Author, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink as well as
A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season
Where did you grow up?
First time you remember drinking wine?
Well, my parents served some pretty miserable sparkling Catawba at Thanksgiving when I was a teenager. I think I stole a sip and then went back to my milk.
When did you start to like wine?
I guess at some point in college. When we first started dating, I splurged on a bottle of KJ for my then girlfriend (now wife). Somehow, it really impressed her and her housemates.
Where do you drink wine mostly?
I drink wine mostly at home—except for when I am raiding my friends’ cellars.
What are your favorite types of wine? Specific wines? Varietals? Regions?
If I’m buying, then my favorite types of wine for every day come from the Loire or Beaujolais. There are just so many food-friendly values from these two regions. If it’s a special occasion, I’d go with a Champagne or a nice wine from Burgundy or Piedmont.
What are your favorite kinds of food?
Anything with butter.
What are your favorite restaurants?
Often, BYOBs. But for fine dining, I’ve had some very good meals at Eleven Madison Park and Blue Hill Stone Barns.
What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
Hard to pick one, but I do like light red wine (such as barbera) and pizza. In sort of an upmarket-downmarket pairing, I’d go with champagne and French Fries. If you’re into “impossible” food-wine pairings, check out our series on the topic. http://www.drvino.com/category/food-and-wine/
Do you cook? If so, what kind of food and for whom?
I enjoy cooking. My wife is a vegetarian, which can be a fun challenge from a wine-pairing perspective. I also like making waffles with our sons on weekends but there’s only one pairing for that: coffee.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what one type of food/wine would you choose to have?
Given that I would have just floated in on a piece of driftwood, it’s doubtful I’d have a corkscrew. So I’d have to go with my favorite wine where no corkscrew is necessary: Champagne.
What are your favorite wine memories?
My wife and I share the same birth year and one year I hunted down a 1971 Barolo from Giacomo Conterno for us. Delicious.
Do you have any wine-related disasters?
The Rabbit bottle opener and I are not friends. One time, while at a friend’s new house, I used their Rabbit and pushed the cork in. A small geyser of red wine shot all the way up to the ceiling. Whoops! Fortunately, the painters were due the next day.
What is your motto for enjoying life?
Well, for that you’d have to see my bumper sticker. And if you’re close enough to read it…