The $125,000 ‘Shroom, 52 Key Wines, Drink like Millionaire, Sauced in City, More!

The $125,000 Mushroom

At the recent World White Truffle Auction in Alba, Italy, I witnessed a massive, “twin truffle” auctioned off for 100,000 euro, then about $125,000 in US dollars, for what is essentially a big, divinely-scented mushroom. The tartufo bianco weighed a total of 1 kilogram and was purchased by a Hong Kong buyer via satellite. I later got a close up look at this sublime specimen and interviewed its keeper, Mauro Carbone, director of the National Center for the Study of Truffles. The charity auction coincided with the heart of truffle season in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and the annual Alba Truffle Fair. Business Insider featured my video of it here.

52 Wine Picks Over Four Festivals

Those who have attended my wine seminars know that I make my selections more carefully than a vegan at a churrascaria. Depending on the seminar theme, the wines will vary by price, country of origin, and style, but they all have one commonality: the tendency to induce goose bumps of pleasure. With midwinter wine rescue an urgency and Valentine’s Day fast approaching, several readers have inquired about my recent wine picks.  So for your shopping lists, below are 52 outstanding wines, all of which I painstakingly chose and recently presented at four major food and wine festivals:

Food Network South Beach Wine & Food: Birds and Bubbles

Seminar 1: “Fried and True: A Fried Chicken Seminar” (with festival founder/author Lee Brian Schrager and author Adeena Sussman)

1) Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Kamptaler Terrassen 2012
(Austria, with Asha Gomez’s Herb & Chili Fried Chicken with Spiced Maple Syrup)
2) Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé NV
(France, with Dale Talde’s Kung Pao Chicken Wings)
3) LVP Imported Red Sangria
(Spain, with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Seeded Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley & Caper Mayonnaise)
4) B.R. Cohn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2010
(California, with Vanessa Williams’ Fried Chicken)

This mouthwatering menu is based on recipes from Lee and Adeena’s new book, Fried and True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides.

Seminar 2: “Sparkling Sweets: An Ice Cream and Champagne Pairing Seminar” (with Jeni Britton, owner, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

1) Chateau Ste. Michelle Extra Dry Columbia Valley NV
(Washington State, with Passion Fruit Sorbet/Lychee Sorbet)
2) Prunotto Moscato d’Asti 2012
(Italy, with Apricot Sorbet/Chamomile Ice Cream)
3) Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec NV
(France, with Whole Milk Yogurt/Estate Vanilla Bean/Cloverton with Buttery Graham Gravel)
4) Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui 2012
(Italy, with Salty Caramel/Salty Goat’s Milk Chocolate/Hazelnut)
5) Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé NV
(France, with Bitter Askinosie/Chocolate and Dark Chocolate)

Austin Food & Wine: Outsmarting the Wine List

Seminar 1: “Outsmart the Wine List”

1) Cristalino Brut NV (Spain)
2) Boutari Assyrtiko Santorini 2013 (Greece)
3) Chapoutier Pays d’Oc Rosé Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2013 (France)
4) Louis Jadot Morgon Chateau des Jacques 2011 (France)
5) Spring Val Vyd K. Corkrum Cabernet Franc 2010  (Washington State)
6) Chapoutier Pinteivera Douro 2011 (Portugal)

Seminar 2: “Bubbly Worth Savoring”

1) Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs NV (California)
2) Argyle Brut NV  (Oregon)
3) Ferrari Brut NV (Italy)
4) Gosset Grand Reserve Brut NV (France)
5) Taittinger Brut Rosé Champagne Prestige NV (France)
6) Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti Nivole 2011 (Italy)

Seminar 3: “Hunt for the Next Malbec”

1) Austin Hope Grenache 2011 (California)
2) Santa Ema Carmenere 2012 (Chile)
3) Tormaresca Primitivo Salento Torcicoda 2011 (Italy)
4) Planeta Sicilia La Segreta Red 2012 (Italy, Nero d’Avola grape)
5) Castano Monastrell 2012 (Spain)
6) Leonetti Merlot Walla Walla 2011 (Washington State)

The Austin Chronicle ran this kind review of my Austin seminars.  Join me at this year’s ‪Austin Food and Wine Festival, April 24-26.

Aspen FOOD & WINE Classic: Drinking Like an IPO Millionaire

At last year’s Aspen FOOD & WINE Classic, I assumed the persona of an IPO millionaire to present an astonishing array of special occasion wines.  A tech hoodie was of course obligatory, but instead of donning the drab Zuckerbergian variety, I found one with Rick James gilded swagger. Speaking of the Facebook cofounder, I actually had Zuck in mind when I hatched the “Wine for IPO Millionaires” concept and launched this video a few years ago.

