All The News That's Fit to Sip

The launch of venerable literary magazine Granta’s latest issue â€" the Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists â€" has been sponsored by Wines of Spain.
After four years of drama, confusion and near-farce, a new St Emilion classification will come into effect from the 2012 harvest.
Tia Maria is rolling out a new TV ad campaign in the run up to Christmas as part of a £3 million media spend on the brand.
This complex and challenging rosé is a near-perfect culinary match for turkey or goose, says Matthew Jukes.
On the eve of the most eagerly awaited Ashes series in recent times started, I found it quite ironic that statistics should be published revealing that Australian beer sales have hit their lowest level for 60 years.
Napa Valley is building a 44-mile path for cyclists and hikers through the heart of America's top wine region
Laura Rhys and Laurent Richet from Hotel Terra Vina and Nicolas Clerc from Le Pont de la Tour have been awarded the title of Master Sommelier.
The Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) has relaunched its website to offer new contents and features.
This complex and challenging rosé is a near-perfect culinary match for turkey or goose, says Matthew Jukes.
George Bagos of Kitchen bar, Chalandri, Greece has been crowned winnner of the Disaronno Mixing Star of 2010.
The troubled tavern was purchased by Le Famiglie dell’Amarone d’Arte and Antica Rinomata Riseria Ferron.
George Bagos of Kitchen bar, Chalandri, Greece has been crowned winnner of the Disaronno Mixing Star of 2010.
This complex and challenging rosé is a near-perfect culinary match for turkey or goose, says Matthew Jukes.
An online petition calling on Australians to drink local has been accused of protectionism.
Wine and spirits magnate Bernard Magrez has bought his 36th property - a rosé-producing domaine in the Côte de Provence - for an undisclosed sum:
Three bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild 1869 were sold at a whopping $232,692 each, making it the world's most expensive wine.
Pernod Ricard UK is launching a marketing campaign for its New Zealand brand, Brancott Estate, to raise awareness with UK consumers.
Cork producer, Amorim, has assisted in the preservation of the 200-year-old Champagne discovered on the Baltic seabed by developing a new stopper to the specifications of the antique bottles.
At holiday time, Richard Geoffroy, the chef de cave at Dom Perignon, is of the firm opinion that Champagne - the bubbly drink associated with special occasions - is a more flexible beverage than one might think. Yes, it...
An aggregation of links by the reporters and editors of Diner's Journal.
A dissection of the Gianni Versace suite at Miami's Villa, the continuous reign of celebrity chefs at big-league hotels, hotel height wars in Asia and resorts in Cabo.
At a Queens slaughterhouse committed to the idea that people should know where their food comes from, customers select and kill animals of their choosing.
What to do when your children eat with their hands and waiters pressure you to leave.
Melissa Clark, who writes the Good Appetite column for the Dining section, demonstrates pie basics and shares tips for achieving a flaky crust.
The chef whose Chicago restaurant L2O won three Michelin stars shortly after he left, says he'd like a place downtown.
Albert Trummer says Christopher Tierney, who has sued him to prevent pyrotechnic displays on the bar, tackled him in the basement.
The restaurant critic for The Times offers advice on where to eat on birthdays and Sundays.
Artichoke Basille's Pizza to open a pop-up take-out spot for the night before Thanksgiving.
The great Los Angeles nose-to-tail, farm-to-table, pop-up-supper-club, twitter-feeding-food-truck, high-low gourmet revolution.
An aggregation of links from the reporters and editors of Diner's Journal.
Melissa Clark seeks suggestions from readers on the best foods to use, in lieu of a spoon, for dipping.
With the holiday looming, the two chefs and owners of the Los Angeles restaurant Animal went shopping for serving pieces and accessories.
Want a better tasting squash? You just may just have to pollinate a plant yourself.
When Mom’s away, chicken nuggets and baby carrots are off the menu.
RSS's picture

Recipes: Crêpes Parmentier

Submitted by RSS on Wed, 11/17/2010 - 8:00pm

A recipe for six.
Serve with a few tablespoons of marmalade on polenta, toast or crêpes parmentier.
An aggregation of links by the reporters and editors of Diner's Journal.
