Posted: October 19, 2006 By All Access
We knew this year's California Wine Experience was going to get off to a good start before we even got to San Francisco. While we were boarding our plane from Newark, amid a bunch of people carrying wine-country guides and maps, we saw a woman in line sporting body art of grape bunches down her right shoulder.
Posted: October 19, 2006 By James Laube
Jesse Calderon has a great question about how I arrive at vintage chart ratings. I'm sure my colleagues will be glad to share their thoughts on this subject as well, since we all have our own ways of analyzing vintage quality.
Posted: October 19, 2006 By Kevin Vogt
What makes wine insanely great? Think back to the single greatest wine you have ever tasted. Surely you remember that experience like it was yesterday. Can you instantly recall everything about that moment? If you answered yes to the above question, you have it.
Posted: October 19, 2006 By James Suckling
I had dinner the other night in Los Angeles with some friends at a restaurant called Carlitos Gardel that specializes in Argentinean cuisine. I was impressed with the selection of Argentinean wines. I have noticed a number of restaurants, particularly in L.
Posted: October 18, 2006 By James Molesworth
On Monday, my merry band of BYOB friends descended on Triomphe for our monthly wine night. The food was excellent, with arguably one of the best racks of lamb I've ever tasted and a dynamite chicken liver crostini appetizer.
Posted: October 18, 2006 By James Laube
Most years, if you’re a farmer or winegrower or winemaker in California, you bet on the weather coming through. Most of the time the weather delivers, as in the right mix of sunshine and dryness. But this year is one of those years where the odds-makers would have handicapped this harvest as too close for comfort.
Posted: October 18, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
We have all been there. The server pours a splash of wine from the bottle you just ordered. Your job is to taste it and grant permission to pour for the table. Oh, the pressure! Be honest. You feel it too.
Posted: October 18, 2006 By James Suckling
I had dinner at my father’s the other night in San Diego. He is a keen Bordeaux lover but doesn’t buy much of the stuff because he is semi-retired and thinks it’s too expensive. He still remembers drinking Lafite and Mouton for $10 or $15 a bottle back in the 1970s, so he doesn’t like to drop hundreds of dollars on a bottle of fine wine.
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.
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