• 10 Things I Learned By Working La Paulée de New York

    Last week, I had my second experience working La Paulée, the annual Burgundy festival organized by sommelier Daniel Johnnes. The Paulée now alternates location each year between San Francisco and New York, and—having worked in San Francisco last February—I was curious to see what small bits of Burgundy wisdom the reputedly bigger, wilder, even-more-gratuitous iteration in New York might be able to supply. Here is a sampling…

    • 12 Mar 2015
  • Weird on Moon Juice: A Guide to the Current State of Absinthe

    Miles Macquarrie of Kimball House (Decatur, GA); verte and blanche absinthe

    A couple of weeks ago, leaning at a far corner of the grand bar that forms one half of spanking new Atlanta restaurant Kimball House, resident cocktail mind Miles Macquarrie and I got talking about absinthe, its history, the associated lore, and what on earth to do with it. 

    The spirit carries a lot of baggage from its former heyday, and there…

    • 18 Nov 2013
  • Encounters With The Surreal At This Summer's Aspen Classic

    A few months ago, perhaps on a random whim, Ray Isle of Food & Wine Magazine invited me to be one of the five sommeliers pouring for the Reserve Tasting tent of Food & Wine’s Aspen Classic, the pinnacle of that organization’s various summer fests.  I took it as a real honor.  But these kinds of events usually bring a mixed bag of experiences--the good, the bad, and the somewhat, well, grotesque (a number…

    • 20 Aug 2013
  • 20 Interesting Things I Learned About Eastern American Wine (By Trying Only a Little)

    1. There is this woman named Lucie Morton.  She works as a viticulture consultant for a number of eastern growers, some of which stretch as far south as the upper lobe of my home state, Georgia.  I met her in Virginia, while driving around in the cool Blue Ridge Mountains, checking out wineries.  Virginia wines might surprise you these days.  They don’t fit the usual profile of eastern wine.  On the average, they are neither…
    • 14 May 2013
  • Wrestling with Heavyweights: Ripening and Place

    Recently, I opened a bottle of Joseph Roty Marsannay from 2007, and its rim bore that smell of bacon fat that we associate almost exclusively with older, very fine wines from the Cote de Nuits (read: old DRC).  But there it was, out of nowhere, that old, fine scent.  Like it was making a cameo.

    The 2007 Burgundy reds are moving along at a fast pace.  It makes them very useful in a restaurant.  This faster-than-usual pace…

    • 25 Oct 2012