I DRINK ON THE JOB - THE BLOG

Posts Tagged ‘wine consumption’

DC Wine Dinners to Savor: Braida Wine Dinner at Sonoma

October 26th, 2013 • No Comments

 Braida Wine Tasting and Three Course Wine Dinner – Legendary Italian Wines from Piemonte was held at Sonoma Restaurant on Friday, October 25th, 2013 and was a truly memorable event..

2013-10-25 18.36.12I really enjoyed this event with a family member of the Braida Winery in attendance – wine expert Norbert Reinisch, Braida’s Export Manager and Founder’s Son-In-Law. The tasting included Braida’s current releases of Montebruna, Il Baciale, Moscato d’Asti and Brachetto d’Acqui..But we also got to taste multiple vintages of Bricco dell’Uccellone and Ai Suma in a pre-dinner wine tasting that was fabulous! Norbert has in interesting personal story: he’s actually Austrian and began his career as a Doctor..somewhere along the line he fell in love with a member of the Braida Family and changed his career from internist to wine ambassador! As they say – tough job – now he gets to travel the world and promote his wine family’s wines and thell their story – I could think of worse jobs!

Pre-Dinner WineTasting

Monferrato Rosso Il Baciale 2011, $29.99

A blend of Barbera, Pinot Noir and I think Merlot – beautiful cherry fruit with a touch of pepper from the Pinot and some backbone from the Merlot

Barbera Bricco dell’Uccelone 2009, $84.99

Barbera Bricco dell’Uccelone 2010, $86.99

2013-10-25 18.36.07These two wines were both 100% Barbera but very different. The 2009 had amazing fruit-forward cherry and even a bit of baked apple fruit intensity, and oak was in the background but beautiful licorice/anise on the finish. The 2010 was tight and needs at least a few more years for the cherry fruit to break through the strong structure of French Oak tannins and red skin tannins as well which made this quite licorice on the finish and also a bit closed on the nose – this one will be much better 5 and even 10 years from now!

Barbera Ai Suma 2007, $121.99

Barbera Ai Suma 2009, $112.99

Again, these two wines were picked from the same vineyards, but from different vintages.  From the intense aromatics to the first sip, the 2007 was just amazing on the palate with tons of cherry fruit, but also an added dimension – not just great acidity which Barbera is distinctly known for even in these hotter/riper vintages – but this wine had character and almost a brooding development of complexity. The tannins were there, but beautifully incorporated with fruit, oak and lush chewiness on my palate – I felt this wine luxuriously on my palate. The 2009 was also very good, but distintly had more chocolate, baked cherry pie and sweetness that surprised me a bit because it was younger. Make a note: these wines are both around 16% alcohol, so they are trophy wines that can stand-up competitively to top Bordeaux and Napa, but with so much more acidity to keep them refreshing!

Three Course Wine Dinner Menu

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First
Fluke Crudo with preserved lemon, moscatto gelee, frisee and local asian pear
paired with 2012 Moscato d’Asti

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Second
Grilled Duck Breast “Autunno” Duck, chicharonnes, Barbera cherry gastrique with savory pumpkin and sage bread pudding
paired with 2011 Barbera Monte Bruna

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Third
Plum crisp with Local plums, brown sugar farro crumble and local goat cheese gelato
paired with 2012 Brachetto d’Acqui

Little known fact: the grape varietal “Barbera” was once a throw-away jug wine kind of grape that was never taken very seriously in the Piedmont Region of Italy where Barolo and Barbaresco are the King and Queen of wines respectively. Guiseppe Bologna, the founder of Braida winery, was the first back in the 1980’s to produce prodigious wines by planting Barbera vines on his family’s land and using new French oak as his aging barriques.

Spanish Wine Dinners Make Me Sing Ole!

