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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Baller Wines Meet New York Street Style

Daniel Boulud’s star head sommelier Michael Madrigale fills his Instagram feed with photos that juxtapose New York street style with the magnums of amazing wines he serves at several of Boulud’s restaurants. Madrigale opens jumbo bottles every night to serve by the glass at Bar Boulud, Épicerie Boulud and Boulud Sud. Initially, he would merely tweet his picks and email them to a coterie of wine enthusiasts. But this year, he decided to fuse his love of wine, New York and photography and post the results to Instagram.

“I found myself becoming bored with the same ol’ up close bottle shot and decided to add a little color with New Yorkers on the street as a background. I’ve always loved to take pictures. My wife actually went to school for photography in Bogotá [Colombia], and we often discuss shots. I love Cindy Sherman—I actually met her once at Bar Boulud. She was with David Byrne who is a huge idol of mine. I was shaking as I was pouring them glasses of Chardonnay. I also like Terry Richardson and his fun, gritty, nonconformist style. I get a huge kick out of it and often find myself cracking up as I’m taking shots. If there’s someone who physically embodies the wine walking by I’ll use them. If it’s just an amazing character, I’ll use them regardless of the wine. I play it loose and just wait for someone who works. It’s all about having fun.”

See more of Madrigale's street-style wine shots here.

Related: Best New Places to Drink Wine
Great Gifts for Wine Lovers
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This Old Wine

Spain's #1 Source for Old Wine

R. López de Heredia 2003 Viña Gravonia Blanco Rioja Crianza ($20) and 1998 Viña Tondonia Blanco Rioja Reserva ($38)

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

R. López de Heredia 2003 Viña Gravonia Blanco Rioja Crianza ($20) and 1998 Viña Tondonia Blanco Rioja Reserva ($38): López de Heredia is no secret. It's long been a favorite of sommeliers and wine geeks, and with good reason. In the largely modernized Rioja region, this 136-year-old winery makes exceptionally good wines in a very traditional style and ages them longer than others do. López de Heredia's entire output—hundreds of thousands of bottles in most years—is sent to stores with significant age. (The 2003, from the Gravonia vineyard, is the producer's youngest white currently available.) As a source for reliable old wine that isn't so rare, López de Heredia should be on any wine drinker's radar.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: Because of slow exposure to small amounts of oxygen over years of aging in large oak barrels, López de Heredia's whites tend to have sherry-like qualities. Both the 2003 and 1998 bottlings are complex whites that smell a bit like almonds and dried fruit and taste slightly savory and olive-y. But they're otherwise very different. The Gravonia has a fresh, pineappley quality. The mellower Tondonia has scents of straw and honey, and its palate is loaded with flavors of hazelnuts and minerals.

Drink it With: These wines are at their best alongside salty Spanish snacks like Marcona almonds and Manchego cheese. The Tondonia would be an especially profound partner for Ibérico ham.

Where to Buy: Gravonia: Stirling Fine Wines. (Find more stores.)
Tondonia: Wine Library. (Find more stores.)

Related: Spanish Wine Country Travel Guide
Wine 101: Rioja & Tempranillo
A Lush, Lemony White That Spent 7 Years Underground

Dr. Vino's Verdict

Wine and Spice Don't Have to Fight

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think spicy foods taste best with sweet, low-alcohol wines? Because alcohol amplifies heat, a fiery dish with a high alcohol wine is the culinary equivalent of a shouting match. To tame the heat in spicy foods, try a white with low alcohol and a little sweetness, for instance a Spätlese Riesling or demi-sec Vouvray.

Related: Wine 101: Riesling
Spicy Recipes
America's Best Riesling

This Old Wine

A Lush, Lemony White That Spent 7 Years Underground

2004 Domaine Michel Brégeon Muscadet Reserve.

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

2004 Domaine Michel Brégeon Muscadet Reserve ($25): It's common for producers of Muscadet to age wines along with their lees (the yeast cells that are leftover after fermentation). What's not common is to keep the wine and lees together for 89 months in underground glass-lined tanks before bottling, as winemaker André-Michel Brégeon has done. The result is much more complex than a typical light, bright Muscadet. After giving it a sniff, F&W tasters said they might have mistaken it for a Sancerre, a white Burgundy or an aged Riesling.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: When it's young, minerally Muscadet is the classic pairing for raw shellfish because it recalls a briny spritz of lemon. This one is more like a bite of lemon curd: It's deliciously creamy and lush, with mellowed citrus along with ripe apple flavors. Aging on lees tends to keep wines tasting fresh while adding body, and that's just what happened here.

Drink it With: Grilled oysters, such as ones topped with chorizo or spicy tarragon butter. Muscadet is a good match for spicy foods because of its moderate alcohol (higher levels tend to clash with heat).

Where to Buy: Saratoga Wine Exchange. (Find more stores.)


Related: Ray Isle on Muscadet's Awesome Pairing Power
An Earthy, 10-Year Old Red for Under $30
Burgundy Wine Bargains

Tasting Room

Burgundy Wine Bargains

Red wine and charcuterie at Montreal's Joe Beef.

We all know hail. It always seems kind of fun, or at least surprising, those little pellets of ice dropping from the sky and bipping off the pavement. “Huh,” you think, “look at that—hail! What the heck.”

People in Burgundy don’t feel quite the same way about hail. I was made aware of this one time a few years back when I went to meet a Burgundian winemaker at his estate. I pulled in and parked next to his car, and did a kind of double take: It looked like someone had attacked the thing with a ball-peen hammer. The hood, roof, trunk, everything was covered in quarter- to half dollar–size divots. “What happened to your car?” I asked him.

“Hail,” he said, in a tone that would have made Eeyore seem cheery.

