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Mark Sommelier

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Posts posted by Mark Sommelier

  1. I will have to keep an eye out for this. What is the wine like stylistically? Is it international or more traditional? In either case, if you liked it that much, I have no doubt it is excellent.


    The wine had an opulent bouquet and a dense and delicious mouthfeel. I wouldn't classify it as a complete "international" style wine, just several notches up from what you expect from a humble Haut-Medoc wine. Perhaps a solid third to second growth Bordeaux. Rollan de By is a wine to keep your eyes on, as well as the sister chateau, Haut Condissas. The 2002 were both delicious and well structured wines. The 2003 are typical of the vintage and somewhat richer. 2 wines and vintages to watch.

  2. Mark, what wines did you have there? Any gems to bring back

    . . . my favorite being 2002 Rollan de By. I'm making arrangements for one of my importer friends to ship me some cases.

    Rollan de By, at least in previous years has been available in New York. I really don't know the comparative pricing between NY and France, but a previous vintage was once recommended to us by a NY sommelier to serve to a large group of people. It was a special occasion and a much larger group than I normally care to wine and dine, but also a group that included some fine taste buds I didn't want to offend.

    Rollan de By was 14 Euros at the source in Bordeaux. I imagine that after importing fees it will still be under $30 in the US. The '02 and '03 were stunning wines.

  3. Mark, what wines did you have there? Any gems to bring back


    On the first visit there were 10 of us at the table, so there were plenty of bottles of red Bordeaux flying around. 2002 Leoville Poyferré was particularly delicious. The reason for the trip was tasting and scoring wines for Bordeaux-New York magazine, and after tasting close to 200 wines, I discovered several humble Medoc and Haut-Medoc wines that were stunning in quality and flavor, my favorite being 2002 Rollan de By. I'm making arrangements for one of my importer friends to ship me some cases.

  4. I was there in the height of summer last year and got the impression it would be an ideal place on a winter's evening. Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy my meal there, but I think the massive cooking range and all the roast meats it can provide would be best appreciated on a colder day than the August scorcher I experienced.


    That's very true. This is not food for the meek. The weather in Bordeaux last week was perfect- 75° every day with no humidity or clouds. Evening cooled off into the 60's. I didn't find the food oppressive, but I can see your point about eating there in the winter. Luckily, I'm going back in January.

  5. Just a quick word to say that I had 2 utterly delicious meals at La Tupina in Bordeaux last week. It had been heartily recommended to me by several people and it did not disappoint. This is the place for hearty Southwest fare served in a quaint and sort of rustic setting. The service was extremely friendly (it helps to show up with some vignerons :biggrin: ). The highlights were the foie gras dishes - both oeuf cocotte with foie gras and the bloc de foie gras, the delicious and tender entrecote and the amazingly flavorful poulet roti. The winelist has some gems, but only includes wines from Bordeaux and some from the Rhone. Prices in Bordeaux are a fraction of those in Paris, I should add.

  6. The winners:



    POWER SPOT: Cafe Milano

    FAVORITE RESTAURANT: based on public input--no nominees:MIE N YU

    The judges panel decided these awards:


    FINE DINING: Ristorante Tosca

    INFORMAL DINING: Johnny's Half Shell

    CHEF of the YEAR: Fabio Trabocchi (Maestro)

    EMPLOYEE: Efrain Velasco (Andale)

    PASTRY CHEF: Chris Kujula (Kinkead's)


    MANAGER: Tricia Kominsky (Poste)

    RISING CULINARY STAR:Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve)

    WHERE MAGAZINE AWARD:Mimi's American Bistro

  7. Thanks for this. I too have a few 707's lying around. Might crack one this weekend.

    As for Virgin Hills... hmmm... i'll ask someone.

    I am also pleased to hear of your self-regulating Shiraz ban.

    I'm over the stuff at the moment, although a notable exception is the Charles Melton (B.Valley) Cab-Shiraz blend 2003, a bottle of which will be cracked this weekend.

    While I can understand why you don't want to drink another over-the-top shiraz, I have plenty of customers here in Washington, DC who crave this stuff. The higer the Parker number, the better.

  8. No need at all to cry for Charles F. Shaw who thought up the idea of the wines known affectionately (or with passionate hatred) these days as "Two Buck Chuck". 

    Shaw, taking advantage of the wine glut in California, started buying up grapes and bulk wines in (if memory serves) 2001 and dealing them largely through the chain "Trader Joe's". Everyone is making good money on these wines and to the surprise of quite a few the wines compete nicely with many in the $5-8 dollar range and people continue to buy them by multiple cases. No loss-leaders these! In fact, considering the millions of cases that have been bought - some good profit here.

