Friday, November 21, 2014

Sip Magazine Debuts with Pieces On Cava Cocktails, >$15 Wines

It's always exciting when you have articles in the first issue of a new magazine, and the first time you see that magazine is when you are checking out a newsstand. That happened to me yesterday at Chester County Book Store when I saw the cover of Sip, the new magazine from the folks who brought you Intermezzo. Here's what it looked like.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Daily Meal Photo Feature Previews 5 Resorts across Atlantic Canada

To take a peek, go to

Modern Farmer Online Article Chronicles 6 Meat Collectives

It all started with Camas Davis and her Portland Meat Collective. Now everyone is wanted to go whole hog. More on themeat collective movement in my article at

SOMM Journal Features Collet's New Initiatives in Champagne

In Drinks Business, Rhone Rangers Mount Up for Difficult Trail Ride

Details: Will Weed Connoisseurs Follow the Paths of Wine Snobs?

I explore that question in a recent posting in

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dining Haut Naturel

(First Posted to Ours in a time of great experimentation in dining, as chefs and clientele alike seek out variations on a theme to give more intimate eating experiences as well as more daring and flashy ones. Witness pop-ups, farm-to-table, Dîners en Blanc. And those of us of a certain age can remember when dining with the chefs at a small table in the kitchen was still a treasured rarity. I just came back from a trip to Atlantic Canada where I was guest at some of the premier resorts and hotels in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – the Algonquin Resort, Keltic Lodge, Digby Pines, Liscombe Lodge and Westin Nova Scotian – where I had several memorable meals, especially those with fresh seafood. The planked salmon at Liscombe, scallops Natasha at Digby, oysters on the half with a pepper sauce and kale (plus juicy lobster sliders) at the Keltic, crab cakes at the Algonquin are all tumbling out of my memory bank. But it was on a damp morning, when there was a long break in the drizzle, that I had my most-memorable meal, one prepared by Chef Alex Haun of the Kingsbrae Garden restaurant next door to the Algonquin in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea and just a few miles from the Maine frontier. Haun is a young, accomplished and enthusiastic chef who loves playing golf with his buddies and foraging in the thousands of acres of nearby woods and fields. He invited me to join him on a mushroom hunt. I met Haun at the entrance to his garden restaurant at 7 a.m. and jumped into his SUV for a 10-minute drive out of town, where we parked next to a rustic golf course. He handed me a picking basket, took one for himself and donned a small back bag. “I’m sure we’ll find some chanterelles around here,” he said as we plunged into a grove of pines, the forest floor covered with rocks and ferns. “I thought we could have breakfast as well – if you’re hungry.” Before long we were spotting patch after patch of chanterelles, like orange flowers against the greenery, in the open and among the ferns, four to five at a time in small clusters. We picked two or three from each patch, leaving a couple behind – “they must serve a purpose in being here,” Haun philosophized – being sure to cut them off above ground level. When we had foraged enough, Haun found an open spot to set up camp. Soon, a small, portable burner shot up a steady flame as the chef unloaded a half-dozen plastic containers of ingredients. Next, butter was sizzling in a solo pan along with a handful of chopped garlic. “I thought we would fix a sauce with the butter and the garlic along with white wine, herbs and cream,” Haun said. The only accompaniment was bottled water and a small loaf of fresh bread which Haun, trained as a pastry chef, had baked. Breakfast was simple and delicious – chanterelles in a cream sauce spooned over slices of richly textured bread. No plates, no utensils. Just exquisite fresh food. A few minutes later we were finished, repacked and on our way back to St. Andrews. An hour later, the rain set in again. I soon found words for the experience: Dining Haut Naturel, a concept that can be broadened to fit all sorts of foraging and collecting experiences. The idea: A chef packs minimal ingredients and perhaps a small, portable stove and invites a few guests into the woods, the meadows, the seashore, vegetable gardens in a table-to-farm experience without the table. Foraging, fishing, clamming, visits to nearby farms and orchards all lend exciting possibilities to cooking on the spot. The temptation to set up tables in advance and get overly ornate should be avoided: just gourmet food in a pristine and unadorned setting. Of course, as we’re making up the rules as we go along, a couple of bottles of wine and plastic cups would certainly be permissible.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Article on Burgundy's Community Garden Posted to Wine Enthusiast

With 86 wine producers owning vines at Burgundy's large, highly regarded Clos de Vougeot, it look like a community garden with everyone taking care of their own plots, especially during winter pruning and fall harvest. Check out my article at Wine Enthusiast online at

In, My Shopping List For Pre-Global Warming Classics

We all know global warming is coming, and we all know what it does to grape-growing and winemaking. Plus a global study says the the areas that are now considered classic will be making different wines by 2050 with major changes before then. Some regions will change quicker than other - Napa Cabs come to mind as being on the edge - and those in Europe which have stipulated varietals and growing conditions - e.g., no irrigation - will have to change, or their wines will become quite different. What to do? It might be a good time to stock your cellars with certain wines, particularly if you're under 40. For my suggestions, go to

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Drinks Business Article Examines The Big Buzz about Field Blends Article Raises a Glass To Great Whiskies of the World

For more, go to

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Drinker's Notebook #14: Champagne Collet at the Source

Can you ever tire of drinking Champagne? Perhaps, but I didn't reach my limits last week enjoying Champagne Collet on assignment at the source. Over a period of two days, I sipped Collet in progress from barrels in their cellars in Ay, in a flight of nine different labels in their new tasting room and in several restaurants around the area - with crayfish in butter sauce at La Grillade Gourmande, with lobster and quinoa at Les Berceaux and with chicken and morels at Chateau d'Etoges. You'll be reading about, and seeing more of, Champagne Collet in the coming months. Have your flute or white wine glass ready.

