Enth Degree April 2006
News and Notes from the World of Wine.
The Enth Degree
Officially, Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle arrived in Chile's Colchagua Valley 12 years ago, founding Casa Lapostolle with an eye toward making some of the country's best wines. But for all intents and purposes her true Chilean arrival took place in January, with the inauguration of a stunning $10 million winery tucked into the corner of the valley's famed Apalta vineyard.
Designed by a trio of forward-thinking architects, Casa Lapostolle's elliptically shaped Apalta winery is dedicated solely to the production of Lapostolle's prestige cuvée, Clos Apalta. The six-story winery, which will have a capacity of about 10,000 cases, is entirely gravity-flow, with a pair of subterranean barrel vaults, a space-age "library" for the storing of finished bottles, four stand-alone guest houses, and much more.
At a launch party in January, Marnier-Lapostolle and her husband and partner, Cyril de Bournet, christened the winery in front of 350 international guests and explained that lead architect Roberto Benavente's design is one that emphasizes light and flow, but more importantly, integration with the valley's rugged natural environment.
For example, almost all of the wood in the winery, which took nearly two years to conceptualize and construct, is rauli, a native hardwood with a redwood-like hue. To construct the winery's base and make room for the barrel vaults, dynamite was used to blow away bedrock down to about 80 feet below ground level. As a result, cool temperatures persist in the aging rooms and there is natural humidity arising from moisture that seeps through the surrounding bedrock.
Other amenities—or as consulting winemaker Michel Rolland might put it, necessities—aimed at producing the best wine possible include 21 top-loading French oak fermentation vats and a reception area designed for the manual destemming of every grape bunch destined to be Clos Apalta.
Wine Enthusiast Companies has promoted Hank to president. Rosen formerly held the position of chief operating officer. · Enjoy a perfumed bouquet? Try one of Bourdeaux-based wine merchant Ginestat's scents: For women, Sauvignonne, scented like Sauvignon; Botrytis mimics Sauternes' aromas. Le Boisé is for men, and is meant to evoke the oak barrels used to age Bordeaux wines. · Constellation Wines U.S. has appointed Chris Fehrnstrom president of Icon Estates in St. Helena. · The Royal Tokaji Wine Company's 1999 Essencia is packaged with a first edition of Royal Tokaji's Hungarian crystal sipping spoon, which enables 33 sips per $500 bottle. · Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery has appointed Mark R. Koppen president and chief operating officer. · New meaning to the term "drinking and driving"? According to Ballandean Estate winemaker Angelo Puglisi, gasoline could be made to contain ethanol from grapes, producing an environmentally friendly fuel source. · Following the sale of the Paul Jaboulet Aîné company, the Jaboulets are no longer in Primum Familiae Vini. PFV's newest Rhône representative is the Perrin family, of Château
The Anthony Spinazzola Foundation supports its mission with glamour, great food and gorgeous wines
For 21 years, the Anthony Spinazzola Foundation has been fulfilling its mission of "feeding hungry bodies and minds" through homeless and hunger relief as well as culinary scholarships. On January 27, The Anthony Spinazzola Found- ation Gala was once again held at Boston's Sea-port World Trade Center. As many as 4,000 people attended, as did a host of celebrity chefs, including Todd English, Ming Tsai, Eric Ripert and Cornelius Gallagher; theirs were among the 130 restaurants serving their fine fare. Ninety wineries from all over the world contributed wines and services to the event.
A special award was given to Danny Meyer, of the Union Square Hospitality Group, for his continuing charitable services. Actor Danny Aiello performed several musical numbers, a challenging note to this feast for all the senses.
Soignée boutiques, hip cafés, even a caviar shop are sprouting along the broad boulevards of Harlem these days, in a heady economic boom fueled by Bill Clinton's arrival and a feverish market for this historic quarter's lavish homes. Parts of Harlem are a startling time capsule of New York's genteel past lives: The 19th-century dwellings on Convent Avenue are topped by peaked gables, and along 138th and 139th Streets' Striver's Row, where a gatepost still implores visitors to "Walk Your Horses," the dwellings were built by luminary architects like McKim, Mead & White. Inside, mahogany galleries recall gatherings of the Harlem Renaissance, when Langston Hughes created incendiary verse and Bessie Smith wailed the blues until dawn.
