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Priorat Favorite pairing

I rarely have a "go to" food, in the sense that _____________ is the one GREAT match to serve with ______________. Over the years, I've found that any number of wines will delightfully accompany that particular dish; that any number of dishes will beautifully show off that particular wine.

I drink a fair amount of Priorat (and Montsant), and -- perhaps it's jut the way my own mind works; and, I know, it's not polite to answer a question with a question -- but my first question is *which* Priorat? I love the Clos Figueres (and the estate's other two reds, Font de la Figuera and Serras del Priorat), for example, but I don't really enjoy the wines from Vall Llachs; I love Alvaro Palacio's L'Ermita, Gratallops, and Les Terraces -- though I may not choose to serve the same foods with all three -- but I'm not a huge fan of his Camins del Priorat . . .

Like I said, it's just me, but I always have a hard time answering this sort of question. For me it almost always comes down to a) what's for dinner, and b) going to the cellar and seeing what I'm in the mood for at that moment.

about 10 hours ago
zin1953 in Wine

Yquem releases up-market six packs

Six bottles from six different vintages within a single decade, each in its own individual wooden box . . .

about 12 hours ago
zin1953 in Wine

Grower Champagnes a ‘phenomenon’

“Grower Champagne may be the most notable phenomenon in the Champagne world,” believes Essi Avellan MW speaking yesterday at an event at Trinity House in London organised by the Institute of Masters of Wine.

And this is a surprise to her?

about 12 hours ago
zin1953 in Wine

Martell launches Premier Voyage in Asia

Speaking of putting one's eggs into a single basket . . .

about 12 hours ago
zin1953 in Spirits

Rémy Cointreau reports 15% net sales drop

He who puts all his eggs in one basket . . .

about 12 hours ago
zin1953 in Spirits

'People were afraid of Burgundy when I started,' says broker Becky Wasserman | decanter.com

Danger! Danger!! Warning, Will Robinson -- THREAD DRIFT APPROACHING!!!

Speaking of Schoonmaker, a huge number of the German wines we carried from the 1971 vintage (and earlier) carried neck labels identifying them as "A Frank Schoonmaker Selection."

Burgundies, not so much.

And it's worth mentioning (for those who don't know) that Alexis Lichine started out working for him, before setting up his own portfolio.

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I remember -- and take what I'm saying with grains of salt; we're talking a number of years ago -- Robert Haas/Vineyard Brands first showing up around the mid-1970s (IIRC) with wines like Sauzet and, of course, Beaucastel. I started working for a second L.A.-based retailer in the mid-1970s¹, and I know we sold Sauzet there; I think it was "A Robert Haas Selection."

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Another "aside" is that Lichine and my uncle Stan, a wine merchant in Los Angeles following World War II through the 1970s and into the '80s, knew each other quite well. When I first met him in 1977 (horrible vintage) at his estate (Château Prieuré-Lichine), he told me that my uncle was the only merchant to buy the 1961 Bordeaux wines that Lichine had come to Los Angeles to sell. "Everyone already had the 1959s, the 'Vintage of the Century,' and nobody wanted the '61s. Your uncle simply asked me if they were really that good, and bought out almost all I had to sell."

Then Lichine confirmed the prices I'd hear from Stan: the First Growths were each $30/case, except for Lafite -- which was expensive. It was $36/case.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Back on topic, let me make sure there's no misunderstanding about what I wrote above. When I said . . .

>>> Sure, I was selling Burgundies in the 1970s, but overwhelmingly they were négociant wines from Joseph Drouhin, Louis Jadot, Louis Latour, Charles Vienot, Remoissenet, et. al., rather than specific domaines (save for DRC, Domaine Marey-Monge [Romanée St.-Vivant], and Bonneau du Martray). Even Alexis Lichine started a négociant label under which wines were actually domaine bottled but sold under the "Alexis Lichine®" name -- Louis Trapet was but one example. <<<

. . . let me be clear those three domaines were not the *only* estate-bottled Burgundies I was selling. I think we sold something in the neighborhood of 300 cases of the 1971 Musigny, Bonnes Mares, and Chambole-Musigny "Les Amoureuses" from Comte de Vogüé (combined), along with about 5 cases of the 1972 Musigny Blanc, plus older vintages of the Grands Crus stretching back to 1945.

The three domaines originally cited, plus Vogüé, are but examples, not the entire stocklist. ;^) I did not mean to imply these were the ONLY estate-bottled Burgundies available. Nonetheless, négociant bottlings *did* dominate the marketplace, and for the most part, only "serious" wine merchants in the 1960s and 1970s carried domaine-bottled wines as part of their regular inventory, along with those from négociants. Liquor stores and supermarkets -- along with a surprising number of restaurants -- limited their Burgundies to négociant wines, offering names people could recognize (Drouhin, Latour, and especially Jadot).

