You should date a girl who eats.

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The Chocolate-Almond Croissant @ Bouchon Bakery, Yountville. Once recommended to me by a girl who eats.

Date a girl who eats. Date a girl who spends her money on fancy cheese instead of clothes, who has problems with refrigerator space because she has so many variations of mustard (and don’t even start with all the hot sauces). Date a girl who keeps a list of faraway restaurants she wants to visit, who has been eating foie gras since she was twelve.

Find a girl who eats. You’ll know that she eats because she will always have a half-eaten bar of artisanal fair-trade chocolate in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the produce at the farmers market, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the first morels of the season. You see that weird chick sniffing the leaves of vine-ripened tomatoes at the supermarket? That’s the girl [… read more …]

Food & Art: Meet the Coolest Wine Map Ever

Designed by architectural historian Dr. David Gissen, this wine map of France is reconfigured to resemble a modern subway map. Pure genius, if you ask me. Gissen really captures the public-transportation aesthetic perfectly, presenting French wine in a uniquely urban context. Bravo. Wine geeks can purchase a high-quality printing of this map online at De Long Wine, creators and purveyors of the equally cool Wine Grape Varietal Table.

Book Review: “A Revolution in Taste: The Rise of French Cuisine” by Susan Pinkard

If footnotes indicate anything, I’d argue that Susan Pinkard’s “A Revolution in Taste” is perhaps the best-researched text available on French culinary history. Pinkard has clearly done her homework, and her book is both comprehensive and concise, and for me, it represents one of the great recent surveys of food and culture. Published in 2009, “A Revolution in Taste” may prove a bit scholarly for the casual gourmet, but for the student of Western cuisine, the book offers an approachable and well-documented account of the culinary trends that evolved from the Greco-Roman Era to the French Revolution. Along the way, Pinkard explains how medicine, exploration, philosophy, and an ever-changing social climate helped to forever transform the way people eat. My one criticism with the book, though it may be slightly unfair, is that I wish Pinkard had pressed further into the 19th and 20th centuries. I do understand that, [… read more …]

Lessons in Good Living: Part One

Pick Your Poison: 2001 LeRoy Vosne-Romanée,

L-I-V-I-N: 2001 LeRoy Vosne-Romanée, 1983 Chateau Latour, 1990 Domaine Weinbach Cuvée Ste. Catherine.

Wine tasting can sometimes be counter-productive to blogging, at least in the short term. Pictured above, three reasons why I’ve been mostly absent from the internet this week. This handsome trio in the photo capped an epic Tuesday evening, which began with a blind tasting of 2007 California Pinot Noir (Kosta Browne, Papapietro Perry, Chasseur, and three others; my full report to follow next week). Before this throw-down of mailing-list Pinot, I had already spent the entire day touring Napa wine country with my friend Jean-Marie, who is currently visiting California from Europe.

It had been a pleasure to host someone who shares my same passion for wine, but with an Old World perspective. Jean-Marie’s last official gig was a three-year stint as lead sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in Chelsea (that’s a three-Michelin joint, [… read more …]

Wine Tasting Notes: 2005 Keller "Hubacker" Riesling and 2003 Frederic Magnien Chambolle-Musigny "Amoureuses"

So, I did a little web consulting the other day for my old buddy Geoff Harner at Mosher & Company Wine Importers. How it works: I help Geoff rebuild his company website, and he fuels my creativity with some European wine (nice work, if you can get it). We met up on Tuesday morning and tasted through a couple of really nice bottles, beginning with the 2005 Keller “Hubacker” Riesling, which is produced by one of the up-and-coming superstars of German wine, Klaus-Peter Keller. The 2005 “Hubacker” is a dry Riesling, and one of four or five “Grosses Gewächs” (or Grand Cru) bottlings in the Weingut Keller portfolio. It’s interesting to point out that Keller’s wines originate from Germany’s Rheinhessen region, an area most recently synonymous for its simple German table wines, usually produced from the meager Müller-Thurgau grape. But despite the overall mediocrity of the Rhinehessen, Keller [… read more …]

The World's Most Difficult Wine Quiz: Burgundy Grand Cru

Okay, so maybe this isn’t actually the most difficult wine quiz in the entire world, but it is extremely challenging. I created these 20 questions in order to help study for the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) exam in 2010. Therefore, at the risk of sounding elitist, this test is geared towards those who are already familiar with the 33 Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy. If you don’t have that particular list committed to memory, then the following questions will be total Francophile gibberish. On the other hand, I would expect any Master of Wine or Master Sommelier to breeze through this test. For those looking for advice regarding the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) exam, please keep in mind that these questions transcend the scope of that test by a large margin. Answers for each question are typed in white, so you can reveal the information by swiping each [… read more …]