Harlem nights are still afire at clubs like the Deco-era Lenox Lounge (288 Lenox Avenue; tel: 212.427.0253) where cutting-edge talent is stirred by the spirits of Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. Duke Ellington liked to jam at the hoary St. Nick's Jazz Pub (773 St. Nicholas Avenue; tel: 212.283.9728), where today's groups are joined by African jazz musicians in flowing robes. Don't expect trendy "chic-a-tinis," as St. Nick's is José Cuervo and Gordon's gin country; but there's no cover charge, and the soul food buffet in the back garden is free.
Reserve a bedroom in a brownstone around the corner at Harlem Landmark Guesthouse (437 West 147th Street; tel: 212.234.7017; $150, including breakfast at Café Bonjour on the corner), to be on hand for Sunday morning services at one of Harlem's renowned churches, such as Rev. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell's Abyssinian Baptist (132-142 West 138th Street); Mother A.M.E. Zion (140-148 West 137th Street), whose former downtown location was part of the Underground Railroad; and Mount Olivet Baptist (201 Lenox Avenue).
Charles' Southern Style Kitchen (2837 Frederick Douglass Boulevard.; tel: 212.926.4313) is another local institution where $10 at lunch and $12 at dinner buys all you can eat of smothered pork chops, crusty fried chicken and smoky collard greens. At Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too (547 Lenox Avenue; tel: 212.690.3100) a $12.95 plate of homey Louisiana catfish or North Carolina BBQ ribs comes with two sides such as sweet black-eyed peas, candied yams or corn bread stuffing. Just try to identify the searing mix of jerk spices in the chicken or pork at Fatman Flavor (513 W. 145th Street; tel: 212.926.9828). To find the subterranean takeout spot, Famous Fish Market (684 Saint Nicholas Avenue; tel: 212.491.8323), look for the queue of customers in line for fried fish with a thick crust and pillowy center.
Chic newcomer Melba's (300 West 114th Street; tel: 212.864.7777) reveres the old days with family recipes such as spicy sweet potato pie, and lusty short ribs "braised for a day and half—minimum," maintains Chef Shawn Thorne. A brick-walled bar is Harlem's Cheers, where stockbrokers and lawyers mingle with Columbia professors and hiphop entrepreneurs. Harlem Grill (2247-49 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, tel: 212.491.0493) is a candlelit supper club where celebrities seek solitude among the cushy burgundy banquettes. On weekends, when the kitchen stays open till 3 a.m., try their upscale spin on Harlem's classic seafood sandwich: striped bass with chili garlic mayonnaise on brioche. The Den (2150 Fifth Avenue; tel: 212.234.3045) is a sultry lounge where cocktails and food receive clever monikers like "Sex in the Inner City." Basketball great Earl "The Pearl" Monroe snared a chef from Town to create a seafood menu influenced by Latin, African, Caribbean and Southern cuisines at his splashy Earl Monroe's Restaurant (750 West 145th Street in Riverbank State Park; tel: 212.491.1500), which has panoramic views of the Hudson River. The upmarket Ginger (1400 Fifth Avenue; tel: 212.423.1111), in Harlem's first "green" apartment building, serves healthy Chinese dishes approved by dieticians from neighboring Columbia University, such as organic spare ribs made from Angus beef.
The neighborhood's prosperity has brought a rush of high-end shops such as Emperor's Roe (200 Lenox Avenue; tel: 212.866.3700), whose specialties include a private line of American caviar, and a black and red caviar layer cake made with crème fraîche, mascarpone and smoked salmon. Harlem Vintage (2235 Frederick Douglass Boulevard.; tel: 212.866.9463) is a chic little wine shop sowing new ground with its Winemakers of Color Collection, which sources black-made wines from all over the world. The shop's Saturday afternoon tastings have become a neighborhood institution, and their wine dinners at Amy Ruth's (113 W. 116th Street; tel: 212.280.8779), which names dishes after local celebrities such as "Al Sharpton's Chicken and Waffles," pair crisp Chenin Blancs and fruity reds with rich, Southern foods.