Last week was the final session of my six-week NYU wine class. The grouping of people was very fun and hopefully everyone is a little more wine savvy.
One of the things that I do in the class is poll people on whether they like each wine. They’re free to love them or hate them and we generally have some fence-sitters too. Some people love certain wines (“smell the terroir!”) that are hated by others (“smells like terroir!”). Oddly enough, the expensive wines are not always the most popular since they have either too much individuality or too much conformity to please everyone.
But some wines are unanimously enjoyed. Below is a list of those wines. Incidentally, I poured about 35 wines (blind) spanning many places and styles. One week I was away on parental leave and recruited Mollie Battenhouse to help me out. Mollie, the former sommelier at Tribeca Grill and a candidate for the Master of Wine (all she has left is her dissertation), is starting her own wine business in NYC that is a first of its kind. More on that on a future date…To the wines! Read more…
Buckle your seat belts for more wine classes in 2008! And should I tell you to stow you tray table and bring the back of your seat to a full and upright position?
Well, you might not have to get on a plane, but I do. On February 23, I’ll be offering a seminar at UC Berkeley. It’s a non-degree, non-credit (too bad!) program and all are welcome to enroll. Over four hours, we’ll swirl, sniff and discuss the topic of just how natural wine is in a seminar entitled “Red, White and Green wine: can you taste the difference?” We will blind taste several pairs of wines, comparing organic and conventional and see if you can taste the difference (no advance knowledge of wine appreciation is necessary). Saturday, February 23, 1:00 – 5:00 PM. Further details and registration now online. I hope to see you there! I hasten to point out that this same class is 25% less expensive than when I offered a similar course at the University of Chicago last spring–a rare discount in California?!
Registration is also open for my next six week class at NYU, Becoming a Wine Expert. This course has enrollment limited to 25 because of venue size–the wood-paneled Torch Club. Last time the wait list was 75, most of whom were probably trying to get into Richard Brown’s Movies 101 course but clicked the wrong box or something. Feb 27 – April 9 Details and registration.
And look for more one-session classes in 2008!
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.