We Dream in Red & White

Q&A with Wine Influencer Julien Miquel of SocialVignerons.com

2015 March 19
by Curtis Dahl

Julien Miquel Julien Miquel, founder at Social Vignerons, was recently awarded the #7 wine influencer – with over 151k followers on Twitter and 5k+ on Facebook you do not want to get on his bad side :)! Julien (a former winemaker of 7 years) works tirelessly to bring the reader his expertise in wine, beer, and spirits. His passion is second to none, as well as his knowledge from working across 5 different countries. Let’s catch up with Julien and see what he has been up to.

Please tell us about growing up in France and when you developed your passion for wine

As you know, wine in France is everywhere and part of everyone’s life while growing up there: family celebrations, surrounding landscapes, complement to many traditional foods. So there’s always a fair bit of wine talks to any meal. You get educated to wine as a teenager generally, and I was no exception.

But I really started looking at wine as a job at University as I was studying Biology, plant physiology and microbiology. Wine ticked all boxes for a career combining my passion for science with working outdoor, contact with nature, be both precise and creative. So I moved from Toulouse where not much wine is made, to study at the Bordeaux Faculte d’Oenologie.

Julien pouring some red

At what age did you get into actually making wine?

Made my first wines just before I turned 20 back in 1999. They were experimental wines, in very small batches which is great to understand the winemaking process. I was helping the local vignerons (wine growers) of Fronton (a wine region in South West France) understand the influence of vine training system and the type of yeasts they used on their wines.

After this, I made wine in France in Bordeaux: Chateau Margaux and Chateau de Rochemorin (Pessac-Leognan).

Besides France where else in the world did winemaking take you?

In California with Chateau St Jean in Sonoma County: an eye-opening experience within this top Californian producer. Cheers to all the 2002 St Jean vintage crew, a fabulous and memorable harvest. As I wanted to understand fine winemaking around the world, I went and made wine in Tuscany, Spain (Ribera del Duero and Toro), Australia (on Kangaroo Island and Margaret River) and New Zealand where I’m based now.

New Zealand Vineyards

How awesome is New Zealand and what are the differences vs France (both people and grapes)?

New Zealand is simply stunning. Everywhere you look (except maybe the suburbs of Auckland where I live !!) there is a spectacular scenery. Coming from a country where History plays such an important part in people’s life and mind like France, it is quite incredible to think that the first few humans arrived here some 700 years ago only. Europeans hardly got here before the 18th century.

New ZealandThere’s quite a few differences obviously between the two countries. To find an analogy between wine and people there, let’s say that New Zealand wines are rather exuberant while the people is more reserved and don’t let their feelings come out easily. In France, one could say it’s the other way around: fine wines are restrained, while people are easily cheerful and open-hearted (especially around wine).



Tell us about your work with Wine Searcher.

Wine-Searcher has assembled in over 15 years the biggest database of wines in the world. Virtually all wines produced in the world are there. With a team of international wine experts I’ve been managing for 5 years (from many nationalities, Germans, Italian, South Americans, British, US and so on), we’ve developed the wine knowledge content for the website. We’ve assembled huge amount of information about each wine, and a wealth of written content including wine regions (more than 3700 listed) and grape varieties (about 1000 wine grapes and blends). We’ve worked with most of the main wine publications around the world like The Wine Enthusiast or Decanter. Now mobile applications are becoming increasingly important and are a big area of development and focus for us. So I’ve seen a lot of the online wine world over the years.



Social VigneronsPlease tell us about Social Vignerons and what the site is all about.

Social Vignerons is a personal website I develop on my spare time. It’s about sharing passion and knowledge around wine with the world’s wine community. Wine drinkers should know better what’s in their glass, and the people involved in making their beverages: their origin, their philosophy, their passion. So I aim at creating link and meaning between makers and consumers.

I review wines, beers and spirits to share my experiences. The site also includes educational and fun infographics, wine & food matches, Interviews, or even ‘Wineporn’ posts (on the foodporn model, but for wine). Constantly looking at ways to serve the community better. So it’s a work in progress.

I would like to work closely with producers to help them explain their wines, online and on social media. Feel free to get in touch.



Why is it so important for wine enthusiasts to properly store their wine?

Any wine enthusiast is a wine investor, whether they collect expensive bottles or not. Simply because they spend money on it. They invest money into the pleasure wine adds to their life. Storage allows to maximize ROI.

Bad storage conditions deteriorate the wines. Heat, light, temperature variations destroy the qualities (flavor, texture, color) that have been put into the wine with a great deal of effort by the vines, the growers and the winemakers. So bad storage is less tasting pleasure, and is less respectful of what Earth and people have put into our hands.

Good storage on the other hand increases the aging potential, so you can keep the wine for longer and still find pleasure. It also increases the wine’s complexity. Finally, it honors the land and the people that made the wine, by preserving its quality through time. Like books or photography, wine is a witness of History.