Jancis Robinson visits a former Japanese diplomat whose high standards has resulted in exceptional vintages at his New Zealand winery
Most Bordelais shudder at comparative tastings, which tend to benefit the organisers by showing that their wines are much better value than top bordeaux, writes Jancis Robinson
Jancis Robinson values Les Caves de Pyrène because the wines are authentically French and the staff provide a direct line to the latest developments in France rather than peddling the same old list
Fear is spreading among the UK's biggest wine sellers after Robert Parker, the US critic whose ratings have dictated the market in wine futures for 20 years, declared the much-maligned 2008 Bordeaux vintage to be excellent
Their dry Rieslings are less austere, partly due to climate change and to the fact that German vintners today are more skilled at making well-balanced dry wines, writes Jancis Robinson
The famous Spanish white wine grape is at the centre of controversy after Australian growers were told that their own versions are of a different vine variety, writes Jancis Robinson
Before a two-week tour of the country this past March, Haidar Karoum, the executive chef at the wine-themed Proof in Penn Quarter, had never set foot in Spain. But you would never know that by eating at his second job, Estadio, the dashing new Logan Circle hot spot devoted to bocadillos and pintxos.
Nicholas Miller seemed reluctant to extol the virtues of Bien Nacido Vineyards as he drove me around the property his family has farmed for four decades in California's northern Santa Barbara County. I was there to write about an iconic American vineyard that is famed for producing some of the country's best wines, but all he wanted to talk about was the weather.
NEW ORLEANS -- There is something about Tales of the Cocktail, the huge spirits industry conference that has been held here every July for eight years, that leads one to make epic pronouncements about booze.
Bakers, especially obsessed home bakers, are always looking for an edge: a special tip, technique, tool or prayer that will bring their loaf or pizza closer to perfection.
A batter flecked with wheat bran, sweetened just enough and touched with a few dewy tablespoons of unsulfured molasses creates a classic breakfast treat: the bran muffin.
The "such" in the name of this new Olney carryout might refer to the bright homemade cotton aprons, painted vintage furniture and wall plaques hand-lettered with whimsical aphorisms found throughout the shop, all for sale. Or it might refer to a thick, warm-from-the-oven cookie with melting chocolate chips, an irresistible postscript to an overstuffed sandwich.
Before a two-week tour of the country this past March, Haidor Karoum, the executive chef at the wine-themed Proof in Penn Quarter, had never set foot in Spain. But you would never know that by eating at his second job, Estadio, the dashing new Logan Circle hot spot devoted to bocadillos and pintxos.
If you want to stand out in a crowd, you gotta have a gimmick. In the case of the sleek upstart DaMoim in Annandale, that means offering diners the chance to eat kimchi quesadillas under the gaze of the Rat Pack while listening to Baltimora sing "Tarzan Boy."
Starting a starter for baking bread, or keeping one going, can be a real source of anxiety for novice bakers. Here's what Silver Spring baker Tish Hall recommends.
The infrared gun registers 900 degrees just a few feet away from Tish Hall's face on a brutal July morning, but the Silver Spring homemaker hasn't broken a sweat.
This is my next favorite of the recent Diageo Special Releases (after the Brora 30 year old).   Port Ellen, 30 year old, 57.7%, $370 Port Ellen whiskies are going to just keep getting rarer and more expensive. This old-fashioned whisky is beginning to show its age, but is still holding up nicely. It’s clean, with no excessive oak and soft sweet maltiness for balance. Earthy and rooty at times, with tarry rope, beach pebbles, leafy smoke, bourbon barrel char, black licorice, lemon peel, and hints of shellfish and diesel fumes (like following a boat in the ocean). Long, smoky, lightly briny finish. Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 93
This post is in the same theme as the one I asked two days ago (regarding which distilleries impressed you last year). But this time I’d like to focus on specific individuals, rather than distilleries. Taking a look at the whisky industry as a whole, and all the people involved in it, who do you feel are the leaders? The pioneers? The individuals who set the examples for others in the whisky industry to follow? I’ll start off the discussion. I can think of a couple individuals who continue to impress me. As a true pioneer, John Glaser of Compass Box Whisky comes to mind. He, in many ways, created a whole new concept in whiskymaking, producing artisanal whiskies through the meticulous, passionate marrying of small-production, high-quality whiskies. And as an industry leader, I think of people like Mark Brown, the President and CEO of Buffalo Trace. Since he took over, Buffalo Trace has been producing numerous high-quality, cutting edge whiskeys at fair prices. And we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. But there are many more people doing great things. Who do you see at the forefront of the industry? And why?
