Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

French wine in a can?

French wine in a can?

 

Making its debut at the prestigious Vinexpo beginning Sunday in Bordeaux: French wine in a can!

Will Winestar’s single-serving cans create a riot in the hallowed halls of the international wine and spirits fair?  Maybe not.

The Paris-based company isn’t dealing in the generic swill those adorable single-serving bottles typically hold. Their wines are all A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Each 187-milliliter can (one-fourth the size of a typical 750-milliliter bottle) lists the wine estate, the appellation and the grape varietals as well as the vintage. Working with the European office of Ball Packaging, Winestar founder Cédric Segal developed a can with a coating inside “to make total isolation between the wine and the can.”

The first series hails from Château de L’Ille from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France. The white is a blend of the local Rolle (Vermentino) grape, vintage 2011. The rosé is Syrah and Grenache, vintage 2012. And the red is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache from the 2011 vintage. The cans sell for about $3.30 to $4.

Segal says he got the idea when he was traveling in Asia and saw that Australia was selling quality wine there in cans. Why couldn’t that work just as well with French wines?

He realizes that the French have a very strong tradition with the bottle and doesn’t expect the can to be adopted immediately in France. “Most export markets, though, have already accepted the screw cap and synthetic cork, so it’s not such a big leap,” Segal said.

 

Read on …

Advertisements
a.k.a Wine and Cola...

a.k.a Wine and Cola…

 

Some might consider the kalimotxo (pronounced cal-ee-MO-cho) a guilty pleasure; I’ve received more than a few skeptical glances when I’ve ordered it at bars in New York.

 

But I don’t feel an iota of contrition when I drink this Basque-country classic. It couldn’t be easier: equal parts red wine (some say the cheaper the better, but that’s up to you) and cola. I like a squeeze of lemon juice for a little brightness, and maybe a slice of lemon or orange to dress it up. But purists might consider even those modest additions a little fussy. The overall effect is surprisingly sangria-esque, minus all that fruit-chopping and waiting, and wonderfully refreshing.

 

Read on …

Breaking old rules, to creative new wines ...

Breaking old rules, to creative new wines …

 

As I mentioned here once before, the fad in California wines for more than a decade now has been the heavy emphasis on what I call MSG wines. 

 

No, that’s not a designation of something to order in your favorite Chinese restaurant; rather, it refers to Rhone-style blends featuring Mourvedre-Syrah-Grenache.   Many of these blends are knockouts, and adjusting the blend allows winemakers to bob and weave depending on the weather and harvest to deliver a very consistent wine. 

 

A number of French winemakers have come to the central coast of California because they can experiment here, whereas in France the wine bureaucracy prevents wine makers from innovating.  While I like many of these efforts, I still prefer old-fashioned straight-up classic varietals, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah.  (I’m having a 100% Syrah tonight with my grilled pork roast.)

 

Read on …

 

I’m mad as heck and I’m not going to take it anymore!

I’ve had it up to here [you can’t see me, but I’m holding my hand up to my forehead] with writers who complain that “wine consumers have little use and perhaps even less tolerance for wine tasting notes.”

That is simply a falsehood. The truth is, wine consumers have little use for (and they may even hate) people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes.

Now, the anti-tasting note crowd may retort with the claim that wine consumers have little use for people who disagree with people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes. But I disagree. You see, I happen to believe that people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes hate people who say that people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes are idiots. And nobody likes a hater.

 

Read on …

 

 

Examples of wine tasting notes and how to read them

Dry white wines

Meursault 1998 Louis Latour
Clean, limpid medium yellow with a hint of green, quite rich, a really lovely colour. Touch of new wood on the nose, ripe melony fruit, slightly exotic, stylish and very expressive. Fine, floral, honeysuckle fruit on the palate, with hazelnut overtones, rich and quite buttery, yet good lemony acidity, very elegant but still young. Very good balance, oak and fruit well blended in, an excellent example of grape variety dominated by terroir, great persistence, very good future
•limpid – literally transparent, like clear water, while retaining its colour
•rich – showing ripeness and viscosity, usually from the legs or “tears” that form on the sides of the glass than from depth of colour
•new wood – the vanilla-vanillin aroma of new oak, whether French or American
•melony -signifies ripe, slightly exotic fruit, usually referring to Chardonnay. More exotic fruits could be pineapple, guava
•expressive – expressive of either its grape variety, terroir or both. Stylish + expressive would be a finely turned out wine with character
•floral usual on the nose, but on the palate means the blend of florality and flavour
•honeysuckle/hazelnut – typical expressions of a the Chardonnay grown in Meursault, rounded and attractive
•buttery – the impression of ripeness with a certain fleshiness, often the result of barrel fermentation or barrel ageing

 Read on …

How to really taste wine.