I explain my getup and the seminar to the always-dazzling Sissy Biggers in this genConnect interview.  Make no mistake: the outfit was lighthearted, but the six wines, selected by my Aspen tasting panel of discerning nonprofessionals) were serious, as in seriously iconic:

Seminar 1: “Wine for IPO Millionaires: Special Occasion Wine”

1) Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne 2004 (France)
2) Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2011 (France)
3) Domaine Faiveley Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2011 (France)
4) Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 (California)
5) Yao Ming Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2009 (California)
6) Chateau Rieussec Sauternes Grand Cru  2006 (France)
Bonus: a few drops of Leacock’s Verdelho Madeira Solera 1872


Long before the festival commenced, Curbed named the seminar one of “Ten Don’t Miss Events at Aspen Food & Wine” and the New York Post named it one of two “hot picks” at the Classic.  The Post also ran this preview.

The Aspen Daily News later ran this review and reported that the sold-out seminar was over-capacity by 70 thirsty souls.  5280 featured these fun quotes.

surprise guest at my seminar: the soignée
Margrit Mondavi, widow of Robert Mondavi

Seminar 2: “Top Sonoma Pinot Noir”

Pinot Envy Square

1) Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Estate 2011
2) DuMOL Russian River Valley 2011
3) Williams Selyem Westside Road Neighbors 2012
4) Patz & Hall Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast 2012
5) Radio-Coteau La Neblina Sonoma Coast 2012
6) Lynmar Russian River Valley Quail Hill Vineyard Summit 2012

   natural flag of Aspen: blue, white, and green

Tickets are on sale now for the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, this June 19th to 21st, which marks my 10th anniversary at the Classic.  Batten down the hatches: one of my topics will be “Wine for IPO Billionaires“.

Food Network New York Wine & Food: Sauced in the City 

Seminar 1: “Sauced In the City” (with Hugh Mangum, owner/chef, A Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, NYC) 

1) Codorníu “Anna de Codorniu” Cava Brut NV (Spain, aperitif)
2) Dopff & Irion, Gewürztraminer 2012 (France, with Smoked Pork Sausage)
3) J. Moreau & Fils, Chablis 2008 (France, with Smoked Smoked Scallop Sausage served with Pickled Sea Beans, Watercress and a Fall Mostarda)
4) Laurent-Perrier Champagne Rose NV (France with Smoked Tofu “Lardon” Frisée Salad with Miso-Bacon Fat Dressing
5) A to Z Pinot Noir 2012 (Oregon, with Smoked Lambs Neck with Quick Pickled Cucumbers, Pickled Chiles and Preserved Lemon Sauce)
6) Antinori Tignanello 2010 (Italy, with Smoked Short Rib with Butternut Squash and Rosemary Gremolata)
7) Inniskillin Vidal Icewine Oak Aged 2011 (Canada, with Sticky Toffee Pudding with Smoked Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Sea Salt Caramel)

Seminar 2: “Dirt Candy Delights: A Vegetarian Seminar”(with Amanda Cohen, owner/chef, Dirty Candy, NYC)

         with Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen

1) Argyle Brut 2010 (Oregon, aperitif)
2) Planeta La Segreta Bianco Sicily 2013 (Italy, with Portobello Mousse with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Peach and Fennel Compote
3) Matarromera Melior Verdejo 2013 (Spain, with Tomato Tart with Smoked Feta)
4) Weingut Weixelbaum Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2012 (Austria, with Celery Salad with Celery Pesto and Grilled Grapes)
5) Remy Pannier Chinon 2011 (France, with Mini Broccoli Hot Dogs with Broccoli Sauerkraut)
6) Prunotto Moscato d’Asti 2012 (Italy, with Popcorn Pudding)

Last Drop: Gustatory Delta Force

         with Special Op Commanders Jacques Pépin,
Drew Nieporent,  Danny Meyer, and Marc Murphy

Last Drop: On Real Men…

real men wear aprons and make fresh pasta

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Holiday Wine Picks, Even for Cat Video Obsessives

Stumped about what ‪‎wine to give the cat video obsessive in your life? Check out my new wine gift guide.  With purr-fect selections from Chateau Rieussec, Pedernales Cellars, Four Vines, Domaine Chandon, Donnas, Snoqualmie, Vina Cobos, Mollydooker, and the Madeira Wine Company.

“Feline Felicity” photograph courtesy of Georgia Mauvais-Jarvis.

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Solar vortex, spooning wine, cheating hours, Apron’s 11, Nerd Nation

South Beach: Sumptuous Solar Vortex

Mark Oldman at SOBEWFF

If you’ve had your fill of polar vortexes and tarry slush, point your GPS in the direction of Miami’s South Beach for the Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival, starting tomorrow.  This year’s line-up once again has more color than a Creuset catalog, its glistening gumbo featuring Rachael Ray, José Andrés, Josh Wesson, Masaharu Morimoto, Martha Stewart, Andrew Zimmern, Anthony Bourdain, among many others.

Decadence is on the menu at my two seminars.  The first, “Fried & True: A Fried Chicken Seminar,” I’m presenting with legendary festival founder and director Lee Brian Schrager and acclaimed food writer Adeena Sussman.  Its mouthwatering menu is based on recipes from Lee and Adeena’s new book, Fried and True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides.

