Poggio Scalette 2012 Chianti Classico

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

The Greve Valley is lined with terraced vineyards. Looking across the valley from this winery, those stone walls can look like a giant scallete (ladder, in Italian).  At least it did for the wineries original owner.  We will never know where he thought that ladder would take him. He disappeared a long time ago and his winery fell to ruin. Only much later, in 1991,  was Poggio Scalette  raised again, by none other than Vittorio Fiore, one of the greatest living winemakers...

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Rosenblum Cellars 2010 “Harris Kratka” Zinfandel

Posted in American Wine Reviews

No matter it’s pedigree, Zinfandel is big, dumb and fun.  I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. There should  always be a place for fun. This is the wine for unsophicated meals. I couldn’t imagine a better wine for the smokiness of Texas pulled pork or the tang of Carolina-style brisket. Conversely, it’s the perfect wine for sophisticated parties.  It’s the wine for smart people having a good time: the type of party where Sartre quotes and...

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Evening Land 2011 Pouilly Fuisse

Posted in French Wine Reviews

Way back when I was in my early twenties,  Pouilly-Fuissé was all the rage. The restaurant I was working at had  three on their wine list.  One of the greatest points of being a chef at such a young age was that I got to experience a lot of great wines early on.   Drinking good wine didn’t mean I knew anything about wine, but  I did know that Pouilly-Fuissé was the finest Chardonnay I had ever experienced by that point.   And like all guys in their 20′s, I...

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Contino 2007 Gran Reserva Rioja

Posted in Spanish Wine Reviews

A number of years ago,  I was  fortunate enough to have a one-on-one tasting with Maria Larrea, the CVNE winemaker. A wonderfully gracious woman, she took me through her entire portfolio of extraordinary wines.  My favorite CVNE wine has been the Contino every since the 1996 vintage, the very first Gran Reserva. I even featured it on my long-gone Philly.com show Philly Uncorked.  I gushed and slobbered over the wine like a half-crazed bassethound. It wasn’t until...

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Saintsbury 2009 “Brown Ranch” Pinot Noir

Posted in American Wine Reviews

Most descriptions of Saintsbury Winery will include the word “pioneer” somewhere within the first paragraph. Go one and google it: you will get over 3.5 million pages describing how the winery is a pioneer in California. Saintsbury does have a place in our wine history books (if such a book existed)  for planting Pinot Noir in Carneros.  They helped launch the Carneros as a sub-region in Napa Valley when  Richard Ward and David Graves launched the winery in...

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Montecillo 2008 Rioja Reserva

Posted in Spanish Wine Reviews

If I could figure out a way to turn the Wine School into a religious institution (think of it: best communion ever!), Rioja would be one of our holy lands. It’s a place where the modern and classical worlds of wine collide and fold into each other like some sort of temporal abnormality. In other words, heaven on earth. Longtime readers will know that I seek out Rioja for them to enjoy. Montecillo is a rather large winery, and their wines are typically in the middle of...

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Salviano 2012 Orvieto Classico

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

Orvieto used to be huge. I still am surprised when younger sommeliers and students don’t recognize the name.  In the 80′s, it was  one of those bottles that white zin lovers could relate to: innocuous, cheap and vaguely sweet. On second thought, maybe it’s good they don’t know about it’s sorted past. Well, it’s history  goes way further back  than that. The wines come from the borderland of Umbria and Lazio in Italy, and they date back to...

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Imbibe! The Whiskey & Cocktail Class

Posted in Spirits & Cocktails

The Whiskey wheat, rye, and barley   Four Roses “Single Barrel” Bourbon, 10 Year Russell’s Reserve Rye, 6 Year Bruichladdich “Rocks” Islay Single Malt, 7 Year   The Cocktails Custom made cocktails created specifically for tonight’s class. Captain Jack and His Blueberry Cola Army   The Barga   Paper and Oak     Captain Jack and His Blueberry Cola Army This is a sassed up version of the classic American Jack & Coke. Let’s...

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