18 November 2009
14 November 2009
This is a cool wine, an anomaly in Priorat---100% grenache blanc made from 100 year vines that were planted by religious missionaries.
12 November 2009
19 October 2009
29 September 2009
19 September 2009
Eric Bordelet is making serious french ciders with a focus on technique and process that is akin to winemaking; thus yielding ciders with incredible acid, minerality, structure, balance, and elegance. Bordelet started his career as a sommelier in Paris, but eventually found his way back to his home in Normandy where he began making both apple and pear ciders from heirloom varietals. The Poire Authentique is a no-nonsense, elevated way to start a meal; and is a natural match with goat cheese or fall fruit desserts. It is an off-dry cider with just 4% alcohol. It's effervescence is somewhat light---and slips away swiftly, so lets be careful to make sure that it stays intact by keeping it cool and under pressure every time a bottle is opened.
07 September 2009
29 August 2009
28 August 2009
24 August 2009
21 August 2009
Although Elena Walch is a favorite producer of mine I refrained from keeping her wines on the list for a while. As if someone would recognize my affinity and call me out for being entirely too OBVIOUS. And for me that is just what her wines are, the indisputable right choice. Carefully crafted with precision that only an architect could execute, they are some of the finest representation of regional varitals in Alto Adige. They are correct, classic, old world wines that are somehow acutely touched with her independent, renaissance woman modernism.
17 August 2009
16 August 2009
14 August 2009
In inspecting the lives of passionate and successful people there will often be a naysayer, a bully who pokes at the individual either from the sidelines; or head-on.
12 August 2009
This is the Gramona family coat of arms. Vine, wine, life, and a certain idea of Cava.
10 August 2009
09 August 2009
Bandol is an appellation within Provence; known for it's limestone soils and rich, brooding red wines. Although white wine is not the region's primary strength, this wine has a rare and delicate beauty.
It is a blend of the local Ugni Blanc and Clairette. The vineyard is located about 5 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.
Winemaker Alain Pascal has been making wine for production about 12 vintages now, but his father was previously a grower who sold his fruit; and Alain has been making wine for his own consumption for years. his first profession was as a professional boxer!
When I saw the excerpt below in July's newsletter I decided to include it because Pascale Parodi of Gros 'Nore told this story as she presented the wine at a recent lunch at Alu.
Here we are—July—and it matters because this dry white has the sun and sea in
it. A vacation in a wine glass!
At Gros ’Noré, at first I thought the wine had an intense citronelle smell to
it. Then I realized it was the winemaker’s aftershave. In fact, he caught me sniff-
ing at him, so I asked him why he smelled so . . . strong. He giggled like a
schoolboy. “If you knew where I’m headed,” he said, “you’d be jealous.”
“Well, where?” I asked.
“She’s blonde,” he said, beaming and making weird shapes in the air with his
gnarly, wine-stained hands.
I brought the bottle home, far from the odor of horny vignerons. This white
smells as inviting as a slice of cold honeydew melon on a hot day, and there is
indeed a twist of lemon to it—but subtle, thank goodness—not at all like after-
Summertime, summertime. I will never have enough summertimes.
Lyle Railsback pouring 1998 Gros 'Nore Bandol Rouge; a back-vintage treat!
08 August 2009
02 August 2009
27 July 2009
25 July 2009
13 July 2009
11 July 2009
06 July 2009
29 June 2009
-The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil: I poured over this book for days in my Chelsea coffee shop; at the suggestion of my boss who breathed down my neck every night about what a helpless idiot I was where wine was concerned. It meant nothing to me and frustrated me for a long time, and now I realize that I AM a helpless idiot, but I've learned how this book can help me a little bit.
-Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine: Just complete and accessible
-Burgundy Stars by William Echikson: A tragic and interesting story about a chef who was dying for Michelin stars.
-What to Drink With What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page: Well archived explanations of food and wine pairings.
-Inspiring Thirst by Kermit Lynch: A compilation of wine descriptions from almost 30 years of the Kermit Lynch monthly brochure, well written and fun to read.
-2000 Champagnes by Richard Juhlin: 2000 Champagnes!
-Vino Italiano by Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch: Everything you need to know about Italian Wine.
-Oldman's Guide To Outsmarting Wine: Really simple and easy to navigate. Very basic. A great place to start.
27 June 2009
24 June 2009
22 June 2009
-Always bring glassware to the table first, followed by the bottle. This is for safety when walking through the dining room.
-All glass pours must be served in our everyday Riesling/Sangiovese glasses, aside from dessert wines and bubbles; which should be served in the appropriate glassware (flutes and small desert stemware). All red wine by the bottle should be served in large bowls. Please ask if you are unclear, but use your judgement; as long as the glass allows the wine to express its character I am not too concerned with “proper” glassware.
-Most white wines by the bottle are served in the Riesling/Sangio glasses. The exception that jumps out-all White Burgundy should be served in large bowls (Burgundy glasses).
-BUBBLES! For safety and suave professionalism, tableside and server station:
*Drop glassware, select bottle from fridge, and grab a clean folded servillette.
*Unwrap wine cage, but do not remove from bottle.
*Continue to apply pressure to top of cage as if you are holding the cork in the bottle; which you possibly are.
