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Posts posted by britcook

  1. I've been drinking this for years (ever since it was about the only Marsanne on the market) and it is excellent at any age. At the price quoted (probably Waitrose, 'cos that's where mine comes from) buy a case every year and drink a bottle every year, by 2009 you'll have enough for a vertical and some good wine in the cellar.....

  2. Sketch will only be important if it raises the price level to allow top-end restaurants to stay in business without subsidy.

    I'm not sure what this means but Sketch will be important if the food is so different and unusual and of such quality that people feel it is worth paying that price point. The important restaurants are ones that change dining thereafter.

    Nice of you to understand it and explain it so well. I totally agree.

    Sits down in amazement. :shock:

  3. I would think to define a restaurant as important it would have to have had a significant effect on the restaurant business or dining habits of London. In both cases Veeraswamy misses out, when it opened it was a mere curiosity, which eventually turned into an anachronism. The food etc. may have been excellent but it had no effect outside its own doors. Same for Chez Nico, great place to eat but it didn't move the game on at all, on the other hand Gavroche when it opened was entirely original. Sketch will only be important if it raises the price level to allow top-end restaurants to stay in business without subsidy.

  4. The Way to Cook by Julia Child is a great primer, shows master recipes and then how to vary them. If you can get them in the US then Delia Smith's books like her "Cookery Course" are great for beginners, her new series (name escapes me for the minute, might be How To Cook) even starts with how to boil an egg.

    I've read some fairly bad reviews of the Bittman book which point out that it is not as simple as it claims to be, and not as comprehensive.

  5. I'm not dissin' the 'dog, simple is good, as Bux puts it you are giving information. Web content editing at that level is pretty simple if you get a decent editor (I assume you're not writing raw HTML), and there are lots about that come either free or cheap. I could probably give you a hand if it came to that, I've done one or two in my time (and that does mean one or two, not the British understatement meaning dozens!). Feel free to ask for assistance (and I'm quite good at proofreading, words like delicatessen)

  6. Ummm. You know I said that misspelling doesn't matter, well that wasn't quite the whole truth. I'm having trouble with semenal, because I figure semenal has the same relationship to semen as artisanal does to artisan. Now if I'm going to find seeds in my wine they'd better be from grapes not humans :shock: . I have to say "semenal wines" conjures up all sorts of unbidden images, most of which I could do without :wacko: . Just for the record the word is normally spelt seminal :smile:

  7. Things are looking up, not only did I understand Mr P's post I almost agreed with it, I may have a glass to celebrate!

    Just one point I'd like to nail though, this question of objectivity. Parker is NOT objective, he uses a consistent methodology, explains his parameters and is accurate in their application but the original criteria are, as they must be, subjective. Slight digression for explanation. A couple of years ago a motoring magazine ran an "objective" test to find the "best" car in Britain, they had several categories - acceleration, handling, comfort, price, etc., maybe a dozen in all and each one had a defined scale of sorts. Every car had a score in each category, then they applied weightings to each category to give an overall score. And, surprise, surprise the car that won this "objective" test was the one they had been subjectively raving about all year. The "objective" scoring system had been manipulated to give the results that they subjectively wanted. Parker does the same. His mythical 100 point wine is his idea of perfection, his subjective idea, and his system basically rates how close a wine gets to this ideal, which can then be objective. So one person's richness is another's overextraction, one's well-structured tannins is another's mouth-puckering imbalance - neither view is wrong, and there are experts who will agree or disagree with each other depending on their own personal preferences. In matters of taste there are no absolutes, no fully objective assessments, no gold standard of quality. You may get close to consensus in some areas, but even then there's a suspicion that it may be due to education, learning to appreciate what the previously accepted masters had determined was "the best".

  8. How does one you value their palate? Does Lloyd's insure it? And why is how much you would spend to keep it amused about wine and not about you? Isn't that irrelevent in a food chat room?

    If the point of this thread was to offer the advice to the people who post here that they don't need to pay $500 for a top sauternes but they can pay $100 instead, now that's valuable information. But if the point is to say that people who pay $500 are idiotic and have more money then sense, well I don't think that's an appropriate comment for you to make because you are talking about people and not wine. This forum is called "Wine" not "Rich People."

