated with another profession: Copy editor.
Imagine, then, the frustrations of the copy-editing wine pro. As someone who has copy edited professionally for more than a dozen years and has been a member of the Wine Spectator editorial staff for nearly 10, it's my pleasure to present here a few of the myriad misused terms in the wine industry. Hopefully we can all learn a little, laugh a little and lift each other's wine language skills.
Posted: September 18, 2012 By Robert Taylor
The Northern Hemisphere harvest begins this month, and in the vast, vast majority of the world's vineyards, it starts with a heavy machinery operator turning the ignition on a mechanical grape harvester.
Many wine lovers might imagine—or might prefer—a scenario that involved skilled harvesters gently selecting the very best bunches of grapes, all by hand. But the half-dozen experts I polled—including industry insiders, vintners and mechanical harvester operators—conceded that 90 percent or more of the world's wine grapes are likely harvested mechanically.
If you're interested in the intersection of quality and value, you should be grateful.
Posted: September 4, 2012 By Robert Taylor
You may have noticed it's an election year, not just here but around the world. Of all the recent campaigns, I was particularly captivated by the one in Russia. The return to power of Vladimir Putin-who remains a regular headliner in the news-got me thinking about the wines of the old Soviet Bloc.
The former U.S.S.R. once had a booming wine industry, much of it in what is now the Republic of Georgia. Even after Georgia declared independence in 1991, almost all of its wine was exported to Russia, but that ended in 2006 when Russia placed an embargo on Georgian wine and mineral water. Russia claimed the Georgian products were of such poor quality that they could no longer be accepted. However, the embargo also happened to coincide with Georgia's announced intentions to join NATO (which doesn't exactly always share Russian interests) and a 2006 espionage controversy, in which Georgia very publicly arrested four Russian officers and charged them with spying.
That all turned out to be a good thing for those of us who love undiscovered—and undervalued—wines.
Posted: August 21, 2012 By Robert Taylor
With the amount of time I spend at Citi Field each summer, I've come to learn the restaurants along the No. 7 train through Queens fairly well. As decent as the ballpark's food is, sometimes you want to stop at a real restaurant (or just pick up one of the city's best Cubanos on the way home).
All-Time N.L. East villain John Rocker certainly didn't mean it nicely when he commented to Sports Illustrated about the diversity along the No. 7 train, but it's wonderfully true that there are myriad ethnic cuisines and exciting restaurants to be found along every turn and stop of the subway ride from Manhattan to Citi Field (and beyond).
My favorite restaurant in Queens, just one stop from Manhattan, is Tournesol, an authentically French restaurant with affordable prices and a solid wine list. I'm also including a run-down of some of my other Queens' top draws on the way to or from the game.
Posted: August 7, 2012 By Robert Taylor
It ain't easy being Philly in New York. As a Philadelphia sports fan, I accept that I face harassment from the locals. And as a Phillies fan in particular, I hear it pretty regularly from my diehard Mets fan colleagues. But the Phillies come to town frequently, and I've braved the hostile confines of Citi Field in Queens for a few games so far this season. I was also there to check back on the wine and food offerings of Citi Field, where restaurateur and recent Wine Spectator cover boy Danny Meyer runs most of the operation. For denizens of the "nose-bleed seats," there's the upper-deck wine bar, or for more high-end bottlings, the Delta Sky360 Club. And of the dining spots, two of my favorites are Catch of the Day and El Verano Taquería.
Posted: July 30, 2012 By Robert Taylor
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