Eat

I find happiness in an honest meal. Whether it's a simple pasta or an exquisite risotto, a perfectly cooked steak or an intricately prepared curry, all great dishes are a seamless blend of ingredients and indulgence, of style and substance.

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Many poets have waxed philosophical about the values and virtues of wine, about its power and principles, its joy and attraction.

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Travel isn't about the destination; it's about the journey. It is about the people and places you meet along the way.

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As I crisscross the globe I often discover innovative wine products, new gadgets or the perfect gift for wine lovers; and so I have created a collection of Wine Portfolio merchandise.

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Wine can sometimes seem complicated and intimidating but it doesn't have to be. Wine should bring joy not stress and you don't have to be an expert to learn to love wine.

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There are as many types of cruises as there are plates on a buffet

November 25, 2014 10:35 am - Posted by Jody in Travel
When most people picture a cruise, the image that likely comes to mind is the big-ship variety, with their splash pools and lido decks. And while most of the 22 million people who will embark on a floating vacation next year will take this kind of trip, those intimate parties for 3,000 are far from the… read more

The History of A Fine Wine

November 21, 2014 4:08 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

Château Haut-Brion is a French wine, rated a Premier Cru Classé (First Growth), produced in Pessac just outside the city of Bordeaux. It differs from the other wines on the list in its geographic location in the north of the wine-growing region of Graves. Graves is an important subregion of the Bordeaux wine region and is the only Bordeaux subregion which is famed for all three of Bordeaux’ three main wine types—reds, dry whites and sweet wines, although red wines dominate the total production.

Being from such an historic region Château Haut-Brion has a rich past. Last year Domaine Clarence Dillon the family-owned and managed company,which produces Château Haut-Brion launched a challenge: to discover a written mention of Haut-Brion wine prior 1660 when the wine was contained in the cellar book of King Charles II of England, the oldest known to date. This Historical Challenge was met!

From all of the submissions recorded, two authenticated mentions emerged from the past, or more precisely the beginning of the 16th century. The earliest mention discovered now dates back to 1521, in other words 139 years earlier!

The oldest text is a notarial instrument dated 21 January 15211, discovered in the Gironde Departmental Archives, which concerns a sale of a perpetual annuity in wine between Jean de Monque, a squire and lord of the locality of Monque, and Guilhem de Mailhois, bourgeois, merchant and sergeant of Bordeaux.

This sale is agreed for a sum of 400 Bordeaux francs (a sum that would be equivalent to a current purchasing power of over approximately €50,000). In repayment of this loan, Jean de Monque undertakes to deliver each year “four pipes of wine… from the place known as Aubrion” (equivalent to eight barrique casks or 1,800 l):

« quatre pipes de vin, seront du cru des vignes appartenant audit de Monque du lieu appelé Aubrion, appartenant audit vendeur. Lesquelles sont sises derrière son bourdieu assis audit lieu appelé du Brion, en la paroisse Saint-Martin de Pessac, ensemble des vignes de Pins Bouquet, de la Gravette et de Cantegrit, le tout appartenant audit seigneur de Monque, assis en Graves de Bordeaux et si cas était que ne vint aucuns fruits de raisins qui fussent pour satisfaire lesdites quatre pipes de vin de rente, bon, pur et net et marchand, le dit vendeur sera tenu lui en bailler d’autres aussi bon provenu du cru desdites vignes dessus déclarées ».

[“four pipes of wine, will be from the vineyard (cru) belonging to the said de Monque from the place known as Aubrion, belonging to the said seller. The said vines being found behind his smallholding established in the said place known as Le Brion, in the parish of Saint-Martin de Pessac, all of the vines of Pins Bouquet, la Gravette and Cantegrit, all belonging to the said lord of Monque, domiciled in Graves in Bordeaux, and if there are no grapes to fill the said four pipes of wine as an annuity – good, pure and clean and sellable, the said seller will be obliged to provide him with others that are just as good from the vineyard of the said abovementioned vines”.]

1521 document_all pagesFor the first time, Haut-Brion wine is associated with this extremely specific and prestigious term: Growth. Accordingly, from 1521, this text heralds an evolution spanning over three centuries that would take Haut-Brion to the rank of “First Growth” in the Gironde Wine Classification in 1855.

The second verified instrument is dated 1st September 15262. It is a sale of wine, made before a royal notary in Bordeaux: Esclarmonde de Lagarde, a Bordeaux woman, is selling to Pierre Gassies and Pierre Mulle, who are probably merchants, a quantity of two barrels of wine, equivalent to eight barrique casks: “two barrels of clairet or red wine from the vineyard of Haulbrion in Graves”.

On this date, the year’s grape harvest has not yet been gathered, so it therefore represents a sale on the vine. The quality of the harvest is not yet certain: if it is good, the wine will naturally be concentrated, with a red colour… if it is very average, the colour will be dark pink (clairet)… hence the possibility accepted in the contract.