*Wrap servillette over the top of the bottle and gently jostle the cork side to side; allowing air to escape.
*The cork should not pop or fly, you should be in complete control and the wine should not bubble over excessively.
*If you are opening the bottle properly, it should sound like a sigh; not a pop or fizz.
*Put the cork on the table, cage intact. Pour slowly and steadily, so as not to aggravate the bubbles.
*Always offer an ice bucket, but do not automatically bring one over unless it is a wine best at an extremely cool temperature. Most sparkling wines benefit from warming up a bit, and our cooler is extremely cold-cooler than suggested for most white wine. You can tell your table that too, as long as it feels comfortable and respectful.
-When presenting wine, clearly state the vintage, producer’s name, and any other identifying information on the bottle (name of cuvee, grape if applicable). Wait for acknowledgement (acceptance of the bottle) from the host before beginning.
-Always pour a small taste for the host (person who selected the bottle), and wait for them to accept the wine.
-When someone brings in their own bottle always charge corkage unless it is a friend of the house, in which case please ring in the “no corkage” button. Ask the customer how they would like the bottled treated as appropriate (chilled, decanted, opened now or later on). Bring appropriate glassware to the table. Upon opening the bottle, have the host taste as usual-I’m sure they do not want to serve corked wine to their guests!
-Pour the wine for the rest of the table first; finish pouring with the host. Don’t adhere to ladies first, it gets to difficult with full communal tables. Pour clock-wise from the host to the best of your ability.
-After serving a wine, especially white or sparkling; please check inventory and note on white board if necessary.
-If a table is drinking the last or second to last bottle of wine we have in stock please let them know in case they plan to continue with another bottle.
-If table is moving on to a second and different bottle of wine please offer fresh glassware.
-If they are continuing with another of the same bottle please bring a fresh glass to the host for tasting purposes.
-If you have questions or concerns about a bottle, please see a manager before opening.
-whenever possible/applicable please defer wine service and questions to Lauren.
*Weingut Gunther Steinmetz (Stefan's Father) pictured at right*
I decided to write about this wine since it is coming off the glass pour list soon, and slated to be by the bottle only. I have reached a point with this wine where i am blinded. I no longer have the ability to judge it's beauty because I love it too much.
Stefan Steinmetz is a young dude; 30 years old making these rustic, expressive, seemingly wise wines in the Mosel.
His wines are like big babies; or maybe more like grumpy old men, depends on how you look at it. Rough around the edges with hearts of gold.
When Daniel Melia of Mosel Wine Merchants (see link) showed me this wine he said something so compelling--
" “...You're aiming to pour the Spätlese Devon from Stefan Steinmetz -- a beautiful choice. If my instincts prove correct, in a few years time you'll be able to say that you were ahead of the curve on the Mosel's next star producer. He's just thirty years old but has been making the wines on his own since 2000. I think it's fair to say that he's more proud of the 07 Devon than any wine he's ever made. It's equipped with a real playful balance between sweetness and acidity and has a fine, delicate minerality, but the wine is somehow powerful, almost muscular, at the same time. It's like one of those 300-lb. athletes who runs and jumps and moves his feet with the kind of grace usually reserved for much smaller men. As you can tell: I love this wine.”
Get to know this wine, it's worth it!
18 June 2009
This frizzante dry lambrusco is a wine of character, stamina, and stature. It is a refined, if not a bit weathered and mature example of the rugged potential of the lambrusco grapes. "Sottobosco" is a blend of malbo gentile, lambrusco maestri, and lambrusco grasparossa from Emilia-Romagna. Ca de Noci is a naturally farmed winery run by two brothers, with a walnut orchard that has been growing on the property for over 30 years. I get the walnut skins and earthy tones more from the malvasia they make, but the dry; at times almost throat tickling sensation is definitely present in this wine. This is a layered wine, very minerally with a chalky finish. Really badass without being too serious. Serve in riesling/sangio glassware. The Dressner website suggests serving at cellar temp, I've been keeping it cooler than that-better a little cool than a little warm, especially for summer. Think tagliatelle, cured meats, hard cheeses (parmigiano reggiano), pork, lamb, and Italian grains for pairing. It's also considered a table wine because the grapes are grown outside of Lambrusco DOC, it is outrageously fun and interesting at just $36/btl.
17 June 2009
Bubbly Sunday includes all bottles of sparkling wine on our list. it is a great opportunity for staff to learn about our Champagne and other sparkling, and just become familiar with pulling and selling these bottles. Champagne is one of my personal favorites; it is one of the most versatile wines in the world, and is elegant and celebratory no matter how you drink it. I think one of the all-star orders I've ever heard was 2 bacon cheeseburgers with a bottle of de Sousa & Fils Blanc de Blancs. Now that's style. The prices range from $11/btl. for our exceptional house cava (Gran Moments) to $55 for 2002 Pierre Gimmonet "Fleuron", and we have had magnums on the list in the past. The price range is impressive and really speaks to the format of the menu as well; you may have a couple sharing a bottle of cava over burgers and fries, and on the other side of the table a large group sharing a vintage champagne and a 3 course meal. If you work Sundays it is a chance to study the wines, and if you don't work, get together a crew and get silly and educated all at the same time!