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Showing posts from October, 2010

Tasting Wine & Spirits Top 100 of 2010

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Wine & Spirits Magazine is a venerable publication that's been around since the 1970's. "Spirits" is in the title, but today it's primarily about wine. While not as widely known by consumers as the Wine Spectator, the publication manages to do a great job influencing wine professionals who in turn influence consumers. Second year in a row I had the pleasure and privilege of covering the Wine & Spirits Magazine's Top 100 Wineries of the Year tasting. Last year's article was showcased on August 12 to their 10K+ Facebook fans, and it also led to a launch of the quite successful Ridge blogger tasting program . Let's see what this year brings! "Never let work get in the way of wine!" That ought to be the motto. Alas, I spent all day in a YouSendIt Quarterly Business Review, doing my "executive duty", and by the time I got to the event in the city, the Leflaive's 2007 Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Gru White Burgundy ($550

Most expensive Cognacs in the world?

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In case you have some spare change... 10. $5,000 – Courvoisier L’Esprit Decanter Made from a variety of blends, some which date back to Napoleon I, Courvoisier’s L’Esprit is smoky and rich, with fragrances of cinnamon and dried apricot flowers. The flavor is initially powerful but has a mellow aftertaste. 9. $5,500 – Jenssen Arcana Aged 98 years in Oak barrels, Jenssen’s Arcana is powerful, “extraordinarily” concentrated and only bottled, sealed and certified upon request. 8. $6,000 – Hine Triomphe Talent De Thomas Hine Crystal Decanter Each bottle of Hine’s high-end Talent de Thomas is bottled in a Baccarat decanter and placed within an actual cigar humidor made from Maccasar ebony and Honduran Mahogany which helps preserve the spirit’s delicate floral bouquet. 7. $6,400 – Frapin Cuvée 1888 A rare blend of Cognacs from Frapin’s reserves, the Cuvée is bottled beneath a 24-karat gold stopper in a twisty crystal decanter that looks like a prop from a community Shakespeare staging. Flower

Iron goes to Hollywood

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No, I am not talking about Iron Man or Iron Chef . I am talking about Iron Chevsky . And technically - it's "Hollywood comes to Iron", because it was a couple of blocks from the Union Square in San Fran where yours truly found himself bedazzled by Hollywood glamor. Going back to it now, seems more like Al Bundy's dream from Married with Children than an image of a highbrow wine snoot expected from an avid old-world francophile. (But then Gary Vaynerchuk knows very well what I am talking about - having "dumbed it down" for mass consumer audiences of Conan O'Brian and Ellen Degeneres.) Surrounded by the babes from Hollywood's Celebrity Wine Review , it's not entirely clear who the celebrity was - me? - the modestly famous Iron Chevsky, an ex-founding member of Ask Jeeves that sold to IAC for $2B in 2005, or the professional female hosts that had graced the covers of many a TV? Be that as it may, Al Bundy's dream and all, I felt one step clo

Champagne and dreams

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It was the rarest of weather in San Francisco. 95 degrees in late September. Magnificent view from the second floor of the Ferry Building, overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge. Ice-cold vintage Krug, anyone? Three hours flew by like a fairy-tale. Friends, laughs, Champagne of the highest order, multiple pours... toward the end, the crowd dissipated... and all that Krug was still there, beckoning me like a lighthouse in the dark of night. The three Champagnes shown below together retail for around $500. Is it too much to ask for my three favorites? Does it get much better than '96 Henriot, '98 Krug, '98 Veuve Clicquot "La Grande Dame"? Living in the Bay Area, I am soooo lucky to have the Institute of Masters of Wine Annual Champagne Tasting come to San Francisco, and for a measly $50(!!!!) I get to taste (and taste and taste and taste again...) the cream of the crop. Champagne is polarizing. Some people love it above all. Some people don't get

2005 Burgundy - trust the vintage

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Crepes with shredded duck meat, with mushrooms and creme sauce. Pan-fried foie gras with blueberry sauce. Tuna tar tar with a splash of soy sauce and sesame. The other night I was celebrating a friend's birthday the Russian style at a French restaurant in Burlingame, called La Boheme. What was common among all of the above dishes besides being French'ish? Red Burgundy . It matches all three dishes like butter on toast, shmear on bagel, peanut butter on jelly, ... you get the point. 2005 Bourgogne's (regional level red Burgundies) at 5 years old are now starting to hit their stride, showing beautiful balance of the great 2005 vintage and signs of secondary flavors of wines entering maturity, while Premier and Grand Cru's need more time. It got me thinking... The more I drink and learn about wine, the more I believe in criticality of a vintage, above a vineyard or a producer, particularly in France and Italy. In other words, in bad years, even great producers make bad win

A Burgundy vertical of legendary Henri Gouges

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Henri Gouges embodies Nuits-Saint-Georges, one of the glorious villages of Cote de Nuits in Burgundy. Gouges, along with Robert Chevillon, whom I covered recently , are the two icons of Nuits-Saint-Georges, famous for its meaty, dense Pinot Noir. Our local wine shop Vin Vino Wine finished the month of September with a bang - a vertical tasting of 8 vintages of Henri Gouges, with the focus on the area's top vineyard "Les Saint Georges" - after which the village itself was named (so famous was the vineyard that the village housing it was renamed to raise its own prestige). Henri Gouges has the reputation of someone whose wines are "never ready", meaning they take 20 years to resolve their austere tannins and reveal magnificent complexity of flavors. In my experience, however, while I agree that patience rewards those who own Gouges wines from top vintages, these wines can certainly be enjoyable within the first decade as well. We tasted 2001 through 2007, a 1996,