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
The free wine preservation kit Yessiree bob! Your own FREE WINE PRESERVATION KIT right here! No kidding. After all these years, these empty (and resealable) glass bottles are the best way I've found to preserve wine. Ideally, you want to fill them to the brim before sealing, and I recommend you slap a quick label on, so you know what you've got in the fridge. The glass, resealable 10oz. club soda bottles are particularly helpful (we'll probably see a spike in sales at Wegman’s:), but I've used all manner, including empty Orangina bottles. I also get the empty green bottles with corks at places like Sur la Table, but I'd bet they're somewhere on amazon (what isn’t available there). These will keep your wine fresh (in the fridge – for a week or so), and beat anything else, including expensive “inert gas” kits and Vacu-Vins (which pull out more than just oxygen). Just fill 'em to the brim and seal them up. Best of all, they're free to use over and over. -DM
I've got to hand it to my brother, Greg. He's very brave allowing his daughter Kate to film him as he drives a tractor for the first time. Jochen Ratzenberger Sr. was plowing a new vineyard site in Bacharach, and invited Greg to take the tractor home. Fortunately all have a good sense of humor…
Robert Ampeau in 2003 (photo: Greg Moore) Robert Ampeau was a legendary figure, and an admired colleague of the most important producers in Burgundy, including Aubert de Villaine, Lalou Bize-Leroy, Dominique Lafon, and Hubert de Montille, whose cellars all contain Ampeau wine. Ruth Reichl, the last Editor-in Chief of Gourmet magazine, recorded the impression that Ampeau made on other producers in her 1998 memoir, Tender at the Bone, in which she recorded her visit to the Volnay producer Hubert de Montille, accompanied by the wine merchant, Kermit Lynch. Kermit had brought along a bottle of one of Ampeau’s wines (label removed) “to see what he really thinks.” “There is sunlight in the glass,” de Montille said finally, “much sunlight. It is from a very good year…what can it be?” When Kermit told him what it was, de Montille cried, “But I have this wine in my cellar!” He turned eagerly to Kermit and asked, “Did Ampeau sell it to you?” Kermit nodded smugly. “Consider yourself ho
Xavier Vignon Minerality is a “hot topic” in wine these days, but not many people involved in the discussion are as well grounded in the “facts,” as Xavier Vignon - one of the southern Rhône's most important oenologists. As a consultant to over three hundred producers in and around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, he's had a hand in hundreds of “90+ point-wines" from the area. Xavier's work as a physical chemist, geologist, agronomist, and oenologist, has given him an expert view on what drives “minerality” in wine, and how it works. His lab runs millions of samples on wine every year, measuring mineral content down to parts per million, where, as he says, “it's where the magic is.” This is over eight minutes, but well worth it, if you'd like to understand what “minerality” is all about.
Patrick Brunet of Domaine de Robert, farms roughly 2,500 vines per acre by hand In wine production, oak barrels (see here for more on this subject) are the second largest expense after grape purchases, unless, of course you already own the grapes, having grown them yourself. In industrial “winemaking,” where a company needs to fill its “brand position” in the marketplace with many multiples of thousands of cases, this is rarely, practically never the case. Whether you’re “Cupcake Vineyards,” and buying grapes or ready-made “wine” on which you’ll slap your label (or a multi-national, publicly-traded marketing corporation most known for luggage that does the same), the “raw material,” grapes, are one of your largest expenses. This brings us to farming. Before we get started down that road, let’s first establish how things work with our producers; 99.5% of them farm their own vineyards, and do so sustainably. Most are fully “organic,” some are "certified" in their respe
So that big truck pulled up outside of Sergio Germano's winery, fully refrigerated at 56° (13.33° Celsius, for those “in the know”). It was the first time I'd seen one of the reefer trucks in Europe. After a whole lot of years working in wine, it's unbelievable that this isn't the “norm.” On this same day, a number of (much smaller) delivery vans pulled in to pick up smaller amounts of wine, and none of them were refrigerated, let alone air-conditioned — and this was in June. The small vans were apparently picking up from a number of wineries in Barolo, so one has to assume that a lot of wine was sitting in these vans for some time before they got to their initial destination. One hot July afternoon outside of Domaine Ampeau, I saw a flat-bed with dozens of cases of expensive Burgundy sitting outside the cellar. It had come to pick up 10 cases from the domaine. It was in the low 90's temperature-wise. Who knows how long those wines had been sitting there, or how much longer they
It only took years, but we've finally figured out how to make our maps available. You'll find us referring to these maps all the time when we tell the stories and histories of the evolution of wine in the “Old World.” For ten years we’d been asked to make them available to our customers for purchase, but they were too expensive to print at the custom sizes seen in our stores. With the advent of print-on-demand services that could print and even frame these maps, I re-designed them to print at two sizes: Large (36" X 24"), and Small (16" X 24") in partnership with FineArtsAmerica. You'll find the maps here at FineArtsAmerica.