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Grower Spotlight: Dick Steltzner

United States: California, featured

Kelli White, Jan 2017

Dick Steltzner was born and raised in Piedmont, California – just outside of Oakland. His mother was a member of the extended Schilling family of Schilling spices (now McCormick). Although this particular branch of the family had effectively run through their fortune by the time Steltzner came along, the name still carried weight within San Francisco society, and they retained a handful of aristocratic tendencies, such as regular travel to Europe and the drinking of wine with dinner.

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Vinous Table: Absinthe Brasserie & Bar - San Francisco

Vinous Table

Kelli White, Jan 2017

It really was by accident that I found myself eating at the bar at Absinthe in Hayes Valley a few weeks ago. Absinthe has been a staple of the neighborhood since it first opened in 1998. Both the interior and the menu are styled in the fashion of a French brasserie. Although the setting is darkly romantic, the penetrating nostalgia of both cuisine and scene make for a dining experience that is warmly comforting above all.

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Cellar Favorite: 1990 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir

Cellar Favorites, United States: Oregon

Kelli White, Jan 2017

A friend recently blind tasted me on a bottle of 1990 Domaine Drouhin (Oregon) Pinot Noir, and while the variety was immediately obvious (always a good sign), the country of origin was not.

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Cellar Favorite: 1978 Ridge Petite Sirah York Creek

Cellar Favorites

Kelli White, Nov 2016

Ridge’s 1978 Petite Sirah York Creek represents old California at its best. Still impressively dark in hue, this timeless wine offers a complex nose of sweet black currants, shoe polish, sandalwood, leather, rosemary and a hint of violet.

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Cellar Favorite: 1978 Maison Leroy Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru

Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy

Kelli White, Oct 2016

The 1978 Maison Leroy Mazis-Chambertin is one of the most profound wines I’ve had in recent memory.

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Vinous Table: Hazelnut Kitchen, Trumansburg, NY

Vinous Table

Kelli White, Oct 2016

On my recent trip to the Finger Lakes I made the gross miscalculation of flying in to New York City, which left me with a near 5-hour drive to my hotel. Somewhere around Ithaca I began to get hungry. By the time I hit Trumansburg I was famished. Driving down the main street I happened past Hazelnut Kitchen, which had been recommended by multiple people. Bedraggled from the long drive, I shuffled inside and sat down to the best meal of my trip.

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Cellar Favorite: 1986 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon

Cellar Favorites

Kelli White, Oct 2016

As always, Philip Togni’s Spring Mountain Cabernets present Napa Valley at its most stoic and profound. This particular vintage is just hitting its stride, and while it certainly displays a certain level of maturity, the wine clearly has a long life left ahead of it.

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Finger Lakes Rising

featured, United States: New York

Kelli White, Jul 2016

As a former New Yorker, I’ve been excited to watch from afar as an increasing amount of acclaim has been lavished on the Empire State’s wine regions. In particular, the Finger Lakes has undergone an enormous transformation in the past 10–15 years as the quality of the wines has taken a gigantic leap forward.

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Meet the Mahers: Two Premier Grape Growers in One Household

United States: California, featured

Kelli White, Jun 2016

Given that the quality of a wine can only be as high as that of its raw materials, the selection of a vineyard manager is one of the most critical decisions a winery owner can make. The vineyard manager is the person who is arguably most directly responsible for translating terroir, and for transforming the potential of a vineyard site into something tangible. Kelly and Mary Maher, two of Napa’s top vineyard managers who also happen to be married, came up in the industry together, but ultimately took different career paths.


Book Excerpt: A Brief History of Napa Valley, Part II

United States: California, featured

Kelli White, Jun 2016

In the American imagination, the 1920s were a boozy, riotous era when flapper girls and gangsters commingled in underground speakeasies. While the extent of this licentiousness is likely exaggerated, one thing is certain: all that wickedness was born of Prohibition, a legislative attempt to promote sobriety and lawfulness.