May 30th, 2013 • No Comments

There’s just something about a wine dinner..elegance, sophistication..lots of great wine and food..2013-05-29 18.56.43

I attended a wonderful Spanish Wine Dinner from part of the Tradewinds Specialty Imports Portfolio – the Wine dinner was from Bodegas Ismael Arroyo, a great historic winery from the Ribera del Duero area of Spain. Here’s a photo of their 16th century wine cellar – pretty impressive!spanishwinecellarbodegasismaelarroyoThis event was held on Wednesday, May 29th at Taberna del Alabardero – the Top Rated Spanish Restaurant in Washington, D.C. and for good reason – their food, chef, management and sommelier Gustavo together make this a destination for Foodies and wine lovers – and they know how to throw a wine dinner!

Below is the menu with details – overall, I really enjoyed the wines, but especially enjoyed the aged Valsotillo Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva 2004 D.O. Ribera del Duero – and the importer Estebe explained it best – it had quite a bit of acidity to balance the tannins and American oak after aging and made the wine sing on my palate! This says alot about high alcohol levles of today’s wines: they may be enjoyable  for a few sips or a glass, but acidity helps to refresh your palate and make them pair better with food. I also really enjoyed the aromatically “barnyardy” 1999 Valsotillo Gran Reserva – this was an unusual wine in that it had alot of funk on the nose, but it had a pretty delicate structure – something kind of pensive, maybe a wine to discuss philosophy or to cellar for many years and share with only close friends..there’s something to be said for that!

Food-wise, Taberna really excels, but the steak stood out for it’s simplicity, tenderness and good salty flavor – it’s rare that a steak wakes up my palate, but the flavors of this with the Tempranillo revived my tastebuds and actually I was hankering for more!

Enjoy perusing the menu..and remember..

I’m Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler !

Delicious Quail with Lupini Beans!

Delicious Quail with Lupini Beans!

Taberna del Alabardero Presents: Bodegas Ismael Arroyo Wine Tasting Dinner

Executive Chef Javier Romero, In collaboration with Sommelier Gustavo Iniesta, invite you to a unique Wine Tasting experience, where you are going to discover the Wines from One of the most Important Wineries in Ribera Del Duero Region: Bodegas Ismael Arroyo Featuring: Estebe Salgado Bodegas Ismael Arroyo Ambassador and Tradewindsspecialty, Inc Owner Price Per person: $95.00 (Tax and Service Included)

For reservations

Wine Dinner Tickets at Taberna del Alabardero

Friday, May 29th 2013 Reception 6:30pm Dinner 7:00pm Cocktail Reception Endivia, Mollejas y Mousse de Pato Endive, Sweetbreads and Duck Mousse Mejillones Tigre Stuffed Mussels Shells Ajoblanco de Gambas al Ajillo Cold Garlic and Almond Soup with Garlic Shrimp Flavor Bohigas Brut Nature Reserva D.O. Cava

First Appetizer Ensalada de Pochas, Codorniz a la frambuesa y lascas de Foie White Bean Salad, raspberry-quail Stew and Foie chips Valsotillo Crianza 2009 D.O. Ribera del Duero

Second Appetizer Bacalao Confitado con txangurro y tomate sobre un Caldo Ahumado Confit Codfish with Crabmeat and Tomato over a Smoky Broth Valsotillo Reserva 2004 D.O. Ribera del Duero2013-05-29 20.33.13

First Course Rabo de Toro en Estofado de Noras, Calabaza Liquida y Cogollos en Tempura Nora (Sweet Pepper) Stewed Oxtail, Liquid Pumpkin and Heart Lettuce in Tempura Valsotillo Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva 2004 D.O. Ribera del Duero

2013-05-29 20.39.11Second Course Rib-Eye de Ternera, Tortilla Espanola e Higados Encebollados Veal Rib-Eye, Spanish Potato Omelet with Liver and Onions Valsotillo Gran Reserva 1999 D.O. Ribera del Duero

Dessert Queso de Cabrales en Texturas con Helado de Membrillo Cabrales (Blue Cheese) in Textures with Quince Ice Cream Alexandro Pedro Ximenez D.O. Jerez-Xerez-Sherry

