World’s Best Dessert Wine with a Twinkie?

Described by 90-year-old wine legend Michael Broadbent as his first ever “top wine” and featured in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, 1937 Château d’Yquem is the world’s best dessert wine from arguably its best ever vintage. In Kingsman, Colin Firth’s character flippantly recommends to the villain played by Samuel L. Jackson that they pair “Twinkies with a 1937 Château d’Yquem”. Inspired by this exchange, I gave it a go:

Truth be told, I waited to introduce the Twinkie until there were only a few gulps of Yquem left. This is because the menu that preceded the pairing was nothing less than epic (see details below), lovingly prepared by my gastronaut friends Evan and Laura at their stunning Chelsea flat. At the table was one of America’s most generous and discerning wine collectors, who shares extraordinary wine as freely as a mother Robin doles out worms to her hatchlings. (In his company over the years, I have been fortunate to drink Yquem from 1995, 1989, 1988, 1983, and even an 1893). Of the hundreds of Yquem bottles he has tasted, his all-time favorite, he once told me, was the 1937.

So when I saw a 1937 Yquem come up at an auction last month, I pounced. This was perhaps the most illustrious single bottle I have ever invested in. Even as wine fraud becomes an ever greater concern, this particular bottle came from uncommonly clean hands — namely, those of collector Tawfiq Khoury, who is known to have purchased much of his legendary collection in the less counterfeit-happy times of 1970’s and 1980’s.

The ’37 Yquem did not disappoint. In fact, it was the most exquisite dessert wine ever to pass these lips. On first sniff, this dark-copper-colored exilir showed trademark Yquem scents of apricot and orange marmelade, joined by astonishingly delineated notes of coffee, brown sugar, and black tea. The wine also had a bracing freshness that reminded me of being on a ski slope, a compelling intensity that evoked cold air and pine needles. This minty vigor was countervailed by the taste, which was an instruction manual in unmitigated voluptuousness, extra-virgin smooth with a multifaceted finish that kept surprising the senses minutes after the wine was swallowed.  

  

THE MENU: Dom P, La T, Chateau Y, and a Twinkie

Fromage et Jambon.
Pierre Peters, Rose for Albane NV.
Dom Perignon 2002.
——
Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Figs.
Leflaive Batard Montrachet 2012.
——
Baby artichoke tartlet.
——
Sous vide Beef tenderloin with red wine sauce.
Cauliflower “mashed potatoes”.
Roasted sweet tomatoes.
Spinach Salad with chocolate tomatoes.
DRC La Tache 1996.
DRC La Tache 1959.
——
Baked Pears with honey and chocolate, yellow raspberries, and homemade marshmallows.
Chateau d’Yquem 1937.
Twinkie.

Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen is the Perfect Place to Teach Champagne Sabering

For a Facebook Live event with Williams-Sonoma last week, Mark Oldman teaches Amanda Haas, Williams-Sonoma’s Director of Culinary, how to saber a bottle of champagne like a total pro. Located at the Williams-Sonoma test kitchen in Northern California, the beautiful space offered the perfect setting for a little saber-training session.  You’ve got to see the video to believe it – Amanda is a natural!

Missed the Live video? You can still get your wine questions answered by leaving a comment!

Williams-Sonoma sabering wine mark oldman

Drizzle Wine on Your Dessert

Drizzle Wine on Your Dessert

The Italians love drowning their gelato in espresso, but why not indulge in my improved and much more intoxicating version of “affogato” at your next dinner party? Sweet wine drizzled on ice cream synergistically creates its own swoon-worthy third flavor.

A killer option is Pedro Ximenez Sherry, which is the sweetest, most syrupy form of sherry (Pedro Ximenez is a grape, not the sherry’s producer).

Because Pedro Ximenez is so dark and sweet, chocolate ice cream is my first choice, but you are free to experiment with other strong flavors such as rum raisin, rocky road, and coffee.

Better yet–there’s no reason why you cannot get drizzly with golden, medium-rich styles of dessert wine, including lighter late-harvest styles, the fortified Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise from France.

And it’s not just dessert that deserves some wine–there’s also brunch (hair of the dog, anyone?).

In an experiment I tried last year (and which is sure to drive a stake into the heart of every vintage-chart memorizing snob) some friends and I convinced a collector to pour his leftover 1986 Chateau d’Yquem over our pancakes at breakfast one morning. It was a smash hit, and a delightful way to start the day. Try it at your next brunch with friends with whatever dessert wine you have on hand.

For more ways to use wine as a dessert enhancements, order my book, How to Drink Like a Billionaire, and remember to drink bravely, drink richly, and #DrinkLikeABillionaire.

You’ve Been Opening Champagne the Wrong Way…Forever

adobe-spark-3What is it about opening a bottle of bubbly that channels the savage beast? Some see a mini howitzer in every Champagne bottle, forever aiming the cork at the nearest chandelier. Others want to shake and spray their bottles without any thought to wasting this golden elixir. It’s time to mute the mayhem and open bubbly with the safety and style that this supernal beverage deserves. Follow my six steps to siphoning that cork from the bottle without losing one fermented drop.

  1. CHILL – Coldness minimizes the pressure in the bottle so make sure it’s super cold.
  2. PROTECT – Always point the bottle in a safe direction and keep a thumb over it during the entire opening process.
  3. STRIP – Peel the foil and unwrap the wire cage covering the cork, sliding it off with your thumb still at the ready.
  4. COVER – Slip a towel or cloth napkin over the bottle’s neck. This will help you grip the cork and catch it in the event of a premature eruption.
  5. TURN – Holding the bottle at a slight angle, grip the cork firmly through the towel. Then, with your other hand, turn the base of the bottle slowly in one direction.
  6. PUFF – Your cork will “puff” open, preventing spillage and any midnight trips to the emergency room.

Now that you’re equipped with a foolproof method for popping a celebratory bottle, check out my latest book and find alternatives to Champagne for your next occasion in How to Drink Like a Billionaire (Regan Arts).