@Levi_opens_wine visits Romano Levi distillery

levi dalton

Once again, I feel compelled to direct your attention to a superb and extraordinary post by Levi Dalton — the “dude of dudes of wine blogging.”

In it, the Philip Marlowe of the international wine scene visits the Romano Levi distillery in Piedmont.

Buona lettura e buona domenica a tutti!

A treatise on tannins @EatingOurWords

This 1974 Produttori del Barbaresco classic Barbaresco came from the personal cellar of my friend Levi Dalton, one of the sommeliers I admire most.

Have you ever been to a wine tasting or dinner party and heard some blowhard try to befuddle and belittle an enthusiastic however neophyte wine lover by asking can you taste how smooth the tannins are in this [red] wine?

One of the most common misperceptions in the wine world is that you can taste tannin. In fact, tannins are expressed through the mouthfeel of wine. In other words, you perceive tannin through a tactile sensation.

Click here to continue reading my post today for the Houston Press and to learn my trick for teaching wine lovers how to understand what tannins are and how they affect the flavor and mouthfeel of wine…

Alice and I pay a visit to the “Wine Seer” (New York Stories III)

@Levi_opens_wine an amazing wine seer, don’t you think, @DoBianchi?” tweeted Alice at the end of the night after we visited with Levi and Brooklyn Guy uptown last Friday night.

In my view, Levi is arguably the coolest sommelier in the U.S. right now and beyond his razor-sharp expertise in Italian wine, he always seems to be just one step ahead of the curve, shaping the discourse and defining the dialectic — a wine “seer,” as Alice put.

It’s not that I didn’t want to see all of my other friends last week in the City. I only had about 48 hours on the ground and they were consumed mostly by meetings with my top client. And Alice, Brooklyn Guy, and Levi were the people I needed to see on this trip.

It was also great to catch up with celebrity sommelier Michael Madrigale, who was working the floor at Boulud Sud that night with Levi.

But it was Levi who had the goods and the dope that I wanted to smoke.

The first wine he opened was the 2005 Overnoy Arbois Pupillin (made from Savagnin), a wine that Levi knows is hard to find beyond the island of Manhattan. An oxidative, tannic, orange wine from the Jura… In many ways this wine represented a synagoga (a coming together) of fascinations that have exited some of us over the last decade. The wine was salty and dense, with its muscle dominating its grace; its delicacy and nuance emerging and revealing itself only as we patiently observed its evolution.

Brooklyn Guy offered that this was an ideal expression of this wine, noting that he had seen a lot of bottle variation in his purchases.

But the pièce de résistance was the Equipos Navaros Bota de Manzanilla Pasada (Sherry).

Brooklyn Guy (aka “the Brook,” as Eric the Red calls him) and Levi have both visited Jerez in the last few years and it was thrilling to hear them hold court on this wine, produced by a generic, commercial winery that holds back certain privileged casks.

“Sherry is a forgotten wine,” said Brooklyn Guy, as Levi expressed his view that the category delivers wines that should be served with food instead of as an aperitif, as do the English and Anglophilic Americans.

I highly recommend checking both of their blogs — Brooklyn Guy and So You Want to be a Sommelier, respectively — and their threads on Sherry and their discoveries.

Is Sherry going to be the next big thing in the U.S.?

@Levi_opens_wine an amazing wine seer, don’t you think, @DoBianchi?

New York Stories 5: 3 Jews, a Scot, a Piedmontese, a Turk, and 2 Swiss walk into a vertical of cult Barolo

One Manhattan evening, top New York sommelier (and I mean, king of the hill, top of the heap) Levi Dalton (center, standing, my personal Philip Marlowe of wine) did a true mitzvah: knowing what a wonderful thing it would be for McDuff (left), BrooklynGuy (seated, center), Lyle, and me to get together, he managed to finagle a seat for each of us at vertical tasting and dinner at swank Alto with Peter Weimer, German Swiss cult Barolo producer, owner of Cascina Ebreo (Jew Farm) in Novello (Barolo).

Peter’s importer was also there, Dino, a simpatico German-speaking Turk and New York wine scene character, who also brought of a bottle of Giacomo Conterno 2002 Monfortino (see Lyle’s notes on the Monfortino).

Peter’s Torbido! is an aggressively traditional wine, made with native yeasts and long maceration, unfiltered. I thought 1999 showed beautifully and the 2004, however youthful, promises to be a superb wine. The big hit of the evening was 1998, which I also loved.

It was thoroughly great to see the Jew crüe and speculation as to why the farm is called Cascina Ebreo led to colorful exegesis.

Peter and Dino took many smoke breaks during the event, prompting me to recall an old Italian joke: who smokes more than a Turk? Two Turks!

I was happy to see Dino (whom I’ve known for many years) and to get to chat and taste the wines with Peter.

And wow, whatta mensch, that Levi Dalton, for getting the gang all together…!!! It was, as Lyle put it, a “Mt. Rushmore of wine bloggers,” or, in the words of McDuff, a “meeting of the menches“…

Don’t read my wine blog (and great things I ate in San Diego)

Above: Fish tacos at Jaynes Gastropub (served only during happy hour). So good with the Grüner Veltliner by Domäne Wachau by-the-glass.

As my lovely and most definitely better half Tracie P will surely agree: it is a rare occasion that I am left speechless. Today is such an occasion.

I was left entirely FLOORED by Levi Dalton’s piece over at the 32 Days of Natural Wine.

Above: Camaronillas (corn tortillas stuffed with shrimp and then deep-fried) at Bahia Don Bravo in Bird Rock with the crew (SO MUCH fun last night). Bahia Don Bravo 5504 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla, CA, (858) 454-8940. (Thanks Salavdor, Roberto, and Dora! YOU’RE THE BEST!)

I highly recommend that you check out and follow the 32 Days and there are so many great posts to come.

Above: And only because Zio Alfonso is so concerned about my cholesterol level, I only ate half of the homemade pork sausage (generously studded with fennel seeds) at Pete’s Quality Meat in Little Italy on my way to the airport. Pete’s Quality Meat, 1742 India Street, San Diego, CA, (619) 234-1684.

I’m so stoked that I got to be part of this epic undertaking and entirely humbled by the caliber and talent of the contributors.

Here’s a useful link to see an overview of all the posts to date.

Buona lettura, as the Italians say!