    Methinks I have been misinterpreted. I certainly don't think people who pay $500 for a wine are idiotic, if you are enraptured by the contents and can afford it, may you be blessed with many bottles. What, in my basic peasant way, I am trying to elicit is what is it that determines that you should spend that much on a single bottle rather than enjoy a decent case of something almost as good. It's a request for information, not a political statement. I have several friends, with cellars much more extensive than mine, who derive immense pleasure from their premiers cru and classed growths, and I stand in awe of their abilities to differentiate the subtle nuances of "top class" wines. But I have other friends in the same wine group who profess to be experts who, in a blind tasting, couldn't tell a Maltese wine from a highly respectable cru bourgeois (with a 4x price differential). What I am trying to stimulate discussion on is that, for the average person, at what point does the law of diminishing returns (the French RPQ, your letters slightly jumbled, same meaning) apply. In a process of peer review am I (are you) too ambitious or too timid. Should I (you) be looking for great deals in the bargain bins or should we be looking to expand our horizons because for those extra few notes our pleasure will be substantially increased.

    As for the comment about spending, that is another cleverly veiled insult. Statement of attitude. I enjoy good food and wine but (there's that word again) like most people on this board I have to pay for them out of a finite income. It might be nice (I wouldn't know) to be able to disregard prices and just indulge one's palate regardless of expense, but reality intrudes and, being the hedonist that I am, I wish to extract the most pleasure I can out of every pound, dollar or whatever currency that I spend. I would do that (and I suspect so would most others with an interest in the gastronomic arts) whatever my income. The level of spend is not that relevant, but the enjoyment of what you buy is.

    Isn't this forum about the enjoyment of food, and in this particular section about wine? If we didn't talk about our personal views what would be the point? I may not agree with every point of view expressed here (you may have noticed), and I'm fairly convinced many people have me pigeonholed as pompous a**hole, but that's life, I enjoy it and hope you do too.

  9. Steve I really don't care how well you spell, although I find it strange that you seem to misspell words which are directly in front of you but no matter, I've seen worse. What ticked me off was that you linked the ability to spell to the inability to appreciate food and wine (if you can spell you must have no taste), which is a direct insult and not the first time you've done it.

    Now yet again you have hijacked a thread to parade your own agenda and I now am thoroughly confused as to whether you think paying more money for wine is a good idea or not. My original question was about how good (or otherwise) my palate was and how much I'd spend to keep it amused, and how others valued their palates. Nothing about quality or absolute values, just personal views.

    Mind you I do agree with you on the "professional" palate, some people have more educated palates and as one of my friends is an MW I would bow to him every time on descriptive and analytical matters and, to some extent, enjoyment. One of the reasons I set my price point where I did is that he has pointed me in the direction of some damned fine stuff over the years, none of it over £30/bottle, most of it under £20. Now whether it was "good" wine, "great" wine or "quality" wine matters not a jot, I enjoyed it, it came within my price point and I've shared that pleasure with others, which is, at least to me, the point.

  10. As Exec Chef you will know about food in depth and have a working knowledge of wine but will you be working FOH? Whether you need (or can afford) a sommelier is a moot point but you do need someone FOH who has good wine knowledge. Remember the casual or occasional visitor is probably not familiar with the individual wines on your list (what is your particular Oregon Pinot or St Emilion like?) and may not be sure what a new dish is like and so will require guidance on the the wine. After (far too many) years of fine dining and drinking I still occasionally ask for advice from the sommelier/wine waiter and the meal is usually the better for it.

  11. An interesting proposition, is it a winetasting or is it a party? The range is too wide to be a "sensible" tasting, but too good just to be a party. There could be some difficulty in following the general guidelines which are white before red, dry/light before sweet/full bodied, young before old, in rising order of alcoholic strength. It depends what you want to get out of it, do you just want to get as much "good stuff" as possible down your throat, do you want to expand your experience with red wines or concentrate on the whites, do you want to branch into the dessert stuff. Personally (and this is not necessarily a recommendation) I'd start with the two white Burgundies (which I love) then hit the dessert stuff, start with the Loire, the German Spatlese followed by the Auslese, the Tokaji then the Sauternes, the Ports in reverse date order, the Madeiras the same and I'd spend the $16 on the 1902, you're going to get precious few chances and the price is very reasonable (that was a recommendation).

  12. Serving food that doesn't really taste all that good but making your guests think you think it is something special.

    The reverse of what I do, I usually claim its nothing special but it does taste good.

