Saturday, January 24, 2009

Domaine de la Pertuisane "Vieilles Vignes"

Wilfried Sentex is born in Bordeaux, France and for sure his passion for wine comes from his home country. At present he is working in New York at Bar Boulud, Daniel Boulud Wine bar. For more information you can reach him at"

Winery: Domaine de la Pertuisane "Vieilles Vignes"
Vintage: 2004
Appellation: Vin de pays des cotes Catalanes
Varietal: 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah
Winemaker: Sarah and Richard CASE
Oak: 15 months in french barrique
Average Price: $32.00

Tasting Notes: This is an interesting wine with a deep dull color and a light intensity. The nose is not too pronounced, but clean with some toast, blackfruit and chocolate scents, it is almost like a madeira. As the taste, the wine is great, full body high tannin with a beautifull acidity. You will find some blackberries, blackcurrant aromas with a finish of hot spices as nutmeg and cinnamon and a light star anis.This is the wine that reflects the long, hot and dry summers of Catalonia (south of France).

Food Pairing Suggestions: This wine is getting more interesting with food, like beet salad with some goat cheese or a grilled steak prepared with some "herbes de provences" and served with a garlic mashed potato. St marcelin cheese will be perfect, before finishing with a warm chocolate cake with a melted center.

General rating: 77

Friday, January 23, 2009

Modus Operandi 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

“David Grega is a certified sommelier and wine consultant living in the Napa valley. In addition to consulting and wine writing David made wine for his own label “Bellum Cellars” in 2008. E-mail for more information.”

Winery: Modus Operandi
Vintage: 2006
Appellation: Napa Valley AVA
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Jason Moore
Oak: 100% French Oak
Average Price: $65

Winery Notes: Jason Moore is a young winemaker with copious amounts of talent and passion for winemaking. Moving to northern California from Dallas Texas on nothing more than a prayer, Jason set out to make luscious full flavoured wines, just the kind he loves to drink. Through hard work, many sacrifices and years of apprenticeships in Napa coupled with wine classes at UC Davis; Jason created Modus Operandi and released his first wines in 2004. Keep this young man on your radar screen and pick up a bottle of his extremely limited production wines. Go to for more information.

Tasting notes: The 2006 Modus Cabernet Sauvignon shows warming aromas of cinnamon, huckleberry, black cherry and baked blueberries, with a touch of caramel, soft leather and sweet oak to round out a truly hedonistic nose. Luscious, full, and loaded with well balanced flavours, the palate maintains rich dark fruit flavours from the nose as well as a delicious meaty spice note, and hints of toasted caramel to complement a long and satisfying finish.

Overall rating: 90+ points

Food Pairing Suggestions: The complexity of the 2006 Modus Cabernet allows for a much wider range of food pairings. Traditional grilled or BBQ meats are always a great idea to pair with a powerful Cabernet but this wine will drink well with wild bore, pheasant and other full flavoured game. For desert try a glass with a few pieces of 50-60% Cocoa artisan chocolates.

Plane in Hudson, Skydiver Devoured by Starving Birds

Tom Gannon is the playwright in residence at Rothmann's Steakhouse in New York City. He is also the sommelier and serves as America's Host.

Last week there was a plane in the Hudson River. In the water exactly a mile and a half west of us. It was on the TV's behind the bar. My friend Mike, one of the other managers, saw it go down from his window on the west side before he walked to work. We all agreed it was amazing and got ready for what we hoped would be a busy dinner.

Almost. Thursday is typically our busiest night in the heart of the midtown financial district but the news in this area has been dominated by dominoes of falling institutions- remember when Bear Stearns collapsed and the next few weeks L'il Lehmann Bros. was being praised for leading the way in doing the right thing? Way to go braahhs. So we had a so-so Thursday. I didn't think about the plane the rest of the night.

I thought about wine. And how some of the wines I bought in the last six months with certain palates in mind could be sitting in the cellar awhile. I'm not sorry the wine is downstairs but more than a few guests I've known for years are not in the area on a regular basis since they don't have offices or companies any longer. Bottomless expense accounts have dried up and swallowed the flesh attached to the wallet.

