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Moore Brothers Blog

Moore Brothers Blog: traditions

Life's Surprising Lessons...

Life's Surprising Lessons...

wine David Moore

Paolo De Marchi and James Spinelli Paolo was exhausted. Following a huge turnout the night before in our New York store, a two-hour drive to my house to spend the night, a 9AM meeting and interview with Philadelphia's most influential food writer, then the all-day tasting; he was spent. He was telling me (on our way to pick up sushi for a quiet dinner at home; ( Fuji in Haddonfield in case you're interested) how old he was feeling, and how tired he was. And it got me thinking. I took a short detour down Tanner Street in Haddonfield and pulled up in front of Quaker Shoe Repair. I took Paolo with me into the little shop, and introduced him to the owner, James Spinelli (he keeps my cowboy boots in shape). Mr. Spinelli took an apprenticeship in shoemaking at age 11 when Calvin Coolidge was still President and was just turning 94–still working six or seven days a week as an artisan. I told Mr. Spinelli that Paolo was "feeling his years," and was tiring out. Mr. Spinelli lo

A Note on Barolo

A Note on Barolo

wine David Moore

A Salumeria's sign in Monforte It’s always an interesting question; “What’s the difference between this Barolo and THAT Barolo?” When talking about how “place” determines what the wine will be, the “geeks” among us like to talk about soils, altitude, and exposure - each giving something to the wine that can’t be reproduced in the next town over. But the one other aspect of “terroir” that’s often missed is “culture.” And differences in culture shape the viticolotore’s aesthetic just as much as soils. You can see this in looking at the two Barolo villages represented at Moore Brothers; Monforte and Serralunga. Monforte is a much larger town than Serralunga. It was one of the important centers of commerce in the area which became known as the “Barolo” zone. Quite broadly speaking, the inhabitants of this town were much “better off” than their counterparts in Serralunga. In Serralunga, the market for grapes was dominated by the large Fontanafredda winery, and most of the farmers s

One Of These Is Wine. The Other Is Not.

One Of These Is Wine. The Other Is Not.

wine David Moore

Sounds rather pedantic, no?But imagine this: Say one of the bottles is “Ragú® Tomato Sauce,” and the other is a jar of fresh marinara from a little old lady in Italy, made from her own tomatoes. Same difference.The bottle on the left was produced by a person farming his own fruit. And over the growing season he was constantly in the vineyard thinning leaves and making sure each grape met optimal ripeness. The fruit was harvested by hand, and taken to the winery with great care, where it was hand-sorted to make sure only the ripest fruit went to the crusher.This bottle of wine also states who grew, produced, and bottled the wine, as well as where this all took place. The bottle on the right tells us nothing about where the fruit was grown (other than a vague “Napa Valley” AVA). The technical details are spelled out on the bottle. “Optimum Brix” (a measure of sugar in the grapes) is listed (proudly) at 25 degrees. More on this in a moment.Soil type is listed as “alluvial,” which doesn't

Paolo’s Pentagon

Paolo’s Pentagon

wine David Moore

Paolo DeMarchi is one of the most important wine producers in Italy. He is one of a handful of thoughtful growers who were key "inventors" of modern Chianti. Imagine the challenge of redefining a very old (and at the time, sleepy) wine region. Most wine sold here had to be sold in wicker-basket-bottles because novelty trumped quality. To this day, there are those who think of Chianti as thin, skeletal wine, with a handy empty bottle, useful for holding a candle. But in the seventies, when Paolo came of age, he and a few others recognized that the entire area had to be reorganized with a view towards quality over quantity. Just as important, there had to be a respect for tradition, or else the raison d'être would disappear–there would be nothing distinctive about the wines, and the wine-producing economy risked collapse. We often speak about “Old World” wines as being an encapsulation, if you will, of a small region's cultural, and agricultural evolution; less “product”

It's Only Human...

