Hooray for Ruchè

Ruchè I was a Ruchè rookie. I was unaware of the Ruchè bouquet. But now, I’m screaming Hooray for Ruchè! Not only does this native Italian grape variety produce some exceptional wines, it also comes with a marvelous story. Like all grapes, there is a birthplace. We know that Cabernet Sauvignon originated in Bordeaux, a region of about 300,000 hectares. Or that Pinot Noir’s home is in Burgundy, a region of about 30,000 hectares. And the most likely birthplace of Tempranillo is La Rioja and Navarra, with a combined total of around 73,000 hectares. However, imagine being able to stand in the vineyard where a grape originated and is still made today? Such is the case with Ruchè. Piedmont is a region rich with grapes, and a few are most common there. However in the province of Asti, in a small commune called Castagnole Monferrato, there is 1.7 hectare vineyard which is considered to be the official birthplace of Ruchè. In the book Native Grapes of Italy, Ian D’Agata writes, “Ruchè has always been held in high esteem locally; the wines made from it were reserved for special occasions.” And so, like a gift from a higher power, along came […]

Read more ...

The Teaspoon

On a recent trip to NYC, I was having a coffee at the end of my lunch when I reached for my phone and dropped my teaspoon. Anyone who has ever spent time working in a restaurant will tell you that the hardest things to locate are teaspoons. They must be hiding with all the single socks. By the time I bent over to pick up my spoon another waiter came by to replace it for me. Amazed, I asked how he knew to have a teaspoon ready. He said, “In a company wide effort to trim costs they sent an efficiency expert to help find areas in each outlet where employees could save time and as a result save labor costs.” Turns out, waiters spend a great deal of time looking for spoons and the suggestion was to always keep a few spoons on you; like a corkscrew or a pen, teaspoons are now part of the waiter’s uniform. I was in shock. There is nothing worse then wasting time and I wondered how much time I have spent over the years looking for teaspoons. Days? Weeks? Months? Not to mention how much money the company is saving in […]

Read more ...

Is working in a restaurant cool?

Not long ago Jen Agg mused on twitter if  maybe the restaurant business is not that cool     It used to be cool to work in a restaurant. Like the first few months of a passionate relationship. Fun, exciting, with new experiences, and cool to tell your friends you worked in one of the best restaurants in the city. Then reality sets in. Common themes start to emerge and the reasons you got out of the last restaurant relationship start to make themselves known. Things aren’t as cool as they once seemed. It could be the long hours but any work that is done well and with consideration takes time and hard work. However, the hours of the day are very different than most people and getting home around midnight or later most nights is not for everyone. But the time spent there is very social and you get to hang out with cool people and secretly judge costumers with your new friends in an attempt to fit in. Then that stops being cool, or owners may tell you to wear sweaters in the summer, and there is nothing cool about that. Perhaps it is the lack of management in most […]

Read more ...

Has this ever happened to you?

You order a wine at a bar or restaurant and when it is served, you only nose it to confirm that the wine is clean. Everyone else gets their pour and after the cheers, you taste it for the first time. You’re not sure if the wine is corked, but aren’t not sure that it’s not corked. You taste again. Fuck! Corked. Just a hint, but enough to notice now and keep you from enjoying it. Trouble is you’re the only one who has noticed and your friends are having a grand time laughing and telling stories. You have to get the waiters attention and tell them that even though you confirmed the wine, it wasn’t until after tasting it you realized that it was corked. And because three quarters of the wine is in the glasses, it can’t be returned. How do you try and tell the waiter that you want a new wine? Do you even mention it? If you’re the waiter, how would you react?    

Read more ...

Wine and Music

Wine & Music Winemaking is an art. It takes a very special person to have the ability to take a raw material like grapes and transform them into wine. There are hundreds of choices to be made at each step. One person can look at a vineyard of Pinot Noir and make something completely different than the next person. Similarly in music, many people can play guitar, but all of them play it very differently. So it is not uncommon that many artists enjoy wine. The hidden aromas, the subversion, the practice and patience it takes to produce a bottle. But the big difference is that there is only once chance a year to make that wine. There are no formulas, there is no template, and there is no sheet music. However, like any live performance, each day, the same wine changes. Many in the music industry have followed their passion for wine and have become involved in a winery. Some musicians own the winery outright, while others lend their name and work with a winery to create a label. Les Claypool Les Claypool has the aptly named Claypool Cellars with a wine named, Claypool Cellars’ CHAMPAGNE Pachyderm. I am […]

Read more ...


Writings about my passion for wine, and the people, places, and stories connected to it.