Syrah, A Beguiling Grape + The Question of Sulfites / Sulfur In Wine

This week, my Eater column came out, this time on the noble and somewhat shape-shifting grape, Syrah. I focused on French and American iterations of Syrah, because that was a useful parameter for talking about the grape’s history. Check it out hereSome really great bottles in this line-up–find one of them and get drinking!

And, in my Vine Pair column this week, I took on the controversial topic of sulfites / sulfur in wine. Read here

As always, I would love to hear feedback or questions from any of you! Thanks so much for reading

Tempranillo Time on Eater!

photo by Alex Ulreich for Eater
photo by Alex Ulreich for Eater

I discovered some really amazing bottles of Tempranillo while working on this article. I think it’s really cool to study a grape this way, and see how variations in climate, viticulture, and oaking practices can produce radically different versions of the same varietal. It also sounds like some really interesting, political changes are at work right now in the Spanish wine industry, something I plan to keep my eye on!

Check out my article on Eater here. Happy weekend, all!


Forget That Oaky Stuff, Chardonnay Can Be Très Elegant

IMG_7465For many of us who are obsessed by wine, there was an “aha moment,” or a “gateway wine,” that led us from darkness and innocence toward the neverending, cork-popping, glass-swirling path of wine study.

That wine, for me, was a beautiful pét-nat called Pièges-à-Filles — which translates to “girl trap.” 

You see, after working a long shift at Reynard, the restaurant where I was first introduced to elegant, natural wines (holla Lee Campbell), the only thing that enlivened my spirits — crushed from rude customers, non-tipping foreigners, or perhaps a line cook’s snappish comments — was a glass of this bubbly, refreshing juice. OK, maybe two glasses. I would look forward to it all morning and afternoon, and finally relish it at the bar (holla Andrew Tarlow for the two-shift-drink employee perk) before going home to write, or most days to my second job (holla New York City and Brooklyn rent).

Chardonnay is the base of that delicious white wine, though I didn’t even realize it when I was gulping it down every day. Since then, I’ve traveled to Burgundy, including Chablis, and to Napa, and developed a true affection for Chardonnay. Which is NOT a “sweet,” oaky wine if you get a good bottle. Bad Chardonnay sucks, don’t bother with it. Grab one of the ethereal bottles that I recommend in my Eater article, which looks at how winemaking styles and climate impact Chardonnay.

Read the article here. Oh, and watch out for that girl trap wine, you might wind up becoming a wine journalist.

Mourvèdre & Thanksgiving Wines

IMG_7093We often think about wines in a static way – especially when it comes to grapes. Oh, Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s just there, it’s been there forever, right? But grapes have political and cultural biographies, or “careers,” you could say, just like people or countries do. 

Mourvèdre is a really fascinating grape. First of all, it is something of a cornerstone for various important figures in American gastronomic history, like MFK Fisher, Alice Waters, Richard Olney, Julia Child, and Kermit Lynch, all of whom were obsessed with Provence, its food and wine and scenery. But, were it not for the diligent research and replanting efforts of Lucien Peyraud of Domaine Tempier, the appellation of Bandol wouldn’t exist — and who knows whether upstart winemakers in California would now be making tasty cult bottles for us to geek out over?

Check out my piece about Mourvèdre, with wine recommendations, on Eater Drinks, here

Also, if you need Thanksgiving wine recommendations, I wrote about some of my preferred bottles on Food Republic – with options for budget-conscious drinkers as well as more splurge-y wines. Read here

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!