Taylor Fladgate, one of the council of elders in the Port world, released a 50-year-old tawny port in 2014. In honor of our other stories about Portugal, we raised a glass of it.
Some very old wine indeed
The slow creep of one wine collector's addiction
I come from a family of beer drinkers, firmly rooted in the blue-collar heritage of my grandfather’s construction and carpentry business. My father likes to say that it was his own skill at unskilled labor that paid his way through college. He whole-heartedly embraced the craft beer movement. My brothers share his taste for the malt, but my passion has been for wine.
Vin from the bargain bin
You and Andrew Jackson walk into a wine store. Read on to find out what you come out with.
5 Great Wines Escape their Bottles
We got our hands on five canned white wines to find out if they’re a clever packaging solution or just an excuse to drink more white wine.
Rosé season is upon us, and while we generally advocate for consumption of pink wine year round, the same warm weather that begs for draping oneself in white linen and opening too many shirt buttons demands the freshness of a crisp, vibrant rosé. Here are our ten favorites.
Know Your Terroir, Love Your Terroir
The current food-obsessed climate may prize terroir in everything, from beef to coffee to olive oil, but winemakers aren’t new to the game — they’ve been sniffing the soil and praying to the grape gods for centuries. Wine at its best is spiritually, ritually, and tribally connected to a place, and knowing the major wine regions provides some basic insight with which we can approach the wine aisle or pick a bottle at a restaurant. Here’s our guide to the 10 essential wine regions of the world.
In Vino We Trust
For a long time we’ve been put off by wine — its rules and regulations, its esoteric language, its arcane, Old-World naming regimes. Then the floodgates opened and there was two-dollar wine, highbrow boxed wine, wines that could be chilled and others that could be warmed. And guess what? It was all still pretty confusing.
But the truth is that no other drink pairs so exceptionally with food as wine does, and then, the drink has romance and mystery, too; it carries a certain tradition and importance that’s undeniable, indeed, biblical; it has fun pastimes like stomping grapes, sabering bottles and having important conversations about literature. So we’ve done what we should have done all along: created a guide to everything there is to know about wine, an extensive flight of wine knowledge. It begins with a layman’s guide to understanding the varietals.
Champagne you can drink with dinner
Among the wisest Champagne drinkers is the sommelier, and we consulted with one of the country’s best: Paul Grieco, owner of Hearth restaurant and Terroir, a wine bar with five locations in New York City. He helped us choose five bottles of grower’s Champagne to drink right now — and not just as a toast before dinner.
The everyman's Champagne
In that casual game of preference, Would You Rather, we’re often faced with important decisions, like raising a child at 15 or never having kids, or losing a pinky toe or never eating steak again. During one of these games, when asked about giving up beer for eternity, we came to a realization: while undesirable, the parting of ways wouldn’t be the end of the world — and we could do it without becoming a hard-hitting liquor drinker. How? With a lifetime supply of sparkling wine, and specifically, a style of sparkling wine called pétillant naturel. One glass of the 2012 Lily’s Cuvée Chardonnay ($28) from California’s Donkey & Goat winery and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
In [hot] vino veritas
Mulled wine is the perfect drink for the holiday season: just pleasant and alcoholic enough to warm everyone up, but not like handing out rounds of high-octane Manhattans that could turn Thanksgiving dinner into an episode worthy of Jenny Jones. We tapped the expertise of Jane Elkins, former and current barkeep at some of New York City’s best cocktail haunts, for three variations of mulled wine, each rooted in tradition and brushed up with ingenuity from behind her bar.
Gifts He'll Actually Remember in the Morning
What to call a man who obsesses over alcohol? A connoisseur? A fanatic? A drunk? We call him The Mixologist, and you know him well. He’s the man whose cupboards are stocked with more bitters than spices, whose basement is reeking of homebrew, whose glass is always half-full — at least. And yours too, for the Mixologist prides himself in the cocktails he makes and the beer he serves. He’s an enabler of fun, an anti-Scrooge, a Holiday MVP. He’s every character in Billy Joel’s Piano Man — in fact, he does a mean Billy Joel if the night goes late enough. So cheers to The Mixologist. Here are a few gifts he’ll cheers to.
Founder of Ponzi Vineyards
Dick Ponzi founded Ponzi Vineyards in 1970 and has been a key figure in making Willamette Valley pinot noir renowned worldwide. Along the way, he started Oregon’s oldest microbrewery, Bridgeport Brewing Company, in 1984. Now, he and his wife Nancy are poised to join artisan chocolate “bean to bar” movement. Gear Patrol wanted to know: How does one man establish such a presence and influence on the appetites of foodies?
Full body, full wallet(?)
You know the pinnacle of wine-making remains in France. Well, so do all those newly minted Chinese millionaires, and they’ve driven the price of Old World red wines sky high. This is especially true for top-end Bordeaux, which carry the highest cache among French wines. Those of us without a state-sponsored fortune, trust fund, or impending Wall Street bonus, however, have to look elsewhere for quality wine. Here are two splurge-caliber choices, made in the same style, of the same grape — merlot — though one comes without the inflation of appellation.