Time to get serious with the reviews again. My focus this week: Diageo’s Special Releases. This is my favorite of the bunch. Brora, 30 year old, 53.2%, $400 This whisky has all the good aspects of a very mature whisky (depth, complexity) without all the bad ones (excessive oak, one-dimensional). Very clean, but oily in texture, with honeyed vanilla, caramel, citrus (tangerine, orange, lemon), nectarine, olive brine, black pepper, ginger, cut grass, mustard seed, and just the hint of teasing smoke. Briny, spicy finish. Wonderful! (And becoming increasingly rare.) Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 95
I’m not talking about just one whisky, but rather the distillery as a whole. And I’m including all distilling countries here. Maybe it was a new line of whisky. Maybe they changed the way they make the whisky. Maybe it’s the way they are holding the line on whisky prices. Whatever it is, let’s give credit where credit where credit is due. There’s been enough negative talk here (much of it deserved), and we can all agree that last year was a rough year for all of us. The whisky companies are listening. Speak up. Let’s say something nice. Which distillery really made you sit back and say: “Wow, they were really impressive!”
I asked you to help me pick which rare whisky to open up on Christmas Eve on this blog posting. And, as I posted here on Christmas Eve, the bottle I opened, as decided by you, was the 1973 vintage, 16 year old “Connoisseurs Choice” Ledaig single malt scotch from the Isle of Mull. A great whisky! As I promised I would do, I shared this bottle with many whisky lovers over the holidays. There’s about 1/3 of the bottle remaining, and I want to share what’s left too. I thought the proper thing to do with the rest of the bottle is to share it with you. And it’s only fair to reward the most active commenters here on WDJK. So, I’m going to send 50 ml samples to my the top five commenters. As of the end of the year, they were (with number of comments): Sam K (183) Red_Arremer (172) B.J. Reed (125) Louis (110) Two-bit Cowboy (94) Congratulations guys! If you can send me a private email ( with your mailing address, I’ll get the sample out to you. And in case you were curious, those just missing the top five: Todd 87) Bgulien (87) Neil Fusillo (85) butephoto (84) J. C. Skinner (80) Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a great 2010! And thanks for stopping by.
I’m not sure about the rest of the world (our international friends can chime in here), but I received a press release and sample of the new Glenrothes vintage coming to the U.S. in 2010. It’s a 1994 vintage, replacing the 1991. The Glenrothes website already talks of a new 1998 vintage replacing the 1994, so maybe the U.S. is a little bit behind the rest of the world with this release (which seems to be common these days…) I tasted it informally over the holidays a couple times and really like it. It’s my favorite of the vintages from the ’90s that I have tasted, and even better than some of the ’80s releases. I’ll get a formal review out in due time, but I just wanted to pass this on to you while I thought of it. According to the press release, it will retail for about $78.  I took time over the holidays to drink just for fun (as it should be), but I’ll be kicking the formal reviews into high gear again starting next week. Happy New Year everyone!
I usually take some time between Christmas and New Year’s Day, like I’m sure many of you do, to take a look at my life and see how I can improve it in the New Year. My whisky resolution for the new year is to promote this wonderful world of whisky as much as I can, while still keeping my life in balance. Balance, to me, is very important. Whisky is a big part of my life–and I hope that it always will be–but it’s certainly not the only part. In fact, I want to make sure that I put my family, friends, and health before whisky. I think to be the best at something, the sacrifice is just too great. A couple months ago, I was chatting with a fellow whisky writer and he told me that, in the past year, he only had two days off–including weekends! I want to be a friend to whisky, not a slave to it. If that means that I’ll never be the most influential person in whisky, that’s fine with me. As long as I am, in some way, helping you along your whisky path, then I am content. So, that’s my resolution for the new year: Whisky? Yes. But in balance! How about you? What’s your New Year’s whisky resolutions?
I hope you are enjoying your holiday season, spending your time with good friends, family, and great whisky! I have a question for you. WDJK enjoys a global audience, and I need a global perspective. When I dreamed up the crazy idea of WhiskyFest back in 1998, we were not aware of anyone else doing what we did–hosting a large whisky festival for the public that featured all the world’s whiskies (Scotch, Irish, American, Canadian, Japanese, etc.) and the people who make them. Not only did we want to bring all the world’s whiskies together for a unified cause (to promote whisky), but we also wanted to credit and feature the makers (master distillers, master blenders, etc.). I know that the Scotch Malt Whisky Society was hosting some great events here in the U.S. before us, but they were–at that time–smaller and focused primarily on the Society bottlings. [I really enjoyed them, BTW.] I could tell you many stories on how my wife and I didn’t sleep for a month before our first event in New York. We put our business on the line. If the event failed, the industry would shun us and our business would probably not survive. But I will save those stories for another time. For now, I am hoping you can tell me if you know of any other similar independent whisky events prior to 1998 (i.e. 1,000+ attendees, with whiskies from around the world, and master distillers/master blenders pouring the whisky and hosting seminars)? Whisky festivals are a great thing. It would be nice to sell how they all evolved. As you know, they are popping up all over the world now. Thanks!
