Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Drinker's Notebook #7: Afternoon, Banyuls-sur-Mer

Noon on a Friday, Banyuls-sur-Mer. Last day of a tour sponsored by composite cork manufacturer, DIAM Bouchage. Portugal, Spain, France. Learn about corks during the day, eat and drink wine in the evening. Tutelage over each dinner by Evan Goldstein, wines flowing out of DIAM-sealed bottles. Clos de la Siete, William Fevre, Billecart-Salmon, Palacios, Corton-Charlemagne - all the stations of the cork. Sacramento restaurant in Lisbon, two-star Atrio in Caceres, a picnic lunch at a cork farm near San Vincente. Now, everyone else is out on a boat. I relax in the shade of trees and an umbrella at Domaine St Sebastien, a combined open-air bistro and fine-wine producer across the street from the beach. I order a cocktail, Le Catalan, an icy concoction of apricot juice and sweet Banyuls red in a Pilsner glass with a slice of lemon. It is delicious. Conversation buzzes at distant tables like jarflies in the forest. A plate of frites passes by, a nice lingering aroma. I think about the past few days - what I have heard, seen, tasted. Stories begin to form. Tomorrow, an airplane back across the Atlantic from Barcelona. Life is good - and possibly interesting, as well. Read more at and (check slide shows).

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sommelier Journal Cover Article: Fine Chiantis That Aren't Classico

A little over two years ago I extended a reporting trip to Bordeaux to fly to Florence to attend a symposium on the wines from Chianti Colli Fiorentino. I was impressed with what I saw and tasted, and that visit became the genesis for my cover story in the July 15 issue of Sommelier Journal on "The Other Chiantis." Many people think that Chianti Classico is a quality measure, when it is actually only one of eight Chianti geographic designations, albeit by far the best known one. This article is about the other seven. For the full report, sign up for a subscription at