The work looks easy–until you realize you’ll be walking up and down a 50 degree (or better) slope repeating the movements thousands of times. Here’s a taste of the hard work that goes into fine wine. Also Greg gets a quick tutorial from someone who has done this for a number of years on the Halenberg one of Germany's most important vineyards.
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 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
Greg explains all about “Grand Cru” in Germany. Just as there are “Grand Cru” Burgundies such as Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne, there are Grand Cru German wines as well. Here's Greg Moore to tell you all about them. From our “visiting winegrower” event with Jochen Ratzenberger.
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 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”
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