1959 Moulin Touchais Birth Year Wines

1959 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon

The two bottles of 1959 Moulin Touchais Anjou and Coteaux du Layon I tasted, like me, were 54 years old. Beyond common birth year, the wines and I have very little to do with each other. I was born in Brooklyn; the bottles in Loire Valley’s western Anjou region. The wines are quite sweet; me, not so much […]

Noma: New Normal In Perfect Dining


It is important to walk to Noma over city bridges and along waterfront streets to embrace Copenhagen’s bone chilling winter.  February Noma meals are miraculously conceived outdoors; natural bounties harvested, pickled, smoked, or dried in step with a harsh Scandinavian winter calendar. Only then are they skillfully nurtured into a series of intellectually compelling courses […]

Kathryn Kennedy and California Wine

Kathryn Kennedy

Much of the criticism aimed at California wines’ big style and bulging price tags is routinely sidestepped in old world wine producing regions.  Although the extent of this is up for debate…history, subsidy, tradition, terroir, appellation controls, experience, and older vineyards form layers of insulation that restrain old world vignerons from the temptations of market […]

Brovia Barolo Cures Wine Absurdity

Brovia 2008 Barolo

When you get serious about wine, humorous elements popping up on the edges of its universe can seem absurd. By serious, I don’t mean snobby seriousness, but instead serious appreciation.  Take this weekend for example.  Sixteen of us blind tasted these 2008 Brovia Barolos. They are all beautiful, significant, complex, educational, mysterious beings that make […]

Blind Wine Tasting and Coke

pepsi challenge

During the final week of every “old” year I head to the same, sun scorched lazy Puerto Rico beach to give my peripatetic brain enough space to subconsciously prioritize and ponder only the most important issues. Blind wine tasting made the cut this year, triggered by some catch up reading of Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Blink.  If […]

Life of Wine

Wine Accessories

How can fine wine and all its inherent trappings be so extraordinarily compelling?  It is a fair question, don’t you think?  Archaeological evidence from Iran’s mountains suggests wine production and consumption have remained perpetual threads in our human fabric for 5,100 years; as if humans need wine.  What about fermented grape juice makes it so […]

Sake, Not Wine, With French Cuisine?

Chilled Sake

Wine stemware was conspicuously absent at AKA Bistro’s sake and French cuisine dinner. On the table in front of me, next to a flask-like tokkuuri, were wood box masu, some kiki choko beaming their bottom-of-the-cup targets, and a flat ceremonial sakazuki drinking vessel. Of course, I would know little about any of this crystal-trumping nomenclature without the help of […]

90 Plus Cellars Tasting Produces Nameless Pleasure

Brett Vankoski

In every blind tasting there is secret hope for fresh discovery and the eradication of closely held biases like perpetually ignored regions, varieties, producers, or vintages.  While the blind tasting experience is completely unrelated to luxurious enjoyment of wine with a meal, they serve as uniquely productive platforms for continuing wine education. Recently, I shared […]

Pair Wine With Children Not Food

L'Angevin 2007 Laughlin Vineyard Chardonnay

It is easy to turn your back on wine media around Thanksgiving. Hundreds of wine and food writers boldly recommend thousands of wines to pair with millions of holiday ingredient and flavor tapestries. It all looks as delusional as amusement park revelers wagering on spinning arcade lottery wheels; the odds say your instincts for picking […]

90+ Cellars Wines and Paul Bloom Pleasure Theory

90+ Cellars

Are wines that enthusiasts buy, drink, and derive pleasure from somehow linked to what they know about their origin, craftsmanship, and history? According to Yale Professor Paul Bloom’s TED talk, while it should be just as possible to enjoy a wine of unknown source and origin, it simply isn’t.  The following is a really enjoyable and fascinating […]