On Saturday, Dec. 15, Gilt restaurant, which earned a Wine Spectator Grand Award for its wine list in 2011, closed its doors for good.
The restaurant, located in the New York Palace Hotel, joins chef Alain Ducasse's Adour at the St. Regis and chef Joël Robuchon's L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon inside the Four Seasons as the third fine-dining restaurant lodged inside a luxury New York hotel to close this year.
In a city where chef's counters are the new fine dining and white tablecloths are practically extinct below 14th Street, upscale hotel bars and restaurants are forced to rethink their approach to drinking and dining. And Gilt beverage director Patrick Cappiello will be keeping that in mind as he plans to restore the Palace Hotel's Villard Bar to its former glory.
Thomas Calder may be one of the most important men in French wine you've never heard of. He's an American export agent living in Paris who, like many brokers, is the forgotten link in the caravan of characters responsible for bringing wine from a vintner's cellar to our homes.
He has "discovered" (and he insists the word be wrapped in quotes) some of Champagne's brightest new stars like Cédric Bouchard (Infloresence and Roses de Jeanne), Dominique Moreau of Marie Courtin, Emmanuel Lassaigne of Champagne Jacques Lassaigne and Jérôme Prévost (La Closerie). Beyond Champagne, he represents Gerard Boulay in Sancerre, Vincent Paris in the Northern Rhône and Thomas Pico of Domaine Pattes Loup in Chablis, along with several others that make for a book that represents a new generation of classic French vignerons.
The last time I held a zine in my hands was in the late 1990s, at the Doheny Days Music Festival in Dana Point, Calif. It was an adorably lo-fi, black-and-white ska zine given to me by a dude wearing eyeliner and a chain wallet, a bidi nearly burning his lips. (Back then, that was my idea of a heartthrob.) But ever since the Internet came along, self-published, paper-based zines—which found their apex in the 1960s and 1970s, covering everything from politics to sex to punk rock—have mostly become virtual.
So imagine my surprise when Loam Baby, a new wine zine published anonymously under the pseudonym R.H. Drexel, arrived in my mailbox.
Five years ago, the Jura wasn't on Guillaume d'Angerville's mind. But on a visit to one of his favorite Paris restaurants, the eminent Burgundian vintner became fascinated by this lesser-known French wine region.
"I tasted this bottle blind in a restaurant in Paris that I often go to," said d'Angerville, who produces red and white Burgundies under the revered Marquis d'Angerville label. "I always tell the sommelier to give me something blind and the only rule is that it has to be outside Burgundy. When he brought me this wine, I said, 'You forgot the rule, you brought me a wine from Burgundy.' And he said, 'I am afraid you're wrong.'"
That bottle was the André & Mireille Tissot Chardonnay Arbois Les Bruyères 2005. It set d'Angerville on a path that would lead to the acquisition of two Jura vineyards, both about a mile and a half from the town of Arbois.
At first glance, it may seem like the cocktail movement is from Mars and wine is from Venus. Despite the growing diversity of the cocktail world-and the highbrow/lowbrow factions that have formed within it-it's still associated with a certain edginess and energy that may appear at odds with the more buttoned-up, bourgie image that wine has been stuck with.
But are these two worlds really at odds? Or, better question: Do they have to be? A new generation of sommeliers, bartenders and restaurateurs is trying to find common ground between the two cultures.