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December 2011  Features at Wine & Spirits

Where's the Beef?
  Classic California Cabernets beyond the Steakhouse
Recently, while looking over the wine list at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant Adour in New York City, I was surprised to see so much California cabernet at this very French outpost. “It is our third biggest seller,” wine director Anthony Roddick told me, “after red Burgundy and red Bordeaux.” Which, inevitably, raises a few questions.
The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Post-modern Barolo
  A Sommelier’s View from the Vineyards and Cellars of Alba
The Sunday before Ferragosto, Italy’s Memorial Day and Labor Day rolled into one, we made the six-hour trip from Abruzzo to Castiglione Falletto, a medieval town that sits almost in the center of Barolo.The centro of Castiglione Falletto rests on top of a hill, home to two small hotels, a bar with views across to Serralunga d’Alba, a tabaccaio, and a small panettiere, the parish church of San Lorenzo, the cantina communale, the requisite medieval castle and the Vietti winery. This would be my home for the next three months as I began an internship with the Vietti-Currado-Cordero clan.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.


Off the Trail
  Exploring the cabernets of Coombsville
For the first two days I toured Coombsville, an out of the way appellation-to-be just east of the town of Napa, I didn’t see the sun. I didn’t see the hills for which it is known, or the extinct volcano, Mt. George, which is usually visible from just about every vineyard parcel in the area. I couldn’t see the bay that’s said to influence the climate dramatically, or, really, much of the vineyards. I saw fog mainly, a moody backdrop to the Tulocay Cemetery, dripping from the oaks and Spanish moss, the fragrant bay laurel and madrone, giving the whole place a gothic, gloomy feel. If Tim Burton had a notion to plant cabernet, this might be the place where he’d do it.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Bordeaux on the Cheap
  Catch an Affordable Claret
You’ve got your Deux Chevaux and your sandwich au jambon, waiting to cross the Pont Aquitaine. Sitting in traffic on the Rocade gives you plenty of time to wonder about Bordeaux, by far the largest wine region in France. How did it become one of the smallest fine wine regions in France?

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.



Breaking the Mold
  French Cheeses for Vintage Port
Chantal Girerd opened the cheese cave at Artisanal Bistro ten years ago this past April. Chef Terrance Brennan and his fromager at Picholine, Max McCalman, had built a Parisian bistro on the site, hoping to give McCalman a place for everything cheese, from gougères and fondues to French onion soup and classic macaroni and cheese. McCalman set out to develop the role of the affineur in New York, selecting artisanal producers from around the world and then aging their cheeses to serve at peak ripeness.

Read the full article here.