In the spiritual homeland of Malbec, many of the most innovative new wines being produced today are white. One might be forgiven for thinking that winemakers are being deliberately contrary; however, over the past decade and a half, underneath wave after wave of reds, a revolution has been simmering away quietly. Chardonnays and Sémillons are now being produced that are every bit as good as some of the best Malbecs in the country.
cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Portugal
Writing this on what is fast becoming the most glorious warm spring here in the UK, it feels slightly odd to be focusing upon a fortified wine associated with winter. Nevertheless, several Port houses have declared single-quinta 2018s that shall be reviewed soon on Vinous.
Vinous in the Kitchen
One of the first things I was taught when learning to cook professionally is the power of nostalgia. In fact, it was presented to me as more of an ingredient than a response from a client. It’s because of this that I will forever want tomato soup with my grilled cheese, or why a simple plate of Pasta Con Le Sarde will easily transport me back to happy childhood summers and the memories of running through sprinklers on hot asphalt. The same goes for pancakes. I could be in the fanciest restaurant for brunch, at the finest high tea, or just huddled up with a cup of coffee on a porch in Vermont, and what would bring me the most happiness is pancakes.
There is a lot to like from 2018 in Germany: both multiple attractive features and a lot of wines to exemplify them. And then there are the exceptions, including the vintage’s genuinely exciting Rieslings, of which, yet again, many are found on the Nahe.
featured, General Interest
As the world grapples with several major crises, the outlook for the future has never been less certain. Things change from day to day, often unpredictably. Beyond what is obvious from reading headlines full of stories on the COVID-19 pandemic, major economic duress and racism, it is clear the current situation is causing levels of stress and anxiety that are hard to quantify, but that are clearly exerting a heavy toll. “I have real misgivings about promoting my wines right now given what is going on in the world” numerous industry professionals have told me. “Is wine really all that essential?” others have asked. Well, these are my thoughts…
France: Burgundy, featured
Three snapshot tastings of mature Burgundy vintages, 2003 and 2004 reds and 2010 whites, served as a reminder that whilst some vintages repay cellaring, others can remain “ugly ducklings”.
cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Bordeaux
There is something magical about bottles of postwar Pomerol. I have been fortunate to taste a fair number, given their rarity, and always with a sense of understanding that you might never encounter it again. That is the case with the 1947 Trotanoy.
Vinous in the Kitchen
Low and Slow is the name of the game. When I search to see how other cooks prepare braised pork shoulder, it amazes me how many home chefs rush the process and miss out on the fall-off-the-fork goodness that a perfectly braised pork shoulder should deliver. It took me a long time to bend my brain around the fact that the more connective tissue a piece of meat has, the longer it should cook. However, the temperatures need to be low, and the type of cooking should include moist heat. In fact, there are many chefs that will bring the oven temperatures down even further than I do and braise for hours on end. What we need to do to get at that flavor is to break down the tissue that holds the meat together, hence the fall-off-the-fork tenderness that you get when it’s cooked properly.
France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured
The hot growing conditions that defined the 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages in the Northern Rhône show in the white wines, but the best examples also offer a good bit of energy to counterbalance their richness and ripeness. Simply put, the whites here have never been better, while the top bottlings are easily some of the world’s finest wines.
cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy
As we look through the top Premier and Grand Crus of red Burgundy, the one appellation that I feel delivers a top-level experience at prices that remain reasonable is Volnay. When you couple this with the late-releasing house of Robert Ampeau, and their Premier Cru Santenots, we are really treated to something special.