Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal's wine column, "Tastings," from 1998 to 2010. Dorothy and John have been tasting and studying wine since 1973. In 2020, the University of California at Davis added their papers to the Warren Winiarski Wine Writers Collection in its library, which also includes the work of Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. Dottie has had a distinguished career in journalism as a reporter, editor, columnist and editorial writer at The Miami Herald, The New York Times, and at The Journal. John was Page One Editor of The Journal, City Editor of The Miami Herald and a senior editor at Bloomberg News. They are well-known from their books and many television appearances, especially on Martha Stewart's show, and as the creators of the annual, international "Open That Bottle Night" celebration of wine and friendship. The first bottle they shared was André Cold Duck. They have two daughters.
Colorado is much in the news these days. Pro football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is turning heads as head football coach at the University of Colorado. Colorado got its first Michelin Guide and five restaurants with a star. The winery we’re writing about here, The Ordinary Fellow, is in Colorado and has wine on the lists of two of those five, Bruto and The Wolf’s Tailor.
Parr, who grew up in Calcutta and has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world, doesn’t seem like the kind of person you would find around sheep, goats and chickens and dogs that guard them in vineyards, but that’s part of what he’s doing now as a grape farmer doing things in a low-key, naturalistic way. How did he get there, we wanted to know.
At that wine dinner in New York, we met Diego Tomasi, the director of the consortium that represents more than 3,000 growers and producers in the DOCG. He spent most of his career as an academic, becoming an expert on the region, and was named director in 2021. We discussed with him how to get consumers to pay more for the DOCG when they are accustomed to lower-priced Prosecco. We followed up with some email questions.
We have been enjoying wine from Oregon for decades, but this was the first time we attended IPNC. It’s an awesome event, and if you are ever able to attend, you should (an all-events ticket for all three days costs about $1,600). We came away from the event – which included seminars, tastings, a traditional salmon bake on Alder spikes and more – with some thoughts based on many conversations and we are going to get right to them.
Washington is the second-largest wine producer in the U.S. and we’ve been fans for a long time. In our last “Tastings” column for The Wall Street Journal in 2009, we wrote that three of our most delicious wines of the year were from Washington (Syrahs from Dunham, Owen Roe and Gramercy Cellars). So with this question in our minds, we bought a mixed case of Washington wines. We weren’t particular. We just wanted the price to even out below $25, with a case discount.
We just watched Drops of God, the Apple TV+ series about wine. No spoilers here, although Dottie, a frustrated screen writer, ruined it for John by guessing way too early a pivotal plot line.Nevertheless, we would recommend it for wine lovers and those who have wondered what the fuss surrounding wine is all about. It was most interesting to us when it touched on the importance of terroir in thoughtfully made wines. Not just geography, as many people think of terroir, but the people who make it, how they make it, and the consequences of climatic factors that Nature deals them in every vintage.
Has this ever happened to you? It’s summer. You need a pleasant, thoughtful, inexpensive white. You just realized you don’t have anything in the refrigerator and your usual wine store seems too distant in the heat. You go to the so-so store in the nearby strip mall, or the supermarket, and get…what, exactly?
Two separate interviewers over the past couple of months have asked us the same question: Was there one wine that provided your “aha” moment? We both stumbled on that for a few seconds. So many wines were special to us; we wrote a memoir about many of them called “Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage.” After those interviews, we thought about that question, how we had answered it, and what other wines were signposts for us. Let’s go through a few of them and why they are not just relevant to our lives but maybe important to the world of wine going forward.
When was the last time you put two bottles of the same type up against each other, in paper bags? We really recommend it. Every thoughtfully made wine is a bit more interesting when tasted against its peer. There are nuances you might not pick up when you’re just enjoying the wine. This one might have more acidity, that one might have more oakiness.
So into the brown bags they went and we’re here with our report.