Archive for November, 2012
Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz! This week, we use wine to dabble in the lifestyles of the historically rich and famous.
[ Standard disclaimer: I supply a quiz question each week, but *not* the quiz answer (at least not right away). You supply your best guess as to that answer in the comments, and then tune back in later in the comments section for the official answer. You are of course encouraged to have courage and not cheat via the magic of Google, but we don’t judge (okay, we do, we just don’t mention it to your face)!
In Good Company: Joseph Haydn, Bram Stoker, Louis XV and Voltaire all had at least one thing in common – they all loved what wine?
Cheers – and good luck!
When most people hear the name of a French Chateau, they conjure up in their mind’s eye a scenario that probably looks a lot like what
Féret-Lambert is like in real life: green hills punctuated by vineyards bulging with ripe, juicy Merlot grapes; a large, picturesque house dating from the 1700s, located a stone’s throw from Saint-Emilion in the French countryside.
But when I hear the words Féret-Lambert, I have near-instant recall of something else entirely; I think about… tomato pie.
[ I also think about the dog that tried to eat my water bottle. More on that little bugger later. ]
I think about the fourth generation family that now runs the show there, yes; and I think about some overachieving Merlot-based wine, too, of course. But the heart of the mater to me was the tomato pie we had at lunch when I visited Féret-Lambert in September, as a media guest of Planete Bordeaux.
For the uninitiated in Mid-Atlantic “Little Italy” cuisine, tomato pie is, essentially, margherita pizza without the cheese. But as with any cuisine, there are endless variations, and as a kid who loved tomatoes grown into an adult who loves tomatoes, I have tried just about all of them. Thin, flaky crusts with fresh baked tomato and a hint of sauce on top; thick, floppy, focaccia-style bread with a gargantuan amount of sloppy, garlic-filled red sauce oozing of the top; hearty dough that’s soft in the center, crispy on the bottom, and with a light coating of embedded, seasoned tomatoes and a thin layer of sauce that curls at the thick crust and bakes ever-so-slightly into the top layer of the bread (that last style is the equivalent of tomato pie mouthgasm for me). Inexpensive to make, but tough to do really well, and a little (literal) slice of luxury for a boy living in the “upper end of the lower middle class.”
So when it comes to tomato pie – from the utterly banal to the downright succulent – I’ve just about had it all.
And I can therefore tell you with at least a semi-educated opinion that Féret-Lambert makes a mean tomato pie; more pie-like than pizza-like, flaky crust and ultra-fresh tomatoes baked up together with enough near-perfection to give a Little Italy expat a deep sense of homecoming. And with the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that they’re pulling off of the thirteen-or-so hectares of vines that they cultivate there, Féret-Lambert is also making a mean, budget-minded Bordeaux red to go with it…
Read the rest of this stuff »
This coming February, I’ll be representing Team USA in the 2013 Argentina Wine Awards. No, I won’t be performing on the parallel bars – I’ll be the sole U.S. judge on an international panel that includes writers, sommeliers, and other geeky wine folk from China, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Switzerland and the UK (who somehow managed to get two representatives), all of whom will convene in Argentina to taste through something like 750 wines over the course of a few days.
To the tape:
“Designed to benchmark and reward the quality and advancement of the Argentine wine industry, the Argentina Wine Awards have established themselves as the most important event in the local calendar as well as being increasingly followed with interest by those in the wider world of wine. Over 740 wine samples participated in the 2012 edition.”
I’m stoked – and not a little intimidated (representing the country? no pressure!) – to get back down to Argentina, a place I haven’t visited in nearly two years (and where I ate well, drank well, and was unbelievable sick… there will be a Z-pack in the travel bag this time).
The reason I‘m telling you all of this? I need your help!…
Read the rest of this stuff »
I’m really excited to share with you all the launch of The Punch Down!
For the last few months, I’ve been working with London-based wine educator and author Tara O’Leary on the concept of a video wine show idea that I’ve had brewing in my noggin’ for a loooong time. I’m stoked to be able to tell you that idea is finally coming to life, and thrilled that Tara is joining me as co-host! It took a lot of work by her, my hardworking intern The Young Unpaid Shelby, and even a few of the helpful tech-heads at Google (on both the Left and Right coasts), and we are now ready to step on the gas on this thing.
Our inaugural guest:
The first episode of The Punch Down is airing live on the Google+ platform on December 4th at 1PM ET. We’d love for you to join us live with NYT wine guru Eric Asimov, who has kindly agreed to be put on the hot seat to discuss the more controversial side of his new book, the thought-provoking How To Love Wine.
What the hell this is all about:
Put simply, The Punch Down is like an ESPN sorts talk show, but instead of getting into heated debate and discussion about ground-out rules, penalty time, or pass interference calls, we’re going to dive deep into the geekiness of wine topics. Each episode, we’ll have a prominent wine personality as our guest, and will get right into the meaty topics, followed by a quick run down (and Op/Ed style commentary, of course) on noteworthy developments in the wine world. We’re focusing on the controversial stuff here – this is not a show that will be coddling to wanna-bes!
We’re using the G+ Hangout format for the show, which creates a sort of round-table video discussion (for an example, check out the G+ Hangout I did earlier this year with Andrea Robinson). Personally, I think the G+ platform is perfect for this style of lively wine talk, and the Google team has been downright awesome in helping us get this off the ground. Combine the platform, the subject matter, the style of the show, and the fact that we’re co-hosting live with Tara and me separated by the entire Atlantic Ocean, and I think we might have an Internet first here (or at least we’re closer to the cutting edge than we are away from it!).
How to join in:
You’ll be able to hit us up with questions, peanut-gallery commentary, and the like during the event by joining us at https://plus.google.com/events/c9rqsm5k9v4j42a37l0s9eitkq4 on Dec. 4. You can also hit us up with questions for Eric on twitter using the hastag #thepunchdown as well as through email (thepunchdown @ gmail.com). You are of course also welcome to leave comments here on this post with any questions, suggestions, and ideas. Finished episodes will also be posted to TPD G+ page and YouTube channel (and embedded back here on good ol’ 1WD as well). You know, just in case you do the totally unthinkable and actually miss our first episode (c’mon, you weren’t going to do any work for those 30 minutes on the 4th anyway, were you???).
I’m all jazzed up about this! I hope that you can join us!