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¹ For those who may have been familiar with the wine "scene" in Los Angeles 40+ years ago, my uncle, Stan Weller, first opened Stan's Wines & Spirits in Hermosa Beach in the years immediately after World War II and rapidly became known as one of only five true wine merchants in greater LA (along with -- in no particular order -- Greenspan's, Wally's, Duke of Bourbon, and Red Carpet). Around 1971 or so, Stan and three other liquor/wine retailers joined forces to create a six-store chain known as King's Cellar (with stores in Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo Beaches, along with Malibu, Pacific Palisades, and one on the Sunset Strip). The SECOND retail job I referred to was when Dennis Overstreet opened up The Wine Merchant of Beverly Hills in 1974; we had three salespeople on the floor at the time, Dennis, myself and some guy named Randall Grahm -- wonder whatever happened to him . . . Meanwhile, I worked for Dennis Monday-Friday, and still worked for my uncle on Saturdays.

about 12 hours ago
zin1953 in Wine

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

Awww, now you're going to make me blush . . . . ;^)

Thank you, Dave, for your very generous and kind words. I treasure the thought, and wish you -- and everyone here -- a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 25, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Gumphof for Thanksgiving meal?

IF . . . IF we are talking about the same thing, Gumphof is a WINERY, not a wine. See http://www.gumphof.it/e_gumphof.html

Nov 25, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Czech president: US beer is ‘filthy water’

I'd presume he's far more likely to taste brands like Bud, Bud Light, Michelob, Coors, etc. than he'd be to try Pliny the Elder or Boont Amber, etc., etc.

Nov 25, 2014
zin1953 in Beer

Czech president: US beer is ‘filthy water’

true, but then again, he also says from very wise and true things . . . even if saying them aloud may be stupid.

Nov 25, 2014
zin1953 in Beer

Czech president: US beer is ‘filthy water’

Well, generally speaking . . .

Nov 25, 2014
zin1953 in Beer

Budweiser loses out to craft beer in US

The King of Beers has been dethroned???

Nov 25, 2014
zin1953 in Beer

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

I'm not trying to be difficult, but I'm not sure what you're trying to prove -- unless you inadvertently replied directly to me when you meant to reply directly to the OP . . .

After all, since when ISN'T it a "palate issue," as you phrase it. You've been here long enough to have seen me say -- repeatedly -- things like "no one size fits all" (meaning there is no *one* "right" wine to go with ________) and that it's all about "personal palate preference(s)."

I've been in and around the California wine trade since the 1960s, and the one and only rule that has *ever* existed when it comes to food-and-wine pairings is "Drink what you want, with what you want."

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One of my earliest lessons in the trade (and I've told this story before on this site, too) was when I was still a teenager (probably back in 1967 or 1968), and my uncle -- who opened a wine store in the 1940s, when everyone else had liquor stores -- was helping customers select their wines. One person, a regular customer, told him they were having steak and needed a wine for dinner. IIRC, he sold him a bottle of BV Private Reserve Cabernet. The next person, a new customer was patiently waiting nearby. He, too, was having steak and, after some discussion, my uncle suggested a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (Note: prices were roughly the same; both were a little under $10 at the time.) The man was indignant! He demanded to know why my uncle was recommending a CdP to him, whereas he had recommended a Cabernet to the other guy, then stormed out of the store and never (TTBOMK) returned.

My uncle shrugged his shoulders and started helping someone else . . .

Later I asked him about what had happened. He smiled and told me that, one day, wine stores would be the size of supermarkets, but instead of the aisles being marked (e.g.) "4A -- Breads, Cereals; 4B -- Crackers, Cookies, Snacks, you'd have one aisle marked "Beef," another marked "Chicken" or "Lamb" and so on. And on that aisle would be every wine you could serve with beef. You'd have Château Rib-Eye, Domaine Filet Mignon, Short Rib Vineyards and so on . . . and that way everyone could know they were getting the EXACT wine to go with their meals.

And after rolling his eyes a bit, he taught me how to help customers who wanted a recommendation for dinner -- ask not only what they're serving, but find out what kind of wines they like and don't like; get an idea of *their* personal palate preference and ignore your own; find out how much they are comfortable spending and stay within their budget . . . unless there is something amazing that is just a bit more (no more than 10% over); take the time to listen to their wants and needs, answer all of their questions, and explain with this wine would work while that one might not. Take your time, and after they make a selection, ask them to come back and tell you what they thought of the wine . . . after all, the better you get to know *their* palate, the better and better your recommendations will be . . . .

That advice hasn't failed me in the 40+ years I was in the trade.

