Cheval Blanc co-owner dies: Albert Frère, co-owner and honorary chairman of Château Cheval Blanc, has died at age 92. A Belgian businessman and billionaire, he purchased Cheval Blanc with Bernard Arnault in 1998. The two also bought Château Quinault in 2008. [Decanter]
Best wine books: Eric Asimov rounds up five of the year’s best wine books, calling this year’s crop “particularly contemplative.” His list includes Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay’s The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste, Terry Theise’s What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking, and Jamie Goode’s Flawless, with reflections on each. [NYT]
Wagner controversy: The controversy about Joe Wagner’s Oregon wine labels continues, with Wagner now claiming ulterior motives in the official rulings. Esther Mobley asks whether there is any harm to the consumer in Wagner’s offenses, and questions whether the real point of contention is the stylistic deviation of Wagner’s wines from Oregon’s ideal image. [SF Chronicle]
Why tipping continues: While many thought tip-free dining was the future when its popularity rose in 2015, tipping is still winning the day, with many restaurants even returning to tips. Staff turnover due to lower front-of-house wages and customer perception of both prices and their own empowerment are key hurdles. [Grub Street]
2018 Sonoma harvest: In its 2018 Wine Harvest Report for Sonoma, Wine Spectator describes a long growing season with moderate temperatures and few challenges. While harvest began later than in recent years, the timeline was more historically typical. Hopes are high for the resulting wines. [Wine Spectator]
Eater Awards: Eater has announced its annual Eater Awards, recognizing chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, and other personalities who shaped the way Americans thought about and experienced dining this year. The publication has also named the year’s best new restaurants for its various cities. [Eater]
Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week
Proposed CA AVAs: SevenFifty Daily profiles eight AVAs proposed in California in recent years (none of them yet approved by the TTB): Alisos Canyon, Long Valley-Lake County, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Paulsell Valley, San Luis Obispo Coast, Tehachapi Mountains, Upper Lake Valley, and West Sonoma Coast. [SevenFifty Daily]
What do you think?
What were your favorite wine books this year? Have you read those on Asimov's list?
What do you think of Mobley's comments on the root of the Wagner controversy?
What's the current tipping situation in your market?
Would you add anything to this harvest report on Sonoma?
Who are the other influential figures in the year in food, wine, and dining?
What else have you been reading this week?
The Joe Wagner article was a great read