(This past Saturday, at the Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes in Geneva, New York, I presented this speech at a lunch featuring local chefs and wines. It’s a consideration of Finger Lakes riesling as the local wine of New York City. —JG)
I buy Finger Lakes riesling at the local wine shop near my home in the Berkshires, a branch of the store, in fact, where I got first got into the wine business, run by Jimmy Nejaime.
But I am no riesling expert, and so I can’t really deliver a speech comparing Finger Lakes wines with Mosel riesling and Wachau riesling. And I’m not sure how relevant that is, in any case. I buy it because it is my local wine.
Continue reading →
“This is what I always loved about Chilean cabernet sauvignon,” said Josh Greene, W&S’s editor. “It was the only place in the world where cabernet sauvignon could be delicate.”
Greene made this remark over a glass of 1998 Don Melchor from Concha y Toro’s Puente Alto Vineyard, at a dinner he hosted with Patricio Tapia, the magazine’s critic for South American wines, and Marcelo Papa, the chief winemaker at Puente Alto. Papa joined the winemaking team at Concha y Toro in 1998, at the start of a great run: Concha y Toro has made the W&S Top 100 Wineries list every year since 1997. (Only Penfolds in Australia has made the list more often, with 23 appearances.) With Papa and Tapia in NY—plus Ruth van Waerebeek, the chef-in-residence at . . . Continue reading →
The California winemaking community lost a legend when Bob Sessions passed away on May 13.
In 1973, Sessions became the head winemaker for Hanzell Vineyards, the first California winery to focus exclusively on pinot noir and chardonnay and a pioneer in the use of French oak for aging wines. Over the years, Sessions shepherded the hillside estate in southern Sonoma through numerous plantings and replantings, while honing Hanzell’s rich, structured style and preserving the original 1953 plantings, which remain the oldest continually producing pinot noir and chardonnay blocks in the country.
Sessions retired in 2001 as he began a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. (Lettie Teague’s affecting portrait in the Wall Street Journal provides some insight into Sessions’ later years.)
While I . . . Continue reading →
Wednesday evening 14 May
For the second dinner of Nebbiolo Prima, I went to Rabaya in the town of Barbaresco, a cozy little place with beamed-ceilings and a patio overlooking the famous Rabajà vineyard. The food here is simple, traditional fare. We started with an insalatina di gallina (shredded hen salad), followed by tasty tajarin pasta with Bra sausage, and a thin slice of braised veal with hazelnut sauce. The bottles, proffered by our producer hosts, flew around even more wildly then they did at the first dinner. It was a terrific opportunity to discover some interesting wines and take a break from nebbiolo immersion.
The first was an aromatic nas-cetta from Le Strette in the Barolo town of Novello. It turns out, as producer Savio Daniele explained, that it’s one of the few to . . . Continue reading →
“How do you embrace the democratization of content, the cheapening of content, while maintaining the integrity of your brand?” That’s how Daniel Alegre, president at Google for worldwide partnerships and business solutions, framed the challenge for traditional publishing in the digital media age. He was speaking at the 8th Annual Institute of Masters of Wine Symposium, on the opening panel, briefly interrupted by the mayor of Florence, Italy, who arrived on Italian time to give his welcome. There are more than 450 attendees here in Florence, including more than 120 who have passed the Master of Wine exam.