Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Abissi: a sparkler from deep beneath the sea

May 28, 2013

DSCN1416 written by Michael Oudyn

So here we are at Puritan and Company, an up-and-coming restaurant in Cambridge, MA.  The chef wins awards, the restaurant gets positive chatter.  But the main draw, for me at least, is an intriguing sparkler from Liguria on the Italian Riviera. None of us ever heard of it. It costs as much as well-known French champagnes.   We have pre-ordered a bottle: “only ten bottles left.” So what is it about Abissi?  Well, it is not your everyday sparkler, aged in a common cellar. It is lowered 200 feet under the sea in a noncorrosive stainless-steel cage where it is aged in Mediterranean salt water for 13 months. Thus, the name Abissi which can mean “abyss”, “deep”, or “hell.” The New York Times tells the story.  About ten years Piero Lugano (more…)

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European Wine Bloggers I: The Heurigen

November 15, 2010

written by Michael Oudyn

“Promiscuity in the Vineyards of Vienna!” –The European Wine Bloggers do Austria

I just spent a week with the European Wine Bloggers in and around Vienna.

The Mayer am Pfarrplatz Heuriga

The Mayer am Pfarrplatz Heuriga

But isn’t that in Austria, and isn’t Austria like hop-happy beer-guzzling  Germany only a little further south?  Well, no.  Austrians prefer wine; put away a whole lot of it; and a lot of it is, as I found out, quite excellent.

Vienna has one unique iconic wine institution: the heurigen which are tavern/restaurant/ wine gardens.  It turns out here are about 1700 acres (sic) of active vineyards inside the city limits of Vienna.  No other city can really make this claim. Sure, Paris has a petit vineyard (Clos Montmartre), and a three-day Harvest Festival (see post).  But the festival is strictly for the tourists, and the wine itself  is (more…)

Tasting at Vega Sicilia

June 18, 2010

written by Michael Oudyn

In 1970s Spain the very words “Vega Sicilia” inspired mystery and awe.  “World´s greatest wine”: “Most expensive wine in the world.” Of course nobody I knew had ever tasted it, or even seen a bottle of it, for that matter.  (My friends and I might get into a mid-level Rioja on a good day.)  Jancis Robinson attributes much of this awe to Vega Sicilia´s “splendid isolation” in the ruggedly inhospitable Castilian backwaters a couple of hour’s drive north of Madrid; steamy hot in the summer, freezing cold in the winter.  Vega Sicilia was far from any official wine region.  So in those days “the best wine in the world” had to be sold as the lowest of the low: vino de mesa, table wine. And their neighbors were capable of nothing better than plonk. Definitely the stuff of fairy tales.  Personally I wasn’t completely convinced that Vega Sicilia wasn’t just some  weird collective patriotic hallucination until I saw, with my own two eyes, a bottle of it in a Barcelona wine shop. (more…)