Cassandra Salgado

Cassandra Salgado

A Lombardy Perspective on Wine

June 23rd, 2010 • 1 Comment

Yesterday, I stopped by the Wines of Lombardy Tasting in Washington, D.C. to taste a wine region I knew little about. I love Italian wines – especially because I love the way Italian’s see food and wine as part of their culture. Lombardy is considered one of the more industrious parts of Italy with Milan as its center, but it is still a part of Italy – the meal is still a central part of daily life, and yes, wine is consumed with daily meals!
My first video interview was with Gianpetro Poletti who is sort of Chamber of Commerce for the Lombardy region:

One point to note is that Gianpetro considers the Nebbiolo – the noble varietal used to make Barolo and Barbaresco in neighboring Piemonte – as native to the Lombardy region! I really enjoyed his Nebbiolos, particularly one that was made from dried grapes also known as the “appassimento” method. As the translator explained to me, wines produced using the appassimento process are known as passito wines. This is the same process that Amarone is made in neighboring Veneto, but with different grape varietals. The Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG Tinaia 2005 had 14.5% alcohol and the concentrated flavors of a rich wine, but was amazingly balanced by the acidity of Nebbiolo and the tannins as well. It wasn’t nearly as “beefy” as an Amarone, much more refreshing in comparison and I think therefore a year-round wine.

My next interview was Daniele Travi of Sorsasso, a wine maker and Agriturismo in the Lake Como region. His specialty is a wine made from a unique grape which he called “Verdesa”, but it is probably related in some way to the Spanish “Verdelho”, but it’s hard to say. He mentioned to me a dried fish unique to the region that I had never heard of before – Missoltini, a type of salted and dried shad, here’s a very hard to understand recipe for it: Missultitt Recipe. As they say, you should eat and drink the region, here what he has to say:

Ciao!

I Drink Launches on Wine Library TV with Gary V!

February 17th, 2010 • No Comments


Charlie Adler with Gary Vaynerchuk on Official Launch of “I Drink on the Job” Book

OK, time for “I Drink on the Job”s 15 minutes of fame..it all started on a cold rainy day, windswept and forlorn..
Actually, I met Gary V on his “Crush It” book tour when he visited American University in Washington, D.C.
Crush It has had a huge influence on my book marketing via Social Media..
I give Gary V credit, he’s a very savvy guy, and being on the show is about the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had,
I mean it’s like an emotional roller-coaster, it was scary and fun at the same time!

I’ll have more on this tomorrow – I’m watching I Drink Amazon.com Sales go through the roof!!

Pop The Cork Revisited

February 5th, 2010 • No Comments

Just another chance for me to post a video of me popping the cork – Cheers!

Wine: The Food Enhancer

January 23rd, 2010 • 3 Comments

Spice up your life! If you enjoy food, then wine will come naturally. It’s part of the seasoning of your meal. Think of wine as a way to enhance the flavors of food. As a full-time wine professional over at TasteDC and about to be released author of I Drink on the Job: A Refreshing Perspective on Wine I constantly get questions from new wine drinkers about food and wine pairing. My overall philosophy is that wine and food is a synergy: 1 + 1 should equal MORE than 2. I argue that this is the same way with spices and the cooking preparation of your dish. Chefs will often add spices and taste as they go which helps to layer flavors and adjusts the flavor of the dish. Wine has dual purposes as well: it wakes up your taste buds before you begin eating primarily with acidity, and it accentuates flavors in food. If this sounds complicated, remember – no one has ever died from a bad wine and food pairing, it’s a low-risk proposition, even if wine and food don’t pair well, you can still experience pleasure!

My suggestion is that since wine and food pairing is an art form at best, wine consumers should experiment. What works for you, may not work for me and vice-versa. Just as chefs are adding new combinations of spices and flavorings to their dishes, new wine and food pairing synergies will be discovered. I like to think of it as exploration – new adventurers are breaking out of the mold of old ways of thinking and discovering new ways to enjoy the pleasures of wine. Just like not every explorer discovered something of value or importance, not all wine and food matches will work. But why not experiment and possibly make a discovery? The world of wine and food adventures is much safer than crossing the Atlantic on a galley, the worst mutiny that could occur is wine critics and the wine “order” could ignore you or denigrate you, but with the new world of social media – who needs them anyway? Set sail my friend to a new world of Tasting Discovery – Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

