RSSAuthor Archive for Nick Antonaccio

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Living Vicariously for the Seemingly Right Reasons

The offerings on restaurant food menus and wine lists in the 21st century have seen a wave of unprecedented changes. Ingredients, individually and in combination, are enticing and pleasing diners with novel and sophisticated tasting experiences. Similarly, wine lists are broader and deeper, to accompany the new flavor combinations on food menus. There is a […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The High Cost of a Fine Meal at a Renowned Restaurant

Wine lists, in the hands of a skilled and customer-focused sommelier, can be the epitome of the overall experience at a restaurant. When curated with the food menu in mind, they can be the cornerstone of an exceptional dining experience at a top restaurant. They can also reflect the high prices at which many restaurants […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: A Guided Tour of the Evolving Restaurant Beverage List

Remember the wine lists of the 20th century? It was as if an invisible hand crafted the lists of every Italian neighborhood restaurant, every French bistro and every steakhouse. This monotonous uniformity fit the moment in Americans’ wine education. Offer them what they were comfortable with; don’t undermine their selections with wines contrary to their […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Beware the Many Faces of Media Hyperbole

In this age of instant news, instant data availability and instant gratification, I am suspect of most information that crosses the screens of my multiple electronic devices. So much of the rhetoric on the internet, upon investigation, is ultimately opinion, not fact. It is increasingly difficult to discern between the two. To make matters worse, […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Presenting The Unique Wine Palate of Americans

Americans drink more wine than any other nation. And most of the wine we consume is produced in the United States. So what wines do we prefer? Is there a national preference for certain styles of wines over others? Do we tend to consume wines produced from a select few grapes or are our palates […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Bordeaux: Pleasure for the Elite or Staple for The Bourgeois?

Bordeaux. Wait. Stop. Don’t turn this page. I know the word Bordeaux can elicit very mixed emotions – and facial expressions – every time it’s uttered or printed on a page. The wine world at large has done such a good job in promoting the mystique and elusiveness of high-end Bordeaux wines that the general […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Rationale Behind A Wine Snob’s Thought Process

When I was younger I drank wine to be sociable, to be used as a prop for an engaging conversation, either with the other sex or with friends seeking to engage the other sex. And of course when I was even younger, I drank for the sake of getting a buzz at the lowest cost. […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Predictable Yet Nuanced American Wine Palate

What are Americans drinking? How much are Americans drinking? These are subjects I’ve explored on numerous occasions with readers. And each year the dynamics change. As the availability of international wines increases in the United States, and as Americans’ palates and wallets expand, the breadth and depth of wine sales has steadily evolved over the […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Creating a New Experience When Tasting Wine and Chocolate

What began as an analytical approach to comparing the processing of grapes and cacao beans to their logical end-product of wine and chocolate, has stirred more interest than I expected. In recent columns, I’ve focused on the similarities in the life cycles of wine and chocolate, from raw ingredients to finished product. In the growing, […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: A Primer on Enjoying Fine Wine and Fine Chocolate

This past weekend, as I sat at my keyboard contemplating the 396th column of You Heard It through the Grapevine, an urge struck me to indulge in one of the topics I had previously focused on. So it is that I am sitting here this Sunday evening, with a glass of red wine at hand […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Benefits/Pitfalls of Having Your Own Wine Cellar

There are a number of issues to consider when purchasing and opening a bottle of wine. Foremost is what wine to purchase that is drinkable within my timetable for consumption? There are several decision points I consider. If I’m purchasing for a friendly gathering of friends, I’ll select wines that I know they will enjoy: […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Comparing the Production of Fine Wine to Fine Chocolate

The natural and scientific components of winemaking are similar to the production of numerous other products. These products share the core processes and procedures of winemaking, but digress at some point in their unique lifecycles. The end results bear the imprint of the winemaking process but are distinct unto themselves. Last week I focused on […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Surprising Similarities of Wine and Coffee Production

There are numerous parallels to winemaking in the natural world, as man has endeavored to extend winemaking techniques to other agricultural harvests. The end results bear the imprint of the winemaking process but are distinct unto themselves. Cheese, bread, yogurt, chocolate and beer production share certain critical steps of winemaking (fermentation and yeast addition). So […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: An Exploration Into Changing Wines Into Spirits

The process of making wine, with its natural life cycle of fruit-producing grapevines to fermented juice to bottled wine, has been carried on for millennia. For all of the modern technology and techniques, it remains an ancient art best expressed as a simple, natural process. There are numerous parallels to winemaking in the natural world […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The California Drought’s Effect on the Wine Industry

Did you happen to see the photos on the front page of The New York Times last week depicting the effects of the four-year-long California drought? The photos accompanied the report that Gov. Jerry Brown had mandated water use reductions for the first time in California’s history. His executive order imposed a 25 percent usage […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Finger Pointing At California Wines: You Get What You Pay For