The most remarkable feature of this instrument lies in the fact that in this business transaction the name of the product sold has been simplified: “wine from the vineyard of Haulbrion”. The reference to the vines and their owner is no longer even present in the trade name. From 1526, therefore, the fusion between the name of the vineyard – or terroir – and that of the wine produced there is already virtually complete. We are very close to the designation “vino de Hobbriono” in King Charles II of England’s cellar book in 1660.

This Château Haut-Brion Historical Challenge has therefore been extremely enriching for the history of this great vineyard and the wines of Bordeaux. We would like to thank and congratulate all those who researched and helped us to go back even further in time to discover evidence regarding the birth and development of what might be the oldest luxury brand in the world: Haut-Brion.

Green Cuisine Sweeps the Fleshpots of Paris

November 17, 2014 4:40 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat
Farewell Chateaubriand, goodbye confit de canard. As Alain Ducasse, one of the high priests of haute cuisine, announced he was taking meat off the menu at his restaurant at the Plaza Athénée hotel in Paris, vegetarians everywhere sensed victory. One more chef had seen the light. One British tabloid headline screamed, “Is this the end of… read more

The Science of Truffles

November 14, 2014 3:13 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat
Goethe University Frankfurt Truffles, along with caviar, are among the most expensive foods in the world. Because they grow underground, people use trained dogs or pigs to find them. But the distinctive smell of truffles is not only of interest to gourmets. A group of German and French scientists under the direction of the Goethe University… read more
A zit is usually the unannounced and unwelcome visitor at the most inopportune moments, from a work meeting to a hot date. The fight for clear skin can seem like a never-ending battle that starts at your pharmacy’s skin care aisle and ends with you at home red-faced, irritated, and with even more breakouts. To lay… read more
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Beer & Wine Pairing

November 7, 2014 7:31 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

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Culinary masters including Marcus Samuelsson, Anne Burrell, Tyler Florence, Stephanie Izard, Ed Baines and Roger Mooking will be making their way to the island of Barbados, the culinary capital of the Caribbean, for the fifth annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival. The international gourmet event of the season boasts the ultimate Caribbean fare from November 20-23, 2014. Barbados reveals the schedule of events for the four-day epicurean extravaganza including location and ticket details at www.foodwinerum.com.

Teaming up with island all-stars Ashley Davis, Jamar Drakes, Marco Festini Cromer, Cecil Gill, Creig Greenidge, Guise Mama and Omar Robertson, the team of world renowned chefs will partake in a wide variety of chef demonstrations, tasting events and seminars highlighting all things food, wine and rum for the annual epicurean event. Chefs will showcase their skills using special cooking techniques in intimate gatherings at some of Barbados’ leading hotels and restaurants. The festival aims to not only show travelers how to master the art of cooking and wine pairings, but also how to enjoy fine food, wine and rum all the more.

2014 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival event highlights include:

  • Guests will be able to mingle with the international chefs and experience local flavor at A Night Out in Oistins.  Chefs will be serving up a variety of seafood including the island’s native Flying Fish on November 20. Watch a live cooking demonstration by Marcus Samuelsson, a mixology competition and a “Grill Masters” cook-off all while listening to calypso music.
  • Learn innovative culinary techniques during cooking demonstrations. Guests will have the opportunity to relish the complexities of Barbados’ legendary rum and gain expert knowledge on a range of hand-selected wines.
  • Explore the Rum Trails at Mount Gay, Four Square and St. Nicholas Abbey to learn about each distillery and unique tasting notes.
  • Sail the tranquil waters of the blue Caribbean aboard the Spirit of Barbados Luxury Catamaran during the festival’s Indulgence the Cruise on November 24. Guests will swim with the turtles and snorkel the wrecks of Carlisle Bay to return to a savory meal and premium bar with only sun, sand and sea on the horizon.
  • Visit authentic neighborhood eating establishments across the Country with the festival’s newest dining experience Food Trails, showcasing the island’s traditional and local food & beverage offerings.
  • Renowned chef Tyler Florence brings his creativity and innovative culinary style to one of the most exquisite seaside settings, The Cliff restaurant, for an evening of sumptuous cuisine, conversation, crashing waves and panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea.
  • Luis Torres, Co-Founder and Director of Constellation Academy of Wine hosts The Liberation of Food and Wine Dinner offering guests a chance to explore food and wine parings in a whole new light. Guests will journey through distinct flavor profiles and specific types of wine pairings.
  • Experience the Barbados Culinary Team at Bajan Fiesta, comprised of award-winning chefs and mixologists.
  • Savor it all at Ambrosia V, where international guest chefs join local chefs to serve up a variety of sample-sized dishes. Guest can sample the latest fare and mingle amongst an elegant island backdrop at Ilaro Court.
  • Explore and savor Mount Gay Rum, the oldest rum in the world, at the historic rum distillery in St. Lucy, and learn about Where the Rum Comes From. Start by following the brand’s 310-year rich history of rum-crafting experience at the Mount Gay Visitors Center then enjoy a traditional Bajan lunch on November 23.

