Grey evening on the Hudson

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But bright pink rosé from @LoireValleyWines #RoseLoire in the glass. Best: Sauvion “Chemin des Saules 2014 ($14)

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Do French women not get fat because the eat so many oysters?

Mireille Guiliano, author of big best seller French Women Don’t Get Fat

Mireille Guiliano








is back in NYC this week promoting her latest, Meet Paris Oysters, a languid stroll through the Parisian sub-culture of all things oyster.


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Great Chips, Bad Wine List

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I’ll forgive a bar a lot – even if, like NYC’s Bottega, they feature a wine-by-the-glass list that mentions neither vintage nor producer and a bartender who hasn’t heard of Cutty Sark — when they serve free home-made potato chips.

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The whole basket disappeared in under two minutes.

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NickOnWine November Summary

In case you inadvertently missed one, here are all the NickOnWine posts and columns on and, along with hints of the treats to come in December.

Nick’s Wine Pick A White Rhône Blend From California

Nick’s Wine Pick – Marvelous California Merlot

Pamplona, Navarre And The Wine

The Best Champagne You’ve Never Heard Of #2 – Ruinart

Nick’s Wine Pick – Brilliant Burgundy

Top 10 Thanksgiving Wines

The Best Champagne You’ve Never Heard Of #3 – Drappier

Nick’s Wine Pick: A Turkey Friendly White

Nick’s Wine Pick — A Bountiful Turkey-Friendly Bandol

Diageo’s Winning New Single Malt

It’s All About The Bling – Twelve Absurdly Expensive Liquid Gift Ideas

And don’t miss my interview with Laura Lawson on her Wine Crush Radio show on the difference between European and American wine.


And coming in December: Ten Most Expensive Champagnes, two very special, very old Tawny Ports, a wonderful Chablis producer and much more. Stay tuned!


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Nick’s Wine Crush Radio Interview

Catch my chat with Laura Lawson on her syndicated Wine Crush Radio show during which we discuss my Forbes column on the difference between European and American wines.



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Vodka Meets Cognac – Grey Goose Flies Back To Its Roots

Grey Goose is one of the world’s leading ultra-premium vodkas, and according to their spokesman “the most called for and most recommended brand in the on-premise” i.e. bars. Hmmmm….such claims are difficult to quantify, but skepticism aside, and absent of any hard numbers from Bacardi, the brand’s owners, it is safe to say it’s one of the most popular high-end vodkas.

Grey Goose VX

Grey Goose VX

That they are continually looking to extend the brand is not surprising – flavored vodkas are a huge money spinner, and they already offer five fruit infusions – but that their latest effort, Grey Goose VX ($100, in select US markets from September 1st) contains 5% eau de vie cognac, is.

Unless you know a little of the brand’s history.

In 1996 American Sydney Frank, who had already had a big hit with Jägermeister, asked Francois Thibault, at the time Maitre de Chai at a small Cognac house with which he already had a relationship, to craft a no-expenses-spared, super-luxe vodka for him. Hence was born Grey Goose.

The idea was inspired, and the brand such a roaring success that Frank was able to sell it to Bacardi in 2004 for $2 billion. That seemed like a lot of money to me at the time but considering Grey Goose sold 3,382,000 9-L Cases, that’s 40 M bottles, in 2013 in the US alone (according to the Beverage Info Group Handbook) the deal must have paid for itself many times over.

But back to VX. Having spent 20 years distilling Cognac it’s not surprising that Thibault was drawn to the idea of mixing a little of his past into the present, hence VX.

Francois Thibault

Francois Thibault

It comes in an sensuously curved bottle in turn ensconced in an elegant blue and white box, packaging appropriate to its three digit price tag.

In the glass I found it interesting rather than captivating – it’s best served on the rocks or with a splash of soda – but I can see how one could develop a taste for this Cognac-tinged vodka.

My guess is that the aim here is a high-margin, low volume product targeting the prestige market – travel retail, casinos and the sort of nightclubs that offer bottle service to VIP lounge celebs and their ever present entourages.

That it will also serve to raise the profile, and enhance the image, of the Grey Goose brand doesn’t hurt either.


Listen to Nick’s SpiritCast!

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Antica & Oak?

Is it my imagination, or is the Antica Chardonnayantica 2 2011, from high in the rugged hillside east of Napa Valley, more oaky than previous vintages?

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What I Drank Last Night – Another Pinot Noir Gem from Hartford Court

This the Land’s Edge Vineyard 2005.H Powerful, slightly spicy, rich, polished and fully mature. Yay HC!

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Glorious German Riesling

prinz The Prinz Von Hessen Riesling Kabinet, Royal, Johannisberg im Rheingau 2012 ($25) shows again that the best wine bargains by far come from the deeply unfashionable Riesling regions of Alsace and Germany. They make very distinct styles of wine, the German being delicate and elegant, the Alsatian more robust. These German characteristics are glorious display in the Prinz von Hessen – it’s vibrant, and glows with a steely, fresh-fruit-infused intensity.

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What I Drank Last Night – A Ripe, Raisiny, Rich Amarone


The Masi Costasera 2007, an alluring Masi Amaronecombination of fruit and earth, a wine of the soil, plump with a smoky sensuality.

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