I asked you to help me pick which special whisky to open on Christmas eve by voting for your choice of three different whiskies, each bottled more than 20 years ago. Thank you for all your help. Well, it’s 10:20pm on Christmas Eve. The rest of my family is working their way upstairs to bed. I tallied your votes, and the winner is… It was a tie! Both the Caol Ila and Ledaig got 25 votes, with Dallas Dhu getting 14. So, after all this, I still must make a deciding vote. (It’s too late and I am too tired to open up two bottles.) I chose the Ledaig, for the simple reason that the level of the whisky is at the lower part of the neck, and I don’t want it to get down to the shoulder. I’m glad I did. It’s still in good shape, and it’s a very delicious whisky. No fancy tasting notes right now, but let me say it’s very smoky, peaty, leafy, and briny, with a lovely sweetness to match…an old-fashioned island whisky. Let me thank my friends at Gordon & MacPhail for nurturing and bottling this whisky many years ago. And, as I sit here sipping end enjoying it, I toast all of you and wish you a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best to you in the New Year. I will now do the right thing, and share it with my whisky-loving friends over the next week or so. Slainte! John
There’s more to drinking whisky than what’s in the bottle. Whisky is a very social thing. We drink with friends, visit distilleries, go out to bars and restaurants, go to whisky festivals, etc. Indeed, whisky has helped create a lot of great memories along the way. Surely you have a fond whisky-related story that we might enjoy? As you can imagine, after drinking whisky for 30 years and writing about it for 20 years, I have a lot of stories I could share with you. But for now, I’ll begin with this one, as it is the first one that popped into my head. ———————- It was my first trip to Islay about 20 years ago on a chilly November morning. I was by myself, and I had just taken the ferry (with my rental car) over from the mainland after a splendid weekend in Campbeltown. It was lunchtime. I was thirsty for a pint of beer and hungry for food. I heard about the Lochside Inn in the town of Bowmore and their great whisky selection, so I wanted to check the place out. Great whisky indeed! I perused the amazing selection of Islay whiskies while I drank my pint, contemplating what whisky I will enjoy before the day is over. Then, I sat down at one of the tables to grab a bite to eat. Next to me, also alone at his table, was an older gentleman who appeared to be in his 70s. I noticed he was finishing a half pint of beer (and that he also had a walking cane on the empty seat next to him). I bought him a round and asked him to join me for lunch, which he did. I can’t remember his name (I have it written down somewhere in my notes.) It turns out that he worked at the Caol Ila distillery for close to 50 years before he retired. He told me that, because of his bad leg, he can’t drive anymore. But, if I drove him to the distillery, he would give me a personal tour. Of course, I said “yes”! So, we finished our lunch and drove over to the distillery. On the way he told me about Islay life and the Islay people. And he gave me a tour like you wouldn’t believe. Amazing stories–some that no PR company would ever want told in public. For example, it was the first time I learned about adding soap to the pot stills to keep the frothing down during distillation. It turns out this clever old chap had an alterior motive for my taking him to the distillery. On our way out, he popped into the office quick to say goodbye (or so I thought). The receptionist behind the counter walked into the back room, brought out a bottle wrapped in a plain brown bag, and gave it to him. He quickly slid the bottle out of the bag, looked at it, and then slid it back into the bag. During the ride back, he didn’t mention the bottle once. I figured that, as part of his retirement package, he was allowed an occasional bottle of whisky. The problem is, he couldn’t drive anymore (and neither did his wife) to pick it up. I was more than happy to oblige. As I was dropping him off in Bowmore, he invited me to join him and his wife for dinner. Naturally, I said I would. Later that evening, the three of us had a wonderful dinner. And then he pulled out of the bag that same bottle he got at the distillery. It was the old distillery 12 year old bottling (prior to “Flora and Fauna” Caol Ila releases). He opened it up and we drank a dram together, to finish off the evening. Great whisky. Great day! It was my first distillery tour on Islay, and it was the beginning of an amazing five days on the Island which was almost spiritual in nature. I will never forget the great whiskies I tasted along the way, the simple beauty of Islay, and the wonderful people living there. I have been back to Islay many times after that, but I will always remember my first day on Islay. ————— So that’s my story. What’s yours? We could really get a nice thread going here. Think about a special whisky moment you have experienced, and please share it with us.