The man behind Israeli wine
Victor Schoenfeld has been the Head Winemaker at Golan Heights Winery since 1992, where he’s spent time studying and understanding the terroir of northern Israel, building a groundbreaking vine propagation facility, and ultimately making wine that’s considered some of the best in Israel and in the world. Not bad for a guy who dropped out of high school. He told us all about that and more when we met him at the winery for their 30th anniversary celebration.
12 gifts for the booze lover
The Mixologist’s gotten you into plenty of blissful adventures, most of which ended without real long term damage to your record or your marriage. He’s a passionate guy, and he knows his craft: beer, that is. Malts, mash, wheat, barley, rye, and oh yes, sweet sweet delicious hops — he sucks them all down, grinning…
Reaping Row C
The straightforward instruments used to harvest grapes by hand haven’t changed much through the years: A pair of picking shears (sharp and oiled, please), a generously proportioned basket and, God willing, decent weather and bottomless espresso. The process itself remains just as simple an affair. Choose a starting point within the grapevine row, look for mature grape clusters, aim shears slightly below the attached stem — snip — gently place cluster into basket. Repeat until basket is full.
A bubbly worthy of Bond
The truth is, we’ve never sipped an ounce of champagne from this silencer-inspired bottle of Bollinger 002 for 007 Limited Edition Champagne (~$160), which opens only when the code “007” is entered into the gimmicky combination lock. But we have been fortunate enough to taste this particular vintage of Bollinger La Grande Année 2002 once…
Copperhead road never imagined this one
White Mule Farms had us hooked at “wine with a kick.” Spodee ($9+) combines prohibition history — one of our favorite eras — with a witch’s brew of flavors that does pretty well to defy genre and description. Its makers call it depression era hooch, but even they admit it’s a drink shrouded in secrecy;…
Get under the table and dream
Need more Dave Matthews in your life? How about on your table, in a carafe or by the bottle? Then you’re in luck, because the jam master himself has teamed up with famed winemaker Steve Reeder to craft a collection of wine designed specifically crafted to be drunk — not just another celebrity collaboration. Named…
A Vine Time
Winos rejoice! Though the Peugeot Clef du Vin doesn’t purport itself to transform a bottle of Yellow Tail Cab Sauv to a Caymus, it will give you a glimpse of what your wine could taste like if left to properly age. Utilizing an alloy of various metals, the Clef du Vin accelerates reduction of oxygen…
This week we’re reporting from Edinburgh, UK, and seeing things through the traveler’s lens (more on Edinburgh in the coming weeks). In that spirit, this week’s picks are all about seeing familiar things from a different perspective. We’ve also got two recipes that celebrate the changing of the seasons, which is exactly what happened this…
Leave it to the French to create a better way to schlep wine from chateau to chateau. Wrapped-up in its hexagon tote form, the Zebag can hold and insulate six bottles securely. When not on the move, the carrier can unroll into “bar mode”, functioning as an 11 bottle rack, or simply hang in a…
Wine is a subject we prefer studying with a glass, friends, and a good meal. However, if you’re looking to read up on the subject, Matt Kramer on Wine: A Matchless Collection of Columns, Essays, and Observations by America’s Most Original and Lucid Wine Writer ($12) is a great resource. The title is a little…
The Code38 Stealth Wine Knife ($410) is the type of thing you’d expect to learn about from tales of King Arthur pulling it out of a lake, or by catching a movie with Harrison Ford fleeing a cave with the Stealth in hand. It’s designer, Jeffrey Toering, cut his teeth as an instrument fitter in…
Now you see it, now you don't
The Mirage Wine Rack ($45) is another ingenious project born from the social product development community Quirky. Its key point of differentiation involves a clever extendable rack system that holds between one and eight bottles of your favorite vintage. That may sound over-engineered for vino, but it helps avoid the pitiful impressions standard racks give…
For winos on the go
Thanks to the airlines/TSA imposing a liquid lockdown, stowing your favorite vintage on flights takes serious cojones. So, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “does my checked luggage feel lucky, punk?” Using a Jetbag ($15, 3 pack) can make the proposition slightly less risky. Each re-sealable zip bag is padded with the same absorbent…
Think Mail Order Sommelier
Wine expert Michael Mondavi has created a new Private Cellars club to share his knowledge with those who have the funds to buy top bottles, but not necessarily the time to track them down. Enophiles who join have the option to choose from monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly shipments which are organized by region and contain…
An excellent glass of wine after a long day of skiing is often just what the doctor ordered, particularly when your quads start to remind you how long you’ve been off the slopes. This Ski Rack Wine ($700) could be symbolic of that partnership, or just clever decoration for a chalet. In either case it’s…
Make Every Bottle A Screw Top
In case you’re looking for an excuse to own yet another electric screwdriver look no further than the Bosch IXO Vino Cordless Lithium-Ion Screwdriver ($60). The driver includes an exclusive corkscrew attachment to make bottle popping a snap and even ships with a wooden box to fit in with the barback crowd. Of course, that…