It's Only Human...

wine David Moore

Fabrice Gasnier working the vines during veraison Hang around here long enough and you’ll hear lots of conversations about  wine in the “Old World,” and how they evolved. And even more stories about our winegrowers. And despite the occasional, "It’s what’s in the bottle that counts" comments, we hope we’re communicating as best we can. I once had a customer tell me that the “stories” aren’t important. We got past that quickly enough – those that “get it,” and those that don’t, tend to view the world in different ways—I make no judgement. But wines like those you’ll find here are very different from what you’d find in a typical liquor store. And the stories of small local cultures that existed before “France,” “Italy,” or “Germany” were countries as we know them today, explain why “Burgundy” is Burgundy, and “Barolo” is Barolo. Ours are stories that speak of the humanity of wine – whether as a function of human cultural evolution, or the hard, physical, human effort

Oak In Industrial Wine

Oak In Industrial Wine

wine David Moore

So here's the deal. It is accepted wisdom that storing wine in oak barrels may in many cases be beneficial. Storing wine in barrels may add flavors and/or textures that add desirable complexity to wine. Myriad decisions regarding the quality (and/or “qualities") of the various types of barrels (French vs. American, vs. Slovenian oak etc., new barrels vs. used, or “neutral,” etc.) have to be made by any winery regardless of scale. Over 20 years ago, as “oaky” became a synonym for “high quality” (I'll reserve discussion about aesthetics for another time), large-scale producers were faced with a big challenge; how do you get “oaky” when you need to sell wine at supermarket prices? You see, barrels are expensive. The typical barrel holds 300 bottles. A new barrel that will impart that “oaky” flavor (a barrel used once, is considered neutral–incapable of imparting oak flavors), will cost anywhere from $250 to $1500 per barrel, depending on where the oak comes from, quality of the ba

Industrial Wine - Allowable Chemicals

Industrial Wine - Allowable Chemicals

wine David Moore

polyoxyethylene 40 monostearate…looks appetizing… The following is offered without a whole lot of comment–well, here and there I may have added a comment. This is a by no means comprehensive list of ATF approved chemicals and processes allowed in U.S. "industrial" wine production: polyoxyethylene 40 monostearate (I think that's what the formula above is about. I'll have to ask Greg's daughter. She knows these things) dimethyldicarbonate diacetyl (gives your cheap Chardonnay its "buttery" flavor - and Orville Redenbacher popcorn its flavor) silicon dioxide dimethylpoly-siloxane sorbitan  monostearategyceryl mono-oleategyceral dioleate (nothin' says "love" like an oleate, and a DI-OLEATE is even more special) copper sulfate calcium carbonate ascorbic acid  erythorbic acid ammonium phosphate [mono- and dibasic] (I prefer the mono, but, you know, thats just "how I roll") gum arabic dimethyl dicarbonate catalase ce

Say It With Me Now...

Say It With Me Now...

wine David Moore

Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl Sec from Château Viella – and a perfect pairing It had been been a long time since we’d been able to bring in one of the great white wines of the Southwest of France. We missed them, but Alain Bortolussi at Château Viella finally had enough for us to bring in a small amount of his dry, (say it with me now), Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl. If you’ve never experienced wine like this, it’s a revelation. The most important indigenous white grapes of the Southwest in appellations such as Pacherenc, Irouleguy, and Jurançon include Gros Manseng, Arrufiat, and Petit Manseng, all grown to varying degrees depending on local preferences. They are a “Basque” tradition.

Wine in the "Old World"

Wine in the "Old World"

wine David Moore

I’d just completed a two-hour drive from Orly (with a stick shift, mind you — that vehicle would never be the same) after an eight-hour flight from Philadelphia — my first trip to France. I was beat, but as I pulled up to the front gate at Philippe Poniatowski’s Clos Baudoin, and stepped out of the car, I was struck by the familiarity of the place. I’d opened hundreds bottles that grew on this estate, and had drunk quite a few myself. A deep breath was all it took to recognize the“Clos,” even though I’d never been there. Philippe (now, deceased), was in his 70s at the time, and I was a young “know-it-all” back then, but he did all he could to guide me to an understanding of wine in the “Old World.” He was patient with me — no simple task in those days…some might argue that hasn’t changed…but I digress. On the map above, you see many places carefully mapped out that show the boundaries between one wine region and another. The concept of wine as having a distinct, geographic

Visiting Corzano e Paterno

Visiting Corzano e Paterno

wine David Moore

The sun had just set. Fireflies coming out. The nightime shadows not quite overtaking the view. Evening in San Pancrazio, staying at the Corzano e Paterno agriturismo.The sheep are still speaking to one another in the fields. My wife's arms around me. Life is good. If you’re heading to Tuscany, stay here. Fall in love again. - DM

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