About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Passionate Wine List

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to lunch by David Marstseller, the young founder of Great Sommeliers.com.  David is a talented videographer with a growing passion for wine and his site reflects both.

We met at Nice Matin on the upper Westside of Manhattan.  The restaurant is owned by a group whose holdings include The 5 Napkin Burger and Marseille to name a couple.  The bistro food here is good, but it is the lengthy and passionate wine list that is the real star here.  It was obvious to me that it was put together with great attention and passion being paid to wines created by passionate winemakers.  It is an amazing list of 2500 selections, that includes wine collections such as JFK's that features pre-phylloxera historical vintages and the famed Restaurant Chanterelle collection, among others.  There are wines rarely found on wine lists such as the amazing Cabernet Francs of Charles Jouget and Olga Raffaut of the Chinon (Loire Valley); Cuvée Faustine Ajaccio from Comte Abbatucci on the island of Corsica.  The list goes on and on and is priced reasonably and intelligently.  It is easy to see that Wine Director Aviram Turgeman and sommelier Sean Cummings are interested in making it easy for their customers to experience and enjoy great wines at reasonable prices.  My hats off to you two gentlemen.

Along with our lunch that included a delicious homemade vegetable beef soup and Croque Monseiur, the French version of grilled ham and cheese we reveled over 2006 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny “Les Poyeux”, an absolutely gorgeous Cabernet Franc that had a compelling and enticing earthy aroma. On the palate it was full-bodied, pure and elegant with a long velvety finish. The wine is still very young and will benefit from a few years in the cellar. This wine should last for another 20 years at least.   Very little Clos Rougeard wines are imported into the U.S., so to enjoy this vintage you need to go to Nice Matin.  I have the wine in my cellar and I paid $80 for it in 2011.  Were it to be available today, I would venture it would set you back about $150.  Nice Matin has it on the list for $135.  A remarkable price.

There is a terrific video interview with wine director Aviram Turgeman on the Great Sommeliers website.  Click here to watch it.


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