It's also evident in the "allocated" wines that are offered. It's no secret in any market in the US that if a certain distributor has a cult/WS top 3/Parker 98+/57%Shiraz 43% Heroin blend black hearted roasted kidney stones on the nose with Gobs of blue fruit and propane propelled felched asphalt that everyone is going to want it. Always pay to play. They leverage a case or two or three bottles against getting a wine by the glass (or two or three) if you are a restaurant or prime shelf space and a 100 case drop on another SKU if you are a retail account. Whether or not you hold your nose say you hate those wines whether or not you will actually taste those wines there is a demand and that demand dictates huge profit even on a modest markup simply because they (your guests and clients) can't get it anywhere else. But other accounts are turning down their allocations. They don't want to front the money for the inventory because they don't know if it will sell anymore. Now calls come in that give you a verbal wink-wink and let you know that YOU can have as much X as you want. Those wines are out there now in ready availability and at (again, relative) bargains because like every other commodity they only went up. Until they didn't.

We will see in the Zachy's auction that began today (look for them to record another "record" even if the only buyer's name begins with Z) and the upcoming auctions how far the prices will fall. There may be some real bargains in March there may be steals in May. If you are going to prowl the auction markets I would wait for spring. But you still have to worry about provenance and buyer's premiums scream Nader investigation (they do, very high pitched, only 17-25% of wine collectors can hear them).

But amid all the doom and gloom I remind myself although we are not as busy as last year we are busy. I am still buying, selling and drinking wine. The Harlan 2004 at $1350 and both bottles of '82 Haut-Brion at $1500 (Haut-Brion '82 for $1500? What a bargain, that is a bargain for me I think I will buy some) were among a batch of bottles a group went through this past weekend. But I face the same dilemma. Is it worth it to restock high priced wines right now? Do you trust the provenance at auction and the solvency of your guests, clients and even yourself?

Organic wine & food matching: Chidaine Montlouis & wild mushroom pie

Randy Caparoso is an award winning wine professional and journalist, living in Denver, Colorado. For a free subscription to Randy's Organic Wine Match of the Day, visit the Denver Wine Examiner. You can reach him at

There’s a chalky flintiness everywhere in Montlouis, a long under-appreciated region in France located across the Loire River from the Vouvray AC; the latter better known around the world for its soft, flowery fresh, demi-sec (“half-dry”) styles of whites made from the Chenin Blanc grape.

Montlouis is also planted exclusively to Chenin Blanc; but because its best whites are probably its dryer ones, flinty or chalky sensations seem more pronounced in Montlouis; the understanding of which doesn’t require much of a leap after you see its whitish soils, which consist of almost no clay, but rather a predominance of silex (finely ground flint), sand and limestone.

Not to say that each sip of the 2006 Francois Chidaine Montlouis Clos du Breuil (about $23) tastes like wet rocks The terroir is a subtle undertone in this wine, which exudes more of a succulent, melony fruitiness in the nose, tinged with a wildflower honey, a whiff of bread yeast, and even tropical suggestions (like caramelized banana). On the palate, the honeyed fruit sensations mesh with a pointedly green apple tartness in a medium-full body, and the wine finishes as dry as, well, rocks.

If you take the trouble to seek out and appreciate this wine, you might go further and taste more of Chidaine’s cuvées (he bottles several each year, the Clos du Breuil from one of his oldest plots, and usually among the driest); illustrating what many connoisseurs believe to be as compelling a testament to the link between low-intervention, biodynamic winemaking and purest possible expression of grape and terroir as you can find anywhere in the world. Most certainly, the naturally perfumed character of the Chenin Blanc and the lime crusted quality of the soil contribute to that.

When matching food with such unique wines, I like to highlight the attributes, which also rounds them out. Because of the tartness, for instance, slightly sharp, earthy cheeses like fetas and chèvres make sense, smoothing out the wine’s sharper edges. If you choose a smoked chèvre, the smokiness plays up the wine’s flinty, minerally qualities, and you begin to better appreciate the complexity of good Montlouis (combining chèvre with, say, smoked salmon or wood grilled oysters would achieve the same effect).

