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Photo by: David Yellen
Harvey Steiman

May 2010

Promising New Italian Restaurant in Napa
Oenotri makes fine salumi; fires up good pizza
Posted: May 28, 2010 12:38pm ET

I recently checked out Oenotri, the newest Italian restaurant in Napa, which makes its own salumi, cured pork and wood oven-roasted pizza.

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What’s Next? Château Bétrus?
Obvious fakes puzzle wine pros in China
Posted: May 25, 2010 1:05pm ET
Knockoffs of Penfolds, Lafite and other iconic wines are showing up in China. Is this a good sign or a bad one? Check out these photos of some "Benfolds" high-end wines spotted this week.
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Oregon Verticals: Adelsheim, Wright
Aiming for refinement in Pinot Noir pays off
Posted: May 21, 2010 11:09am ET
It’s instructive to compare my final two vertical tastings from a recent visit to Oregon. In the first, David Adelsheim agreed to open his Elizabeth’s Reserve with his winemaker, Dave Paige. At the other, Ken Wright opened six vintages of his Carter Vineyard bottling. The two wines, one a blend of mostly estate vineyards the other a single vineyard, demonstrate how distinctively Oregon Pinots can age. Here are my notes.
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Oregon Verticals: Penner-Ash
Remarkable consistency despite changing sources
Posted: May 18, 2010 11:53am ET
Over the years the vineyards going into Penner-Ash Pinot Noir Willamette Valley have evolved from the three original sites to a dozen currently, but the wines retain their fundamental character and age elegantly. Here are my notes on Lynn Penner-Ash's Pinots of the 2000s (as well as a few others).
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Asparagus and Wine
Not the enemy conventional wisdom says it is
Posted: May 14, 2010 11:00am ET

“Do you know that the front of your house smells just like Sauvignon Blanc?” François Chartier asked as he arrived to demonstrate some of his work in pairing wine and food. Eucalyptus trees surround my home in San Francisco, and their distinct menthol-fueled aromatics pervade the air.

Chartier’s nose is acutely sensitive, which may help explain why aromatic links between food and wine lie at the heart of his theories on vinous matchmaking in a recent French-language book, Papilles et Molecules. I wrote about Chartier and his book in two blogs this past February. An English-language version is in the works for publication this fall, to be titled Taste Buds and Molecules.

Consulting with scientists and delving for hours into arcane reference books, the Canadian sommelier has identified the same aromatic chemicals in both sides of the equation when wines and foods work well together. One tasting on his visit explored the connections that drive successful matches with asparagus.

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Oregon Verticals: Shea
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is bigger, broader and arguably better now
Posted: May 12, 2010 1:04pm ET
On a recent visit to Oregon to taste as many 2009 Pinot Noirs from barrel as I could, I cajoled several wineries into opening some of their older wines. I wanted to see how the Pinot Noirs of this past decade have evolved. It’s easy to see how overall winemaking has improved dramatically over the decade. Nowhere in my research did that upward swing show more clearly than at Shea Vineyard, which bottled its first wines in 2001. Here are my tasting notes on a vertical of Shea's 2001 through 2008 Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Estate Pinot Noirs.
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Many Faces of Pinot Noir
White wines, even Port? Sure!
Posted: May 10, 2010 1:14pm ET

Every year Archie McLaren, chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic and a longtime wine collector, and I donate a dinner to a charity wine auction. We pick a San Francisco restaurant, raid our cellars for some interesting wines and ask the chef to make a menu for them. It pleasantly surprises us how generous folks can be to support the arts and enjoy food and wine in a city known for it.

This year, we focused on Pinot Noir.

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Where’s the Beef?
In eastern Oregon, matching up with Walla Walla wine
Posted: May 6, 2010 12:42pm ET

Leonetti's owners are branching out to cattle, an ideal adjunct to their Cabernets and Merlots. In advance of the commercial introduction of this beef, expected to start this fall, Chris sent some samples and a bottle of Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 to try with them. I grilled some hamburgers for lunch and two kinds of steak for dinner—tenderloin and bavette. I seasoned them only with salt, with no marinating or sauce, the better to get the straight flavor of the beef itself.

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