My other appearance is “Sparkling Sweets: An Ice Cream and Champagne Pairing Seminar” with ice cream maven and author Jeni Britton of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.  If the title doesn’t make you woozy with want, take a gander at Jeni’s tour de forcemenu:
Passion Fruit Sorbet/Lychee Sorbet
Apricot Sorbet/Chamomile Ice Cream
Whole Milk Yogurt/ Estate Vanilla Bean/Cloverton with Buttery Graham Gravel
Salty Caramel/Salty Goat’s Milk Chocolate/Hazelnut
Bitter Askinosie/ Chocolate and Dark Chocolate

Austin: No Longer a Crosswalk Criminal

With last year’s arrest warrant for jaywalking finally dismissed, I am now free to return to this year’s Austin FOOD & WINE Festival with unfettered mind, palate, and ankle.  Despite the warrant’s warning that “over 240 law enforcement agencies across Texas” were searching for me, the festival rocked harder than Belushi on “Jailhouse Rock”.

Kind reviews were issued by Bacchus and Beery, the Austin Eavesdropper, and Wes Marshall of the Austin Chronicle.

This year’s Austin festival promises to be equally engaging.  Learn more here.

The infamous warrant as well as commemorative t-shirts raffled off to attendees.

In Austin I’ll sign (almost) any body part.

Aspen: Gaucho Marks


Well before Carlos Danger lived down to our rock-bottom expectations of the modern politician, there was a similar sounding but better intentioned Latin-flavored figure: Gaucho Marks.  This was my persona at last year’s Aspen FOOD & WINE Classic, my eighth-straight year presenting at this snow-tipped Strativarious of culinary experience.   True to my new identity, I taught “Argentina’s Top Malbecs,” as well as “Superstar Wine Values”   The wines, listed below, were all carefully selected by my Aspen panel:

Argentina’s Top Malbecs
1. Finca Las Nubes Rosé of Malbec
2. Luiga Bosca Malbec
3. Achával-Ferrer Malbec Finca Bella Vista
4. Alta Vista Malbec Luján de Cuyo Serenade
5. Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino
6. Val de Flores

Superstar Wine Values
1. Pierre Sparr Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace Réserve
2. Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini
3. Alamos Torrontés Salta
4. Prunotto Barbera d’Asti Fiulot
5. Tormaresca Puglia Nèprica
6. Bodegas Volver Tarima Hill Monastrell Alicante

This June I return to the Aspen Classic with two brand-new seminars: “Wine for IPO Millionaires” and “Sonoma Pinot Noir”.  Learn more about this year’s Classic here.

In the meantime, watch genConnect interview Gaucho Marks:

Mark Oldman At The 31st Food & Wine Classic | genConnect

Watch the Video
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Cheating Hours

“Apron’s 11″:  with Boulud, Colicchio, Dhalfors, Dufresne, Galloni, and Greico.
During last year’s Aspen festival, I had the chance to chat with Daniel Boulud, who clued me into a memorable french idiom.  It seems that he had just filmed a cameo for a film called “5 à 7,” a title derived from the French expression for the time of day that one would cheat on a spouse.  It is remarkable, I thought, that the French are so tolerant of infidelity that they have allotted hours for it, even if the expression is somewhat in jest.  Had French President François Hollande simply followed tradition, rather than cavorting at all hours on his scooter, he might not have found himself in such deep merde.

Brave Drinking with Auction Winners

A few months ago I hosted a group of six auction winners who had bid generously for a wine tasting at my place through a Charitybuzz auction benefiting Food & Wine’s Grow for Good campaign and the Wholesome Wave Foundation.  Determined to pull out all of the stops, I enlisted bottles from my personal collection that would maximize our chances of drinking bravely.  The line-up spanned the world (New York, California, France, Italy and Hungary), wine types (bubbly, white, red, and dessert), bottle sizes (half-bottle to two 3-liters), blue chips (Patz & Hall) to cult wine (Scholium Project and Le Pergole Torte), recent releases to the delightfully mature (a 2005 Beaujolais cru Morgan in magnum), and finally a bottle I had acquired from Bernie Madoff’s actual stash (through the 2011 Morrell & Co. auction that benefited the victims of this odious scoundrel).  Along with the wine, we nibbled various fine cheeses, salumi, and bread from nearby Eataly.

Nerd Nation

In October I was invited to teach wine to Stanford University’s senior class, a terrifically bright and generous group.  The senior class presidents presented me with a coveted “Nerd Nation” t-shirt, which I shall treasure.On the subject of Nerd Nation, I did a video this January from the 100th Rose Bowl to discuss the wine equivalent of that name:

Wine for a Nerd Nation – Episode 79 – Drink Bravely w/ Mark Oldman (Stanford & Jura at Rose Bowl)

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Word is getting out about Coravin, the device that allows one to taste wine without pulling the cork.  According to last week’s Wall Street Journal, the Peninsula New York Hotel is going as far as making its entire list available to taste through Coravin.  Here I demonstrate Coravin on the day of its launch:

How to Taste A Wine Without Pulling the Cork (Coravin) – Episode 75 – Drink Bravely with Mark Oldman

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***** 6 ratings 1,574 views

Last Drops

Glass Christmas tree.

Romance on Valentine’s Day: have you spooned your wine?

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