Archive for the 'wine picks' Category

Francesco Rinaldi, dolcetto d’Alba, Roussot, 2010

rinaldi dolcetto

Dolcetto, which means either “sweet-ish” or “the one you drink while your Baroli are aging,” is rarely in better hands than it is with the traditional producer Francesco Rinaldi. Many dolcetti have coarse tannins but this “Roussot” 2010 has a seductive roundness to it, offsetting the notes of gentle bitterness and dark fruit.

I give it my highest rating: I’d buy a whole case of this wine. And, at only $15 a bottle, that’s actually within the realm of the possible.

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Domaine de Ferrand, La Ferrande, 2009

domaine ferrand ferrande

To poll at 90 percent is unheard of in a democracy. So it’s a good thing this wine isn’t running for office since all but three out of 30 or so in my NYU class liked it when I poured it this week.

We had a quick tour de France I was looking for an example of a Rhone that would fit within our budget. I opted for this 2009 Cotes du Rhone from Domaine de Ferrand, a small producer in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. “La Ferrande” is a tiny anomaly from the area known for blending since it is 100% syrah. The wine has some definite ripeness to it–indeed, a tad much for me–but the class participants welcomed the layered flavors of fruit, a hint of bitter notes such as coffee and warming alcohol at 14%. And with only 50 cases imported to the US, according to Chambers Street Wines, where I bought it, the class was surprised to learn that it was only $18 a bottle on a case purchase. If the scene were a cartoon, you would have heard tires squealing as they peeled off to score a bottle for themselves.

Moncuit, Roagna, Cascina della Rose, Arnot-Roberts – Polaner highlights

It’s the time of year when distributors and/or importers have annual (or semi-annual) portfolio tastings. These are opportunities for breadth, not depth, as hundreds of current release wines (and occasionally some older ones) are put out on tables, often with the winemaker pouring. Yesterday was the Polaner Selections tasting and I dropped by for a while in the second half. Below are a few impressions and photos.

moncuit champagne1 Read more…

Ten refreshing wines for after a ride –

Bicycling logo I love cycling. I live in the rolling country of Westchester County, NY and one of the perks of the freelance life is having the flexibility to rack up the miles on two wheels.

I also love a good craft beer. As do the editors of Bicycling magazine who write often about many delicious brews to pop after a ride. While beer is refreshing, it’s not the only drink in town: head over to for my list of “10 refreshing post-ride wines.” It was a fun assignment, blending two of my passions. Given that we’ve had a mild winter here, the list focuses on lower-alcohol and higher acidity wines. I only included one full-bodied wine but it is still refreshing in its category.

Do you cycle? Do you ever pull a cork after a ride? Or after a ride and a recovery drink?

Energy in the wines at the Return to Terroir

Nicolas Joly’s talk wasn’t the only thing packed on Monday; the tasting itself at Return to Terroir, NYC edition, was really crowded in the latter half.

I didn’t get a chance to taste all the wines (I hear I really missed out by not hitting the German area), but I did taste some really good ones. Biodynamics comes in for some flack, perhaps rightfully as some of the statements are unfalsifiable, but two things are hard to dispute: the growers are very attentive to their vineyards and it’s often hard to argue with is the quality of many of the wines in the glass.

Since walk-around tastings offer only glimpses of a wine, not the progression over an evening, I offer you some literal snapshots here.

nikolaihof gruner
Nikolaihof: Terrific energy and acidity in these Gruners–even the 2010 Hefeabzug, which was from a more challenging vintage, has great snap.

Read more…

Erwan Faiveley at the helm

faiveley wine It’s no secret in Burgundy and beyond that Faiveley has been on a roll. And it’s no secret why: the arrival of the young Erwan Faiveley at the helm.

Erwan, 32, is the seventh generation in his family to run the company, which was founded in 1825 as a negociant, buying and selling wine. When his father was 25, Erwan’s grandfather literally turned over the keys to his dad. And in 2005 when Erwan was 25, his father continued the tradition and put Erwan in charge (Erwan himself has no children, so his position is likely safe for 25+ years). I sat down with Erwan in New York a few weeks ago to talk about how he has improved the house style, overcoming paternal resistance, vineyard acquisitions and biodynamic winemaking.

With the weight of generations on their shoulders, today’s heirs to the storied estates of Europe could be forgiven for having one primary goal: Read more…

A tasting of hipster wines

hipster wines
I recently tweeted that I’d be leading a tasting of hipster wines. “Will you wear a wool hat?,” someone asked in response. Another tweep asked if there would be any PBR on hand for afterward.

The tasting on Manhattan’s Upper East Side came and went and I didn’t wear a woolen cap, flannel shirt, or use empty 40-ounce cans of PBR as decanters. But we did taste some fine and fun wines, if quirky and hard to find (though not in Brooklyn).

We started with the Cedric Bouchard, Inflourescence, “Val Vilaine” V09 Read more…

Lobstah and a surprising cavah

lobster roll cava During the recent, week-long power outage, we sought refuge in an undisclosed location that may or may not have been the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We found a bottle of “brut nature” cava German Gilabert (about $15; find this wine) at a local wine shop and got some lobstah rolls. This is hipster cava with a secondary fermentation in the bottle, six bar of pressure, no dosage and overall a very solid match!

Interestingly, a little of the cava remained in the bottle and I left it on the counter. A couple of days later, I poured it in a glass and was surprised it was bubbly! I tasted it and it showed no signs of deterioration.

I asked the wine’s importer, Jose Pastor, via email for his thoughts on why this bottle held up so well. He was puzzled by the persistence of the bubbles, pointing out that he likes to decant many (grower) Champagnes and that reduces the fizz. As to the lack deterioration, he said that many of the (natural) wines from his portfolio often actually show better after being open a couple of days.

As several small producers in Champagne are making their bubbly more wine-like with less fizz, perhaps giving sparkling wines some air and serving in wine glasses will be a good way to go. What have you found in your experiments in giving bubbly some air?


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