Unfortunately, the Burgundians were all fairly despondent this summer, when a severe hailstorm hit the region. Hailstones the size of ping-pong balls decimated vineyards in the Côte de Beaune, with some growers losing up to 90 percent of their crop. This is particularly disheartening because the region also had to deal with major hailstorms last year as well—for a small-scale grape grower, losing two vintages in a row is financially catastrophic. So, why not help out by picking up a bottle or two of Burgundy? Here are a handful of the best values from the region, both white and red:

2011 Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis ($15) This white is a great, affordable introduction to the fruity-chalky nature of Chardonnay when it’s grown in the limestone soils of Chablis.

2010 Laroche Bourgogne Chardonnay Tête de Cuvée ($18) A range of growers, mostly in the Mâcon, provide the fruit for this pear-inflected, surprisingly complex Bourgogne white. (The 2011 will likely be arriving soon, but for the moment the 2010 is also available.)

2011 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles ($20) Although the label simply says Bourgogne Blanc, most of the fruit for this apple-accented, minerally white comes from vineyards in the prestigious communes of Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault.

2011 Maison Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Rouge ($16) Grapes from a dozen different appellations throughout Burgundy go into this fragrant, red-fruited Bourgogne Rouge (which is made from Pinot Noir, as are all red Burgundies). And, a sign of change in a very traditional region: It’s sealed with a screw cap.

2010 Maison Roche de Bellene Bourgogne Pinot Noir ($19) Roche de Bellene is the new négociant company from the well-respected producer Nicolas Potel (who, confusingly, is no longer associated with his old company, Maison Nicolas Potel). Old vines that are farmed either sustainably or organically supply the fruit for this nuanced, aromatic red.

Related: Where to Buy Wine Online
Burgundy Pairings Slideshow
Burgundy Wine Producers We Love

Dr. Vino's Verdict

How Wine Labels Lie About Alcohol

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think the percentage of alcohol on a wine’s label should accurately reflect what’s in the bottle? Often it doesn’t. The government's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau separates most wine into two tax brackets by alcohol level: 11 to 14 percent, and 14 percent-plus. Within those brackets, producers have wiggle room between what the label says and what’s really the case, up to 1.5 percent in the lower bracket and up to 1 percent in the upper. So a wine labeled 12.5 percent alcohol could really be 14 percent, and a wine labeled 14.9 might actually be 15.9. And a UC Davis study of more than 100,000 bottles of wine found that producers overall understate alcohol levels by 0.3 percentage points.


Related: More from Dr. Vino
5 Great Wines for $12 or Less
An Anti-Snob Wine Dinner in Sonoma

Wine Wednesday

What to Drink with Dessert

Double-Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

It’s quite something to take a brisk walk on a cool September morning through Soho in New York City and come across a line of at least 150 people waiting patiently for the opportunity to buy a cronut. For me at least, the sight of all these cronut-loons raises a number of questions. One is, “Really? That’s how you’re going to spend your morning?” Another is, “Wow—is civilization doomed?” Then there’s the crucially important, “Gosh, I wonder what wine would go with a cronut?” READ MORE >>

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Food and Wine Confessions

An Editor Gets Saucy with Mustard

We all have them. Closeted culinary skeletons. Until now we've kept them locked up, afraid to share these disturbing realities with the world. But F&W is a safe place. This is where we let go of some of our inner demons and hope that you'll do the same. Even someone so saintly-seeming as associate food editor Daniel Gritzer isn't faultless. Displaying great courage, Daniel has shared the first of many #FWConfessions:

"The lowest culinary moment of my life was when I cooked pasta and used yellow mustard as sauce."

Need to get something off of your chest? Head over to Twitter and share your tales of food snobbery and lowbrow culinary obsessions using #FWConfessions. We'll share our favorites and won't judge.

This Old Wine

An Earthy 10-Year-Old Red for Under $30

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

2003 Calabretta Etna Rosso ($26): Many of the wines grown on Sicily's Mount Etna are crazily underpriced, but Calabretta's Etna Rosso is an especially good value because it arrives in stores having spent six to seven years in huge oak barrels and several more in bottle. Though it's made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio grapes, this wine bears resemblance to much more expensive Nebbiolo-based wines from Italy's Piedmont region. It's totally delicious, and it smells like black cherries, violets and peppery spices.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: This powerful, bright-tasting wine is becoming earthier and more herbal, making its fruit flavors taste deeper and more complex. The color is also changing: As they age, reds become less vivid, turning to what wine people call garnet (often indicating that an age-worthy wine is in its sweet-spot for drinking) and then darker and darker toward brown (at which point they're not very tasty). This one is still quite bright, but it's definitely becoming a pretty garnet.

Drink it With: Anything that would normally call for Barolo or Barbaresco. Chef Matthew Accarrino's cannelloni with walnuts and fried sage would be spectacular.

Where to Buy: Astor Wines. (Find more stores.)

Related: F&W Visits Mount Etna
Italian Grapes from A to Z
Best Italian Value Wines

Dr. Vino's Verdict

Climate Change: The End of Pinot Noir?

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think global warming is going to be disastrous for wine? In the past three decades temperatures have risen and growing seasons have lengthened in many wine regions. Because of that, grapes ripen faster and reach higher sugar levels, which means higher natural levels of alcohol, among other considerations. Climate scientist Greg Jones estimates that by 2049, temperature increases will prevent some early-ripening grapes from being grown in their classic regions (like Pinot Noir in Burgundy)—and some warm regions may become too hot for any grapevines at all.


Related: More from Dr. Vino
Affordable Summer Wines: Chillable Reds
Wine 101: Pinot Noir and Red Burgundy

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