What are 3 of your top picks (any wine) – with at least one white please?


Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estephe:

Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Saint-EstepheIn Bordeaux, I’ve always been a big fan of Chateau Cos d’Estournel. A dense and rich style for Bordeaux as Saint-Estephe wines often are. But it also has a lot of finesse in the flavors and the texture like the bests Medoc wines. A bit more affordable than First Growths yet with amazing value and pleasure. 2005 should be great over the next 10 years. For a less prestigious (and less expensive) vintage, 2001 is perfect to drink now.



Vega Sicilia Pintia, Toro:

Vega Sicilia Pintia, ToroI worked in Toro, Spain for a couple of years. It’s a region further downriver from the Ribera del Duero, but still making Tempranillo wines, in a richer style. An upcoming region and one to watch. I was winemaker of one of the top wines of the appellation called Campo Eliseo (with Michel Rolland). A great wine that I’d recommend. But I was also much impressed in Toro with the wine Vega Sicilia makes there called ‘Pintia’. It’s a rather retrained style for that region, complex and subtle. A great introduction to Toro wines. If you like them and want to go for more concentration, you can later move on to Numanthia made by Moet-Hennessy there (100 RP points for 2004 for their Termanthia).



Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux:

Pavillon Blanc de Chateau MargauxProbably the most surprisingly white wine I have come across in my career, and I helped making it in 2003. Chateau Margaux makes their white wine out of 100% Sauvignon Blanc, fermented in 100% new oak barrels. Pure Sauvignon Blanc is rather uncommon for Bordeaux, and it is generally not aged in new barrels much, because SB tends to be overpowered by oak flavors, or even worth: oxidized! But there the fruit is so concentrated and balanced, and the barrels used at Chateau Margaux are of such unbelievable quality, that the Pavillon Blanc comes out perfectly balanced. It’s the perfect combination between freshness of fruit flavors, with the richness and spiciness of barrel maturation. It can age easily for tens years and more, only to develop more and more complexity, spices, nutty flavors.

Top 6 Vineyards to Visit in Napa Valley

2015 March 16
by Curtis Dahl

Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars offer many services above and beyond just building wine cellars; from helping people cellar and inventory their wine, purchase wines at incredible pricing both rare and everyday wines, as well as setting up getaways at vineyards across the world.

Please contact us if we can help plan your next stay….and by the way here are our Top 6 vineyards to visit in Napa:

  • Casa Piena – Gail and Carmen Policy – read more in our Q&A.
  • Quintessa – Valeria and Agustin Huneeus’ dream of the Quintessential Wine Estate.
  • Rudd Oakville Estate – Leslie, his wife, Susan, and daughter, Samantha have worked tirelessly to adhere to a credence of continuous improvement since they purchased the winery in 1996.
  • Chappallet – Pritchard Hill’s rugged terroir has become legendary for producing wines with great intensity and depth
  • Corison Winery – Cathy Corison has forged a life of wine that has spanned more than three decades.
  • Robert Sinskey Vineyards – An organic winery known for its reds, with a tasting room and tours where wines are paired with foods.

Visit Napa Valley

Transitionally Designed Wine Room Located in Warren, NJ

2015 March 5
by Curtis Dahl

3000 bottle transitional cellar
This transitionally designed wine room is both sleek and elegant…in a word…timeless. The owners came to Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars and basically handed us the keys to the house and said “go to work!” They gave us complete freedom to design the wine cellar with “anything” that came to mind. While function and craftsmanship may be the starting point in all designs, it’s the details that make the difference. They refine the look and give it a distinctive personality.

With clean, straight lines, plenty of polish and very little clutter, modern design is more popular now than ever.

Sconces on ledge stoneThe wine room houses close to 3000 bottles and has a private “members only” gated wine vault section within the wine room. All of the metal was designed and produced by J&C’s master blacksmith. Ledge stone was added to break up the room, create elements for lighting (sconces) and allow the finished wine racks to pop. The ceiling has a distressed paint finish…and the floor is clean and suggests less is definitely more! The idea is not to hide all of the amazing details in the wine room with a busy floor pattern.

An ultra-quiet ductless split used for the climate control was hidden behind a custom louvered panel. Exterior grade wrought iron door and window allow for the guests at the bar to feel as if they are actually in the wine room. J&C are in the design phase for a custom tasting table which will be the final element to the magnificent wine room located in Warren, NJ.
"Members Only" vaultSo, our thoughts on the importance of design…keep it simple so the details in the wine cellar take center stage!

Please contact us if we can help facilitate your wine storage needs.