    Except of course when it really is nothing special. :rolleyes:

  13. Baruch: You've given me a rare opportunity to defend Plotnicki. Please leave the guy alone. Personal attacks of this nature are not permissible under our rules. This will be your only warning.

    I am in total agreement about personal attacks but (and there has to be a but in this sentence construct) there has to be some amount of interplay, gentle prodding, call it what you will to allow a certain amount of robust argument. At the moment, for instance, I'm too much of a relative newcomer to work out whether my occasional disagreements with Mr Plotnicki are the result of me failing to adequately explain my points or the result of him sticking to his own "interesting" agenda come hell, fire or high water. But the threads have a certain frisson which distinguishes this forum from the bland masses. But said gentleman (Mr P) is not immune to personal attacks, when called to account for his wilful misspelling of d'Yquem retorts

    I guess that some people know more about spelling then they know about food and wine
    a cheap shot which implies that those of us that CAN spell must somehow be ignorant in matters of food and wine. If one is going to establish oneself as an arbiter of quality, which Steve clearly aspires to do, then surely that quality should extend to being able to spell well known names correctly, disregarding odd typos. And casting aspersions on those that attempt to assist his education should be very much frowned upon.
  14. And the reason it isn't priced like a consumer good is that funny money is chasing the wine.

    I do believe we might have some agreement here :blink: The subtitle "palate or wallet" gives it, at what point does the price become more important than the taste? I've stated my price point because to me wine is just a consumer product, if I want art I go to a gallery. So would you occasionally spend $500 of your own money (in your current circumstances) on a bottle of wine? Or less? Or more?

  15. Well let me ask you this question. If the cost of visiting museums varied based on the quality of the art on display, would you pay more to see the great artists then you would pay for lesser ones? I ask it that way because you have described wine as a consumable (nothing wrong with that mind you) but if you were to describe it purely as a matter of aesthetics, and you were interested in experiencing that aesthetic, you might take a different view. And that gets you to whether a $500 bottle of d'Yqueem is worth the money? And the answer is, it depends on how much you want to have the experience? There is no law of diminishing returns on aesthetic experiences. Each one is priceless because they aren't about money, they are about quality.
  16. A couple of points in other threads got me thinking about what is the top price I'd pay for a bottle of wine at normal retail? I'm a great fan of wine, with a reasonable knowledge, and I've found many wines under $30 (£20)/bottle which give me great pleasure. So much pleasure in fact that I'm reluctant to spend much more knowing that if I spent twice as much on something "better" my pleasure rise would be minimal. It may well be that my palate is just not good enough to appreciate the subtle differences (and I can live with that), but I think I must have a mean streak that says the price/value equation breaks down at a certain point - the law of diminishing returns. Because of that I don't think I've ever spent (or would spend) more than today's equivalent of $50 retail on a bottle of wine for normal drinking (champagne for very special occasions excepted).

    Now I know some people have fatter wallets than me, so they drink expensive stuff "because they can afford to", but they don't necessarily do it for the qualities of the wine. So the simple question is under normal circumstances what is the top price you'd pay for a bottle of wine, and if it's over (say) $100 what makes it so special, or what additional pleasure does it give you over a $50 bottle?

    Better leave restaurant prices out of this because they're just plain silly.

  17. Enough already. There seems to be general consensus among most what "artisanal" means, and those who don't subscribe to that consensus have put their point of view, so at least we know where they're coming from. Personally I think I'll have to agree to differ and move on. This thread may continue for ever but me, I'm out of it. Thank you for your attention.

  18. Well if you read the article that was linked, it said that the Felton was recommended for those people who like Romanee Conti.

    It could have been recommended for people who bath in cognac for all I care, if you think $39.99 is an everyday price then congratulations sir on your wealth.

  19. Is handmade bread made with poor quality flour and commercial yeast artisanal? Is a piece of furniture made by hand but out of plywood artisanal? Is a hand made suit made from polyesther artisanal? I want to limit the use of the word to products that meet a certain level of quality.

    That would be no, no no and it does already. An artisan is defined as a craftsman, a skilled worker who will use appropriate tools. As a reasonable inference from that definition a skilled craftsman would not prostitute his ability on inferior materials. And your argument has changed, you now want to limit the use of the word, something you accused me of. If used correctly the word artisanal already implies quality because the product has been made by a skilled craftsman, so what is your problem with that? If it is food I would expect it to taste good. You would expect it to taste artisanal. Once again Steve, tell us exactly does artisanal taste like.

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