Posts Tagged ‘Asimov’

Sommel… YAY or NAY?

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

NY Times wine writer Eric Asimov wrote last week about Sommeliers at restaurants who take the first sip of wine to ensure that it is sound before arriving at the diner’s table.

Alder Yarrow in his wine blog Vinography, wrote “let sommeliers do their jobs“.

To get the full background you should read the Asimov piece & if interested the Vinography piece.  But in a nutshell, the issue revolves around Sommeliers tasting wine that diners order prior to the diners tasting the wine.  The taste is small and the motives of the sommelier are good –  both Asimov & Yarrow seem to be advocating for this practice.

WHAT! I’m flabbergasted!!  True I have the experience to detect many flaws that those who don’t make wine their life might not have.  And yes, I believe that providing this service to diners IS valuable.  BUT, my belief is that the sommelier should ONLY taste the wine once invited to do so by the diners…AFTER the bottle has been presented to and opened in front of the diner(s).

I DO think that many diners might be wise to ask someone with a more experienced palate to try a wine they are not familiar with.  But what of the bottle presentation?  What of the opening of the bottle in front of the customer?  What of the smelling of the cork (I save corks but don’t fancy smelling them)?

I hear the points my colleagues are making, but think they are missing the point.  Wine service in a restaurant is a time honored tradition.  Part of this is the presentation of the wine to the diner in a restaurant.  If this bottle is being presented to a sommelier to taste in a kitchen only to be brought out to diners already opened, this tradition is being broken, and much like the screw cap, the romance of wine as we know it is fading away…

Maybe I’m missing something here as I admittedly don’t typically dine in five star restaurants with sommeliers and the like.  But if I’m not missing anything, there is something very wrong here.

Happy Sommelier-less restaurant wine tasting!

WTG

hodgepodge of wine stuff

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Following yesterdays rant about overly extracted/  high alcohol wines, I see that the NY Times is listening (no, I am nowhere near that egocentric).  In Wednesdays edition of Eric Asimov’s “The Pour”, Asimov talks about a California Pinot Noir producer who  “renounced the fruit-bomb style in favor of wines that emphasize freshness and delicacy”.  The winemaker stated “It got to the point where I didn’t want the wine to be fatter than the food”.

Asimov goes on to talk about a predominant style of wines that are “ripe & extravagant” and approaching 15% alcohol (MUCH higher than the one time traditional 11-12%) and goes on to talk about how he “was thrilled to find a small but growing number of producers pulling in the opposite direction…Instead of power, they strive for finesse. Instead of a rich, mouth-coating impression of sweetness, they seek a dry vitality meant to whet the appetite rather than squelch it.”

Well put Mr. Asimov.

Continuing with the hodgepodge, I read a quickie peice in the USA Today about young adults holding their liquor (or wine) better than their older counterparts.   Entitled, “Can older adults hold their alcohol?”, apparently “The older adults performed more poorly than the younger group”.  Well kids, looks like you need to start giving your parents a curfew and THE LECTURE on responsible drinking.

http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/mgt/lowres/mgtn170l.jpg

Finally, I attended a rather large kosher wine (and food) event a few weeks ago and wrote about it for The Jewish Press – “America’s Largest Independent Jewish Weekly”. The article has now been posted online and can be found here.

I attended another of my wine tasting group’s Burgundy tastings tonight and will write about it as soon as I have the chance.  Stay tuned, and…

Happy delicate, youthful, kosher wine tasting!

WTG

Wine in the news & Eric Asimov reads my blog??

Friday, November 21st, 2008

OK, maybe Asimov is not reading my blog, but we at least seem to be contemplating similar wine related phenomenons.  You may recall a post I wrote a few weeks ago called “Wine, Art & Music” discussing the connections between art (or the arts) and wine.  Well, sure enough Asimov writes about his conversation with a musician and some of the commonalities between wine and music in his latest writeup of “The Pour”.

Neilson put together an interesting piece on how the economic slowdown is affecting alcoholic beverage sales during the current economic slowdown and upcoming holiday season.  My favorite expression when discussing consumers spending on alcoholic beverages was their terming such purchases as an “affordable indulgence”.  Affordable is a relative term folks…  Also included in the article is something I have been hearing and seeing around the industry here in NY – off premise (wine shops/liquor stores) is picking up while on premise (bars/restaurants) is slowing down.

Finally, PRNewswire picked up a piece about wine.com and how they are offering several new (and unusual) delivery options such as “Evening, Saturday, Date-Specific and by Appointment Delivery”.  Definitely a unique approach to draw in customers…one that I think shows a company that understands the meaning of going the extra mile for their customers.  A crazy idea…but one that just might work!

Happy Wine Tasting Weekend!

WTG

They don’t make ‘em like they used to

Monday, May 5th, 2008

oak-chips.jpgI just read a recent post by Eric Asimov of the New York Times on his blog The Pour. The post, titled “Does Your Wine Need Viagra” deals primarily with the issue of alternative sources used by wine producers for imparting the OAK flavors to wines (chips, powders & staves instead of barrels). But the article itself, as well as the myriad of comments that follows seems to be praising the old world producers, how they let the wine make itself, without the use of modern technology. While the New World producers (specifically California) are using all sorts of alternative technologies and products to make wines that lose that something special. (more…)