Joseph & Curtis Won ‘Best of Houzz’ 2015 Service Award

2015 January 24
by Curtis Dahl

Remodeling and Home DesignEvery client presents a unique and personal set of requirements and with our collective vision we create the perfect wine storage need for their lifestyle. We are truly blessed to have the best customers in the world, and a great team to work with. There is always a way to make dreams happen, it might not be easy, but if you never give up there is no chance at failure. Joseph and Curtis strive to make every customer experience the best it can be.

You can read more about the award in the Houzz press release.

Oyster Bay Long Island Wine Cellar

2015 January 16
by Curtis Dahl

We recently completed a wine cellar in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The wine room had an overall footprint of 17′ wide yet only 6′ deep. holds over 1500 bottles, a custom drawer style humidor, an ultra-quiet ductless split cooling system, and floor to ceiling glass. The glass is recessed into distressed natural beams which you can find throughout the basement. This wine cellar design is “transitional” and flows with the pool table, ping pong table, and adult lounge. The homeowners cut the basement in 1/2 with one side being for adults and the other side being for the children….if you ask me it may be the closing thing to Utopia!

Please contact us if we can help design your custom wine feature and tasting areas….our award winning design team awaits your call! Cheers!

Under the Staircase Wine Cabinet

2014 December 31
by Curtis Dahl

Under Staircase custom wine cabinetAs we all know, NYC apartments have limited space to say the least! Our latest project involved a newly renovated home which was extremely confined, but the owner was adamant that a wine feature was essential ….and not just any wine fridge would do! The owner wanted a custom piece with sleek and sexy lines and led lighting. He joked that under the staircase (“which I am sure is impossible”) is about the only unaccounted for area. Joe took that as a challenge and the engineering team at J&C went to work!

I would like to say this  WP_20141030_004-1 creation was a piece of cake…but it wasn’t. We had to engineer temperature control heat loads (glass), exhaust, remove condensation, design the wine rack,  implement vapor barriers, and seal. The engineering itself was quite an accomplishment,  but then we had to build to fit on an elevator, and still look like a one-of-a-kind piece of art. Our custom wine cabinets are true “statement pieces” that any apartment or home would be proud to share…oh and by the way this particular cabinet can store over 300 bottles!

Before we begin any project,  J&C will sit with the owner, designer, and architect to understand exactly what they are trying to achieve (not just with the wine element but with the entire space), It is not about making a wine rack for a wall or choosing certain fixtures, but about understanding the real issue: the use of the space and the desired atmosphere.

Please give us a call to better understand how J&C can design, and help create knockout works of art, custom-made wine furniture.

Contemporary Brooklyn Wine Cellar Design

2014 December 23
by Curtis Dahl

Brooklyn has long been a trend setting area for all shapes and sizes. With the recent explosion in the Brooklyn housing market, we have seen many Manhattan residents flocking to its neighbor just over the river. And with that, many new Brooklyn residents are clamoring to fill wine storage needs they just didn’t have the room for in most NYC apartments. One recent customer who just moved into Brooklyn Heights finally fulfilled his dream – a custom wine cellar designed and built by Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars. The customer was kind enough to answer some questions about his passion for wine.

Before you read the interview, check out their amazing new all white wine cellar. Cheers!


What made you decide to build a true wine cellar?
I finally have an apartment that is big enough to house one. I’ve been collecting wine for a while now and paying a monthly fee to have it stored off site didn’t make a lot of sense. It also adds value to the home if we ever decide to sell someday.

What was the room previously?
A closet.

You moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn…how do you like it?
Absolutely love it, wish we had moved sooner. Brooklyn Heights combines the best qualities of the suburbs and the city and is a wonderful place to raise a family.

Favorite spots to eat and drink?
Having a 2yr old means I don’t get out as much as I’d like anymore but my wife and I have had a number of great meals at Veritas, especially since they redid the interior and changed the menu. Locanda Verde is also a favorite of ours, great place to sit at the bar and have an incredible meal and a glass of wine. But now that we’ve moved to Brooklyn we’ve been trying to do the majority of our date nights in the new “hood” recently. Roberta’s and Prime Meats are two of the best meals I’ve had in Brooklyn.

Please tell us about how you became interested in collecting wine. Do you remember the first bottle of wine that inspired you to collect?
1982 Chateau Lafite. I was lucky enough to have several bottles of this at a big wine dinner at Del Frisco’s in 2005 and it opened my eyes to what a wine is supposed to taste like. It was the best tasting thing I had ever put in my mouth. I still don’t really consider myself a “collector”. I buy what I like to drink and what I plan to drink someday. There is nothing better than having a great meal with friends and opening up wine that they might not otherwise get a chance to drink.

