Voting is now under way for the 2009 American Wine Blog awards! This blog has been nominated in two categories, best wine blog and best wine blog writing. Head on over to the Fermentation, check out all the blogs since it can be a good way to discover new ones, and then cast your vote!
And while you’re there, be sure to Vote Vino! Yes we can!
The past year has been a great year and I thank you for your participation in making this blog lots of fun. Looking forward another year of wine talk that goes down easy!
Timed strategically to drop after the election and before the holidays (but on Veteran’s Day, a holiday itself!), today is the official release date of my new book, A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season!
Instead of traversing the familiar terrain of regions or grape varieties, I forge a new path by plotting a seasonal arc for wine consumption. This ties in to the way that I enjoy wine, by emphasizing the context of how, where, when (and with what and with whom) we drink wines, as well as linking to the trend of seasonal cooking that is so prevalent today among professional chefs and home cooks. I’m glad that this theme resonated with so many of you in our previous discussion.
The book has short essays and hundreds of wine recommendations across the twelve months of the year. There should be something for wine lovers of all levels, newbie to full-on wine geek. There’s also some information for all seasons about wine style, wine service and how to actually find good wines near you. And twelve wine travel sections help you even change your context for maximum wine enjoyment.
Alex Eben Meyer contributed the great illustrations. Check out his excellent portfolio at his site!
And a total of thirteen sommeliers lent their thoughts to the volume. They include: Richard Betts (The Little Nell, Aspen, CO); Shayn Bjornholm MS (Washington Wine Commission); Thomas Carter (Blue Hill Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY); Belinda Chang (The Modern, NYC); Christie Dufault (Quince, SF); Erik Liedholm (Seastar, Seattle); Rajat Parr (Michael Mina Group, SF); Shelley Lindgren (A16 restaurant, SF); Roger Morlock (Park Avenue Seasons, NY); Virginia Philip, MS (The Breakers, Palm Beach); Tysan Pierce (The Herbfarm, Woodinville, WA); Juliette Pope (Gramercy Tavern, NYC).
So check out the book’s page over at Amazon (or Barnes and Noble or Powell’s if you prefer) and see what Kermit Lynch, Eric Arnold, David Lynch, and Bobby Abreu had to say on the back cover. Or ask for the hardcover at your local bookstore and check it out in print. And if you do get it, let us know what you think of it here!
The book is called A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season. In it, a collection of essays and hundreds of wine recommendations, I encourage readers to break out of their chardonnay or cabernet rut and drink different by plotting a seasonal arc to their wine consumption. Simon Spotlight Entertainment, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish the book, available November 11 at a retailer near you or on Amazon.
Epicurious flagged it on their short list of books for “thirsty readers” this fall.
If you like this blog, you will love this book! Why? Because I sold the book based on this blog. But since you readers were not there in the book to post comments, I recruited 13 of America’s leading sommeliers to lend their voices to the book with their thoughts on seasonal drinking and perfect pairings.
I’ve just received some finished copies of the book and have three to sign and give away! All you have to do to qualify is post a comment on this posting saying which is your favorite season for drinking wine. And while “all” is certainly an acceptable answer, maybe there’s one that brings particular pleasure to you.
Comments will close on Thursday and Friday I’ll throw all the commenters’ names in a hat and draw three names. So check back then to see if you are among the winners!
See the listing for A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season on Amazon.
This November 20, cases of Beaujolais Nouveau will fall from the sky and land as endcaps in wine shops everywhere. This fall, I encourage you to say no to the Nouveau–and reach for a local wine instead.
Beaujolais Nouveau is a travesty on at least two levels, one gustatory and one environmental. The grapes for this proto-wine were harvested only three months prior to the airdrop. In some years, they are not ripe enough and need to have their alcohol levels boosted by sugar. And most of the Nouveau is made with
machine-harvested grapes carbonic maceration, commercial yeast strains and enzymes to give it a confected taste. Don’t get me wrong: I think gamay is one of the most food-friendly red grapes and a great value but mostly when it hails from one of the smaller subzones of Beaujolais.
Regulations prohibit the bottling of the wine more than one week before the arbitrary date, when signs all around the world used to proclaim triumphantly “le Beauolais noveau est arrivé” (the Beaujolais nouveau has arrived!”) Now, the dreadful slogan is “It’s Beaujolais nouveau time!” which sounds perilously close to a rip off of a Miller ad.
The short allowable time between bottling and release sets off a global sprint to transport the wine as far afield as Tokyo, San Francisco and Santiago. This has involved motorcycles, trucks, helicopters, regular jet planes and even, in a previous era, the Concorde!