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Heck, if the OP likes to drink Malbec or Merlot, Touriga Nacional or Tannat, Godello or Grüner Veltliner with prime rib, who is anyone to say she's *wrong*??? No one. She likes it; that's fine!

But when asking for advice/suggestions, and particularly in *this* sort of environment (where I can't ask what she likes/doesn't like, what wines she's had before, etc., etc.), I fall back on my years of experience and offer ideas for wines that have worked well -- both for me personally, that's true, but also for my customers repeatedly over the years -- and offer some ideas.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Karen is a friend of mine, and I have a great deal of respect for her, both personally and professionally. And we agree on a great many things, including "the truth is there are no rigid rules." (Indeed, I have never said there were.) We also disagree on a great many things, and that's what has made for many of the great discussions we've had over dinner across the years . . . .

;^)

Nov 25, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Sparkling Red Wine

Blanc/blancs = white/whites

Noir/noirs = black/blacks

Blanc de Noirs = white from blacks

And while it *is* true that one of the synonyms for "dark" in French is "noir," in terms of color the choice is typically "foncée" (as in "couleur foncée") . . . "noir" for dark is more associated with a mood, as in being in a dark (or black) mood.

(Or, at least, that's what I was taught in school.)

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine
1

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

Seriously? I believe you, but i can honestly say that has also;cutely, positively never happened to me. EVER.

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

(Yes. Precisely!)

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Burgundy faces structural shift

But doesn't every region?

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Shelf life of Port and Sherry

Well, it's not going to kill you, that's for sure. Whether it's actually worth drinking is another question. Care to tell us *exactly* what it is? Then we can provide you with a more specific answer . . .

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Who is drinking Beaujolais Nouveau? | decanter.com

Interesting graphic accompanies the article . . .

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

App predicts taste in wine and beer

I can think of at least one person who might benefit . . .

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Beer
1

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

So, when paying the bill, you actually say, "Wait a minute! You had 1.75 ounces more of that wine than I did. Pay up!"

Or, when figuring out the sales tax, do you ask "Does anyone have change for a penny?"

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine
1

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

As I said above, "Because it's a prime rib roast (as opposed to, say, a rib-eye steak), the short answer is that either a Pinot Noir/Burgundy or a Grenache/CdP should work quite nicely." I'd never serve a Cabernet/Bordeaux with a prime rib. Steak, yes; prime rib, no.

If you go for Beaujolais, I would make sure it's from one of the 10 crus -- preferably a Morgon, Brouilly, or Côte de Brouilly, I should think -- rather than a Beaujolais-Villages. The extra weight of (e.g.) a Morgon will work better with the prime rib while not overpowering the turkey, whereas a Beaujolais-Villages (depending upon the specific wine) might be overwhelmed by the prime rib -- particularly if, for example, there is a horseradish sauce to accompany.

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

What are your thoughts of this restaurant corkage fee policy?

>>> Unlike the food, the wine is not a unique product of skill created by the kitchen staff. <<<

No, it's a unique product of nature and skill (you apparently forgot nature's role in the food you eat "created" by the kitchen staff) "created" if you will by the staff tending the vineyard(s) and working within the winery.

>>> In nearly all instances, it is a mere commodity, with which you are getting the exact same product from every competent seller. <<<

Yes, because -- just like McDonald's endless supplies of Big Macs -- there's an endless supply of 1967 Château d'Yquem . . .

Nov 24, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

Agreed, ML

Nov 23, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Wine for prime rib and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?

Chef June is correct; by-the-glass pricing will ALWAYS be higher than the equivalent volume of wine from a bottle.

Because it's a prime rib roast (as opposed to, say, a rib-eye steak), the short answer is that either a Pinot Noir/Burgundy or a Grenache/CdP should work quite nicely. I'd probably pass on the two other "standby" reds for Thanksgiving (Beaujolais and Zinfandel) in this case.

BUT . . . that's just me. And I drink far more French, Spanish, and Portuguese reds than I do Italian ones. So what that means is this: while *I* might opt for a a CdP, or even a Garnacha from Spain -- and I'll confess I'm giving serious thought to pulling out an aged Douro red for dinner -- I wouldn't disagree with opting for Italian and serving a nice Chianti Ruffina or a Barbera d'Alba.

In other words, there is ALWAYS more than one "right" answer when it comes to food pairing, and you won't go wrong with any of the wines mentioned thus far . . . and that includes Beaujolais or Zinfandel. And while I can't quite picture having a Cabernet/Merlot/Bordeaux with turkey, that would certainly work with the prime rib, so there you go!

You don't say how many people will be dining, but you could always order one of each and try them side-by-side. ;^) And yes, a good dry Riesling, perhaps, by the glass.

