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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

At-Home Sommelier

4 Italian Wine Shops to Know

Italy by the Bottle

Photo © Richard Owyoung

Biondivino, San Francisco
The Russian Hill shop hosts frequent winemaker tastings and sells hard-to-find varietals and bottlings. biondivino.com.

Italian Wine Merchants, NYC
Specializes in rare, high-end wines and cellar management for collectors. italianwinemerchants.com.

DeLaurenti, Seattle
This shop has an impressive selection of half-bottles. delaurenti.com.

Wine Expo, Santa Monica, CA
This store and wine bar focuses on Italian and sparkling wines, especially inexpensive bottles. wineexpo.com.

Related: Italian Value Wines
An Italian Wine-Pairing Summit


All Good Things


You know the rest of that line, right? Well, it's with some small amount of sadness that I am saying that about this blog: It must come to an end. I've had a terrific time writing it, but we've decided that in the end it's a bit strange, for a magazine that's all about bringing together food and wine, to have separate blogs on those topics.

So, from here on out, any wine blogging that I (and Megan Krigbaum, Kristin Donnelly, and various other stalwart folks) do will instead appear in F&W's primary blog, Mouthing Off. No less wine coverage, just a different venue. See you there.

Ray Isle

Wine Shops

Dom Pérignon's Tribute to Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol was a big fan of Dom Pérignon. So much so that he and his friends made a plan to drink it to ring in the new millennium in 2000. In his diary entry from March 8, 1981, he writes: “...the ‘2,000’ people — it’s a club of twenty guys who got together and they're going to buy 2,000 bottles of Dom Pérignon which they will put in a sealed room until the year 2000 and then open it up and drink it and so the running joke is who will be around and who won’t...” The stashed bottles have never been found, nor have the other 19 members of the group been identified. It almost makes you want to go on a scavenger hunt!

Now, in a tribute to the pop-art legend, Dom Pérignon has teamed up with Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London for a limited-edition collection of three Andy Warhol–inspired bottles, vintage 2002. The labels, in red, yellow or blue, recall Warhol’s bold use of color and graphics.

The bottles are available today at a suggested retail price of $150, in NYC at Crush Wine & Spirits and Sherry-Lehmann.

Wine Shops

Boundary-Pushing Wines


WTF?! Tasting

© Lou Manna
WTF?! Tasting

I recently attended the WTF?! Tasting at Brooklyn Wine Exchange, hosted by a company called WineChap, which is known for its quirky, entertaining events like the astrology-themed Wines for Signs. We tasted six “boundary-pushing” wines, each breaking the mold of conventional winemaking in its own way.

NV Domaine Mosse Moussamoussettes Pétillant ($23) An unfiltered sparkler with no yeast or sugar added.
2008 Red Hook Winery The Electric ($45) The soul of a late-harvest Riesling in the body of a Chardonnay.
2002 Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora ($90) An “orange” wine fermented in underground clay amphorae.
2008 Domaine le Briseau Patapon ($28) Made from the rare Pineau d’Aunis grape, put through even rarer semi-carbonic maceration.
NV Pechigo Rouge ($22) An uncommon red blend from biodynamic winemaker Sylvain Saux.
2000 Domaine de Montbourgeau L’Etoile Vin Jaune ($71) An oxidized wine from the Jura, with fino sherry–like flavors.

The tasting booklet’s overall rating for each wine involved choosing its WTF?! Factor— illustrated with one to five unicorns—and came with photos depicting each wine’s wacky aspect (like a centaur for the unlikely blend in The Electric). You might love them or hate them, but you’ll never say they’re ordinary. One sip and you might blurt out…WTF?! 

Wine Shops

Coconut Water Judged By Wine Experts


Earlier this week, I popped into my old stomping grounds, Crush Wine & Spirits (I worked there on the sales floor a few years ago). Summer is typically the slow season for New York City wine shops so I expected everyone to have some down time to chat, but instead I was pulled into a very serious blind tasting—of sorts. Rather than going through a batch of under $20 Pinot Noirs or some such, we tasted six coconut waters. Tom Stephenson, Crush's GM, told me, “I was sick of the huge price discrepancy between all the brands and not knowing which was best.”

My two favorites: O.N.E. was the lightest and most refreshing, while actual fresh water drained from a young coconut tasted the most like the fruit (appropriately enough). The rest, including fresh water from an older coconut, tasted either oddly tangy, sweet or just off. Considering that opening a fresh coconut requires a machete whereas O.N.E. comes in an easy-to-open TetraPak, I think I’ll stick with O.N.E. The results were not unanimous, however, so look for more details, including the full lineup of what was tasted, over at the Crush Blog.







Nantucket Wine & Fashion


It takes talent to match just the right wine with a dish. Some would also argue that it takes talent to match the perfect handbag or heels with a dress. That makes Elisabeth English, the owner of Nantucket's Current Vintage, super-talented. After selling her interest in Provisions (the island’s beloved sandwich shop) to Amanda Lydon and Gabriel Frasca, English opened this wine-and-fashion boutique. The year-old shop has a tightly edited selection of more than 150 wines with an emphasis on boutique labels and a particularly exciting selection of American Pinot Noirs and Burgundy. English also stocks vintage and designer clothing, jewelry and shoes. Here, she shares her picks for what to wear and drink at quintessential Nantucket summer outings:

’Sconset Picnic
Clothes: Vintage 1950s sundress and ankle-wrap espadrille
Wine: Domaine Bart Rosé, Marsannay, France

Madequesham Clam Bake
Clothes: Vintage 1960s Lilly Pulitzer floral maxi and a pedicure
Wine: ’07 Curran Grenache Blanc, Santa Ynez, California

Hulbert Avenue BBQ
Clothes: Vintage 1970s Jordache jeans, embroidered Mexican top and gladiator sandals
Wine: ’05 Kangarilla Road Shiraz-Viognier, McLaren Vale, Australia

The Dish
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