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thomas matthews' blog archive

Photo by: David Yellen
Thomas Matthews

February 2016

South Beach Magic
José Andrés, black truffles and Rioja wines kick off the 2016 South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Posted: Feb 26, 2016 5:00pm ET

The party really got going when chef José Andrés went into his black-truffle dance.

Andrés—the chef whose successful restaurants span locations from Washington, D.C., to Las Vegas to Los Angeles—also runs Bazaar in the SLS Hotel in Miami Beach's South Beach neighborhood. Last night, he hosted 400 people for a paella and tapas party around the hotel’s pool, as one of the opening events at this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

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What Led to America's War on Alcohol?
A new book examines the causes and consequences of Prohibition
Posted: Feb 24, 2016 4:00pm ET

Most popular accounts of Prohibition focus on its sensational aspects: bootleggers and lawmen; flappers, speakeasies and jazz. But the buyers and sellers of bathtub gin were only colorful bit players in a much larger struggle.

In The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State (W.W. Norton, 255 pages, $28), Lisa McGirr, a professor of history at Harvard University, digs deep into the social, economic and political forces that lined up on opposite sides of the alcohol question. These forces long preceded the passage of the 18th Amendment, in 1919, and the shifting alliances and unintended consequences of Prohibition played out long after repeal in 1933.

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Spanish Sleeping Beauty
Manuel Louzada hopes to revive Arinzano from its slumber
Posted: Feb 18, 2016 4:00pm ET

In his previous job, winemaker Manuel Louzada had a relatively easy task: Don’t mess up the quality at Numanthia, Toro’s leading winery. In July 2015, he took on a bigger challenge, at Arinzano, an underperforming producer in an isolated terroir.

Located in the Navarra region of north-central Spain, Arinzano occupies a cool Pyrenees Mountains valley bounded by the Ega River; its vineyards climb to nearly 1,600 feet above sea level.

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Revolt in Rioja
Bodegas Artadi, one of the Spanish region’s top wineries, is quitting the appellation
Posted: Feb 9, 2016 1:00pm ET

A long-simmering conflict in Rioja broke into the open early this year when Bodegas y Vinedos Artadi announced its “decision to leave the Consejo Regulador of the D.O.Ca Rioja,” the region’s governing organization.

Artadi, founded in 1985 by a group of vintners led by Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, is located in the village of Laguardia, part of the Rioja Alavesa subregion. Over the years, the bodega has focused more on origin (bottling a number of single-vineyard wines, including its flagship El Pison) than on the Rioja designations of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, which set minimum aging requirements. As a consequence of its decision, Artadi will no longer display the Rioja appellation on its labels.

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Growing Grapes in Shangri-La
Jean-Guillaume Prats has taken a giant leap from Cos-d’Estournel
Posted: Feb 2, 2016 1:00pm ET

Jean-Guillaume Prats grew up as a member of Bordeaux’s wine aristocracy, at second-growth Château Cos-d’Estournel, the St.-Estèphe estate owned by his family until 1998. But he left a successful career there to seek adventure—and found it in Shangri-La.

Prats, 45, left Bordeaux in 2012, after 18 vintages at Cos, to become CEO of Estates and Wines, Moët-Hennessy's collection of premier wine properties, including Numanthia in Spain, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand and Newton in California. I caught up with Prats over lunch in New York in January as he was planning a trip to a new venture in southwestern China—his 12th visit since joining the company.

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