Articles on Rias Baixas, Albarino Posted to Palate Press, Daily Meal

Earlier this month I spent a birthday week visiting Rias Baixas and tasting its lovely Albarinos and Albarino blends. Here are links to my first two pieces, one in Palate Pess and one in Daily Meal: and

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

American Wine Society Journal: Famed Winemakers on Vintage '63

Authenticity. The wide use of the word by winemakers around the world often puzzles me, because they usually don't answer the obvious question: Authentic to what? "Authentic" must have a reference point of a place and a time - and it seldom is given one. For the summer issue of the American Wine Society Journal, I asked six famous winemakers - Robert Drouhin, James Symington, Marco Felluga, Joe Babich ,Mike Grgich and Angelo Gaja - what winemaking was like 50 years ago during the 1963 vintage in their part of the world. What did authenticity mean in 1963?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kennett Square Mushroom Article Posted to Modern Farmer Website

I live in Chester County, PA, which means that I live in Mushroom Country - almost half of the nation's fresh mushrooms are grown here. Read more in my article at

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta Story Now Online in Town & Country

This weekend is the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia and my article on the event and some of the people in it appears online in Town & Country at

Thursday, April 24, 2014 7 Wines the Went From Trendy to Taboo and Back

Start with the Chianti straw bottle - the fiasco - and go on to other wines that went from trendy to taboo and are now being rehabilitated. Check the link at

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In April Issue of Tasting Panel: Profile of Rueda and Its Verdejo

I'm very happy to be a new contributor to The Tasting Panel, a premier industry trade magazine. My first article is in the April issue, and the complete story can be accessed at beginning on page 96.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In April Issue of Drinks Business: Urban Wineries Vacating Terroir To Follow Customers Back to Cities

Spring Issue of The Hunt Chimes With Romance in Vineyards Cover

A beautiful cover shot by Jim Graham makes our fancies turn to thoughts of spring - and love. "Romance Among the Graprevines" is one of three articles by me in my favorite regional magazine. Others are on the MidAtlantic Wine & Food Festival and Wild Gardens. Now at a newstand near you - if you live in Brandywine Country.

Drinks Magagazine Spring Issue Has Alsace Wine Article, Photos

I've never called myself a photojournalist. That's partly because the title implies being a photographer first and writer second. But I am a writer who often takes photos - and occasionally I even get paid more for the photography than for the writing. The two parts of reporting come together very well in words and in photos in my article in the current issue of Drinks magazine on the white wines of Alsace. Drinks - to which I've been a contributor for several years - is an excellent beverage publication that is custom printed for many fine wine shops. Find out more at

Monday, February 17, 2014

In March Issue of Town & Country: Venissa Estate in Venice Lagoon

Fantasy Island: My article on the Bisols' Venissa estate and vineyard in the Venice Lagoon is featured as a travel piece in the current issue of Town & Country. Here is the lead-in to the story.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Article in Palate Press Features Top Sylvaner Vineyard in Alsace

In November, I visited the Zotzenberg Vineyard in Mittelbergheim - the only Sylvaner cru vineyard in Alsace. Here's the link:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Drinker's Notebook #13: Savoring a Drink at the Bar

Most things we do now feel differently than when we did them in years past. Not necessary better or worse, just different. I thoroughly enjoy my daily walks along the country roads of Pennsylvania, but they are seen through somewhat different eyes and certainly a different body than the kid I was, doing a little skipping and throwing rocks at first basemen disguised as trees, a few decades ago in West Virginia. Air travel? You know that story. I savor food more than I once did, and I could eat more of it in years past without thinking about consequences. And I was less jaded. The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years, at least for me, is having a drink at a really good bar with a friend or my wife. It’s exactly the same feeling that I had – with different thoughts, of course – when I had my first whiskey at a bar in college with an older buddy who was initiating me. The bar also has to be right. Can’t be a sports bar or a crowded bar, but a serious, adult bar with some good music, preferably jazz, playing on the sound system or coming from a real pianist off to the side. Bar tables don’t count. It has to be at the bar, and the drink has to be a cocktail or something on the rocks. My theory of alcoholic drinks is that beer is for refreshment, wine is for dining, and spirits are for relaxation. At a bar, that relaxation also comes with some sense of anticipation – a feeling at once of sophistication and camaraderie. My wife and I almost always drink wine at home, always at dinner and occasionally with some cheese in the afternoon, perhaps in front of a fire in winter or in the woods in summer. We wait to have cocktails at the bar when we go out for dinner, often getting to the restaurant a half hour early to sip and chat while waiting for friends to show up. A Manhattan for me, a Martini or gin and tonic for her, perhaps a Bloody Mary if we are travelling and are having lunch out. Amusingly, one couple we know has the same custom, so it’s a race to see which of us gets to the bar first. Then we have a pre-dinner chat before being seated and ordering wine. Yes, I’ve changed. And through the years I’ve acquired intimate knowledge of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of bars around the world – but the feeling remains the same as the first time.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In the Winter 2014 Issue of Sante': Ray's & Stark Bar in Los Angeles

In the current issue of Sante' magazine is my profile of Ray's and Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Here is the opening page.