How to really taste wine.

 

The six most important words in wine tasting

The past few weeks have put me in situations where I’ve been called upon to talk about wine. I’m not a shy sort, so such occasions are fine with me. For example, I was recently in Seoul hosting a wine dinner.

Now, there’s all sorts of nonsense making the rounds about Asians and wine. Some of this talk is even put about, I gather, by Asians themselves in the mistaken belief that because they’re not Western they can’t readily grasp the fine points of wine.

So when I stood in front of 65 people at the wine dinner in Seoul, all but a few of whom were Korean, I was politely blunt. I said that being a newcomer to wine was just that. It transcends culture. Being Asian was meaningless. Everybody is a newcomer to fine wine at some point in their lives, and that includes Europeans.

I went on to say that 40 years ago we Americans were collectively as ignorant about wine as any group of Asian wine newbies. And that we generated our own horror stories of rich guys who swaggered around insisting that they only wanted the “best” and that they didn’t care what it cost.

Then I asserted that talking about wine doesn’t involve flavor descriptors. This, it turned out, was the real jolt. I could sense the surprise when I said it. I, in turn, was myself surprised.

Since when did flavor descriptors become the basis of intelligent wine discussion? I later learned from guests at the dinner that the wine instruction that they had received was invariably just a string of flavor descriptors for each wine under “discussion.”

We all know, of course, how this I-Spy game of ever more precise-seeming associations of scents and tastes—coffee, chalk, bergamot, road dust and so forth—came about. It was we wine writers who did it. And we then did yet more of it as wines from everywhere increased exponentially.

You, the reader, want to know what a wine tastes like. And someone saying, “This here wine tastes really good,” is hardly going to satisfy. With thousands of wines a year to review, writers had no choice. How many times can you describe a Pinot Noir as being “cherry-scented”? So you get more specific, summoning up black cherry, wild cherry, pie cherry, maraschino cherry, cherry jam and cherry liqueur.

There’s nothing wrong with this and I, for one, will happily defend my colleagues in the tasting-note trenches.

That said, anatomizing the scents and flavors of a wine hardly tells the whole story. Nowhere is this more true than during a wine tasting such as the one I was doing at the dinner or, earlier, at two training sessions for the hotel’s eager-to-learn restaurant staff.

So how should you talk about wine? Every taster is different, and I’m not about to say that the following features represent the entirety of what could or should be examined and discussed.

But I will say this much: If you’re missing these points, you’re not going to fully grasp the qualities of the wine at hand. For me, these are the six most important words in wine tasting:
Read on …

Pair me with ...

Pair me with …

 

Learn how to pair sparkling wine with this guide from Eric Guido

 

I never gave sparkling wine a fair shake (no pun intended). Like most people, my first exposures to sparkling wines were New Year’s Eve parties as a kid. Sooner or later, someone would put a glass of Champagne in my hand. I’d take a sip and think about it for a moment, only to decide that I didn’t understand. Usually it was too bubbly, acidic and smelled more like a loaf of bread than a glass of wine. Fast forward to adolescence and the first time I decided to indulge a little more with the bubbly, along with the hangover that I experienced the following day. I didn’t understand this sparkling wine “thing.”

The fact was, I was probably drinking swill. To make matters worse, I didn’t understand the art of moderation. However, these experiences marked me and my opinion of sparkling wine for… read on

Irish reel under 'savage' tax increase.

Irish reel under ‘savage’ tax increase.

 

Wine merchants and restaurants in Ireland have been left reeling by the government’s shock decision to put a €1 tax increase on a bottle of wine from midnight on Thursday.

 

The news, part of Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s 2013 Budget announcement, sparked a rush of panic buying in the country’s wine shops on Wednesday night, with some stores reported as doing one week’s trading in an afternoon.

Describing the 40% tax increase as ‘savage’, the Restaurants Association of Ireland said the hike in excise duty would bring a lot of restaurants ‘to their knees’.

‘Most restaurants are simply struggling to survive, especially those outside the major cities,’ said Adrian Cummins, association chief executive.
Read on …

The Fat Duck Restaurant.

Dark skies over The Fat Duck restaurant.

Tributes are pouring in for two young chefs from Michelin-starred restaurant the Fat Duck, who have been killed in a car crash in Hong Kong.

 

Firefighters fought to free 34-year-old Jorge Ivan Arrango Herrera and 30-year-old Carl Magnus Lindgren from the wreckage of their taxi on Monday morning, but both were later pronounced dead at hospital.

Their 53-year-old taxi driver also died in the accident, in which the car crushed between two buses.

The chefs were understood to be in Hong Kong representing the Fat Duck alongside the Berkshire restaurant’s head chef and owner, Heston Blumenthal. He is reported to… read on