Debunking Terroir

January 2nd, 2010 • 2 Comments

I’ve heard so much about terroir in the wine press/blogging/twitter the last few years, that I’m past overwhelmed by all the statements and now into my denial phase. If you’re not familiar with “terroir”, it’s all about the “placeness” of a wine: the what, where, and how of the type of vine chosen, the varietal, the roots, the soil, the micro-climate, the wine maker, the regionality and of course all the factors that go into making the wine. For example, the “terroirists” or proponents of the idea that wine (and cheese, and beer, and pretty much anything you consume) should represent the unique characteristics of its region, are generally against much human manipulation, ie. chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and too much use of new oak (this is a very short list, there are many more!). Their thinking is that we should taste nature’s gift the way nature intended it to be–use natural yeast, don’t filter or fine, and let the grapes ferment and express themselves the way they were meant to..enough, enough!

So what’s my issue with the concept of terroir? Does my skepticism towards the idea that you can (or can not) taste the soil in the final expression of the wine give me the right to throw the whole idea of nature’s expression out the window? Well, that’s not my point. I actually believe that better wine makers know and understand the locality they live in and they should use the least aggressive means of getting the vine to ripen grapes and express the full range of flavors. I believe that terroir, like character, is personal to each wine consumer. We each HAVE our own terroir (where you were born, your family history, the way you were brought up, etc.) and VIEW terroir differently – you say tomato, I say tomaato, well..you get the picture. We all express our own terroir, taste things in our own way, and we should each express our own opinions. The terroirists like many idealists are just too fanatical for my tastes, so to speak. They often condemn “manufactured wines” that have no soul, no individuality, and don’t represent a unique micro-climate. Fine–but just like the average American consumer, I want to enjoy a wine and I want it to taste good – what if 2 Buck Chuck tastes better to my palate than a $45 bottle of Burgundy, does that make me insincere? Isn’t there a place for mass market wines just like there’s a place for chain stores, or other commercially made products? Sure, I prefer handmade chocolates, but I’m not offended by the highly industrialized manufacture of Hershey Kisses, hey they taste good too!

The French say “to each his own” – so be it with wine. You only buy grass-fed organic beef from the farmer’s market, I like Prime-Aged corn-finished meat, but my mother swears by the tenderloin at Costco. Same with wine, each of us has different needs and goals in mind, so that should sincerely respected. I’d rather drink a local Virginia or Maryland wine (non-organic – it’s not possible at this point to produce organic wines in our area primarily due to humidity and rainfall during harvest issues) than an organic wine from say Chile. Both wines are great, but I can see the face of the Virginia winemaker at a local wine tasting room or at local tastings. I like the idea to keep money in the community when possible – that’s my feel good issue. For me, my sense of terroir is connected with the people I help in life – economically, spiritually, and in whatever way I can be of assistance. I don’t give money to international charities because I try to assist the homeless that live within a mile of a my home. My terroir is right here..

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

Does America Have "Poor Wine Self-Esteem"?

October 16th, 2009 • 5 Comments

gary_vaynerchuk

Does America Have Poor “Wine Self-Esteem”

I saw the awesome Gary Vay – Ner – Chuk on his #aucrush #crushit “Crush It” book tour this past Wednesday at American University’s Kogod College of Business. I wasn’t just seeing Gary to hear about his book, but frankly I had a bit of an agenda: I wanted to promote my own book “I Drink on the Job” on his fun web show Wine Library TV (I have good news at the conclusion of this Blog Post!). Since I obviously wanted to draw some attention to myself in an audience of 200+ mostly college students, I wanted to ask a relevant question about wine to get Gary’s point of view. I was so excited/thrilled when the Moderator pointed at me to ask a question, I literally jumped up in the air, I was really pumped up by the show!

