Posts Tagged ‘New York’
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
When one looks at a vineyard – you’re not looking at it in the same way as you would look at an orange orchard. Instead one sees a multitude of experiences past and of moments yet to come – moments of intimacy, memorable occasions, conversations and treasured friendships. Since time immemorial, vineyards have not only been the touchstone of certain regions, but have often been the lifeblood of local communities and the cornerstone of entire generations of families. Every vineyard contains a family, a history, a culture and a purpose. This was at least, the sentiment I had before embarking on a mission to New York City, where I would promote and sell wine’s connected to my family in some ways, and more importantly – wine from my country. During that time – having spent much time in preparation for the mission, I left with those stories and sentiments of culture and family fresh in my blood. But with every sales-call and wine event I began to feel further and further from the vineyard. Soon it was about laid in cost, case-discounts and what kind of Point of Sale material was on offer. I travelled the country in a rental car with a case of wine, a corskrew and a power-point presentation along the way having people from Westchester Wine Warehouse cruelly spit wine on my shoe after having left me waiting for an hour, sitting in cold-rooms of cellars in Maryland, helping do stock-takes in Ohio, presenting to Wholefoods buyers in North Carolina and pushing on-premise retail in Atlanta: and with every step I became a bit more confused and lost the focus of what I was doing. Having believed that wine was so important to my country and stepping into the States to tell the story of South African wine, it was very dispiriting to suddenly be faced with the fact that no one really cared so long as they could make a profit.
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Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Well my time here in Paris is over and what better may to go than with sparkling wine, a Cremant d’Alsace. Cremant goes through the same process, as Champagne except there is one difference, location. In France and all of Europe for that matter, wine cannot be legally called Champagne unless it is in fact from Champagne. Sparkling wines from outside Champagne in France will usually go by Cremant. Of course there are going to be slight differences in taste due to the terrior. Sparkling wine is popped during times of celebration. This is the end of a great three months and the start of something new as I move to Long Island’s wine country.
I chose this wine because with the unofficial start of summer Alsace is perfect. The white wines here are well known with the Rieslings and Gewurztraminers, and their sparkling wines prosper as well. Another key point is these wines are not expensive at all. Alsace is respected but it doesn’t have the same prestige as Champagne, Burgundy, or Bordeaux. This is great for you. In the US a typical bottle will be between $12 to $20. (more…)
Thursday, August 23rd, 2007
A few weeks ago I was in New York staying at the Surrey Hotel on 76th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison right near Central Park. Before heading down to the meatpacking district for dinner and some fun with a business associate we stopped into CafÃ© Boulud next to the hotel for a drink. The restaurant is owned by famous French chef Daniel Boulud.
As we were sitting at a 4 top table in the bar area looking out over the simple and elegant dining room, we had a decision to make on this very hot August early evening in the cityâ€¦.what to drink?…a special cocktail?â€¦a glass of white wine? Neither seemed appropriateâ€¦.it must be a glass of Champagne.
The Maitre D’, John Winterman, suggested a glass of Pierre Peters Blanc de Blanc NV Champagne.
Honestly, I had never heard of the producer, however, I certainly was comfortable accepting the recommendation. Boy, it did not disappoint. Actually, it was fabulousâ€¦the setting did not hurt either. Blanc de Blanc is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. The bubbles in the glass were incredibleâ€¦.1000’s and 1000’s that never stopped. This was perfection in a glassâ€¦smooth, flavorful, clean, refreshing, with just a hint of that wonderful yeastiness that is so unique to Champagneâ€¦so very balanced. It was not cheap at $25 a glass; however, it was worth every penny. You will probably pay around $45 a bottle at retail. Special time, special moment, special wineâ€¦this is what life is aboutâ€¦creating special memories. Go out there and try new thingsâ€¦many times you will be very pleasantly surprised. By the way, the meatpacking district was a blast. A story about that laterâ€¦
Thursday, April 26th, 2007
On Saturday, in the spirit of summer, we went up to Richmond Park and had a picnic in our own local Royal Park. Picnics are perfect for pasta salads and we prepared a pesto, olive oil, Greek feta and tri-colour fussily salad garnished with roast pine-nuts and fresh chopped basil. Picnics should be cheap and simple, and perhaps the most important factor to take into consideration is the wine. White wine would be my preferred choice for such an occasion, and on Saturday we treated ourselves to Boschendal 2006 Sauvignon Blanc ($10), Ogio Pinot Grigio ($6) and Leopard’s Leap Lookout White ($8).
To my mind, Leopard’s Leap won the day, for a couple reasons. First off, this wine is amazingly priced and when one is splitting costs amongst friends it’s always nice to keep things simple. Graphically, they’ve pulled off playing on South Africa’s wildlife heritage without creating a critter, and instead have created an attractive brand. Third, the varietals choice makes use of what South Africa is abundant in and does well – chenin blanc, chardonnay and columbard, promoting the real essence of the Cape. And lastly, the wine is exceptionally pleasant, and is refreshing, clean, uncomplicated and elegant with fresh lime flavours on the entry and subtle hints of honey and melon on the finish. One could easily entertain a host of friends for an afternoon in the sun, and have Leopard’s Leap Lookout White keeping everyone very satisfied throughout the day.
Sunday, January 28th, 2007
This article is ridiculous – Wall Street Journal (requires a subscription, so I put a clipping at the end) the WSJ has the most interesting articles on wine. Anyhow, check out the bottom article ‘man buys $700,000.00 of wine in one shot’, basically for anyone in today’s society, if they save a little bit of money or live close to China-Town, almost anyone can get their hands on designer labels. In fact you can get lookalikes that are as good aesthetically as the real things, from Rolex to Tag Heuer, Diesel to Armani, designer labels don’t command the respect they used to. My friend who works for a Hedge Fund in New York (he’s the one I drank Zinfandel with in Central Park) says that most of the hedge fund managers (these guys are like 26, they worked for Goldman Sachs or Lehman Group for 4 years after going to Wharton, and then started managing their own funds, they’re all , intelligent, self-made and loaded and 3 years away from being 30) don’t use any brands. Its all about going back to the roots, they purchase antique solid gold watches and get their furniture at Sotheby’s.Capitalism has made luxury brands so accessible, that the only thing left for people to do if they want to stand above is to go backwards. These guys are looking for unique and rareâ€¦ and they’re not a minority. Practically any male or female over 25 with a graduate degree in commerce (usually capped by an MBA) that works in LA, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta or Boston fit into the group. You don’t need any knowledge to purchase a label, you just need to be a sucker for advertising on the front pages of any glossy. Designer brands are passe. Wine is the new bling. (more…)