Old School Wine Growing At Bichot in Burgundy

Four days in Burgundy for vineyard visits, technical tastings, more than a few decadent meals (bookended by foie gras and bewitching cheeses) and the Hospice de Beaune wine auction, reminded me why this region and its wines are so special. From the limestone in the Cote de Beaune to the marl of the Cote de Nuits, it’s about the soil, and farming the fruit in that soil to optimize the potential of each distinct plot. Here at Chateau Gris in the appellation of Nuits-Saint-Georges, they grow violet-scented, structured Pinot Noir, as well as a rarity – Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc based on  Chardonnay. Only 4 producers make Nuits Blanc, and the bottling from Albert Bichot’s Chateau Gris estate is marvelous – saline, savory and almost masculine. You could even serve it with meals featuring roasted or grilled meat and you’d be thrilled.

These special plots are given the royal treatment by Bichot’s viticulturists, who farm them organically by hand. Using horses to cultivate the vineyard avoids compacting the soil versus the weight of a tractor, and less compacted soil is healthier, with better air exchange. This aids in the distribution of soil nutrients and the transfer of those nutrients to the plant. That results in greater plant health and thus, better grapes that make great wines. John preferred the Nuits Blanc, while I was partial to the violet- and lavender-scented Nuits-Saint-Georges rouge. Both are worth the search. I would pair the blanc with a saffron-scented dish such as saffron-garlic shrimp or even paella. For the red, a simple roast chicken or mushroom pasta would be heavenly.

Thanksgiving Pairings Inspired by My Delta Sky Club Wine Picks

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When it comes to Thanksgiving wines that pair perfectly with the big dinner, here is what you want: Spicy – from oak, or from spice-sparked grapes like Tempranillo and Sangiovese, to pick up the many lusty flavors of the meal; Nutty – also from oak barrel fermentation and/or aging, to complement the caramelized flavors in many traditional Thanksgiving dishes

After the Fires: Napa Comfort Cooking and Pairing

Following the wine country wildfires, returning to the keyboard has been hard. What to write that would be healing, pay tribute to the incredible work of firefighters and first responders, and celebrate the spirit of community and hospitality that is bringing wine country back so fast? Then it hit me: wine country comfort food

The Ultimate End-of-Summer Food & Wine Pairing – No grill needed.

The knock-your-socks-off end-of-summer pairing is a no-heat, no meat even, match with Napa Cabernet or really any favorite red wine with some grip and spunk. Tomatoes+basil+Cabernet=music for your mouth.

Bargain Bubblies & Roses for Summer

In this heat, we need summer bubbles and roses to cool things down and perk up our palates for all that delicious summer salad and grill fare. I have recently discovered some great bottlings that are made even greater by their bargain price tag …

Riesling 101

First, ditch your snobbery about Riesling. A lot of people hear Riesling and they think “sweet” and “no thanks.” My theory is that as soon as people spot the traditional long, thin bottle, they have flashbacks to Liebfraumilch.

Happy Auction Napa Valley 2017!

It is a big week on my home turf, gearing up for Auction Napa Valley 2017. This community effort led by the Napa Valley Vintners raises money for local community health care and education–$170 million to date! I could not be prouder to be part of a home town that leverages our most famous and globally-coveted product–wine

Wine Tasting Tips for #DrinkWineDay 2017

Tasting wine like a pro with the 5 S’s of tasting isn’t just for the pros. YOU need to use this technique too.

Mother’s Day Taste Test: 4 Brioche-y Bubblies

I love the heady style of Champagne with its scents and flavors right out of a French patisserie. So how about a Mother’s Day taste-test of several such bottlings to explore the style in-depth. You in?