This Game Is Crack for French Oenophiles

The 1969 Nor'easter dumps snow on Manhattan.
I gotta get home and play that French wine game!

Gather ’round, fellow obsessive compulsive French wine lovers. This game will help swallow the hours while trapped indoors later this winter during yet another brutal polar vortex.

Think you know French wine regions and corresponding cities? Prepare to have that assertion brutally challenged by this absurdly addictive game (click the button below to access — no mobile phone version as the map wouldn’t be large enough, but there is an app for iPad):


It’s simple: drop a pin on each wine-producing city.

You have 15 seconds max (Click to Read more)

The Big Fight Over Riesling

I don’t know, Rocky. Maybe if you were a little bit drier?

Riesling has been the source of a great deal of contention of late. Two wine critics seem to rather handily summarize the entrenched positions on either side of the debate.

In this corner: Steve Heimoff firmly positions himself amidst the jeering masses that dislike Riesling, and resents wine cognoscenti’s insistence that it be appreciated.

And in this corner, after a lifetime of trying to spread the Gospel about its virtues, Jancis Robinson worships Riesling as king, but now frets over its ability to fulfill its destiny and claim its throne among world markets, particularly in light of recent contracting sales data.

Thinking aloud about what may be holding Riesling back, Jancis notes its strong characteristic “flavour” (unexplained in youthful Riesling, and described as petrol in older Riesling).

There’s no denying Riesling ages into a petrol aroma, but, let’s fill in the blank … that youthful flavor is one of fruitiness: a blessed, fulsome fruitiness.

If we agree to take German Mosel Valley Riesling — the most edgy and rocky of all Riesling terroirs — as a yardstick, the terroir typically expresses itself in a fairly limited set of aromatic profiles: “… the most typical blue slate fruit-driven character is typically apple, white peach, or — if ripe — yellow peach; red slate, by comparison, offers more brawny, spicy minerality, and occasionally tropical fruit” 1Quoth Ernst Loosen at an aged Auslese Tasting at Hearth, 9/15/2011, New York, NY.

As we’ll see shortly, however, this fulsome fruity blessing is equally its curse.


Three Ways To Cheat at Food and Wine Pairing

Hold the frankincense and myrrh, we can sub these instead...
Hold the frankincense and myrrh, we can sub these instead …

Getting food and wine to play together nicely is all about taking time to identify bridge elements: aromas that neatly connect food and wine. That char on your salmon; those shishito peppers in your omelet … it’s these details that make all the difference.

But there is a way to cheat. Just hijack a somewhat bland or “undetermined” food by slathering it in a bridge element. And with a dash of faerie dust, your chicken transforms into what suddenly seems like the one true love for your Bourgogne.

The two spice blends below are gifts fit for a god, and offer an amazing return for your time or money, as they help your red wines connect in a heavenly manner to so very many foods …


Just the smell of roasted hazelnuts (think Nutella or nocciola gelato) plus lemony coriander seed is already enough to change your life. But the way it interfaces with red wines is remarkable.

It will adorn lamb, roast chicken, lentils, soups, toasted bread with olive oil, and you may even snack on it uncontrollably. A very dominant “this is what we’re doing now” spice blend, to be sure; nevertheless highly addictive.

You’ll make it in 25 minutes, then sprinkle it on your food for months.

A word about fresh spices: you NEED to monitor your spices for bugs or mold. Inspect with your nose and eyes before using. If your spices expired over a year ago, throw them away and then buy the smallest amount of not already rotten, cheap bulk spices as you require them. Aflatoxin B1 (from mold) is one of the worst carcinogens, and (Click to Read more)