Thanks to all of you who came out and packed the beautiful room at Astor Center on Friday. It was a great time and fun to see so many participants from my NYU classes of semesters gone by. Many people won prizes! The wines were tasty. But since not all blog readers could fit in the 36 seats, here was our lineup of wintry wines:
1. Col Vetoraz, Prosecco NV. Light, fun, bubbly and $13 (find this wine). A good party wine especially when the party is about things other than the wine.
2. Domaine de la Pepiere, “Granite de Clisson,” Muscadet 2005 (about $20; find this wine). Marc Ollivier is a leading quality producer in this region. This particular bottling is an effort that sees a lot of time on the lees (dead yeast cells that are natural), which gives it more richness than his $9 bottling, which is great for summer since it is more zingy.
3. Saxon Brown Semillion, Casa Santinamaria 2006 ($27; find this wine. A field blend from an old vineyard in Sonoma. It’s a wonderful example of a an aromatically intense wine that is unoaked and people liked the acidity on the palate. Goes great with brown sugar baked ham, I would imagine.
4. Joguet, “Les Petites Roches,” Chinon 2005 (find this wine). Quite tannic so probably needs at least a year in the cellar. Nonetheless, it was good to show an example of tannins in the mouth. Good fruit and good acidity save the wine — one participant remarked how the piave cheese really improved it. Yay, it gets better with food!
5. Rene Rostaing, Cuvee Clasique, Cote-Rote 2004 ($50; find this wine). From this “legend” of the Cote-Rotie, this wine from the syrah grape was subtle and restrained in classic (classique?) old world style. Paired well with the epoisse.
6. Broc Cellars Syrah, Dry Stack Vineyard 2004 ($30; find this wine). I wanted a wine to contrast with the Rostaing and this Broc fit the bill nicely. Quite modern in style, it helped show the difference of new oak on the same grape. In a rough poll, the Rostaing edged this one out by a narrow margin.
7. Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage 2000 port. ($19; find this wine) This wine really was a big surprise–people loved it! They thought it was in the $40 – $60 range so when I told them it was under $20, I had to restrain them from stampeding for the port section. Paired it with a Stilton.
Look for more one evening events in 2008! And I hope to see you there!
This just in. Any thoughts?
I’m interested in attending Dr. Vino’s holiday wine picks at the new Astor Center, this Friday, Dec. 14th. Can you tell me how many men usually attend? And are there mostly singles there? If so, what’s the age range?
Two tickets left for purchase. See many of you there!
Friday, Dec 14, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, 23 E. 4th Street (at Lafayette, above Astor Wine & Spirits)
We’re less than a week until Friday 12/14! What’s that, you ask? Why, it’s the day of my holiday wine class at the so-new-it’s-not-even-open Astor Center! With only nine seats remaining, it’s time to buy tickets before they’re gone so you can swirl and spit (or not) seven great wines. Oh, and here are some more reasons why you should:
* It’s more fun than sitting at home watching re-runs on TV during the writers’ strike!
* Being able to know which end of the bottle to open the only prior wine knowledge needed!
* Robert Parker will make an appearance and I will thumb wrestle him!
* Get a gilt-edged, collectors’ edition of Dr. Vino’s holiday wine survival guide!
* Isiah Thomas will stop by and reveal his master plan of how the Knicks will become NBA champions this year!
* Find some excellent wines to give as gifts to your friends and co-workers–and buy them with a discount!
* Find out which wine is the perfect match for roaring fires and chestnuts!
* Discover the perfect wine pairing for the weather condition known as “wintry mix”!
* Meet fellow wine enthusiasts!
* Find out which vineyard Brangelina are buying together with Jennifer Aniston!
All right, some of these may be true and some may be totally made up. Stop by and find out the truth for yourself!
Buy tickets in advance here
Friday, Dec 14, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, 23 E. 4th Street (at Lafayette, above Astor Wine & Spirits)
Is bigger better?
This perennial question came up during my class on Saturday at the University of Chicago. In this context, it related to bottle size, specifically, magnums.
The tasting had two magnums, one of Pierre Peters, “cuvee de reserve” Champagne and another of Ridge Monte Bello 2002. How sweet it is to organize tastings!
Anticipating the question of size, um, arising, I asked none other than the importer of the champagne, Terry Theise, via email beforehand. Here is his reply (reproduced with permission): Read more…
Devise a strategy for all that surplus wine! This month in Chicago and New York, I’ll be leading classes on collecting, the wine auction market and how to strategize for investing or enjoyment. Both locations will have tastings of collectible wines.
