“Everybody always wonders what’s up with Blue Ribbon and T. Edward Wines,” said Sean Sant Amour. “We started at the same time. The TEW evolution has gone hand in hand with ours. As your book grew, our list grew as well. One of my pivotal wine moments was when Tom invited me on my first wine trip. I was bunking with this guy who wanted to be a photographer and got duped into the wine business by his dad. His name is Rob Sinskey. He tried to explain to me why Pinot Noir is the most noble grape. It was kind of crazy,” he added and laughed.
Recently, we had the honor of celebrating ten years of Robert Sinskey Abraxas at The Modern with Maria Sinskey. “A once in a life time event, even for me,” said Maria, “with so little reserves at the winery.” A white vin de terroir from Robert Sinskey’s organic Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard that is planted to three of the four noble grapes of Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer with a touch of Pinot Blanc), Abraxas is a blend whose composition depends on how each varietal reacts to the vintage. As Maria discussed the history and inspiration of the wine along with Sinskey’s commitment to organic and biodynamic viticulture, we tasted through the vintages, beginning with the first, Abraxas 2003. Read more
“When I was a child, I wanted to be God,” said Andrea Calek, and laughed. “Not president or a winemaker. President is nothing. It’s so small. I wanted to be God.” And while he doesn’t consider his work in the cellar or vineyards to be god-like in any way, he has found a slice of paradise in Ardèche, living in a trailer amongst his 5ha of Ecocert certified vines. Read more
On Sunday, a few of us rode La Provençale Sainte-Victoire, a 95KM ride in Provence. A stunning course that included three pretty serious climbs (totaling 4,130 feet), and some harrowing descents, it was the most beautiful 95K that I have ever ridden, scented with lilacs, lavender and shrub Provencal herbs. And while my training had been pretty threadbare, I dug the paced commitment required to reach the top of Sainte Victoire, Côte de Bèdes and Col du Sambuc (a 6.5 mile climb). The guys fared a bit faster, pace-lining with some winter training to their legs. But we all loved riding in France, where cycling is a revered spectator sport. Read more
“I’m not the first person you think of when you think of Blue Ribbon, unless you’re a customer who’s been coming in for a long time and you see my face when you first come in the door.” It’s been 22 years since James Shrum, bartender extraordinaire, helped demolish the walls of what was then the Crystal Room on Sullivan Street in Soho. As one of the foundational members of Blue Ribbon, James, along with owners Eric and Bruce Bromberg and General Manager Sean Sant Amour, opened and closed the Crystal Room in four short months.
“In 1998, he told me everything about the Tenuta Fiorano estate. He told me everything about the vineyard, the wine, the vines. The method of producing wines,” said Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi, of his cousin Prince Alberico. “So, in this moment, I started this relationship with my cousin, getting closer each year.” After he tore up his vines, he began to recognize himself in his younger cousin. And while no one can say at exactly what point Prince Alberico realized he would pass his estate to Prince Alessandrojacopo, in retrospect, the latter realized that he was being tested and trained. Read more
As the vines near budbreak, we stole a moment to catch up with Patrick Burke (#ExPat), our French Portfolio Manager, who’s been living with his ear and palate close to the terroir for the past eight months. “I’ve spent a lot of time with our existing producers and it’s deepened the existing friendships,” he said. “When you see them once or twice a year, it’s business. But being able to see them more often, in a casual setting, it’s allowed me quality time that’s not the standard of a winery visit. It’s strengthened relationships.” Such immediate access has also given Patrick a more intimate understanding of each producer’s winemaking style, he said. “You see how they relate to other people in their villages, you get more insider information.” On the road seven to ten days a month, Patrick recently introduced Chateau de Lavernette, a historic property that straddles Beaujolais and Maconnais, and just joined our ranks. “His family has owned the property since they bought it from the Tournus monks, in 1596,” he said. “They have vineyards all around the chateau and Xavier [de Boissieu] is the latest to take over the estate.” Read more
“We didn’t think we’d have great wine so soon,” said David Gollnick, of Mindego Ridge Vineyard. “We thought it’d be 7-8 years before we got something so expressive. “ Yet, at this year’s In Pursuit of Balance, winemakers kept referring tasters to their table. “We’d asked Ehren [Jordan, the winemaker] if we should send the wines to critics and he let us know that 200 wines were submitted to fill four slots at the IPOB tasting, where Jon Bonné was one of the blind tasters. ‘What more do you need?’ Ehren asked,” added David and laughed. Read more
Big thanks to all who came out to taste. This week’s Rosé Tasting was our best yet, with over 150 in attendance! After a long winter’s crawl, we couldn’t have asked for more – sunny blue skies, an extra hour of daylight, and 40 rosé wines from some of our top producers, from all over the globe. Finally…it’s safe to say, spring is near.