Out of our two days of winery visits in the Wachau region of Austria, our favorite was at Nikolaihof. 31-year-old Nikolaus Saahs, now the winemaker, showed us around his family’s winery and cellar, the oldest winery in Austria, with origins dating back to the year 985. Nikolaihof was also the first winery in Austria – if not the world – to use biodynamic practices.
We spent four amazing days visiting Austrian winemakers this October – two days in the steep slopes of the white winegrowing regions on the Danube River west of Vienna called the Wachau, Kamptal, and Kremstal, and two days in the flatter primarily red regions south of Vienna called Caruntum and Burgenland, with a special stop to taste the sweet, botrytis-influenced wines of the Neusiedlersee.
I've long been a fan of red wines from Austria -- in fact, I usually order Zwiegelt whenever I see it on a wine list (which, sadly, isn't as often as I'd like). No matter the producer, it's usually a reliably juicy, slightly spicy wine with cherry and red berry flavors, sometimes aged in oak but sometimes not. However, Austrian wine is still rather difficult to find...
If you haven't heard of Txakoli (sometimes, confusingly, known as Txakolina or Chacoli), or the grape hondarrabi zuri, you're not alone. But this tangy, low-alcohol wine that's popular in Spain's Basque regions (especially in and around San Sebastian) is gaining popularity in the U.S.
Jay and I were excited about visiting the wineries on Vancouver Island this fall because when we'd last gone there two years ago, we'd had some surprisingly good wines, most of which are very difficult to find outside of the area. The wineries on the Island are mainly small-production, family-run places where the owner or another family member is also likely to be pouring your wine, so they're good places to ask questions about the growing and production process.
After hitting several North Fork wineries on a rainy Sunday morning, Jay and I needed some fortification before hitting several more. Being by the ocean, we knew we wanted to eat seafood, so we decided to try out a newish small plates seafood-oriented restaurant called Noah's in Greenport.
Just 50 years ago, some of the only things growing on Long Island’s North Fork were potatoes. But now this area just north of the Hamptons and only an-hour-and-a-half east of New York City is home to more than 40 wineries, some producing very high-quality wines.
In preparation for the Winederlust trip to Victoria/Vancouver/the Okanagan Valley in a few weeks, I’m doing an anniversary blog post on our trip last September to Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island, widely regarded as one of Canada’s best restaurants.
That's right. Canada has wine. Gallons of the stuff. And not just Inniskillin Ice Wine found at better boutique wine shops - like Duty Free at JFK. I'm talking some amazing Cabs, Pinots, Zweigelts, Merlots, and Blaufrankischs that rival the best of the US west, Germany and Austria.
I chose an out of the way place...a little wine bar name Pinkerton on the corner of 'where the hell am i' and 'this doesn't look like brooklyn' street in Williamsburg. The intent was to meet up with a friend of a friend who just so happen to be in the wine importing / distributing biz just to get an idea of what it might take to bring in the delicious wines from Canada to share with our friends here in NYC.
Jay and I had heard tales of the legendary Beijing night market – that they sold still-live animals, blood and hearts, and other unappetizing tidbits. So of course we had to go.
If Beijing could be said to have one signature dish, it would have to be Peking duck. Quanjude was actually one of the first Peking duck restaurants to open in the city, in 1864. Their claim to fame is that they cook the ducks by hanging them in a large oven for about 45 minutes, over an open fire that uses the hardwood of peach or pear trees.
Despite 2000 years of struggle to unify the country's various peoples -- from Emperor Qin's forming of the Dynastic period to Mao's forcing of the Cultural Revolution -- there still is great division on one of the most important topics -- wine. Ordering a glass of wine in this country is akin to Russian roulette with a .45 pointed at your taste buds. Depending on what region you are visiting and the ethnicity of the server you are ordering from you might get variations from a clear moonshine-like liquor to a cloyingly sweet grape-based wine beverage.
We only visit L.I.C. for two reasons - babies and backyards, but tonight we found another one. This petite bar right next to the (7) train subway entrance is reason enough to cross the filth of the Newtown Creek or venture towards the glow of the Pepsi sign like a wayward moth.
If you haven't tried the new Chocolate Cheerios you are missing out on one of the great breakfast pleasures. Sure, they taste like Cocoa Pebbles or the delicious crunchy parts of Count Chocula. They must be healthier...and would you believe they work just as well with a nice merlot from Vancouver Island as they do with cold milk.