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Posted: December 6, 2006 By James Laube
When you can say that a winery makes a lot of great wine at terrific prices, well, that’s a magical thing. This week I discovered such a winery—Four Vines, founded in 1996. In the words of one of its owners, "This is one of the largest wineries in Paso Robles you’ve never heard of.
Posted: December 6, 2006 By Marvin R. Shanken
Most of the time when I dine out, it’s tough to find a great wine buy for, say, under $40. And most of the time, I have to spend $60 to $100 to reach up to a very good wine. Now, I’m all for making the restaurant owner happy (and the sommelier, if they have one).
Posted: December 6, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
My colleague Jim Laube sounds like he had a great day crabbing (as he described so vividly in his blog ). I'm lazier. I buy my crabs, although I do prefer them alive and kicking (literally). Fortunately, an Oriental market opened recently in my San Francisco neighborhood that sells live crabs, which are kept in seawater-filled tanks.
Posted: December 5, 2006 By James Suckling
I haven't been blogging with my normal frequency because I've been lying low in Bordeaux, reviewing hundreds of 2004 reds from bottle in blind tastings here at Les Sources de Caudalie , a beautiful hotel in Pessac-Leognan.
Posted: December 5, 2006 By James Laube
Today's conversation is about consistency in style, which is often overlooked or minimized in evaluating wineries and winemakers. A winery that routinely makes wines that are similar in style and quality can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Posted: December 5, 2006 By James Molesworth
Yesterday, I sat down with Aurelio Montes , owner and winemaker of Chile's Viña Montes. I was tempted by the opportunity to taste a complete vertical of his top two wines— Folly , a 100 percent Syrah, and Alpha M , a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend.
Posted: December 4, 2006 By Claudine Pépin
“What’s for dinner?” I used to ask my mom that every day, and she always said the same thing: "Food." And that was the truth. We always sat down together as a family to eat. No one called it "family time," although I know now that it was family time—our time to reconnect, discuss our day, and just be together.
Posted: December 4, 2006 By James Laube
One way for a wine critic to look like an absolute genius is for his barrel reviews to match up perfectly with his scores for the released wines. Imagine how impressed everyone would be if every wine that scored 95-100 points out of barrel hit the same score range when it was released.
Posted: December 4, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
From the beginning in 1983, Eric Rindal always focused on producing good value wines at his Waterbrook winery. Only the fourth winery bonded in Walla Walla, it didn't even have a public tasting room until recently.
Posted: December 1, 2006 By Kevin Vogt
I have this rather idyllic perception of how wines should be made. The K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in life seems to be the better approach more times than not. I really appreciate the effort involved when I hear that a winemaker went out of his way to produce a wine with as little intervention as possible, although that may not always be practical.
Posted: December 1, 2006 By James Laube
In my Dec. 15 column , I wrote about my experiences with Beaulieu Vineyard's 1946 and 1947 Pinot Noirs. Those incredible wines were an early inspiration to anyone who tasted them, and they were the best vintages ever made by the late André Tchelistcheff (pronounced Chell-a-cheff ).
Posted: December 1, 2006 By James Suckling
I had dinner last night in the Piedmont village of Treviso, at the restaurant La Ciau del Tornavento , with about two dozen producers of the best Barbarescos and Barolos. They were all there, from Bruno Rocca to Domenico Clerico to Enrica Scavino.
Posted: November 30, 2006 By James Molesworth
Outside of the glamour appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, there are numerous domaines in the southern Rhône that produce wine in relative obscurity. Many of these lie in the broad Côtes du Rhône and slightly more specific Côtes du Rhône-Villages appellations.
Posted: November 30, 2006 By James Laube
It’s Dungeness crab season in the San Francisco Bay area and points north. It’s an annual, seasonal treat for those of us who live here, since it’s easy to obtain these fresh, live crustaceans and cook them at home.
Posted: November 30, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
When young chefs have made a splash cooking in someone else's restaurant, having their own place can look so tempting. Especially when friends with money are urging them to take the plunge. Melissa Perello is not so sure, but she's taking some time off to think it over.
Posted: November 30, 2006 By James Suckling
I spent some time yesterday with two legends of Barolo – Bruno Giacosa and Aldo Conterno. I visited both of their wineries and tasted some of their 2004 Baroli. I have to say that I was surprised by how good their 2004s are! There has been very little talk about 2004 in general, but the wines I tasted in their cellars were dark-colored, extremely aromatic and rich in fruit and tannins.
Posted: November 29, 2006 By James Laube
Ovid (pronounced Ah-vid ) is a spectacular new winery in Napa Valley's Pritchard Hill area, on a steep winding road that I’ve come to refer to as the Rodeo Drive of Napa. This area, in the eastern hills overlooking Oakville, is home to several showcase estates, including Bryant Family, Chappellet, David Arthur, Colgin, Versant and, further up the road, Cloud View, yet another start-up.
Posted: November 29, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Do people expect more from restaurants? Several leading San Francisco chefs said so. They were speaking in a roundtable discussion this week to flog a new Web site featuring their opinions about dining in the Bay area.
Posted: November 29, 2006 By Steven Page
My God, Chicago, how do you do it? So many fantastic restaurants, how do you get to them all? It’s not like my gall bladder could handle Charlie Trotter’s one night, and Alinea the next. I think the only solution would be to move to the Windy City, or at least make monthly visits just to sample the amazing, cutting-edge cuisine.
Posted: November 29, 2006 By Bruce Sanderson
My plan was to work my way through some great beef and Malbec in Buenos Aires. I even had a cheat sheet of all the t op-scoring Malbecs we published in 2006. It began accordingly, with two steaks and two Malbecs within 24 hours.
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