April 20, 2013 |
When I set out to study wine, it wasn't obvious how to do it or where to go. I'd worked in a wine shop in San Francisco one summer when the proprietor was away and the wine clerks in charge opened fabulous bottles to taste - all summer long. Wine and food writer Colman Andrews had told me about the master of wine program, but at the time it was only in London and you had to be part of the wine trade to participate. Now the word "sommelier" and the profession have entered the popular imagination - there's even a documentary, "Somm," that is ready to hit the theaters.
May 4, 2013 |
I could drink a bottle of this Morgon "Côte du Py" from Jean Foillard every week with the greatest of pleasure. How beautiful is the bottle, with its red wax seal? The wine itself is soft and unctuous, tasting of prunes and dried cherries, a voluptuous cru Beaujolais made with painstaking care. The organically farmed vines from the famed "Côte du Py" range from 10 all the way up to 90 years of age. This is a very serious Gamay. It's beautiful with grilled sausages, stews, a simple roast chicken or duck.
February 9, 2013 |
This fresh, fruity red is from rising star Arianna Occhipinti, who released her first wine in 2004, when she was 21. In Sicily, Frappato, pronounced frah-pa-to, is usually used to lighten inky Nero d'Avola, but Occhipinti makes a pure Frappato with the freshness and liveliness of a good Beaujolais under her secondary Tamí label. I love its spunky notes of black cherry and other dark berries accented with lavender and spices. She's committed to natural winemaking and farms her vineyards in eastern Sicily biodynamically.
June 1, 2013 |
The coals are hot. The big steak sizzles as you put it on the grill. What are you going to drink with that? A big brawny red from Spain, Alto Moncayo's Campo de Borja Garnacha. The color is a gorgeous deep ruby, the aromas raspberries and sweet, sweet fruit. It's a mouthful all right, intense and ripe, but also bright and juicy. And it just cuddles up to that steak. A perfect match. OK, you could also drink it with thick pork chops. And Grenache always loves lamb, so consider a butterflied leg of lamb too. And give the wine time to breathe: You might want to open the bottle an hour or so before you plan to drink it. But wait for the meat, please, and pour something lighter and less demanding as an apéritif, maybe an Albariño.
October 26, 2013 |
If you think you don't like off-dry Riesling, open up a bottle of this lovely floral Riesling from a Mösel estate that goes back to 1177 and has been owned by the same family since 1804. The 2011 Mönchhof Riesling's honeyed sweetness is balanced by a racy acidity and an earthy minerality. A touch of bitterness pulls it all into focus. The more you keep drinking, the more you'll find in the glass: white peaches, honeysuckle. And this Mösel Riesling is a great value. Open a bottle to accompany a fiery chicken or beef larb . It goes with Thai or any spicy Asian cuisine too. I'd try it with lobster or grilled prawns, and with Chinese noodle dishes.
December 14, 2013 |
An easygoing Piemontese red from the underappreciated Dolcetto grape, which is sort of the younger cousin of Nebbiolo. Bright and polished, the 2012 Elio Grasso Dolcetto d'Alba tastes like sweet fresh cherries and plums. It's a really pretty wine, with a minerality that gives it depth. Delicious with a salumi and cheese plate, or with crostini topped with chicken livers or beans. I love it with grilled sausages too, and pasta with meat sauce. Region: Piedmont Price: $15 to $19 Style: Bright and polished What it goes with: Salumi, cheese, crostini, grilled sausages, pasta with meat sauce Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949)