Which end of the wine budget spectrum do you find yourself in discussions with friends or family? “Why do you spend so much on a bottle of wine? My $8 bottle of wine is just as good as your $25 bottle – and it’s much more consistent every year than your higher-priced wine that seems […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine:The Trials and Travails of Start-up Winery Owners

Wine is big business in the United States and the lure and attraction of being part of its potential success and heady prestige is enticing to many. Some desire their own winery for the love of the land, or the love of crafting their own artisanal juice of the Gods, or for the prestige and […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Wines Consumed by Christians From Ancient to Modern Times

Last week, I attempted to follow the history and antecedent practices leading to today’s Christian celebration of the Eucharist, the celebration of Christ’s Last Supper. This week I address the two questions left unanswered: 1) What wine did Christ likely consume during his life on earth and 2) what type of wine do we consume […]

Grapevine: A Brief History of Wine's Role and Influence in Christianity

Grapevine: A Brief History of Wine’s Role and Influence in Christianity

As a Roman Catholic — and a wine writer — I haven’t given much thought to the wine that is consumed at Mass during the sacrament of the Eucharist. Shame on me. I first began thinking about wine in the context of my column while I was chatting with our parish priest a few years […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Local Importer is Your Personal Wine Consultant

Last week I introduced readers to “artisanal importers” who have a passion for particular styles or regions and vigorously pursue the wines that express their passions. A particular artisanal importer’s name on a wine’s back label can compel you to purchase a wine with certainty, not with the usual element of chance. This week I […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Artisanal Importers Can Tantalize Our Discerning Palates

Having sought out new wines for several decades now, I’ve found that I prefer particular styles of wine and specific wine regions. This has certainly helped steer me in the right direction when I’m perusing the numerous offerings at my local wine shops. Certainly, the new round of wine apps, a number of which I […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: An Exercise in Matching Wine and Oscar Nominations

The 87th Academy Awards show airs this Sunday. This is my sixth year of presenting the Best Picture nominees and creating hypothetical pairings of wine with the top contenders. I’ve distilled my list to five of the eight nominees. “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” This dark comedy praises and mocks Hollywood and Broadway […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Let’s Lift One as We Celebrate Presidents’ Day Weekend

In the spirit of the upcoming Presidents’ Day weekend — and in my insatiable search to relate events around me to a wine-centricity – I contemplated this week’s column. Seeking references to any imbibing habits by our first and 16th leaders, I found the landscape highly polarized. George Washington brewed his own beer, of which […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Navigating the App Stores for Digital Wine Experts

Have you recently encountered any of these situations? “Waiter, may I see the wine list?” Waiter: “Here you are sir/madam.” He or she hands you an iPad. The iPad, or other brand of tablet/phablet, is slowly gaining traction in restaurants and wine bars as a replacement for wine lists produced on paper. In many cases […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Analyzing This Year’s Super Bowl From a Culinary Perspective

Super Bowl Sunday brings together friends and family to indulge in the biggest junk food day of the year. Once a year we indulge guilt-free in those waist-widening, artery-clogging foods we try to fastidiously avoid all year. And what better way to wash down those calories and fat than with your favorite beverage. But what […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Tumultuous World of Consumers’ Wine Technology

Technology dominates our lives. For better or for worse we’ve become slaves to our smartphones and laptops. Many of us have panic attacks if we accidentally leave our electronic devices at home. But if we step back for a moment, we realize that this phenomenon is very recent. It wasn’t so long ago that we […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Never-ending Debate on the Health Aspects of Wine

“Red wine is healthy for you.” “All alcohol is bad for you. Even moderate consumption can be detrimental to your health.” These contradictory headlines blare out with increasing frequency. And each is backed by a scientific study or irrefutable pedigree. Which study to believe? We are bombarded with so many conflicting news reports we adaptively, […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: A World-famous Restaurant is the Victim of Holiday Foul Play

My wife and I have been fortunate over the years to enjoy high-end travel destinations and the sophisticated restaurants that thrive nearby. Several of these destinations and restaurants have been in the wine regions of several countries, notably France, Italy and the United States. Whenever we see one of these destinations in the news, it […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Beware the Russian Bear as it Flexes its Diminishing Might

There are many facets of wine, primarily self-contained within the expansive wine industry. From the agricultural component, to the technological, biological and marketing components, the wine industry, at least in the United States, tends not to cross the line into sociopolitical matters or governmental intervention and influence–not to any major extent (federal distribution regulations notwithstanding). […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Options for Enjoying Today’s Ageable Wines

In the last three columns we’ve explored the numerous elements of consuming wine at its peak – the moment when it reaches the top of the Bell Curve and expresses its best characteristics. The columns focused on these categories: The majority of wines are best consumed when purchased; additional storing adds little to enhance most […]