When it comes to dishes: yes, saline flavored foods that like tart edged whites (oysters, crab, bouillabaisse, etc.) make sense. Or, you could emphasize both the flinty and fruity qualities of the Montlouis by this recipe for a wild mushroom pie; teeming with aromas of woodsy earth, while a creamy béchamel underlines the luscious, tropical notes of the wine.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Andre Clouet Non-vintage Rosé Champagne

Rasmus Amdi Larsen is a 21 year old sommelier. He is currently working as head-sommelier and Restaurant Manager at the restaurant Le Sommelier in the center of Copenhagen. Administrating the 1600 bottle wine list, one of the largest in Denmark, this young sommelier is showing a lot of potential. Rasmus is also educating at the Hospitality College in Copenhagen, competing in sommelier competitions - and in the limited free time, golfing is a huge interest.

Brand: Non-vintage Rosé Grand Cru Champagne

Winery: Andre Clouet

Vintage: Non-Vintage

Appellation: Champagne (Bouzy)

Varietal: 92% Pinot Noir 8% Bouzy Rouge

Winemaker: Jean-Francois

Average Price: €28

Tasting notes: This Rosé Champagne has lively, pink bubbles. Excellent deep colour and a beautiful nose filled with strawberry, raspberry and almonds. On the palate the Champagne is creamy and fruity, excellent both with food and as a aperitif on that special night.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Try this with heavy stuff. Fried lumpfish with lobster cannelloni, artichokes and cognac-sauce. Fried tuna or tuna sushi. Poultry like quail or how about sucking pig with roots and mustard sauce!

Winery Notes: Rosé Champagne is gaining popularity around the world. We see a monthly higher request on Rosé Champagne – both by the bottle and by the glass. I find Andre Clouet one of the best Champagne house’s around, situated right next to Bollingers Grand Cru vineyards – and for half the price! All vines are from the Grand Cru village of Bouzy, and most are made on 100% Pinot Noir, or, as this, blended with 8% non-sparkling red wine which give the wines an extraordinary complexity. Topping all this with a very good price tag, you should start exploring the world of Andre Clouet.

Cascina Adelaide Barolo 2004

Federico Vincenzi is an Italian sommelier and a wine writer with the Masters Degree in Economics. He has been consulting top restaurants in Italy and Switzerland and has received many awards, including ‘Sommelier of the month’ and 'Meilleur Formateur en Vin de Champagne'. Federico lives in Milan where he founded OENOGOURMET

Brand: BAROLO 2004
Vintage: 2004
Appellation: BAROLO DOCG
Varietal: 100% NEBBIOLO
Winemaker: Sergio Molino
Oak: 2 years in oak barrels, then 2 months in stainless steel, plus 6 months fining in bottle.
Alcohol: 14%
Average Price: € 32

Tasting notes: On the eye it reflects the typical “nebbiolo red” in its youth: ruby-red, quite transparent, with attractive reflections. The nose analysis reminds us to an intense bouquet of violets harmoniously blended with red plumy fruits. The taste is full and wide, properly tannic; very long in persistency. Freshness is of course dominant, but elegance is already enjoyable.
Drink now through 2015.

Food Pairing Suggestions
: Truffle-based menus, strong and aged cheese. Perfect with Barolo-braised lamb.

General rating
: 90 points
Vintage Overview: The just-released 2004 was great for Barolo and Piedmont in general. After an excessively warm 2003 and a rainy 2002, this is a vintage to invest in.
Dear Wine lovers,

entaste concept was designed to help all of you epicureans to learn more about wine and make smart wine choices. Our goal is to become a leader in wine information by collecting wine data from many sources, creating a comprehensive vast database and get recommendations from top sommeliers and wine connoisseurs. Once we have all that data we would synthesize it into decision-making information.
One of the features would be Iphone applications, the first one, Food&Wine pairing guide, will be available in the Apple App store very soon.

