From the Unpublished Memoirs of Robert Lawrence Balzer

From 1961 Once in a blue moon, one encounters a golden wine from California that approaches the pulse-quickening majesty of the great French Montrachet. Ken Hansen, the taciturn Boniface of the famed Scandia Restaurant in Los Angeles, approached m… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login here. If you … Continue reading “From the Unpublished Memoirs of Robert Lawrence Balzer”

Wine of the Week

2016 Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, “Vineyard Selection” ($24): it seems like I am forever seeking Cabernet Sauvignons that smell like the grape and deliver some of the structure I believe is necessary for it to work with food. Many high-fal… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login … Continue reading “Wine of the Week”

A New Designation for New Zealand

Wine consumers soon may be confronted with a new designation on labels from New Zealand’s Marlborough region. Already one of the world’s most recognizable and reliable wine regions, it had been in peril of losing that identity as many Sauvignon Bl… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login … Continue reading “A New Designation for New Zealand”

Tasting Notes

Exceptional 2016 Smith Story Riesling, Rheingau(!) ($20): Eric Story of Santa Rosa (Smith Story Wines; https://smithstorywinecellars.vinespring.com) makes some of the most stylish wines in California as well as this wine he makes in Germany. On hi… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may login here. If you aren’t a subscriber, … Continue reading “Tasting Notes”

What is it About Pinot Noir?

A Two-Part Investigation By Dan Berger Given all the hyperbole and exalted language that seems to have blossomed around the most pricey Pinot Noirs over the last decade, you would think that someone would by now have attempted to do something a… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may … Continue reading “What is it About Pinot Noir?”

Restaurant Wine Foibles

I have my issues with restaurant wine programs (oh, do I!), starting with the two most egregious problems: high prices and terrible selection. Not to mention far too many young wines. In so many lists you could argue that young wines dominate so g… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – … Continue reading “Restaurant Wine Foibles”

An Odd Tale of Bad Wine Service

About 1990, when I was with The Los Angeles Times, I got a phone call from a woman who was bothered about an experience she had had at a Newport Beach restaurant of some renown. She and three friends had gotten together for a Friday afternoon lunc… Want to read more? If you’re already a … Continue reading “An Odd Tale of Bad Wine Service”

The Durand Saves the Day

At a local restaurant recently, I brought in a bottle of 1961 Dr. Fassi Chianti Classico (and several other old wines) from our cellar. Without asking, the waiter grabbed the bottle off the table intending to “help” by opening it with a standard w… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – … Continue reading “The Durand Saves the Day”

Bargain of the Week

2016 Pierre Sparr Riesling, Alsace, Grande Reserve ($14): Initially slightly simple and just a nice little quaff, this very dry wine actually benefits from being open for a few hours and decanting helps to open it faster. Dry Rieslings from this part… Want to read more? If you’re already a subscriber, welcome back – you may … Continue reading “Bargain of the Week”