Restaurant Nightmare No. 1

Restaurant Nightmare No. 1

This fall I’ll be publishing a second book called “Strong Water: On Food, Wine, and Restaurants.” It’s a collection of essays written over the last ten-plus years, some of which previously appeared in this blog. My first book, “Message in the Bottle: A Guide to...
Making Sense—Hearing Scents and Seeing Flavors

Making Sense—Hearing Scents and Seeing Flavors

I’d never heard of him until after reading an article in the latest Gambero Rosso email. His name is Baldo Baldinini, and he’s one of the first master perfumers in Italy. By all accounts, Baldinini has a remarkable sense of smell. He can recognize almost 50,000...
About European Hotels

About European Hotels

I remember my first wine tour in Europe over 25 years ago. It was an importer trip to Germany in the spring of 2000. I traversed the country with a group of U.S.-based sommeliers and buyers for over a week, visiting major wine regions and tasting hundreds of Rieslings...
Perfumed

Perfumed

The rules of engagement for wine writing are largely unwritten, but strict: you can praise, whine, or complain about a given wine. But whatever you do, never, ever, under any circumstances, insult/offend/trash a winemaker or their respective wines. It’s simply not...
Van Gogh’s Glass

Van Gogh’s Glass

What can you discern from a wine’s appearance? Two things I shared with my Dad were classical music and a love of great art. The first, music, was a vital part of my life from fourth grade all the way into my mid-30’s. During that time, I earned two music...
Sommelier Brain

Sommelier Brain

Many studies have shown how playing an instrument or singing helps shape the brain in young children. That’s no surprise given how playing music involves multiple skills, including reading musical notation, following a conductor’s movements, listening to others...