Over the last year, I’ve been working on a book called Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, in which I confess that while I know a lot about food and can throw a terrific party, I’m not a great cook. For the book, published by Ecco Press next month, I tapped 65 star chefs to teach me—and the results were extremely gratifying. My new quest is to master my mistakes in wine, a mission that inspired much of this wine issue. Turn to page 74 for an all-purpose, blowout guide to wine essentials, with advice on how to clean glasses without breaking them and how to chill wine quickly; we include a list of 50 fabulous bottles for $15 or less to help you conquer the planning for your next party.
I also reached out to Aldo Sohm, the phenomenal sommelier at New York City’s Le Bernardin and the upcoming Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, to supplement that piece with some of his expert tricks. Read on to find out about my wine blunders—and Aldo’s smart fixes.
Dana Cowin: I was having some friends over for dinner at my house upstate. At the last minute, I ran down to the basement to get a bottle out of the wine fridge. I came back with the best one I could find—a 1999 Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis premier cru. With a flourish, I handed the bottle to my friend to open. He tasted it and looked displeased but didn’t say anything. I excitedly poured myself a glass—and it was awful. I had to move on to a more modest but drinkable bottle. So, Aldo, where did I go wrong?