Posted: October 18, 2006 By Brian Loring
When discussing winemaking, I try to be very careful about distinguishing science from religion. What do I mean by that? The fact that yeast converts sugar to alcohol and CO2 is definitely science. The fact that we prefer to use Assmanshausen yeast at our winery is religion, especially since we’ve never done trials to prove to ourselves that we really like it best.
Posted: October 17, 2006 By James Laube
On Sunday night I hooked up for dinner with my colleague Harvey Steiman and Australian winemaker Michael Twelftree. We dined at Cindy Pawlcyn’s new restaurant, Go Fish, south of St. Helena, in the building most recently occupied by Pinot Blanc.
Posted: October 17, 2006 By Charlie Trotter
One of the most appealing things to me about being in the restaurant business is that you have a chance to share a real generosity. It seems to me that to be truly successful as a restaurant owner, a chef, a dining room leader, a sommelier, or any other position in the hospitality/service world, you have to be someone that absolutely and completely gives from the heart.
Posted: October 17, 2006 By Kevin Vogt
If I offered you a job as a sommelier for the hottest chef ever, in the most exciting city on the planet, would you do it? Suppose I compensate you well for your efforts, would you do it now? What if I throw in use of the company jet? Are you with me? You don’t have to be a rock star to live like one, you just have to be Emeril’s wine guy.
Posted: October 17, 2006 By James Molesworth
I'm besieged with wine catalogs and e-mail offerings from all over. I love it—it helps me keep a pulse on what's going on at retail. Plus, competition is tough for retailers, which means better choices for the consumer.
Posted: October 16, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Australia's Peter Lehmann makes two reserve-level wines from Shiraz. The better known wine is Stonewell , which is made in limited quantities, but in most vintages I have preferred Eight Songs. Now I know why.
Posted: October 16, 2006 By James Suckling
I went to a vertical tasting of Château Pichon-Longueville-Lalande in London a few weeks ago. London wine merchants Farr Vintners organized the event and Gildas d’Ollone, general manager of the estate, was there.
Posted: October 16, 2006 By James Laube
On Friday, a friend called and invited me to join a group headed for an impromptu dinner at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller’s new Napa Valley restaurant in Yountville, Calif. Keller also owns notable restaurants such as French Laundry , also in Yountville, and Per Se in New York, and though Ad Hoc has only been open for a few weeks, it's already creating quite a buzz.
Posted: October 16, 2006 By James Molesworth
This weekend was our annual apple-picking weekend. My oldest daughter can now scamper up the steep orchard hills easily—too easily, as she leaves me in the dust. My youngest daughter still needs to be carried sometimes, but she still managed to eat three whole apples by herself while we picked.
Posted: October 16, 2006 By Brian Loring
When I tell people that I’m a winemaker, invariably the first question I get asked is if we still stomp the grapes with our feet – like in that episode of I Love Lucy. Of course most wineries don’t process fruit that way, but it’s such a powerful image that most people probably think that’s how all wine is made.
Posted: October 13, 2006 By James Suckling
Why isn’t there much Bordeaux on wine lists in America? Bordeaux wine merchant Pierre Antoine Casteja asked the question when we were having dinner with another Bordeaux négociant, Pierre Lawton, and New York wine merchant Jeff Zacharia and their wives.
Posted: October 12, 2006 By Brian Loring
In one of my earlier blog entries, James Molesworth asked the following questions: You're big on the single-vineyard thing. Do you do microvinifications from vineyard blocks for a few years before deciding if the vineyard is worthy of being bottled alone? Have you ever stopped bottling a vineyard separately after a few years for any qualitative reason? The answer to both questions is no.
Posted: October 12, 2006 By James Suckling
The sommelier at one of New York’s newest steak houses, Porter House New York, knew right away something was up when James Laube and I arrived at the table with an editor of Cigar Aficionado , David Savona, and we asked for two wine lists.
Posted: October 12, 2006 By Charlie Trotter
One of my key operating mottos is, “A chef is only as good as his or her sommelier!” During the nearly two-decade history of Charlie Trotter's, I have worked very closely with four talented master sommeliers--Larry Stone, Joe Spellman, Serafin Alvarado and Jason Smith--all of whom have contributed greatly to our wine program.
Posted: October 12, 2006 By James Laube
Come this time of year--and a lot earlier for some of you--many folks start guessing about Wine Spectator 's annual Top 100 list and the Wine of the Year. Over the years, we’ve used essentially the same criteria to make our decision: The factors include a wine’s quality (as reflected in the rating), its value (based on its release price) and its availability (based on the number of cases produced, or for foreign wines, the number of cases imported).
Posted: October 12, 2006 By James Molesworth
Here's some food for thought... I met briefly with Hélène Garcin-Lévêque today. She owns Poesia , a very promising new project in Argentina. Her family also owns Clos L'Église in Pomerol, along with a few other small properties, such as Château Barde-Haut and Château Haut-Bergey.
Posted: October 12, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Normally, I roll my eyes when a restaurant wine guy walks up to my table with a mystery decanter. But Stephane Colling, the sommelier at the Modern in New York, was so non-threatening about it, I only felt I was on the spot for a second.
Posted: October 11, 2006 By James Suckling
I am in Manhattan and just got back from lunch with the senior editors of the magazine. We went to a place across the street called Blue Smoke. It’s a barbecue joint and always provides good-quality eats.
Posted: October 11, 2006 By James Laube
I’m back on home turf again, having arrived in New York over the weekend. For exercise on Sunday, before joining Tom and Sara Matthews for dinner, I walked to a few wine shops near my hotel at East 34th Street and 3rd Avenue.
Posted: October 10, 2006 By Charlie Trotter
In 2007 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago, and after all this time we are still trying to "get it right." We opened in 1987, with the idea that we would place equal importance on the four tenets of a great dining experience--cuisine, service, ambience and an exquisite wine program.
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