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The Post Script: French Version

Date: Thu, Dec 17, 2009

I'm stuck. Plunked in the mud. Stopped in the cold. Brain dull. Struggling to decide which wine is the ASF wine of the year. Such decisions. But the real one that has brought me to the knees is a blank page. What do I write for the post script on the French version of The Book? I keep on staring at that page. What do I want to say to the country who still produces the lion's share of wines I want to drink? My publisher requested that I address in a few words, maybe 1000 or so, how the wine world has changed since I started the book in 2005. "What do you want to say to the French?" he asked. "Why it was so important to be published in France?" Good question. But it was. And is. When my French agent told me that her country wasn't interested in wine and not interested in what an American woman thinks about wine, I went around her and targeted the publisher I wanted, Jean Paul Rocher. My statement is due on Monday. What is it that blocks me? Is it the fear of sounding like an imbecile? Maybe. Is it...

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Ask Alice Project: Q #11. White Wine Tasting

Date: Mon, Dec 14, 2009

The Burgundy requester snuck in another question. Alice- I'll like to stage a wine tasting. Maybe 6 bottles for a holiday get together with dear friends -- whites from Loire (Huet is a very happy discovery) or Jura. Sweet wines are okay, and if you think I should have a few reds I trust your judgment. ++ I have to give you the capsule version here because Jeffrey and I had MANY back and forths we came to the Jura, where he was really heading. We narrowed it to wines from the Jura: Savagnin vs. Chardonnay with a few Vin Jaune in there as well. That said, I gave him my list of favorite producers and the actual selections? He's on his own. Domaine de la Tournelle (Astor?) Anne et Phillipe Bornard (Astor has a few) Overnoy/Houillon (Astor) Ganevat (Chambers) Montbourgeau (Chambers) Puffeney (Chambers) Domaine Jean Bourdy (might check with the Garagiste, fab vin jaune) For me, not in the same category as the above, but still quite Domaine Berthet-Bondet. (look for it on wine-searcher.com)...

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Intermission: The Cold War and Natural Wine

Date: Mon, Dec 14, 2009

Bert Celce has an excellent new post on a debate between the French Parker, Michel Bettane and one of the old guard vin naturel folk, Marcel Richaud. I've been struggling to understand the French recording but Celce did a lovely interpolation for us. Give it a read. Bettane has been quite vocal over the past few years about the dangers of natural winemaking. He denies the category and seems to fear it. You can read the L'express article for yourself. This is a deeply complex debate. Recently many wines made naturally and are true wines of terroir have been rejected from AOC status because judged atypical. They might not have the density or the intense artificial aromas of what is considered typical or standard. This has resulted in a slew of wines being bottled with VDP or VDT (or now called IGP) status instead of carrying the name of the town and region they are from. By opting to make wine outside of the 'standard,' these winemakers have spearheaded the debate and even a breakdown of the status quo. In other words, revolution. It's no surprise that the beginnings of natural wine as a movement is connected to soixante-huit....

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Ask Alice Project: Q #10. Burgundy for Father-in-law

Date: Mon, Dec 14, 2009

HI Alice, 1. Holiday gift for 80 year-old father-in-law from Montana who has begun to explore Rhone wines and discovered life beyond California. I would like to introduce him to Burgundy without breaking the bank (say under $350) -- a case of wine that could be all the same (drink over time to see things evolve -- but despite his good health, he is 80), or different bottles. I plan to pull from this same list to provide single bottles for staff at work, neighbors and myself. So many bottles so little time. But the price point was too low. I suggested he try some Cru Beaujolais, which is age worthy (more so than basic bourgogne) and can be had for that price. The answer? He loves his father-in-law and it needs to be Burgundy, so he gave me leeway to double the price. And so with about $50 a bottle, I had room to move. I am just in love with Chandon de Briaille---esp. the 2006 vintage. I think this is the cookie for a case to watch its development. I'd opt for the les des Vergelesses, 1er cru. About $50 per bottle. If you wanted to mix it...

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Ask Alice Project: #9; Poland!

