Pet-Nat. Why it’s trendy, and why I’m totally cool with that.

Pet-Nat, or “Petillant Naturel” as it is more formally known, has made a strong appearance in the wine scene in the past few years – and for good reason. This winemaking method, also known as “Methode Ancestrale”, results in a … Continue reading

The Changing Face of California

In light of an article that came out in the New York Times Sunday Magazine several weeks ago, I think it’s worth mentioning what is going on in California right now. If you have a few minutes, and want to … Continue reading

Winter Warmer

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January can be a bummer, which makes it a great time to try something new. Since most of us choose to drink our share of big red wines in these colder months, now is a prime time to explore the Rhone Valley. On a cold walk home the other night, I stopped in to pick up a bottle, and found this: Domaine de Bonserine, Cote Rotie, La Sarrasine, Rhone, FR 2004. Wait, Cote Rotie for $19.99?! …let’s discuss… Rhone Map

Cote Rotie is found in the Northern Rhone Valley, where the steep slopes demand high labor costs (i.e. high prices), but create some great wines! The soils are granite-based, and erode quickly – in some cases, the producers must take the eroded soil and put it back onto the hillsides. In case this wasn’t enough to deter winemakers, the wind (the ‘Mistral’), is so strong, that the vines are planted with a teepee-esque support system around them, just so they are able to stay standing. Oh yes, and there’s the hail. Given the challenges here, the Northern wines make up only about 5% of the total production in the Rhone.

The Cote Rotie is the northern-most area, and translates directly as ‘Roasted Slope’. The grape of importance here is Syrah, which produces deep colored reds with full body, spicy notes (black pepper!), and with age show gamey aromas. This wine showed all of these characteristics, and with over 10 years on it, it was even showing chocolate and coffee aromas. The average online price for this wine was $54, so for $19.99, this was quite a deal!

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Sidenote: Stumbled into the new Toby’s Estate in the West Village – such a welcoming place. How perfect was this? 

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Cheers,

A

What We Already Have

Weeks like this remind me of why I love New York. Far too often we get caught  in our day-to-day routines, and forget the amazing places and friends here on our little island. More than ever, this holiday week gets … Continue reading

Break it Down: Legs and Lees

Nobody likes a pompous wine writer, blabbering on in vocabulary that is above the heads of their audience, but I fell in love with this title, Legs and Lees, and couldn’t let it go. When I sent the link to my mother, it was met with a request to “explain the name of the blog to the uninformed”. Today I will do just that. Cheers Mom!

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Legs: (or ‘tears’) are the leftover wine on the glass when you’ve swirled your wine around. These are a basic indicator of sugar and/or alcohol content – as the alcohol evaporates, the wine-water mixture on the glass starts to fall back to the base of the glass due to gravity. If I can let my inner-nerd shine a bit, this is called the Gibbs-Marangoni Effect. (More info – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marangoni_effect)

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Lees: …are much less elegant. Lees are everything that is left behind in the wine due to the winemaking process – we’re talking dead yeast cells, stems, skins, and seeds. However, what’s beautiful about them is how they can enhance wines. White wines are commonly left in contact with lees when they are in oak barrels, resulting in different flavors being created and adding richness and body to the wine. En Francais, on dit ‘Sur Lie’. This method is used for wines meant for aging, and is engrained in the Champagne production method (but more on that later).

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