I just finished what has to be one of the worst tastings I have done for the magazine in a long time— 2002 Brunello di Montalcino. It was a shocker. Most of the wines were diluted and uninteresting. Even big names did poorly.
I was happy enough this weekend to find a bottle of 2002 premier cru Chablis in the small cellar in my ex-wife’s house in Yorkshire. I was staying with my two children for a week there. I bought a case of the 2002 William Fèvre Chablis Vaillons back in 2004 and couldn’t wait to enjoy the wine with an array of British delights, particularly smoked salmon and potted shrimp.
In my last blog , I wrote about meeting mega-chef Joël Robuchon in London, and my less-than-perfect experience at his L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris. The waiters there were downright rude and condescending.
I ran into super chef Joël Robuchon at breakfast last Saturday in London at the St. Martins Lane Hotel. I was there with my two children, getting geared up for a matinee of The Sound of Music. Robuchon had been fine-tuning his latest L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, which is sort of high class zen-sushi-bar-looking place featuring all of his signature three-star dishes, and more, as well as a good selection of wines by the glass.
Haaaaaa. Steak, frites and Bordeaux. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a simple steak, French fries and a green salad with a good bottle of Bordeaux. And I am not talking about first-growth or second-growth or trophy reds from France’s premier wine region.
I have a soft spot for Bandol, France’s coastal wine region. I had a bottle of Bandol red the other night at the excellent New York restaurant Mas, and I really was sad to see it end. It brought me back to last summer on the Cote d’Azur with some friends enjoying the sunshine, sea air, and beautiful sights – day and night.
I am in a rotten mood. Today is Valentine’s Day and I hate it. I have loathed this commercial celebration for as long as I can remember. Maybe it was because Heidi Hendrickson in the sixth grade didn’t accept my Valentine’s message.
I am seeing wine bars in major cities, and what I am seeing, I like. In the past few days, I have been to two cool wine bars, one in Los Angeles and one in New York City, that are hip, fun and satisfying.
What a foggy morning in Los Angeles today, not so much from the weather but from a slightly exaggerated evening last night. I had dinner at Sona (which is recent guest blogger David Myers ' restaurant) with L.
Two 100-pointers for Brunello di Montalcino. The region is on a roll, both in Italy and abroad. As you know, my home is in Italy, so I spend a fair amount of time in Tuscany, and it never ceases to amaze me when I ride my bike or drive my sports car to Montalcino and gaze at the mountain of the medieval city.
Is Manfred Krankl a genius? No. Is he super cool, and does he make excellent wines? Yes. Is he an artist and winemaker? Yes. Yes. I had lunch a couple of days ago in Los Angeles with Manfred, who makes Sine Qua Non wines, and I was inspired not only by his wine that we drank – 2003 Sine Qua Non Li’l E – but his philosophy of life and winemaking.
Empty restaurants sort of scare me. Last night I went with a friend to a new Italian restaurant in Los Angeles and it was empty, except for one other table. It made me uneasy. Strange thoughts went through my mind.
John Gray is one of my favorite chefs, and you have probably never heard of him. I originally met him while he was working at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, Mexico, as the head chef, in the early 1990s. I remember the first time I tasted his food at a dinner with friends and it blew me away.
I drink a lot of Chilean wine while I am in Latin America. It always seems to be available. It’s well-priced, and the quality is very good. It also seems pretty indestructible, even in the face of the heat and humidity that characterize the places I travel to, like Cuba or Nicaragua, for Wine Spectator ’s sister publication, Cigar Aficionado.
I was drinking a 2005 Concha y Toro Syrah Rapel Valley Casillero del Diablo a few nights ago in Havana in a small family-run restaurant called La Casa in Vedado, a nice and clean neighborhood in the city.
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