My question for Gary was about American’s “confusion” with wine and what he thought the problem was. In usual Gary fashion, probably the most quotable man in the wine business as well as all of Wine 2.0, he spewed out one-liners like “We’re stuck on 16 adjectives”, “People have no wine self-esteem”, and “I’ve seen grown men sweat at a business dinner..” His key point was that there’s a lack of what he calls “wine self-esteem” in the U.S. I thought this was something to delve into further because it’s one of the main reasons that I wrote my book “I Drink on the Job”.

According to Wikipedia Definition “Self-esteem”: “Self-esteem” is a term used in psychology to reflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. According to Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV WineLibraryTV, his newest book “Crush It” Crush It and many other entrepreneurial ventures, this is the biggest “problem” among American wine consumers today. Here’s the UStream Video of the event Gary Vaynerchuk Video at AU Crush It (I’m at about the 36th minute, he definitely noticed me!).

Throughout my book, I mention episodes of tension with American wine consumers in the real world. Examples include the woman who almost fainted when she found out I had purchased wines with screw top closures for her corporate event, the gentleman who almost went ballistic when I suggested that Robert Parker may not in fact be a “wine God”, and the woman who would not accept a pour of wine from me – at a wine tasting! Throughout my twelve year career in wine, I have experienced so much wine anxiety that I think Gary hit it right on the head – it’s actually American’s lack of “wine” self-esteem. Much of the proof of this is anecdotal, but when I teach TasteDC’s TasteDC Website wine course Wine Basics 101, I get the same questions over and over again: what do the “legs” of wine mean, is a more expensive wine a better wine, how long should a wine age, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the questions, in fact, I think it’s very healthy to have strong curiosity about wine. I think the problem is that too many people believe there is in fact a right and a wrong answer. Too many wine professionals portray wine as something “difficult”, “complicated” and “mystical” – why else would they “de-mystify” wine? You only de-mystify, what is a mystery. What if wine professionals simply told new wine consumers to try a wine first and see if that person gains pleasure or to make wine part of daily meals? I spend over 200 pages in my book “I Drink on the Job” portraying wine as an everyday staple – drink it every day with your meals and the mystery disappears like the secrets to a magic trick. Once you get past the “illusion” of wine, it becomes an enjoyable part of your day, and a way to improve the pleasure of your meals.

As I always like to say: “Drink first, ask questions later”..but of course, I’m..

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

Top 20 Questions of Wine Newbies

January 3rd, 2009 • 3 Comments

Napa Tasting Room

Napa Tasting Room

It’s been a great time for me to work on my upcoming book “I Drink On the Job” – nothing is happening right now at www.tastedc.com, my full-time wine tasting gig, so I’ve put alot of thought and energy into the book.  Of course, my computer ate about 30 pages of material, go figure, but I’m coming on strong with plenty of verve, a bit less wine and Scotch in my system, but you gotta make choices!

So my most recent foray is to figure out what are the top 20 or so questions that newbie wine drinkers always ask about wine.  These questions are mostly derived from my Wine Basics 101 class which I’ve held or taught for the last 12 years and approximately 16,000 people have attended – if you feel there are other important questions for me to answer or resolve in the book, email me at [email protected]astedc.com, thanks:

Top 20 Questions/Comments That New Wine Drinkers Always Make:
1) Are more expensive wines better than cheaper ones?
2) What am I tasting?
3) The legs of wine in a glass tell you if the wine is good or not?
4) How does vintage make a difference?
5) What am I tasting?
6) Why can’t I taste all the things I’m supposed to in a wine or describe them?  What are the nuances of wine?
7) I need to purchase many different kinds of glassware to accentuate the nuances of wine?
8) Rieslings are sweet, so I keep away from sweet wines like that.
9) I prefer wines with cork closures, anyway wines with screwtops are cheap and crappy.
10) You’re supposed to sniff the cork when it’s given to you in a restaurant?
11) White wine with fish and red wine with meat?
12) I need to understand all the great and bad pairings before I can enjoy wine with food?
13) Wine ratings by critics are very objective, so I can just rely on them?
14) Organic wines are better for you and don’t contain sulfites?
15) When I sneeze when I drink wine, it’s because of the added sulfites?
16) Only France(or name a region) makes great wine because of their better location?
17) I can never figure out wine because it’s so confusing with so many labels, regions and confusing information, I’ll never be able to figure it out?

