“A Wine for Any Food”: Master Sommelier Interview with George Miliotes

Vinted on May 3, 2010 binned in interviews

I first met Master Sommelier George Miliotes during  a press dinner at the Cherry Hill, NJ location for Seasons 52 (for whom George holds the beverage director chair).

George is a down-to-earth, affable guy with a clear passion for sharing the joys of our favorite beverage, and he has a wry smile that came out whenever I talked with him about wine; it’s the kind of smile that suggests that he knows some great insider information, the kind of smile that says “yeah, well, just wait until you hear about this…”

During the press dinner, I sat at the far right-hand corner of a table filled with a handful of journalists and “seasoned” Seasons 52 frequent customers.  George, directly on my right at the head of the table, picked up on my intense wine geekiness during the dinner and for a while I more or less monopolized his attention as our serious wine geek antennae came out and we spoke the enthusiastic but often obfuscated language of those for whom wine knowledge has become a borderline obsession.

In other words, it was great, and I instantly liked George.

I thought it would be fun to pick George’s brain about the life of an M.S., what it’s like to put together a wine list that has to pair successfully with a menu that changes frequently and incorporates different local ingredients by location, get his insights on blending wines for Seasons 52 and see what he thinks of important trends in the industry.

Hope you all agree about the fun part – and enjoy!…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-05-01

Vinted on May 1, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 08 Pellegrino Passito di Pantelleria (Marsala): The orange rind & dried apricot are intense, but for this $, where's the acid? $27 B- #
  • 09 Dancing Coyote Gewurztraminer (Clarksburg): Light on the spice, but big on the tasty florals & citrus (& ultra-light on the wallet) $11 B #
  • 08 Dancing Coyote Petite Sirah (Clarksburg): Over-delivers on the nose (blackberry & smoke). But on palate… not so much, alas. $13 C+ #
  • NV Loose End Sparkling MSM (Barossa): An instant candied blue fruit mouth party, but w/ a steep cover charge & promise of a hangover $20 C+ #
  • 2005 Majella Sparkling Shiraz (Coonawarra): Peek under that American oak & you'll find some focused & tasty blueberry waiting for ya. $25 B+ #
  • 06 Deerfield Sangiovese (Sonoma County): Bright cherry & spice that might as well be fugitives, since they're running from the 'heat.' $30 C #
  • 06 Deerfield Buchignani-Garcia Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley): A finish hot enough it could be used by fire-eaters. $60 C #
  • 05 Deerfield Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County): Currants, raisins & spice. Not just for breakfast anymore (thanks to the good acids) $30 B- #
  • 05 Deerfield Shiraz Cuvee (Sonoma County): Everything is amped up in this blend, from the tannin & booze to the blue fruits & pepper. B- $24 #
  • 06 Roanoke Vineyards Cabernet Franc (North Fork, LI): Very impressive & almost lush CF, with just enough green action to beguile. $32 B+ #
  • 07 Winter's Hill Pinot Blanc (Dundee Hills): As Alsatian as you'll get in OR. For the $, it's a citrus-laden triumph (& a bargain) $18 A- #
  • 06 Winter's Hill Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills): Clearly well-made but a touch too heavy on the oak on all of that gorgeous berry fruit. $29 B- #
  • 06 Winter's Hill Pinot Noir Cuvee du Vigneron (Dundee Hills): Delicate & balanced for all of its richness, spice & pure cherry fruit. $39 B+ #
  • 08 Billsboro Winery Riesling (Finger Lakes): All peaches & limes. Tastey and without pretense (but also without any real drama). $16 B- #
  • 06 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (Alexander Valley): Dark Cherry rode into town, guns blazin' & wearin a lot o' leather $35 B+ #

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Wine Writers Symposium 2010: The Final Shot

Vinted on April 30, 2010 binned in on the road, wine industry events

This is not just the final shot in terms of my coverage of the event, but literally the event’s “final shot” – below is the group photograph that we took at the conclusion of the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium, with the attendees, speakers, and panel members lined up outside of the conference area at the posh Meadowood resort.

I’m pretty sure that the photo was taken by the uber-talented Steven Rothfeld, which probably explains why it makes a crowd of people that includes disreputables like me, Alfonso Cevola, “Papa” Charlie Olken, Steve Heimoff, and Alder Yarrow look respectable.  Well, that and the majority of attendees and speakers who are all actually respectable.

I’m including it only for my own purposes of completeness and nostalgia, though I hope it provides some interesting “oh, I didn’t know that so-and-so was so tall / short / handsome / hot / not-so-hot” moments.  The who’s-who list is below the group photo.  Click to embiggen…

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The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars In The World

Vinted on April 29, 2010 binned in book reviews

In the music industry, we call it G.A.S.  As in, Gear Acquisition Syndrome – a desire to acquire more basses, guitars, whatever, usually brought on by exposure to an awesome instrument pick up made by an acquaintance.  In my “spare time” I run a social network for bass guitarists, so I have a lot of opportunity for G.A.S.-inducing exposure.  I mean, if you’re a bass player and you don’t instantly get G.A.S. looking at photos like this, then you probably don’t really have a pulse.

Envy or jealousy do not accurately describe G.A.S.; they have far too negative connotations, and G.A.S. isn’t negative – if anything, you’re happy for your friend who has picked up that awesome new instrument – it’s more like a form of addiction that plagues those who find themselves simultaneously straddling the roles of collector and experiencer.

Which is, of course, a scenario which wine lovers can easily appreciate, especially when visiting one of those enormous, kick-ass wine cellars full of potentially-amazing juice.

Which is why you probably shouldn’t even so much as look at the upcoming book The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars In The World by Astrid Fobelets, Jurgen Lijcops (about $60 from VdH Books, available in May 2010 – I received a preview copy).  It will very likely give you a serious case of wine G.A.S. …

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