Posted: October 6, 2006 By Brian Loring
One of the most difficult things a winemaker has to decide is when to pick fruit. It’s not just a matter of testing sugars and pH. Do you pick early, hoping to make a more elegant, structured, long-lived wine? Do you pick later, hoping to create a bigger, bolder, fruit-forward wine? Do you pick because it’s the only day you can get a truck? Do you pick because Tuesday is your lucky day? Or do you pick when the fruit is physiologically ripe for the growing region and let the chips fall where they may? At Loring Wine Company, we use a tried and true method--we wait to see what Adam and Dianna Lee from Siduri do.
Posted: October 6, 2006 By James Suckling
I went to dinner in Mexico City last night at Becco, a popular Italian restaurant with a very good wine list. Loads of interesting wines are available, from Roberto Voerzio ’s single-vineyard Barolos to Valpolicellas and Amarones from Dal Forno.
Posted: October 6, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
All the hoo-ha earlier this week about Michelin's San Francisco restaurant ratings focused on the announcement of the list of the 28 that earned stars. The book itself, with all 356 restaurant entries, presents a somewhat different picture.
Posted: October 5, 2006 By James Suckling
I was sad to read yesterday about the death of R.W. Apple Jr. of the New York Times. Not only was Johnny, 71, one of America’s great journalists, he was a great wine and food lover and a friend. I hadn’t seen Johnny in years, but I always kept up with his whereabouts through English wine merchant Bill Baker.
Posted: October 5, 2006 By Brian Loring
I’m often asked how I got started in the wine business. My flippant response is “work-release program from prison." In reality, I got lucky. But I was the one who decided that it was something I wanted, and then I took the required steps once the opportunity arose.
Posted: October 4, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
A Napa Valley visitor wandering into Ad Hoc, the new restaurant in Yountville, would never know that it's Thomas Keller's latest venture. There is nothing about it to remind you of French Laundry , just up the street, which serves multicourse extravaganzas of endlessly inventive cuisine, or Per Se , his New York restaurant, where he does the same in lavish surroundings with killer views of Central Park.
Posted: October 4, 2006 By James Suckling
I had dinner the night before I left Cuba in a big outdoor restaurant called El Aljibe in Havana. The food is simple roasted chicken, fried pork, black beans and rice. It all comes out on the table family style and everyone digs in.
Posted: October 4, 2006 By Brian Loring
Hi, my name is Brian, and I’m a winemaker. It’s been two days since I last crushed fruit. Welcome to my blog! I was pleased that the gang at Wine Spectator asked me back--especially after reading my 2004 harvest blog.
Posted: October 3, 2006 By James Laube
My friend Nino, whose clothes supply I tapped when my luggage was delayed, is a vet, and he loves canines. Periodically he’s checked out some of the winery and street dogs we’ve met at different intervals along the way.
Posted: October 2, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Michelin says its new Red Guide "confirms the high level of dining in San Francisco, the Bay area and wine country." It looks to me like more of a slap in the face. I mean, no restaurants in San Francisco worthy of three stars? Only two worthy of a pair? As a San Franciscan, I have to say, this city is better than that.
Posted: October 2, 2006 By James Laube
Today, as my Tuscan-Campania holiday settled into beach mode, I really relaxed and kicked back in the sand and sun. I took a leisurely boat ride with friends and swam in the brilliant blue sea off Positano and Amalfi.
Posted: October 2, 2006 By James Molesworth
Australian wines are often criticized for not partnering well with food--their up-front, fruit-driven personalities aren't considered ideal for nuanced dishes, whereas wines with more subtle flavors and brighter acidities are thought to be ideal.
Posted: October 1, 2006 By James Suckling
A couple of friends threw a birthday party for me in the coolest restaurant in Havana, La Guarida. For those who saw the Cuban movie Fresa y Chocolate , this is the restaurant where it was filmed. It is probably the best restaurant in Cuba, and it is also privately owned.
Posted: October 1, 2006 By James Laube
As you might expect, I’ve tasted dozens of great wines on my Tuscan holiday. Spent a couple of days in Brunello di Montalcino, at Altesino and Fuligni. From what the owners and winemakers say, the quality of the 2006 harvest--which is either finished or ending in many areas in Tuscany--is very high.
Posted: September 30, 2006 By James Laube
My Italian is about as good as my Spanish or French or German. I can get by--barely, at times--and have to rely on either the good English of the person I’m talking to or interviewing, or the use of a translator.
Posted: September 29, 2006 By James Suckling
I am leaving in 30 minutes for Pinar del Rio, the tobacco region of Cuba, to visit the world’s greatest tobacco grower, Alejandro Robania. The 84-year-old is to tobacco what Robert Mondavi is to California wine.
Posted: September 29, 2006 By James Laube
My Mother used to keep a sign in her office that read: “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” I had every good reason to lose my mind the other night as I dined with the dashing, fun-loving, cork-popping, magnum-obsessed and forever dangerous and unpredictable wine maven James Suckling.
Posted: September 28, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Michelin releases its Red Guide to the restaurants of San Francisco and environs next week. Having just published my take on the state of S.F. dining in the current issue of Wine Spectator (Oct 15, 2006), I have more than a casual interest in seeing what the Michelin inspectors come up with.
Posted: September 28, 2006 By James Laube
I made it to Florence in pretty good shape. Not so for my luggage. It decided to stay at Heathrow, in London, while I carried on with my laptop and tote bag. My luggage took the path less traveled, which left me clothes-less in Florence, which wasn’t so bad for the first 24 hours.
Posted: September 26, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Every time I visit fun-loving Rollin Soles at Argyle winery in Oregon, he has some interesting tastings set up for me. This time, he has a vast assortment of freshly pressed juices, barrel samples from the 2005 vintage, and a previous vintages bottled under cork and screwcap for a blind comparison.
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