For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets for the 2014 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival, please visit www.foodwinerum.com or www.visitbarbados.org.

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Tickets for the 11 th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, Southern California’s largest wine and food festival, have officially launched and are available to the public.  The most crave-worthy event of the year takes the spotlight this November 16-23, 2014, for its 11th season in what promises to be its most indulgent celebration yet.  The star-studded food and wine classic takes place in various locations across San Diego, with over 20 opportunities to satiate enthusiasts’ appetites for luxury wine and food throughout the week, said Michelle Metter, co-producer of the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival.

“The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival has become the common ground for exceptional chefs, winemakers, negociants, sommeliers, mixologists, butchers, brewmasters, cheese mongers, farmers, food merchants and producers of all scale,” added Metter.  “The level of talent and our community’s connection to the art, pleasure and celebration of food makes San Diego the ideal destination to once again play host to the over 10,000 guests in town for the Festival.”

The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is an international showcase of the world’s premier wines and spirits, chefs and culinary personalities, and gourmet foods.  The week- long epicurean experience celebrates San Diego’s vibrant culinary community with over 20 citywide events, wine and cooking classes, chef dinners, and multiple tasting events throughout the week.  The Festival’s legendary Grand Tasting presented by Kia K900 transforms the beautiful San Diego Bay into a food lover’s paradise, featuring 200 wineries, breweries and spirits from around the world, 70 local restaurants plus dozens of gourmet food companies, and the “Chef of the Fest Competition” where San Diego’s best chefs take center stage.

This year’s food and wine festival features rare tasting experiences including a highly-coveted tasting of the great Spanish wines of Vega Sicilia’s Unico from the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s and 90′s; a First-Growth Bordeaux tasting of all five First Growths of the 1855 Bordeaux wine classification including Chateaux Lafite, Latour, Mouton, Margaux and Haut Brion; and a 1,000 Point Tasting of ten, 100 point wines presented by Kia K900, this year led by the acclaimed Master Sommelier Fred Dame.

Additionally the Festival attracts celebrated chefs from across the country including James Beard award-winning chefs Nate Appleman, Gale Gand, and RJ Cooper, Antonin Careme medal holder Suzette Gresham, Iron Chef America winner Katsuya Fukushima, Chef Richard Blais and Chef Jon Sloan of Juniper & Ivy, authors of Talk With Your Mouth Full, The Hearty Boys, and author of El Farol: Tapas and Spanish Cuisine, James Campbell Caruso.

Local culinary standouts also fill out the roster of chef all-stars, including Bernard Guillas of La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and The Marine Room, Sam Burman of Grant Grill, Alex Carballo of URBN Coal Fired Pizza, Ivan Flowers of Top of the Market, Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen, Brian Bonney of The Oceanaire Seafood Room, John Medall of The Patio Restaurant Group, Kevin Templeton of barleymash, Chad White of Comun Kitchen & Tavern, Abe Botello of West Coast Tavern, Derek Jaeger of The Cravory, Ryan Johnston of Whisknladle, Giorgio Lo Verde of Il Fornaio Coronado, Jason McLeod of Ironside Fish & Oyster, Paul Murphy of Humphreys Restaurant, Duvinh Ta of Jake’s Del Mar, Alfie Szeprethy of Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Nicolas Bour of Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Jonathan McCann of Odysea, Sam Kambo of Royal India, Erin Kuba of Kuba Kreations, Jorge Gutierrez of Romesco Mex Med Bistro, Christopher Spayde of Bluewave Bar & Grill, Tommy Fraioli and George Morris of Beaumont’s Eatery, Arnie Espanoza of Dick’s Last Resort, Christina Pancheri of Tavern, Brad Hightow of University Club Atop Symphony Towers, and others.

This year’s schedule shines with celebrated Master Sommeliers and M.S. candidates leading the lineup of once-in-a-lifetime tastings.   Notables spearheading this year’s discussions include the acclaimed Frederick Dame, Michael Jordan, Sur Lucero, Thomas Price and San Diego-based Sommeliers Lisa Redwine of La Jolla Shores and The Marine Room, Joshua Orr of Marina Kitchen, and Jeff Josenhans of the US Grant.

To preview the schedule of events and featured celebrities visit the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival online at www.sandiegowineclassic.com.  Events, personalities and participating wineries and restaurants are updated daily.

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The Complete & Only Infographic on Beer & Wine You’ll Ever Need

October 28, 2014 6:48 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat

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Do we have to put pumpkin flavoring in everything?

October 24, 2014 3:33 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink
“You’re kind of dumb if you don’t do something with pumpkin in the fall,” Joaquín Simó says very matter of factly at his Alphabet City cocktail bar, Pouring Ribbons. “It’s like not doing hot drinks in the winter. It’s what people want.” Simó is, indeed, giving the people they want with the Labu Kelapa ($14), one… read more
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