harvey steiman

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Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Colorado Wine, Not an Oxymoron

But how good is it? Results of a sampling

Posted: August 2, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Every state in America makes wine. So everywhere I go, I try to taste at least a few examples of the local product. As my wife and I spend several weeks every summer in the Colorado Rockies, we have been exposed to Colorado bottlings from time to time. I've ordered glasses or bottles of local wines in places such as Arizona, Texas, Michigan, Maryland and Virginia, which get little respect except for a relatively few supporters. Generally I find what I've tasted likable enough. But two big questions keep me from hopping up and down with excitement. I ran into both of those questions as I tasted through a representative sample of 10 Colorado wines with Kyle Schlachter of the Colorado Wine Press website.

News & Features  :  Travel Tips

Travel Tip: New San Francisco Restaurants

Three newcomers bring a casual vibe to elevated dining

Posted: July 22, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Big Wines in the Mountains

The Little Nell revamps its Grand Award winner in Aspen

Posted: July 19, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Aspen, Colo., tucked high in the Rocky Mountains, may not be an ideal indicator of economic trends in America. But at the luxury hotel the Little Nell, the expensive wines have started to fly out of the cellar. It has sommelier Carlton McCoy shaking his head in wonder.

Bottles and magnums of first-growth Bordeaux and big-name Burgundy stud a 700-bottle glassed-in wine storage unit that holds a bottle or two of the most-ordered wines and some top-shelf labels. It runs the length of a cocktail bar at the entrance to Element 47, the awkwardly renamed restaurant that won a Wine Spectator Grand Award as Montagna, its previous incarnation.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

A Wine Writer Turns Vintner

Washington wine book author Paul Gregutt switches gears with Waitsburg Cellars, and his first vintage looks promising

Posted: July 10, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Washington wine writer Paul Gregutt got himself into quite a kerfuffle earlier this year when he sprung Waitsburg Cellars onto the world.

The longtime resident of the Evergreen state is a veteran critic and author of Washington Wines and Wineries, the definitive book on Washington wine, whose wine reviews appeared on his own blog and in several print publications. He had never been a winemaker, but in 2011 partnered with Precept Wines, the state's third-largest wine company, to craft his own wines for the new label. Questions were raised. Could a wine critic also be a winemaker without raising conflict-of-interest issues? Could an untrained neophyte's wines be any good?

Well, I tasted them blind with their peers, as we always do around here, and I can say they are better than good.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Behind the B.S. About Wine Tasting

How critics of the critics miss the point

Posted: July 3, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

The news media has jumped on a new study of judges at the California State Fair wine competition as evidence that all wine tasting is baloney. But the author of the study says that's not what he meant. Not by a mile.

News & Features  :  News

Australian Wine Pioneer Peter Lehmann Dies at 82

The "Baron of Barossa" was a key figure in the wine region's renaissance

Posted: July 3, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

June 30, 2013 Issue  :  Features

The New Face of Fine Dining

Three new restaurants in San Francisco bring a casual vibe to elevated dining

Posted: June 30, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

An Opera Singer Discovers Wine

Tenor Matthew Polenzani keeps an open mind when exploring new wines

Posted: June 28, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

This story should sound familiar to anyone who has fallen for the world of wine. One day about a decade ago, a budding opera singer and his wife were sitting outside a caffè in Rome. "I had quit drinking in my very early 20s due to the financial constraints of college and grad school," said Matthew Polenzani, "but on a beautiful warm evening the moment called for a nice glass of wine. We've never looked back."

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Thoughts on Tweaking Wine

Like a musical recording, it may not be what it seems

Posted: June 18, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

After offering my take on ingredient labeling for wine, I got to thinking about why this is such a vexing issue. We do, after all, want to know what goes into what we consume, including wine. The tricky aspect for wine, of course, is that what goes in does not necessarily wind up in the bottle.

All of the adjustments winemakers can apply to wine remind me of what can happen in making music recordings. It's an apt analogy on several levels. One can even argue that, as humans, we need music as much as we need food and wine. At least some of us do.

Here's the thing. Just as manipulations in the winery can make a wine seem like more than what the vineyard actually produced, what we hear on most recordings is not exactly what the musicians actually played and sang. Sophisticated electronic and digital processes add reverberation, replace flubbed notes, and these days can even modify pitch to get a sour note in tune.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Wine Ingredient Labeling Poses Problems

What you see is not necessarily what you get

Posted: June 6, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Ingredient labeling for wine seems to make perfect sense, but the devil is in the details. Despite several concerted attempts, some dating back 40 years, it hasn't happened yet, in part because making wine is not like bottling soda pop or mixing cereal. In those, ingredients are the same as contents. Not so with wine.

Wine is a product of fermentation, and not everything that goes into it comes out in the end. And alcohol, one of wine's prime constituents, is not added to table wines. It results from fermenting the sugar in grapes. How to handle those pesky details has derailed previous attempts at ingredient labeling for wine.

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