Date: Mon, Dec 14, 2009

Alice! I will be in Poland (just outside of Krakow) for New Years. Where can I buy/drink natural wine?? Thanks! Joe! This is a trick question? Frederik will know better than I. However I saw Gulfi (not hardcore but lovely) at vinokeka. Also, about six years ago after a hard and frigid morning at Birkenau, when I could eat again, I had dinner at Hotel Copernicus, the Relais & Chateau joint and there was some Bartolo Mascarello. So, the wine bar there, while not natural, might have some good things to drink. Let me know what you find, okay? --Alice But Breaking News: This just in from Poland. Pretty exciting stuff! Andrzej wrote in response to vinosseur: Joseph, try at wina.pl, they have some natural/biodynamic/real wines, from Dario Princic, Leon Barral and some others as well. Another one, dionizos.com, is about to be reopened and you should be able to find the wines of Movia there. Both are located in Krakow. (Thank you Andrzej!)...

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Go Ask Alice Project: #8; Gifting Sparklers

Date: Fri, Dec 11, 2009

Alice-for office gift for my staff about $25. That Cremant de jura? Of course, my editors get me for free, but since I was asked during this 'offering' I thought he qualified. The Jura we talked about was the Dom. de Montbourgeau Cremant. All chardonnay, extremely gorgeous, one hell of a bargain, and while I'm a slut for bubbles (organic & biodynamic mostly) from Champagne, this one takes no prisoners. Made by vigneron Nicole Deriaux, and this is her in her vineyard in the village of Etoile....

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Ask Alice Project: Q #7. Help near Geneva!

Date: Fri, Dec 11, 2009

Dear Alice, Is the project still open? If so, here is my request: I have good friends coming from Israel who will be staying with me for the holidays so I need to stock up. The husband is a chef/former restaurant owner and would say he knows a thing or two about wine. I would really like to impress here. I need suggestions for what to serve with meals (I don't mind building the meal around the wine) and maybe a sparkler for celebrating. I live just outside of Geneva, Switzerland not too far from the french border. Budget is 15-20 euros/bottle. Here's the website of where I usually shop, but not limited to this. http://www.vinothequeduleman.com/ Thanks, Rena --- Oy Rena! We have to work with that store. I think you'll be pleased, but I'm concerned that the Israelies will be used to processed clunkers. Am hoping the class of these will trump the chunk. Let me know how it turns out! Stock up on beaujolais! These are all excellent producers and the Roillete and Desvignes are house favorites. MORGON Louis Claude Desvignes (cote de py) 2007 7.94 e FLEURIE Clos de la Roilette 2008 9.20 € FLEURIE Yvon Metras...

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Go Ask Alice: Q #6. Shopping in Alberta, Ca.

Date: Fri, Dec 11, 2009

Hi Alice, This is my first time commenting, but definitely not my first time visiting the page after I read and enjoyed your book last Christmas. I'm not sure if I'm making it in the first 15 requests, but I'll give it a shot anyway I'm looking for Italian reds between $20 - $50 to serve my family, who generally appreciate quite full-bodied wines. I'd love to serve some examples of what traditional varieties should really taste like, not ones that have been engineered to compete with Australian shiraz. The catch is... the wines would need to be available in British Columbia or Alberta, Canada. As an alternative to the Italian request, I'd also love to hear some recommendations for nice Champagnes or, really, any other "old world" traditional wine in the same price range that I could get in this part of Canada. I'd like to claim that those would be for gifts, but I'd probably only be willing to give them to people who would let me share in the consumption. :-) Nicole! I was able to find one store that you could work with. Even though the Italian pickings are slim, DeVine wines had some hidden gems....

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The Go Ask Alice Project Q:5 (wines for vegans)

Date: Fri, Dec 11, 2009

#5- So my husband and I are vegans and we eat a lot of vegetable stews - with potatoes or butternut squash - can you recommend a red to go with that? Also, I am looking for a red just to sit and drink by the fire - something you want to sip that is very rich. kind of a special bottle, maybe one about $30.00 and one about 50.00 - is that too vague? And do you have a sparkling wine I can give as a gift that is under $15.00? I'm near chambers street wine - I can go there- thanks Susan I thought. She's compromised by lack of cheese, a thought that makes me as sad as a pig lover finding out I don't go near cracklin' but still, I'd say go a little older on the Chateauneufs. **Bosquet des Papes 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tradition $40.99 **Bosquet des Papes 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Tradition $33.99 Oddly enough the same profile will go with stews--at least tomato based ones. So any Rhone will do, but as you're not using cheese, maybe go with an earthier wine. **Coulaine 2006 Chinon Bonaventure I love it. Definitely needs food, and maybe...

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The Go Ask Alice Project; Q #4

Date: Fri, Dec 11, 2009

# 4- Affordable wine in N. Virginia! So, thanks to my friend Raelinn who turned me on to Beatrice et Pascal Lambert Chinon Tradition Graves 2006 $16 Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny Rouge 2008 $18 Domaine De La Bergerie Anjou "Sous La Tonnelle" 2008 $13 (chenin) Govone Barbera D'Alba Superiore 2005: $ 13.99 Leitz Dragonstone Riesling $22...

