• The Four Mistakes Every Restaurant Makes
    The Jerk, Carl Reiner, 1979. Click here to see the unforgettable scene.#1. BY THE GLASS SADNESS Problem: Far too many restaurants’ by-the-glass poured wines are geriatric, oxidized sadness. They’ve been open for days, and taste like the vinous equivalent of a balding dowager. Why should not investing in an entire bottle (the time-tested solution to the issue) always lead to ... read more
  • Portugal’s Ageworthy White Wines and the Cinderella Myth
    When most folks think of Portuguese white wine, they think of Vinho Verde, and involuntarily dredge up a tired set of stereotypes: “This wine is only good up to a year after release. This wine is fizzy and sweet. This wine isn’t serious — it’s just cheap and easy.” This does a disservice to a country whose wines will dazzle ... read more
  • Lisbon’s Magical Blend of Youthfulness and Decay
    Portugal’s wines must be the most undervalued in the world. While most of us can’t afford to buy aged wine in its prime, in Portugal, you can. You don’t need a cellar and 10 years’ patience; you just need a cheap flight to Lisbon, some AirBnB research, and an empty suitcase with enough wool socks for your bottles. While every ... read more
  • Wine Geology 101: A Book That Needs to Be Written
    Piles of blue slate in the Graacher Himmelreich vineyard. Mosel Valley, Germany.You’ve probably heard of vineyards covered in slate or schist. But did you know that slate can turn into schist? Or that shale can transform into slate, then schist, and later into gneiss? I didn’t. And I wish I’d known this years ago. Wine lovers like myself are in ... read more
  • Didier Barral: The Gentle Voice of the Earth
    Didier Barral, winemaker, winegrower, and valiant defender of the ecosystem in the town of Lentheric, in Faugères (Languedoc, France).Listening to Didier Barral — the most careful and loving steward of nature — speak from among his vines in Lentheric is a religious experience. But even if it feels religious, and even if Didier is a noted advocate of organic, Fukuoka-influenced hands-off ... read more
  • The Wildness That Courses Through Languedoc Reds
    There’s a 400 lb monster that rustles through the garrigues of the Languedoc, a snarling, horned beast with an appetite for grapes. It can destroy an entire vineyard in a single night. And each vigneron is convinced it only wants their grapes. “It LOVES Vermentino!’ “Ah, but it doesn’t just eat Vermentino, I can assure you! It destroyed 75% of ... read more
  • Slumming
    Just about every wine collector feels a magnetic pull when passing a wine shop: let’s admit it, wine collecting is addictive on some level. Once you know a wise buyer is running a good shop, it’s hard to resist popping in to peruse a few sections. Sometimes, though, it’s an entirely different game. Every New York City wine collector I’ve ... read more
  • Deep Thoughts after IPOB: Wine as Photograph, Ripeness as Saturation
    And now, it’s time for Deep Thoughts . Click for a Deep Thought.The In Pursuit of Balance (or IPOB, to sound like an insider) tastings and seminars have established themselves as a powerful force in shaping the discourse of wine criticism and perhaps even production. Jasmine Hirsch and Rajat Parr’s pet project has grown into a tasting that’s almost become ... read more
  • The Many Faces of Granite: A Visit to the Clape Cellar in Cornas
    Interview with Winemaker Olivier Clape: Climate Change and the Changing Faces of Cornas; How Alsatian Barrels Ended up in the Clape Cellar; Why Clape St Péray Will Be Even Better; 2013 and 2014 Barrel Sample and 2012 Cornas Tasting Notes Olivier Clape.Cornas, like all Northern Rhône Syrah, is a study in granite. Its different faces; different exposures, different densities and ... read more
  • The Two Invisible Forces Shaping Southern French Terroir
    Life has a way of constantly reminding you that ‘You don’t know until you do something‘. Similarly, you can’t really understand a wine region until you visit it. Take Avignon, the stunning, walled medieval city near the Châteauneuf du Pape vineyard, which has served as a cultural center for the Southern Rhône ever since popes and antipopes made it ... read more