    I have tasted the Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc wines in the series.  All earned acceptable scores of 80-84. At that price, unbeatable and that seems to be what a good many people want to drink. 

    Anticipating a question - Nope!  Not wines that I would buy for my personal drinking pleasure.


    The Charles F. Shaw winery went bankrupt 10-15 years ago. Bronco bought the name several years ago and produces this bulk wine from the glut of grapes that exists everywhere in California except the Napa Valley. You can believe that the bottle, cork and label cost more than the wine in the bottle. The fact that many people find it palatable is a good thing. I work as a sommelier. I firmly believe that there are only two kinds of wines: what you like and what you don't like. On one of the wine boards, the subject of the Two Buck Chuck red wines came up. One guy said that the cabernet sucked. Another guy said that the merlot sucked. The third guy said that if you mix the cabernet and merlot together, it was awesome. I chuckled.

  9. No one in their right mind would open a restaurant with cooks who had been there for only 2 hours.

    I certainly understand that, but then he's getting a million or so for the theatrics. Insulting the women at the counter didn't cost him much.

    Is this realistically what it's like working with a "Genius" (aka famous) chef, though?

    Well, I work for someone I consider a "genius chef", and, while he is tough, he doesn't act like that. I've been there for 7 1/2 years.

  10. Wow!  Gordon Ramsay is a piece of work!

    so, I ask the experienced and experts here, how does this show compare to life in a real kitchen in a good-quality restaurant?

    No one in their right mind would open a restaurant with cooks who had been there for only 2 hours.

  11. My favorite thing is when people complain that their wine glass isn't filled to the brim.  This one guy came in and insisted I give him a full glass of wine.  I told him that, in fact, that was what was on the table.  He pointed to where he wanted it filled and I gladly obliged.  He then complained later on when I charged him for two glasses of wine.  Some people...    :angry:

    The stemware I use in the restaurant for wine by the glass holds 25oz. of wine. I had the restaurant's logo discretely etched on the glasses at the 6oz. mark. No one yet has demanded a glass filled to the brim, but I'd love to see their faces when I pour a whole bottle of wine into the glass.

  12. I'm sure this topic has come up before, but does anyone have a defintive answer to how to catagorize where is old world and where is new world. Is there an easy way, or is it more blurred?  :huh:

    Technically speaking, Old World is Europe and New World is North America, South America and Australia. Where the blur comes in is using New World techniques in Old World vineyards. Some examples: Chateau de Valandraud, Mauro, L'Ermita.

  13. I'm meeting a friend for brunch at noon this Sunday. I suggested the Tabard Inn - which makes their own doughnuts (!), but it turns out they're all booked up.

    Any suggestions on where to get a great breakfast for under $20/person? And that's not too crazed at that time on a weekend?

    There are a few places that do brunch but not sure how good they are:

    Old Ebbitt Grill - Downtown

    Cafe Deluxe - Cleveland Park

    The old standbys - I'd rather go someplace new:

    Teaism - Penn Quarter

    South Austin Grill - Old Town Alexandria

    Evening Star - Del Ray

    2 Brunches: Melrose at the Park Hyatt. They have a pianist. Nice room and good service. Appetizer buffet and menu entrée. Bistrot du Coin. Great eggs benedict and ambience. Warning here: this weekend is graduation from several local universities.

  14. I started a thread on eG 2 years ago on this exact topic. Unfortunately, I can't find it to link to it now. After I had to work a horrendous Christmas Eve, 3 Sets of oblivious parents, cranky grannies and toddlers came in. I swear that the infants were calling to each other in the restaurant like monkeys in the jungle. I work in an extremely expensive, upscale restaurant. You can be sure that this noise disturbed everyone in the restaurant. What do you do?

  15. Hi, everyone.  Living in Paris for a few years, I cannot help but find myself immersed in and mesmerized by all things wine.  I wondered: what are your favourite wine books?  Whether for general information, personal memoirs related to wine, books dealing with specific topics... whatever?  And are there any websites you particularly enjoy when it comes to wine?  Well, EGULLET!  That goes without saying.  But, any other places you find particularly fun, inspiring or informative? 

    Thanks!  -  Freckles

    I believe you'll find book recommendations in the Wine folder here on eGullet. Indispensable for me are: Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson's World Wine Atlas, Larousse Wine Dictionary, Parker's Bordeaux and the Oxford Companion to Wine. On the internet: eRobertParker.com/Mark Squires wine bulletin board is lively, opinionated and full of information, plus, its free. I am also subscribed to Benson Marketing newsletters. You can find them at: http//www.bensonmarketing.com . You can get a daily digest of wine related articles from all over the world. Also free.

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