Tag Archives: Negociant

Tasting at Lewis Cellars Winery Napa Valley

We leave the vast caves and hobbit-infested knolls of Pine Ridge (read here). Already late and marginally sober we bolt south. Stags Leap AVA flattens into the vine-plain of Oak Knoll. We blast past the winery, turn around and pull up a long drive to the innocuous, tall, grey, free standing building with a big L on it: Lewis Cellars.

Inside, white wash and windows feel like a Southern tea room. We sit with two other couples on a long table.

Lewis owns no vineyards. They started sourcing grapes in ’89 as Oakville Ranch Winery. A car crash in 1991 ended Randy Lewis’ 23 year Formula 1 and 3 career. So he turned to completely to wine. Being Napa, it did not hurt being rich. Today they make 6,000 cases, 1/3rd of which are Chardonnay… Continue reading

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Négociant Cellars in Chartrons: the Merchant Heart of Bordeaux

We are 94 days deep into our EU Austerity Drinking Tour. My birthday has arrived and we are in Bordeaux: capital city of wine. I dreamt of tasting at the finest châteaux and wine bars, purchasing rare and astronomically priced bottles from posh shops. But my wife and I feel horrendously sick. Yesterday’s free tour of Graves sapped our energy, palates, livers, and relationship.

So today we explore the city sober. We start at Bordeaux’s Musée des Beaux-Arts. It is free thanks to construction (the austerity gods smile upon us). After a light breakfast of art, we stop outside St André Cathedral. My wife furiously knits my Irish wool birthday scarf, while I sketch the Cathedral: Continue reading

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Mähler-Besse “Cheval Noir” Grand Vin, Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France 2009

It is Thursday. Work-weariness be damned. I could use a drink.

Since we reached Bordeaux with Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour, nostalgic, I decide to crack open a Bordelaise stateside. Tonight’s entry derives from Saint-Emilion: famed sub-region on the Dordogne River’s right bank.

The world drinks and grows Merlot because of Saint-Émilion. Veins remain in its chalky cliffs, cut by Roman vine roots nearly two millennia ago. Sideways may have tarnished the grape and drunk Cheval Blanc from a paper cup. But wines from Saint-Émilion steadfastly remain the most expensive and collected worldwide.

Tonight, we drink 2009’s Cheval Noir (no relation to the famed Blanc). Continue reading

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Bordeaux Begins: EU Austerity Drinking Tour: Day 91

For 91 days my wife and I have drunk on a budget from New York to France. Finally, we reach Bordeaux: home to more of the most expensive, collectable wines than any region in the world (as well as many thin, cheap, ones). Here we can fulfill our dream, forged in the fire of the Advanced WSET exam. We will smell the soil, try the food, and revel in the wines of this unique terroir. And it’s my birthday.

The rub? My wife’s flu has hit with full force. The sniffles have also begun to muddle my mind, and worse, my palate.

So there we stand, inside one of the most posh tasting rooms bequeathed by Bacchus: Continue reading

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