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A few words of advice on understanding this French Catalan region: Just start drinking and wisdom will follow.

At its best, cocktail mixology is truly an art, engaging each of the human senses—for example, the feel of the proper weight of the glass and the thin rim, which delivers an elegant sensation to the lips; or the aromas of fresh mint and nutmeg, which transport the recipient of these scents to remote lands or memories of childhood. And just as sweet or pungent smells differ from each other by virtue of their different stimulation of the senses, so also do colors vary and evoke different emotions. A drink becomes impressive when it succeeds in touching the sensibility of the guest by finding the avenue to his or her brain and heart.

These vintners and winemakers think, dream and believe in the power and romance of wine—and the creative side of life, two things that go together like love and marriage.

Managing director of Chateau Phelan Segur gives an update on issues of the day.

A visit to soon-to-be-opened Octoraro Cellars in southern Pennsylvania illustrates the fun and adventure of the East Coast wine scene.

Life in California is looking better all the time. The rains brought drought relief. The Giants won the pennant. And delicious news: Foie gras from out of state is legal on the plate.

Why is it that beer, wine and spirits producers and drinkers are often more concerned with philosophy and political correctness than they are with taste?

Here is a case where a small producer really does make wine that deserves notice. From Macedonia, four wines of excellent quality, and reasonable price.

Tradition is served (with a special spoon) for another season.

As the eat-local movement matures, its limitations are probed and its philosophies explored.

Trapiche makes a wide variety of wines, with Malbec being a favorite son. Their single vinyard "Terroir Series" project selects the top three grower's fruit for special treatment.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape's largest producer is sometimes overlooked because of its prominence.

Just as real estate professionals have their mantra, “location, location, location,” when describing the properties that are valued most, restaurateurs have their own dictum for success: “staff, staff, staff.” Without a committed, hardworking staff, even the best of fine establishments will falter. And it’s no secret that dissatisfied or dishonest employees, prima donnas, and incompetent managers can and do wreak havoc in both the back and front of the house.

Spain's Manchego DOP cheese, made from 100% Sheep's milk, goes great with wine or by itself. Here is an introduction to the real thing and some wines sampled with it at a recent event in NYC.

With glaciers as a backdrop, Wines of Chile shows its quality and diversity.

Georges Duboeuf and Thomas Keller have much in common. At age 81 Duboeuf tastes wine twice daily when home in France. Keller’s mantra of “finesse” applies to all in his restaurants. Both enjoy uncorking Beaujolais Nouveau the 3rd Thursday in November.

 

Lombardy's signature sparkling wine is perhaps the best outside of Champagne.

Too many wine buyers approach the buying process without a concrete plan in place. Buying decisions are often made on a whim, driven by supplier, score, or perhaps sommelier ego. To make the buying process more objective, I created a concept that I call “list mapping.”

The 2014 harvest had its difficulties, but it is still too early to make final judgments.

When I grow up, I want to be a brand ambassador. Getting paid to attend launches, promotions, and dinners while doing what you love. Here are some pros working in diverse motifs, albeit a1930s rum bar in Havana, titans and Cognac in the gym or Malaysian food in the kitchen.

Despite an interest of specialty cocktails in restaurants, there are probably a few lonely bottles of timeless aperitifs on your backbar that haven’t been touched in months. That’s a shame, because Lillet, Pernod, Punt e Mes, Cynar, and fino Sherry are perfect before-dinner drinks, filled with classic flavors that inspire the taste buds for the meal ahead.

For a long time, no one took wines from the island kingdom seriously.  Now everyone does.

On telling a sommelier not to pour the wine.

Choosing which rums to stock is similar to selecting candidates to fill a particular category on a wine list (e.g., Zinfandel). Like wine, rum is made in many different styles, with each well-made product possessing singular qualities and characteristics. A worthy goal is to develop a selection that will intrigue your clientele and adequately cover the spectrum of possibilities.