Wine Travels and Reviews

July 24, 2015

In 2013, Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle, one of our favorite wine writers, asked "emperor of wine" and Wine Advocate founder Robert Parker, Jr. to revisit and reflect on some of his more famous (infamous?) pronouncements on wine over the arc of his career.

(Click here for Ray's interview with Parker. It's a fantastic read.)

One of the most controversial and frequently cited of these was Parker's 2003 declaration that "Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A...

July 9, 2015

Now in its fifth year, the 2015 Boulder Burgundy Festival — October 22-25 — is going to be bigger and better than ever.

Festival founder and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman is currently in the process of lining up panelists that will include leading U.S. sommeliers, wine writers, and Burgundy experts as well as a stellar group of Burgundy growers and winemakers who will be on hand to taste and talk about their wines.

In coming weeks, we will begin previewing the featured speakers and wineries as well as the venues that will be hosting the tastings, seminars, luncheons, and dinners.

In the meantime, for a taste of what to expect, have a look at scenes from last year's events, like the...

April 10, 2015

Last week, I inadvertently accepted an invitation to a preview of an outdoor weekend "wine fest" here in Houston. I won't go into the details but by the time I realized what kind of wines were being poured, it was too late to decline politely.

The centerpiece wine in the tasting was a California red blend by a legacy Napa grape grower and winemaker and a celebrity tattoo artist.

Curious about the wine, I looked it up on the winemaker's site. Here's how the tasting notes and technical info read:

A robust, powerful wine with a big personality and a generous finish. It is big, bold and rich, with pedigree sourcing from California's finest regions.

An eclectic blend of...

March 6, 2015

Last night, I attended an extraordinary wine dinner at Maialino in Manhattan honoring the writer Kerin O’Keefe for the publication of her new book on Barolo and Barbaresco (UC Press).

A number of rare wines were served, including a 1964 Giacomo Conterno Barolo and a 1971 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo (my personal highlight of the night, as it was for many in attendance).

Not long after we were seated for dinner, the host told the group that the wines had been opened and "double-decanted" — i.e., poured into a decanter and then poured back into the bottle — shortly after lunch service by the restaurant’s sommeliers (who did a fantastic job pouring...

February 27, 2015

Last week's post "Can a sommelier be trusted?" turned out to be more polarizing that I imagined.

It was retweeted and shared on Facebook by numerous wine professionals, many of whom thanked me for writing it.

At the same time, a number of readers commented (on various social media platforms) that my notes on Sullivan's article were "ill tempered" (as one Twitter user wrote).

I appreciate it greatly when people share their impressions of what we post — negative and positive — and I'm grateful for all the people who took time out to read it....

February 20, 2015

I'm just going to cut to the chase here.

Paul Sullivan's ridiculous "Wealth Matters" column ("Reading Restaurant Wine Lists, for Blockbusters and Values") for the New York Times this week really pissed me off.

In it he observes and asks: "At the end of the day, though, the sommelier is a salesman. Can he be trusted?"

Let's disregard the inherent chauvinism of his rhetoric. Yes, it's true that for many generations, men dominated cellar management in restaurants in the U.S. and Europe. That's all changed now and many of the country's...

February 13, 2015

Sweet Sauternes and rich foie gras. Oxidative Muscadet and briny raw oysters. Barnyard-scented Pinot Noir and fatty roast duck breast. Jammy Zinfandel and a juicy burger and crisp French fries. Plump Sangiovese with a bloody steak. Bone-dry Riesling and smoked salmon. Racy Champagne and oily fish roe.

The above are some of the world’s greatest and most famous wine pairings. But do they make you horny?

If the answer is yes, then read no further: Reach for one of the wine world’s canonical pairings for your coupling on Valentine’s Day this year. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. They’ve stood the test of time and have helped many a lover seduce the object of her/his desire...

February 6, 2015

Last week here on the blog, we talked about different approaches to wine shopping, including budgeting and getting the best pricing whenever and wherever you shop. And most importantly, we talked about how your wine salesperson is your best bet for getting the most out of your wine shopping experience.

But once you've purchased your wine, it's also important to be mindful of how you transport and store the wine once you leave the store.

Sadly, many wine shoppers damage their wines after they leave the store by not caring for them properly.

The number one threat is exposure to extreme temperature.

Extreme hot and...

January 30, 2015

Wine shopping can be a daunting experience for a lot of people. Especially for folks who don't regularly drink wine, the thought of walking into a wine store and picking out a bottle — from literally hundreds on the shelf — can be overwhelming.

And then you have to add the "wine snob" factor to the mix. Even though the majority of people who work in the wine trade are super nice and down-to-earth, many shoppers who are unfamiliar with the experience can feel intimidated: Will my salesperson think less of me because I don't know much about wine? Will she/her try to sell me a bad bottle because I seem like someone who won't know the difference?

The number one thing to remember is that most...

January 22, 2015

In this day and age, it’s hard to believe that there are still a handful of independently owned wine stores scattered around the U.S.

Between the “big box” outfits and major retail chains that dominate the wine sales world, mom-and-pop operations are a sadly endangered species.

But the good news is that after thirty five years in business, the Boulder Wine Merchant is still going strong and enjoys a fiercely loyal following among its clientele in Colorado and beyond.

And the even better news is that this year, beloved store manager Jeff Mathews marks his thirtieth year working at the store.

Not only is Jeff one of the most respected persons in the Colorado wine scene...