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Our belief is that a diverse group of trained sommeliers are much better suited to provide unbiased wine criticism than journalists or merchants. Our aim is to challenge Robert Parker, Wine Spectator and other so-called expert, and help you to find sommelier with the similar taste as yours.

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Organic wine & food matching: Maysara Jamsheed Pinot Noir & Szechuan baby back ribs

Randy Caparoso is an award winning wine professional and journalist, living in Denver, Colorado. For a free subscription to Randy's Organic Wine Match of the Day, visit the Denver Wine Examiner. You can reach Randy anytime at

When Oregon’s “Papa Pinot,” the recently departed David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards, planted his first vineyard in 1965, he settled in the Dundee Hills just south, towards west, of Portland, where deep, red clay soils on bedrocks of basalt have yielded the type of gentle yet generous, red berryish, fruit driven red wines that have come epitomize Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

During the past twenty-five years, a number of other little pockets of Willamette Valley have been successfully planted by winemakers, five of which have been identified as sufficiently unique to merit their own official AVA (American Viticultural Region) designation. Among those “other” regions: the McMinnville AVA, located a good twenty miles southwest of the Dundee Hills AVA; closer to the Pacific’s maritime influence, and tucked into coastal mountain hillsides where slightly dryer weather and brighter days are offset by cooler nights and significantly shallower soils than that of Dundee.

From this emerging AVA, McMinnville’s 2006 Maysara Jamsheed Pinot Noir (about $27) stands out as a slightly “different” style of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: more aggressive, slightly steelier in acid, and more structured in terms of tannin and glycerol than the pretty, fruit driven Dundee Hills wines of old. Yet this is still a cold climate Oregonian, and so the Maysara shares the plump, juicy, wild berry traits of the finest Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs. The meager soils, however, also yield a more pronounced anise and clove-like spiciness in the nose; in the '06, becoming more pepperminty and green leafy/herbal on the palate, intertwined with muscular tannins and almost sweet, marionberry jam-like flavors.

While the Maysara’s intensity is a direct reflection of McMinnville’s terroir, another major factor is the low-impact winemaking and biodynamic viticulture practiced with great devotion by Maysara proprietor, Moe Momtazi (Moe's daughter, winemaker Tahmiene Momtazi, pictured right). It was, in fact, the attraction of staking out a somewhat remote, 532 acre, abandoned wheat farm, free from chemicals for at least seven years, that first attracted Momtazi to the Maysara site in 1997. Explaining why he opted for the holistic approach of biodynamics on the Maysara Web site, Momtazi says that “while organics share the biological agriculture background and methods, it stops short of the dynamic processes, or life force of the farm… biodynamics recognizes and responds to the life force of the living farm, considering the farm a living organism.” Hence, the increased sense of place you can’t help but taste in a Maysara.

Maybe it goes back to when I was a kid and loved to crash my O-gauge Lionel train through redwood Lincoln Log walls, but what I like to do with Pinot Noirs like the Maysara, with its collision of wild, zesty flavors, is match it with Asian or fusion styles of dishes with their own collisions of sensations; like the following reworking of Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Szechuan style baby back ribs. Don’t sweat the hoisin and chili paste – the hot, vinegary, sweet spices actually accentuate the fruit and star anise-like spiciness of the Maysara, and there is plenty enough tannin in the wine to absorb the fattiness of the ribs and the char from the grill. Have fun…

4½ lbs. baby back ribs (3 slabs)
2 cups hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. minced garlic
3 tbsp. minced ginger
2 tbsp. Sriracha (Thai chili sauce; available in all Asian grocers)
½ cup honey

Cut rib slabs in half and place in a large pot of boiling water. Slow boil 90 minutes, or until tender (meat will shrink down from top of bone to at least half inch). Remove from water and let stand 10 minutes.

To make marinade, combine remaining ingredients and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 450 degress. Brush ribs on both sides with marinade. Place on a rack on top of a cookie sheet in the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until shiny. Remove and cool. Cut into pieces and brush with more marinade. Grill on a hibachi or charcoal grill until hot. Serves six, and is particularly great with fresh, steaming white rice!