Latest Wine News
Phil Mickelson has really made the most of having the “Claret Jug” since winning the British Open last year. How much? He told the Scotsman about his Bacchanal:
“I’ve loved having the Jug with me for the last 12 months,” he confirms. “The people who know and love the game get a big kick out of it. They really appreciate what it means to hold such a famous trophy. And drink out of it. I only let them drink the good stuff of course. There’s been nothing in there that is sub-par. But the best was a 1990 bottle of Romanée Conti wine. It wasn’t on my dime thankfully. It costs about $40,000.”
SIPPED & SPIT: In other wine news, Massachusetts consumers will soon be able to order wine from wineries more freely. Congratulations–now make the same legislation apply to wine shops. [gazette.net]
SIPPED: Barolo has received designation as a UNESCO cultural heritage site. The recognition includes several nearby communes, including Barbaresco. [Decanter]
SPIT: Treasury Wine Estates, the Australian wine producer with falling net income, is on the block. But one suitor has been spurned: KKR. The American private equity firm bid A$4.70 a share but word leaked and the shares are now at $5.05. [Bloomberg]
BYTES: IBM’s Watson supercomputer, tired of competing in Jeopardy!, now has its own BBQ sauce. Wait until Watson tries making wine! [NPR]
Giuseppe Vaira was caught in a fight when he was in elementary school. It wasn’t the sort of meet-you-at-the-bike-racks kind of thing. No, it encapsulated what might happen only to the son of a winemaker, or even the son of a Barolo winemaker. He was classmates with two other kids who were also from wine families. One said proudly that he was the son of a modernist winemaker while the other said proudly that she was the daughter of a traditionalist. No doubt, both the kids harrumphed, crossed their arms, and turned their backs to each other.
Giuseppe was flummoxed. Which camp did his family winery fall into? When he returned home, he asked his father. Instead of a simple and quick reply, Giuseppe says that his father launched into a seemingly eternal discourse about the pros and cons of each style. Ultimately, his father, Aldo, described their house style as “clean traditionalist.”
Now 28, and a father himself, the lanky Giuseppe met me at his family’s winery, G.D. Vajra, last month. The winery consistently produces well-priced wines from the Langhe, 15 labels in all made from 60 hectares (150 acres) of vines sprinkled throughout the region. The winery is a relative newcomer: Aldo left the city life of Torino and returned to his ancestral Langhe in 1973. At the outset, they practiced organic grape growing but they stopped being certified organic twenty years later. One factor that pushed them to opt out of organic certification was that they felt that copper—often used as an organic control in the vineyard—could harm the soil. Another reason Giuseppe mentions is that there was too much dogmatism: “everyone thinks they are 100% wrong or right.”
We moved from the winery to a tasting room and tasted some wines, including their dry 2012 Riesling (will have to include this as a ringer in my next Riesling blind tasting), the 2011 Barbera (with an appetizing savory character), and a couple of Baroli from their new property Baudana. Even though they had made the wines from these Serralunga properties for a couple of vintages, 2009 was the first under their control, giving them a parcel in the Cerretta vineyard. The two wines were serious and almost daunting at this stage. (Find G.D. Vajra wines at retail.)
Giuseppe has a great way of thinking about vintages: rather assigning them stars, he plots them in a four-square matrix. The vertical axis runs from power to elegance while the horizontal runs from fruit to minerality. The 2010 vintage, for example, he feels is getting lots of hype since it is, for him, a “brainy, geeky” vintage, with elegance and minerality. He thinks the 08 will be more accessible since it is fruity and elegant. But both these vintages will “give more joy” than 2004 and 2006. That’s a great schematic – Giuseppe could always get into the visual presentation of data!
New York City has the most top wine lists in the world according to a new ranking from the World of Fine Wine. London is second, San Francisco third, and Chicago fourth according to the British publication, which rolled out the annual awards for best wine lists for the first time this year.
Instead of taking the measure of a wine list’s length, the panel of experts looked at quality. Here’s how Neil Beckett, the magazine’s editor put it in a press release, “As we were judging, we had in mind the wise words of our fellow judge Francis Percival about the difference between ‘a great wine list and a mere list with great wines on it’.” More about the wine list judging methods can be found on the WFW site. It is not immediately clear if the restaurants had to pay a fee in the nomination process. And it’s not clear if value/markups played a role in the deliberations.
In all, 224 restaurants achieved the top grade, a three-star rating. The list of New York’s 36 restaurants follows after the jump. Writing about the North American best wine list at Hearth, the judges said: “There are encyclopedic wine lists—–Bible-length books of the acknowledged greats of the vinous world. And then there are those lists that simply capture an individual personality, that express firmly held tastes and convictions and, in doing so, help define the zeitgeist. Paul Grieco’s list at Hearth in Manhattan’s East Village is very much in the latter camp.”
With 59 restaurants in the US winning three-star awards, it’s clear the judges think wine service in America has hit its stride. However, the best wine list in the world went to the Palais Coburg Residenz in Vienna. The wine programs on several airlines were also rated with ANA and Emirates achieving three stars.
For the complete list of 750 restaurants rated at least one star, head to WFW.
New York’s 36 wine lists rating three stars from WFW:
A Voce Columbus
Eleven Madison Park
Gramercy Tavern NYC (Winner: Jury Award)
Hearth (Winner: Best Overall in Region/Jury Award)
Marea (Winner: Jury Award)
Morrell NYC (Winner: Best by-the-glass)
Pearl & Ash
Rouge Tomate (Winner: Jury Award)
Union Square Cafe
The post New York City has the world’s best wine lists: WFW appeared first on Dr Vino's wine blog.