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.
Wine should be joyful. If you ever think it becomes routine to people in the industry, we’d urge you to look at the picture of Marcus Notaro as he celebrates Open That Bottle Night. Notaro is the head winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and quite famous, but when it came to OTBN, he was like a kid in a candy store and it shows on his face.
“I enjoy celebrating Open That Bottle Night each year. I chose the 1997 S.L.V. as it’s from a benchmark vintage in Napa Valley and the wines in the mid-’90s are in a sweet spot right now,” he told us. (His lovely video of tasting the wine is on Twitter @StagsLeapCASK23.)
Winemakers from all over – Singlefile Wines in Australia, Domaine Gayda in Languedoc – opened special bottles, too. And it wasn’t just winemakers, of course. OTBN was celebrated by regular wine-loving folks from El Salvador,to Chicago to South ...
Only the oldest of Miami old-timers will remember that there used to be a Grand Union on Coral Way. It was replaced long ago by a sad mall. We lived in Miami then and bought some of our wines at that Grand Union. On Jan. 3, 1980, we picked up a bottle of Always Elvis, an Italian white we carefully noted as “non-vintage,” for $3.29.
We created OTBN in 1999 for a simple reason: When we started writing about wine, the question we received most often was “I have this one special bottle that I got on vacation (or at my wedding, or at an auction…) When do I open it?” Our answer was always: NOW! But we realized it’s not that easy. Sometimes, the longer we save a bottle “for a special occasion,” the bigger the special occasion has to become and the memories and joy inside that bottle get trapped forever.
We thought of the yin and yang of couples after we interviewed David and Nadia Sadie, rising stars in the fast-emerging Swartland wine region of South Africa, for our Valentine’s Day column. Not only are their heights very dissimilar but their outlooks and personalities seem quite different, too, yet sweetly meld.
Age can be a wonderful thing, in people and in wine. If they’re lucky, it can imbue them with wisdom, a clearer sense of what they were meant to be, as well as a validation that choices turned out well. We thought of that recently when we tasted two Fiddlehead Cellars Grüner Veltliners, the 2017 Estate and the 2015 Bebble Reserve, made by Kathy Joseph, the pioneering founder and winemaker of Fiddlehead Cellars in the Sta. Rita Hills of Santa Barbara.
So what’s the difference between sparkling wine and Champagne? We’d say one of many answers is that no other wine in the world has been written about more. Without even scratching the surface, you could fill an entire 275-page book with some of the best writing about Champagne. Oh, wait: That’s been done. The book, published by Academie du Vin Library, is called “On Champagne: A Tapestry of Tales to Celebrate the Greatest Sparkling Wine of All” ($45). It’s fascinating, funny and quietly educational. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the book. As we head into 2023, here’s to a healthy new year.
The best holiday present for a friend or loved one, at any point in their wine journey, is the gift of a new or even better relationship with a good merchant. We understand that some areas, even states, do not have small, independent stores. We also understand that most wine is sold by giant retailers and supermarkets.
But all over the U.S. there are passionate, small-business people – some who barely survived the past couple of years or maybe have delayed opening until now – who will transform an interest in wine into passion and maybe passion into love.
MacNeil’s Wine Bible is the best-selling wine book in the U.S., with almost a million copies sold, and since its first edition, we have recommended it as a great gift for the wine lover in your life, and we do so again.
Sometimes – rarely, but sometimes – we taste a wine so exciting that it takes us on a journey. That just happened. It was from Murrieta’s Well in the Livermore Valley and it was sharply focused, with dark berries, variety-tagged green bell pepper, persistent acidity, herbs and vibrating energy.
It was Cabernet Franc, from the 2019 vintage. That’s not a total surprise. If you’ve been wondering about the red wave that pundits keep talking about, it’s Cabernet Franc.
We recently visited South Africa for the first time for 10 days on a trip sponsored by Wines of South Africa. We visited dozens of wineries and attended all three days of CapeWine, a trade show featuring about 400 wineries and, we’d guess, more than 2,000 wines. Here’s a list of 16 South African wines that are available, at least a bit, in the U.S. They are in alphabetical order.