As my research on the carbon footprint of wine has shown, airfreight is hardly the best way to transport any wine even if it were good. A bottle of Georges Duboeuf flown to New York has four times the carbon footprint than if it were sent by ship.
But the idea of a global wine celebration on the third Thursday of November is too appealing to ignore. So let’s ride on the coattails (jetstream?) of this global wine celebration but raise a glass of local wine instead. Wine is now grown in all 50 states and many of us who don’t live on the West Coast overlook our local producers. And many of those wines are likely to go well with the Thanksgiving repast.
So say no to Nouveau and join me in raising a glass of local wine this November 20! Do it for the polar bears.
See the UPDATE to this post.
I am an op-ed contributor to the New York Times today urging wine producers to upgrade the quality of wine available in boxes. If you’re new to the site, welcome and feel free to explore the site including wine picks. Also, consider subscribing to the site feed or get caught up on my joint research on the carbon footprint of wine.
Overall, I’m disappointed with the quality of box wine here in the U.S. But the time for good box wine has come for environmental as well as economic reasons as I argue in the piece.
There are some rays of hope in the box wine landscape. Unfortunately, the $40, 3-liter D-Tour wine, made by Dominique Lafon of Burgundy and imported by Daniel Johnnes, wine director at Daniel Boulud’s restaurants, has been temporarily withdrawn from the market (search for this wine). However, the Cuvee de Pena, an old vine grenache from the French side of the Pyrenees, is still available (find this wine). And the newest and brightest star is the $11 unoaked, organically grown malbec called Yellow + Blue sold in a 1-liter TetraPak (not bag-in-box; find this wine). There’s also the Bandit from California (find this wine).
So what do you say about boxed wine? Have your say in the latest poll! And hit the comments with your preferred box selections.
poll now closed
Related: “Drink outside the box” NYT
“An open letter to Jorge Ordonez” [Dr. V]
“How I gave up bottled water and lived to tell the tale” [Dr. V]
Drinking box rosé in the south of France
The excellent image is by Grady McFerrin and ran with the story.
The interesting lineup of speakers includes New York winemakers such as Eric Fry and Thomas Laszlo, NYC somm/wine soothsayer Paul Grieco, and winemakers from Friuli Venezia-Giulia, the Rheingau, Rías Baixas, The Loire, Bordeaux, and Santa Rita Hills. Check the site for the full line-up.
There will also be a tasting on Tuesday night with wines from 75 wineries and it’s possible to just attend this portion of the two day festivities. The whole event will be a good opportunity to taste the NY wines compared to other wines and discuss potential directions for New York wines. If I were in town, I’d be there!
August 5 & 6, SUNY Stony Brook Southampton.
If you’ve never picked up a copy of Wine & Spirits magazine, the current issue (that landed in my mailbox on Saturday) provides a lot of bang for six bucks. The special issue, “Rebels that rock the best in the world of wine,” has great articles about natural winemakers around the world, profiles of 10 wine revolutionaries, best new American vineyards and wineries, four escapes to wine country USA, and some best dishes in restaurants. Contributors include David Wondrich, Fiona Morrison, Alice Feiring as well as the usual great staff.
I also contributed a story on “innovations in wine retail,” which came out well on a two-page spread, complete with time line.
But if you can’t wait to get two the newsstand, you can take a sneak peak at two of the revolutionaries on the Wine & Spirits website. Paul Grieco of Terroir and Hearth in NYC (see our Q&A with Paul) interviews internet retailer phenom Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library. Then they turn the tables and Gary interviews Paul. No swirling or spitting in the video–and no Jets dump bucket.
I’ll be heading back to the James Beard awards this year, not as a nominee, but as a blogger! Make that a live blogger!
Yes, my beat is not only wine but also cocktails. This will take me first to a pre-show on the red carpet (which doesn’t show wine stains!). Then into the awards with breaking coverage (not glasses) of winners. Then on to the dinner where I’ve been assigned to the VIP section where I’ll have to ask co-host and “Sex and the City” star Kim Cattrall if she only likes pinot from magnum. Daniel Johnnes (wine director at all of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants) will be heading a team of sommeliers pouring during the dinner. I’m even covering a cocktail lounge there so I’ll see what’s shaking–and what’s straight up.
It won’t be on this site, sadly, so surf on over to the official site on Sunday starting at 6 PM. Available now, you can see a list of the nominees, including wine and spirits books, best wine service and wine & spirits professional of the year. What do you think is Kim Cattrall’s favorite wine? I’ll have to ask her.