Nov 23, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Serious Question for those who "belong" to various retail wine "clubs"

As K&L wrote on its own website re: one of its Kalinda Cabernet, "This is another production coming from a famous-Cabernet-producer-known-for-giving-us great-juice-for-our-private-label who does not want people to know that this is being done." So, K&L won't tell. Also another dead give-away is that Kalinda wines come from Napa, Santa Ynez, the Santa Rita Hills, and the Willamette Valley of Oregon -- but the label is all the same.

OK, terminology: a PRIVATE label is owned by the retailer (think Trader Joe's selling "Trader Giuseppe's Gelato" or "Trader Darwin's Apple Juice"). No one else will ever sell anything under that brand.

Then there is a CONTROL label. A control label is typically owned by the producer. Think of, for example, a co-op winery in the Languedoc. They may have well over two dozen different labels available. Let's say you're Trader Joe's. Buy enough wine from them, and they won't use -- say Label #17 -- for any other buyer from the United States. Now, your biggest competitor (just for the sake of conversation, let's say it's Costco) may in fact go to the exact same co-op in France, and in fact buy the exact same wine. But no one will know, because it's bottled under Label #12. Meanwhile, the co-op may sell wine under Label #17 to someone in the UK, or China, or Brazil, but no one in the U.S. (or California or whatever the agreement specified) will be able to sell wine under Label #17.

At one point, Lindeman's (think Bin 65 Chardonnay) was a control label for Safeway stores, but within the state of California only.

Ashland Park® was, for example, a private label for Liquor Barn. We created the label and had the wines custom blended for us by purchasing wines on the bulk market and having an experienced winemaker put the blends together for us (then we'd taste the samples and approve the one we wanted). But Ashland Park was so successful that the winemaker wanted in on some of the action, too. So we made it into a control label, and sold the rights to use the label outside of California. As a result, Liquor Bard was the only retailer in California to be able to sell Ashland Park, but you might be able to find Ashland Park in Texas, or in Illinois, or in Massachusetts . . .

My uncle had a wine shop in LA, and we used to do a lot of private label stuff. We'd use "Old Duff" for distillates, but for wines, we just labeled then "Stan's Wine and Spirits." So, for example, the 1974 Stan's Wines and Spirits Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was produced and bottled by Warren Winiarski at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars . . . but that was never on the label.

Nov 22, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Serious Question for those who "belong" to various retail wine "clubs"

True, but then again, the "exclusive" or "boutique" wine that no one has ever heard of is all-too-often a control label or special bottling by a major producer that everyone has heard of, except it's bottled under a different name!

Nov 22, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Serious Question for those who "belong" to various retail wine "clubs"

See, this is EXACTLY what I don't understand . . .

>>> "I don't know what I'm looking for or what to pay for it. Can you help me?" Is usually a way to get screwed. <<<

No, it's usually a way to get help. If you go into, say, an ACE hardware store and you don't know exactly what tool you need/want for a job, do you randomly buy one, or ask for help? If you go into a clothing store to buy a suit, whether it's Nordstrom's or Men's Wearhouse, does a salesperson assist you, or do you quote W.C. Fields and say, "Get away from me boy, you're bothering me . . . " If you're buying a vehicle -- be it a new or used car, or a mountain or road bike -- do you just say, "I'll take that one," or do you ask questions of the salesperson?

Why is wine any different?

>>> it is easy to waste $100 on a single bottle <<<

No, it's not. It's only easy if you a) spend an average of $100 on a single bottle, and b) -- you know, there is no "b". I cannot think of ANY bottle I've had that was $100 (+/-$25) that was a total "waste," unless it was corked, and that can happen to any bottle regardless of price. The odds of buying a bottle of absolutely crappy wine for $100 are infitessmially small compared to, say, buying a bottle <$5, or a bottle of "unclothed" wine, or a bottle of 2BC -- and yet, loads of people LIKE those unclothed wines and 2BC. (Maybe they drink 2BC unclothed, who knows?)

I am NOT picking on you, and certainly don't mean to sound like I am. But -- your fault; you answered me ;^) -- these are the same criticisms of retailers that I always hear, and my own experience is 180° -- exactly opposite -- of this. It's so much easier to get screwed buying unheard of labels from some internet-based company which is selling cheap wines that cost the company even less. Why do you think there are so many of these companies? Because there is a lot of REALLY CHEAP wine out there, and selling it through wine clubs can be VERY profitable!

;^)

Nov 22, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Japanese bathe in 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau wine

Well that's ONE way to use the wine . . . .

Nov 22, 2014
zin1953 in Wine

Fücking beer causes offence

Was anyone surprised? Seriously???

Nov 22, 2014
zin1953 in Beer