December 18, 2013 |
NEW YORK - He was the onetime golden boy of the Los Angeles wine scene, but Rudy Kurniawan's life as a high-profile collector of rare vintages ended Wednesday when a jury convicted him of fraud for operating a fake wine factory and selling counterfeit wines to fund his lavish lifestyle. Some of the wines Kurniawan sold privately or at auctions fetched more than $5,000 per bottle. But wine experts said Kurniawan's victims went far beyond a few very rich collectors and that his actions cast a cloud over the entire wine world.
December 18, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Wine expert Michael Egan eyed the six bottles of purported 1966 Montrachet sitting at the front of the courtroom. "They wouldn't look out of place in the urology department at Mt. Sinai," Egan said as he noted the cloudy liquid's sickly ocher cast. And they probably wouldn't taste much better than a specimen, according to Egan and other aficionados who testified this week in the fraud trial of Rudy Kurniawan, a onetime boy wonder of the wine world who once enjoyed an enthusiastic following in Los Angeles for his sophisticated palate and eye-popping collection of exquisite reds and whites.
December 17, 2013 |
Shopping for the wine lover on your list is always tricky -- you're never sure which bottle they already have or have already dismissed. Coastal Pinot Noir would have been perfect last year, but now they're back into Beaujolais. Here are some ideas that will work for anyone, no matter what they're drinking right now. Coravin wine preservation system Hardcore wine buffs have been eying this new wine preservation system since it was introduced this summer. Devised by medical device inventor Greg Lambrecht, Coravin is a game-changing gadget for preserving wine that allows you to pour a glass of wine without ever removing the cork - and without oxygen ever touching the wine.
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)
December 14, 2013 |
The holidays are packed tight with exuberant, noisy parties for work and family. Sometimes you need to give yourself the gift of a quiet dinner with friends. That's exactly the excuse you need to break out that bottle of wine (or several bottles) you've been saving for a special occasion. You could wait forever - and find the wine is over the hill. Or you could make your own occasion, a simple dinner to showcase the wine. Think of it as an evening spent in the company of a few good bottles - and a few good friends.
December 13, 2013 |
SONOITA, Ariz. - Images of emerald grape leaves waving in the summer breeze usually don't fill the pages of Arizona tourism brochures and magazines. Still, they're becoming a more common sight as Arizona's young wine industry grows. That's right: Wine is made in Arizona. I had the same reaction when friends told me about Sonoita, a tiny crossroads about an hour southeast of Tucson, in the southeastern corner of the state brimming with young fields of Mourvèdre and Tempranillo.
December 12, 2013
Re "How the other half invests," Business, Dec. 8 This article on wine collectors reaping windfalls repeats a typical theme of rising markets - making money faster - but it performs a disservice as well. As in the case of 1957 Chevrolets now bringing six-digit prices on the auction block, the downside of an influx of big money into a field of collecting is that what was a pleasant hobby for many becomes a speculative battleground for the wealthy few. The whiff of high prices at auction has driven up the retail price of very ordinary wines and pushed those bottles into climate-controlled cases.
December 12, 2013 |
Need a quick gift for a wine and food lover? LIOCO , the highly lauded Sonoma winery founded by former Spago sommelier Kevin O'Connor and fellow wine aficionado Matt Licklider, has put together a gift box that's impressive without costing the Earth. A wooden box holds two bottles of white - their 2011 Pinot Blanc and the 2011 Russian River Chardonnay, along with 1.5 pounds of polenta from Community Grains and an ounce of porcini mushrooms from Far West Funghi for $85. I'm betting any cook would appreciate this gift box, especially because it includes O'Connor's own recipe for “Whole Roasted Guinea Hen Stuffed with Minced Shallots, Tangerines and Sage, Served with Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms Over Creamy Polenta.” Quite the long recipe title, but the flavors sound as if they'd work beautifully with the wine. (Would somebody please tell everybody where to find a guinea hen?
December 11, 2013 |
For the oenophile who snatches up everything made from reclaimed barrels - light fixtures, chandeliers, tables, outdoor lounge chairs, platters, candelabras, key chains, rocking horses, lazy susans, bottle holders, bread boards, coat hooks - here's something he or she probably doesn't have yet. Sunglasses made from reclaimed oak wine barrels. And not just any wine barrels, but those once used for Robert Mondavi Private Selection wines. Talk about provenance. Actually, the barrels under discussion were used to age the Coastal Crush Red blend.
December 11, 2013 |
Our scouting for this gift guide recently brought us to that L.A. haven for the handmade, Freehand Gallery. That's where we came upon the porcelain wine cups of Ojai ceramist Sandra Torres. The artist said she likes porcelain because it's "the thinnest of its expressions. " To create vessels that are at once delicate yet tough, Torres uses a slipcasting process. She pours her material into delicate molds, then later manipulates the wet clay so each piece carries the presence of the artist's hands.