Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite, France: Bordeaux
It seems difficult to believe now given the current state of the market, but Sauternes was the most sought-after and most expensive Bordeaux at the turn of the 20th century. This Cellar Favorite hails from that era, testament to the greatness and unerring longevity of Sauternes...and it does not have to begin with the 25th letter of the alphabet.
Italy: Center & South, Vinous Table
Mammà offers striking views and terrific food and wine in one of the world’s most singularly beautiful places, the island of Capri. Professional service and a talented chef take care of the rest.
featured, United States: California
Readers who appreciate the transparency and nuance of site-specific Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Bordeaux blends will adore the 2016s from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The wines are aromatically nuanced, delineated and highly expressive of their origins. After brutally low yields in 2015, Mother Nature was more generous in 2016. Yields are never especially high in the mountains, but producers had enough fruit to bottle all of their labels, a highly positive development compared to 2015, when a number of wines weren't made at all. As always, I am struck by the complexity and world-class pedigree that seems to come naturally in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a bucolic, seemingly remote region that is in reality quite close to Silicon Valley and some of the most vibrant communities in the United States.
Let’s Eat Grandma. To be honest, I presumed it was a particularly inspired gothic name for a band. It was only when my daughter piped up that it was in fact a commonly used example à la Eats Shoots and Leaves to teach pupils how grammar can warp the meaning of a sentence that I understood its origin. I first caught the duo, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, who have been childhood friends since kindergarten, on Jools Holland a couple of years ago.
featured, Rest of the World
This summer gave me an opportunity to sample a number of high-quality Rosés, wines that are ideal companions to hot-weather food or for just enjoying by themselves. But don’t be in a hurry as their adaptability at the table often makes them year-round drinking options.
South Africa, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite
During my recent visit to the Cape, I planned a lunch with Merchant Roland Peens. To my surprise, he munificently poured four bottles of Lanzerac Cabernet from the 1960s that he had recently acquired from a private cellar.
United States: New York, Vinous Table
Organized at the last minute, this intimate dinner with a small group of friends is a fabulous way to spend a summer evening in Manhattan. I always find it relaxing to step into Marea’s elegant dining room, perhaps because my memories of this space go back to the days when it was home to Tony May’s iconic San Domenico. Since 2009, Chef/Owner Michael White has delighted guests with a contemporary fish and seafood-based menu that is just as exciting today as it was when Marea first opened. The pastas in particular showcase White’s cooking and creative flair to a great effect.
featured, France: Burgundy
Chablis has born the brunt of frost and hail in recent vintages and yet it remains one of Burgundy’s most exciting regions. With the spotlight on 2016 and 2017, how did growers cope with the hurdles that Mother Nature threw in their way and how is Chablis changing as a region?
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, Italy: Tuscany
From his first vintage in 1995, Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi has crafted powerful, yet elegant wines imbued with real character. This vertical tasting of the Chianti Classico Vigneto San Marcellino once again showed the pedigree Sangiovese is capable of in the hands of an inspired grower guided by a desire to make wines that express the essence of site and vintage.
featured, Verticals & Retrospectives, France: Bordeaux
I rarely travel to the far northern reaches of the Médoc. Beyond Calon-Ségur, the Médoc is a mystery...like Narnia...or north Essex. However, when Jean Guyon invited me for a complete vertical of Haut-Condissas back to 1997, I was intrigued to discover whether or not it fulfills its lofty ambitions.