ben o'donnell

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News & Features  :  Sommelier Talk

Sommelier Talk: Steak and Wine, Done Right

Del Frisco’s wine director David O’Day oversees 31 award-winning wine lists

Posted: June 12, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

News & Features  :  News

How Many Calories Are in a Bottle of Chalone Pinot Noir? Flip It Over

New rule allows Serving Facts labels on alcohol, but some winemakers worry it won't be voluntary forever

Posted: June 6, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

May 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

Battle Over Wine Labeling Pits Large Producers Against Small

Posted: May 31, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Where Will the Next Generation Take Bordeaux?

The challenges of the Millennial winemaker play out in sharp relief in this most traditional region

Posted: May 21, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

The wine biz has spent several years now wringing its hands over What to Do About Millennials. Not so long ago, it was a received truth of this big, problematic, new generation of wine drinkers that they dismissed Bordeaux as an old man's game. But stop in at any Bordeaux walk-around tasting and it's immediately obvious that both sides of that formulation are wrongheaded today: More and more, what young Americans drink, young Frenchmen (and women) made. I asked a few of these young Bordelais what it's like trying to fit 2,000 years of tradition into our modern wine climate.

News & Features  :  News

Why Aren't 2012 Bordeaux Futures Selling?

Most châteaus lowered prices, but consumers don't think the wines are worth the investment

Posted: May 21, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell, Suzanne Mustacich

News & Features  :  Wine in History

California Vintner Discovers Ancient Roman Wine Exporter

When not making Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot at Wrath, archaeologist Michael Thomas leads a team that discovered a wine "négociant" outside Pompeii

Posted: May 6, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

April 30, 2013 Issue  :  News

$2 Million of Wine in Hurricane Limbo

Posted: April 30, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

News & Features  :  Wine in History

The Weird and Wild Wine-Drinking Games of History

From maddeningly hard to outright deadly, some games show our wine-swilling forebears had odd ideas about fun

Posted: April 23, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Does Wine Evangelism Work? Part 2

Somms, writers and other wine tastemakers are sold on Sherry. But is anyone else buying it?

Posted: April 19, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

Sherry is hot right now among sommeliers, writers and other opinion peddlers in the wine world. But few would call it an easy sell. It's a style of drink from another era, when wine was more like booze, and even among the great fortified wines, it's hard to deny that Sherry sticks out.

It doesn't taste like wine is "supposed" to taste. The main grape variety, Palomino, is generally considered too bland for table wine. Sherry's 10-or-so different styles are all over the map in flavor profile. The winemaking process involves a series of bizarre-seeming selections and aging regimens that wouldn't make sense in most viniculture—from aging some styles under a protective, foamy cap of yeast called flor to letting others oxidize extensively, to blending the young wines into older wines in a complex rotating system of barrels called a solera. In my last post, I discussed why Sherry, the great flightless bird of wine, provokes such fierce admiration from a small-but-growing group of American wine sellers.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Does Wine Evangelism Work?

Why are American wine's tastemakers falling in love with Sherry—and can they sell the stuff? Part 1 of a case study

Posted: April 18, 2013  By Ben O'Donnell

Readers of a certain age will recall this enduring line from the 2004 Tina Fey-Lindsay Lohan picture Mean Girls, snapped by Regina George—the meanest girl—at her lieutenant: "Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen! It's not going to happen!" (For readers of a different age: In the movie, "fetch" is a vaguely approving slang term "from England" that Gretchen haplessly tries to popularize.)

Regina's admonition has come to mind at times on the subject of Sherry. Perhaps you know Sherry from Sherryfest, a weeklong celebration of the Spanish fortified wine, held last month in Portland, Ore., and last fall in New York, or from the buildup to next month's World Sherry Day. Maybe you (I) went to that party last year at that East Village Dutch-fusion joint (now closed) where guests were encouraged to write their Twitter handles on their nametags and do a "bone luge" (scoop the marrow out of a bone, then glug amontillado through the hollow shank). Or perhaps you've sipped it at one of New York's Terroir bars, on whose eclectic wine lists Sherry is, plainly stated, "the world's greatest beverage."

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