We’ll do one marathon session at the University of Chicago on Sep 29. (details and registration)
Starting on September 25, we’ll spread it out over three Tuesday evenings at New York University’s Torch Club. (details and registration)
Only five spots are left in Chicago and a few more in NY so sign up now or never! Hope to see you there.
* Slow Food Westchester: July 25, 6 – 8 PM. I’ll be helping out with the inaugural event for this chapter (convivium). We’ll taste seven great wines that also happen to be some hue of “green.” Plates restaurant, Larchmont, NY. $40, reservations necessary. Call Plates to reserve: 914.834.1244
* New York University: Buying and Cellaring, three sessions starting on September 25. Register here
* University of Chicago: Buying and cellaring liquid assets: one monster session, September 29. Register here
In both of these new classes, we will examine the red hot wine market. We will discuss where to buy wines, where to sell, how to store, and when to consume wines. In the longer, NYU course, we will devise a buying strategy for your budget and storage conditions and I hope we’ll be able to do the same in Chicago, even though the time is more limited. Both NY and Chicago will have tastings of collectible wines so be sure to sign up–especially, since the people enroll, the bigger the tasting budget is!
* New York Unversity: Becoming a Wine Expert. Six Wednesday evenings, starting October 17. Register here
This spring, one participant in the course said that he had waited two years to get into the class — I hope it was worth it! This, my core class, has the enrollment limited to 25 because of space limitations at the Torch Club.
* The Gourmet Institute: New York City, October 19-21. Register here
I’ll be participating on the panel “Eat the Web: Blogging’s Effect on the Food World,” moderated by Ruth Reichl. It’s very expensive (think two iPhones) but there are all those celebrity chefs whose food you can eat!
And I’m trying to coordinate an offline meetup, hopefully for next week…More on that very soon.
As we went around the room to introduce ourselves at my University of Chicago class on Saturday afternoon, one participant had a surprising tale to share with the class.
He said that he and the woman to his right had taken my class there on October 1, 2005 on the politics of wine in Chile, Argentina, and Spain. He remembered the date because it was his birthday. But he also remembered it because he and the woman met that day and they had been “drinking wine together ever since.”
Food and wine pairing? Forget it! They got a life pairing!
On Saturday at the University of Chicago, we had a fun time “critiquing the critics.” We discussed what is certainly one of the hottest hot-button issues in wine, the use of scores, and assessed a variety of other ways for evaluating wine. We tasted our way through ten wines and munched through some artisanal cheeses and breads.
The wines were from a range of styles and included bubbly, red and white. Some of the faves were:
* Bisol prosecco, NV (about $13; find this wine). Controversy came with this wine with high praise from Wine & Spirits (93 points) and faint praise wine Wine Spec (86 points). The yummy sparkler got a thumbs up from the group.
* William Fevre, Vaudesir, Grand Cru Chablis, 2004 (about $45; find this wine). I didn’t even realize that Rovani/Parker tasted Chablis but Rovani slapped a 93 on this one. ‘Tis good. Wonderful minerality with delicate acidity, which makes for a very nice mouthfeel and it has an excellent finish. No unanimity on this wine to be sure, with others preferring the American chardonnay, but I thought it was excellent, if pricey.
* Deisen, shiraz, Barossa, 2002 (about $50; find this wine). A brawny shiraz from down under with 15% alcohol. Parker 94. The class loved it with no dissenters. While the wine is very user friendly as far as shiraz-ma-taz is concerned, I found the alcohol to be somewhat off-putting.
* Castano, Hecula, monastrell, 2004. (about $10; find this wine). This is a darned good value vino since many participants thought it was at least $30. It’s got hints of that mourvedre gamey-ness and I think it could do with a few years in the cellar to tame it a bit. But still, it’s vigor would be great with game or grilled meats.
* Dominus, Napa, 2003 (about $100; find this wine) This was the most critically contested wine of the day with a huge spread between Parker’s 95 and the Wine Spec’s Jim Laube zinging it with an 81 (a score so low that the Wine Advocate would not even publish it). Laube didn’t even grumble about TCA, the usual cause of his zingers, simply going with the “disappointingly dry and austere.” I poured it blind and there were lots of pros and only two cons before I revealed the “controversy.”
It was a hedonistic afternoon. If you’re interested, there may be a couple of spaces left for my next class in May. Hope to see you there!