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What They Requested: The Go Ask Alice Project

Date: Wed, Dec 9, 2009

They asked for help. I tried to do my best. Here are the first four requests. #1 This one came in from Susan. I am writing to ask for your advice for my Chanukah dinner. I am making a brisket tzimmes, with carrots, sweet potatoes and a tomato/beef sauce which contains brown sugar and prunes as well as latkes. What wine would be best to serve with this? My 11 person crowd is only 1/2 Jewish so it would not have to be kosher.++++ This one is tough. Latkes are difficult and while I could see a cabernet franc, the greasiness screams out for a sparkler. So here's what I said. Both sparklers about $20. Pinon, Francois NV Vouvray Brut AND if you want to go ultra geeky-- Donati 2008 Malvasia dell'Emilia IGT Frizzante $2o. And for the Tzimmes: Monte Dall' Ora 2006 Valpolicella Classico $16.99 This will be perfect, great acidity and a hint of raisin richness to meld well with the brisket. #2: This one came in from Amy in the Bay Area. Looking for birthday champagne, about $50? And it has to be really pretty. I recommended. NV Raymond Boulard Rose, a gorgeous wine 2002 Drappier Grande...

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Go Ask Alice

Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2009

Get me for free this year, 'cause next year it will cost. Why? Because it drives me nuts to see people giving the wrong wine to the wrong people when it would be so easy to give the right stuff. Here's the deal. First 15 people who email me with their holiday wine/spirits needs gets me for free. Here's what I want to help you with. ** What to drink ** How and what to give whom (under what ever circumstances) ** What to pour/serve. This will be very personalized, almost pyschic gift giving consultations, no matter where you live and no matter how far away from the good stuff you live and no matter what price point you want to hit. Corporate, individual, whatever! If it's a ton of work I'll let you know and you can figure out a way to thank me. If you're interested hit the contact button above or better yet! Leave your request in the comments and I promise to address the issue. (Just in case you wonder, the only kick back is satisfaction.)...

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Falling For Madeira/The Morgan Library Tasting

Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2009

Mannie Berk, looks and sounds more professorial than merchant, is the owner of The Rare Wine Company. The man, who might be a saint, not sure yet, has been on a mission to save the soul and the reputation of Madeira, the fortified wine made on the island belonging to Portugal but closer to Africa. Last year, lucky and persistent Mr. Berk scored a number of trophies when the last remaining Leacock sold off the family jewels (methinks, heresy, but what could be done? The man didn't fancy the wine.) Because Jupiter must have been influencing life for me back then, Berk invited me to experience several of his purchases, along with Rare Wine Company customers, at the Morgan Library in October. Before this moment I had had the odd bottle of M. No, not great quantities but enough that certainly put Port in its place. (Port, by the way, while charming, I never found compelling. But here, this Morgan Moment was cataclysmic.) The shipping method of Madeira was an essential part of its terroir, sent around the world on a boat for delivery, the wines developed in a heat- meets -oxidation effect, today's Madiera's are heated to mimic...

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December '09 Party Wine , Party #2

Date: Sat, Dec 5, 2009

The one everyone has been waiting for, party wines from Chambers Street Wines, my home away from home. Wait my home is the home away from their home the chambers street website 148 Chambers Street New York, NY 10007 Phone: 212-227-1434 Since I'm a terribly pill about wine, I want you to know that if you put an assortment of these out, I'll be more than happy to come over and drink. France Schueller, Gerard 2007 Alsace Riesling Cuvee Particuliere This puppy isn't for everyone, but it will be great with cocktail food. Expect a touch of that old natural VA. $11.99 **Terres Dorees (Jean-Paul Brun) 2008 Beaujolais Chardonnay Your guests will fall in love with you, even the california drinkers. $14.99 * Bregeon, Michel 2007 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie You know the way I feel about Muscadet.. 11,99 **Pepiere (Marc Ollivier) 2008 Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Ditto for the kind of melon! 12.99 **Chaumont, Guy 2005 Bourgogne Pinot Noir I'm afraid to tell you about this. Real burgundy. Lovely. Serve this at dinner parties instead of for the crowd. 18.99 *Guion 2007 Bourgueil Cuvee Domaine The '06 was Alice Feiring's wine of the year....

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