Chambertin for Coq au Vin?

A chef friend we work with wanted a case of Burgundy for a stew he was making. I pointed out that a case of Cotes du Rhone would be a lot cheaper and, after hours of cooking, pretty close in flavor. But he insisted on Burgundy, “I’m following a 19th century recipe that calls for a case of Chambertin!” Nowadays, of course, a case of Chambertin costs well over $3,000. That would be a pricey chicken dish. Besides, supplies are so limited you would need to go to several sources to cobble together a 12-pack. It’s probably been a very long time since that particular recipe was followed! Amusing, yes. But it also raises an important historical point that surprisingly few people are ... Read More »

5 Quick Tips for Holiday Wine-Giving

Wine makes a great holiday gift.  Here are some tips to help you out:  1.  Keep it classy.  Get a bottle with a nice-looking, classy label on it.  Avoid critters, cartoons or anything that looks too modern.    2.  For drinking now.  Make sure the wine can be drunk now and does not require cellaring.  Most people don't have proper wine storage and are likely to drink whatever they have lying around -- like whatever wine you've just given them. 3.  But not too old.  Older wines can be great, but they are less consistent than younger bottles, and you want to be sure that the wine will be enjoyed.  The exception is for birthday/anniversary gifts where it's nice to find just ... Read More »