I didn’t quite reach 20, but I’m still working on this – gimme a holler if you think you can add some good ones – cheers!

Charlie “I Drink On the Job” Adler

How Prohibition Pushed Americans to Hard Drink

December 30th, 2008 • No Comments

Prohibition may have failed in the U.S. but it’s far reaching effect was to replace the wine glass with a shot glass..

 

The effects of Prohibition on America’s drinking habits are so significant, that I wanted to point out a few reasons that Americans have only come up on the radar as a wine consuming country since the 1970’s.  American’s love affair with booze goes back in history to the early part of our country when Rum was traded as major commodity and George Washington set up his commercial still operation in Mount Vernon.  Over time, wine drinking actually caught on when Americans figured out a way to make American grapes (vitus lambrusco, no relation to Italian Lambrusco) palatable as drinking wines, thus putting Missouri and Ohio on the map of top wine producing areas.

 

When Prohibition raised it’s ugly head in 1919 through the Volstead Act which essentially made alcohol illegal in most forms (you were allowed to produce a limited amount of wine at home, and Near Beer with a maximum alcohol level of .5% by volume remained legal) and completed it’s devastation by 1933, America was in the middle of the big Depression.  America’s taste for “soft” alcoholic beverages like wine and beer had been hardened into a love of gin and other cheap spirits which were readily available during Prohibition in illegal drinking establishment known as Speakeasies.  Since the Mafia was in charge of providing illegal beverages to these undercover establishments, booze became king: it was easy to transport, relatively easy to make or bring over the border from Canada, and it had plenty of alcohol by volume both satisfying the thrill seekers of the era: if you were going to risk going to jail for breaking the law, why not drink the hard stuff – booze!

 

The other major effect of Prohibition (excluding the major number of deaths by people who mistakenly consumed cheap ethanol substitutes like wood alcohol which killed them) was the destruction of over 90% of the existing vineyards and the loss of a major number of breweries.  Since investment dollars were hard to come by during the financial Depression, and it takes a long lead time to grow quality grapes and produce quality wine, the wine industry took many years to reappear.  Even if a winery was opened, the shortage of talent and skilled labor to produce quality wines was almost non-existent.

 

America’s tastes changed to spirits such as gin, vodka and whiskey which was most evident during the 50’s and 60’s with the burgeoning cocktail culture and the prevalence of cheap, poorly made wine produces like wine coolers – I remember Bartles and James commercials on TV, do You?  Cocktails and the associated cocktail parties were the rage in this era, and wine was still either cheap and sweet or hard to come by unless you were willing search it out and spend relatively a lot of money for the time.  And each state had different alcohol laws and controls, for example, in my state of Pennsylvania there were an extremely limited availability of quality wines, and you were more likely to find Riunite, Blue Nun or Mateus as the closest substitute to a fine wine.  Since fine wine was relatively expensive and hard to come by, it had a snooty reputation and was perceived as “highfalutin”—something only the rich or Europeans drank, or something saved only for special occasions like sparkling wine for the Holidays.

 

Conclusion: Prohibition slowed down America’s interest in wine and repositioned booze as the alcoholic drink of choice.  Other signs of this fact include American’s sweet tooth in beverages from cocktails to soft drinks and the difficulty many people have adjusting to “dry” wines with food.  Two historical moments significantly effected American’s tastes in wine: 1) The Paris Tasting of 1976 when California wines one against French wines in both the red and white wine categories, and 2) 60 Minutes episode on the “French Paradox” in 1991 which suggested that the reason the French have such low heart disease even though they ate ridiculously high levels of saturated fat in their diet, was due to their consumption of a few glasses of red wine per day.  Add American’s relative wealth, travel to foreign countries, increased interest in gourmet food and fine cuisine and last but not least the movie Sideways, and it becomes clear why America is now the number one consumer of wine by total volume a year – Cheers!  

Charlie “I Drink On the Job” Adler