Champagne sales fell off a cliff last year and, as a result, discounting was rampant - at least in France. Decanter.com reports that while total sales grew to
295 million bottles, the only reason for ...<< MORE >>
Sometimes, I love my hometown. This past weekend, France and Italy decided to visit. Not only were there free tastings of Prosecco at Grand Central (see earlier post), but at the New York City Food & Wine Festival there were serious tastings of serious wines: Chateauneuf du Pape from Chateau de Beaucastle - one of the premier producers - and a library tasting of Amarones from Bertani Estates.
You can praise Pinot Noir. You can rave about Reislings and Gewurtztraminer. But when it comes to serious wines, wines with elegance and complexity like the notes that linger after a symphony has finished, you want these wines.
In a few weeks, the Beaujolais Nouveaus will arrive to great (or not so great) fanfare. At about the same time, the Amarone grapes will just be finished being laid out on mats to dry until they are almost pucker like a raisin. This probably won't happen until early Spring. It is only then that they will be crushed and fermented and then left in big oak barrels. Some of them have been aging for 20 years in those barrels, And then they will be bottled. And then maybe, if it was a great year, they will be released. The aromas of licorice, tar, plum and leather will fill the glass. And if you are very lucky to live to a ripe old age, the wine will finally be fit for drinking. I tasted both the 2001 Bertain's most recent release, and the 1964 - yes 1964 - before most of you were born. And the 1964's color was just a shade darker, but its nose was so much richer and fuller. If I could I'd buy a case of the 2001. And then with luck drink it over the next 30 years. Of course, I doubt that I will live long enough to finish that case off - so the surviving bottles would make a great gift to my friends.
As for the Chateauneuf de Pape, Those also stood the test of time. At least a good chunk of time. We tasted back to 1988. And while I don't really remember 1988 very well, I do think it must have been a very good year for wine.
Tastings of Chateau de Beaucastel's wines 1988-2007, followed by Amarones from Bertani Estates - 1964 -2001. New York City Food & Wine Festival wine tasting. Chateau de Beaucastel's wines from 2007 back to 1988 and Bertani Estates' Amarones from 2001-1964.
Sometimes, I love New York. Usually, I wait for winemakers to visit the city. Today, I discovered Venice was visiting New York. If you'd like a glass of Prosecco and some lovely cheese to help you continue onto the Bandolino, head over to Grand Central Station's Vanderbilt Hall between 4 ...<< MORE >>
To quote Napoleon: Champagne - in victory you deserve it, in defeat you need it. But at $25 or $30 or better for a bottle of just so-so non-vintage Champagne, I'd like to offer alternatives to put a little sparkle in your glass.