What is your favorite wine trip (if any) or region?
I’ve only been to Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara. I haven’t been lucky enough to make the trip to the wine regions of France or Italy so it’s hard to think those won’t top Cali. That being said, I really enjoyed Santa Barbara. I discovered a number of small wineries making outstanding and affordable Pinot Noir (Sea Smoke and Babcock to name a few)

Favorite restaurants (3) in City?
Brutally difficult question. Limiting it to 4 is simply not possible. Per Se was the best restaurant experience I’ve ever had hands down. But I’ve only been once and I’m not sure I need to go again, you can count it if you want but I’m not. I could eat at Laconda Verde every night, I just love the food at that place. Given that this is NYC, you have to have a steak choice and even though I absolutely love Striphouse, Peter Luger’s is just a special place to me so that’s my #2. Lastly, for a fun night with awesome food and great drinks, I love Empellon Taqueria in the West Village…..side note, the spicy penne vodka at Carbone is probably the best damn food in the entire city, if i had one last meal I would want about 10 orders of that stuff.

Wine to you is _________?
Better when shared with great friends.

Where do you buy most of your wine?
Direct from the wineries.

Do you have a specific purchase you most proud of?
Not exactly a purchase, but I am most proud of jumping on the Schrader bandwagon before WS blew them up by giving them 100pt scores for a number of their Cabernets. I’ve been on their mailing list for a decade and I remember when my first allocation was $75/bottle!

Q&A with D’Brickashaw Ferguson and His Wife Kirsten

2014 December 16
by Curtis Dahl

We had the pleasure of working with D’Brickashaw and his wife Kirsten build a custom wine cellar for their new home. Both of them were very easy to work with and very down the earth. We wish them all the love, success, and happiness as they welcome their soon to be little Ferguson :)


Joseph & Curtis with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and wife KristenGrowing up in Long Island I have to ask if your a fan of NY wines? Have you guys spent any time in the North Fork?
(D’BRICKASHAW) I haven’t visited any of the Long Island wineries. In fact, I really didn’t get into wine until I entered into the NFL and one of my close teammates, Nick Mangold, started introducing me to wine. My wife also is a big fan of wine so she started having me try different wines.

(KIRSTEN) Though we haven’t gone to any wineries in NY or Virginia, we have however visited some amazing wineries in South Africa, Italy and Napa Valley. One of my favorite wineries in Napa Valley was a small winery in a cave called Caldwell! Amazing wine! South Africa is also a region that should not be forgotten, thD'Brickashaw Ferguson and wife Kristene white wines there were delicious!

Having gone to UV (which is an up and coming wine region) do you have any Virginia wines that you enjoyed or would recommend?
(D’BRICKASHAW) Again, I really started getting into wine once I got into the league so I haven’t tried any in Virginia.

You mentioned during our design meeting you were a big Champagne fan. What is your go to bottle for a special occasion?
(D’BRICKASHAW) My favorite is Dom Perignon. I have always known that to be a very popular bottle of champagne for special occasions and once I tried it, I could tell why! The Dom Perignon rose is also a very special bottle to try in my opinion.

(KIRSTEN) I also think some of the more trendy champagne’s like Ace of Spades or Cristal are always fun to have in your collection. I am also a big fan of a good Krug.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson and wife KristenKristen, you’re from Connecticut. How is Jersey life?

(KIRSTEN) You know there really isn’t much of a big difference from Connecticut to New Jersey. Having lived in New York City for 10 years, living in New Jersey has been a good break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Now we just go into the city for date nights!

Your most memorable food and wine experience?
(KIRSTEN) For us, it would have to be our dining experience at Per Se in New York City. We did the food and wine pairing and it was incredible! The food and the wine was unbelievable! I found myself asking to take pictures of all the different wines we tried. I would also add that the food in Italy was amazing and pairing your food with the house wine was even better!

Kirsten, we recently emailed you the code for the digital entry system we installed on the wine cellar. You joked you weren’t sure if you were going to give the code to D’Brickashaw. Well?
(KIRSTEN) Nope, he still doesn’t have it but we don’t like to keep secrets so I am sure I will have to cough it over after this interview! :)

D’Brickashaw, are there other other wine enthusiasts on the Jets roster and will you lend them space in your cellar to store their wines?
(D’BRICKASHAW) Nick Mangold is a big wine enthusiast on the team and he actually has a beautiful wine cellar as well so I don’t see him needing space in ours anytime soon. I am excited for him to see our cellar as well.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson's Custom Wine CellarNew Jersey is great for wine cellar owners such as yourselves with so many BYOB restaurants. Any favorite spots?
(D’BRICKASHAW) We really enjoy going to Montclair and dining at Fin and Fresca. There are so many great BYOB restaurants in NY, it is so hard to choose a favorite.

Your new home is shaping up to be stunning! We were thrilled and flattered to be part of the project. How do you like the wine cellar?
(KIRSTEN) I was completely amazed by how beautiful it came out. Honestly, every person I show the cellar to can’t stop raving about how great it turned out. You took a small space and turned it into a place that we can not only store wine but display it. I was also impressed on how quickly it was done. I think it may have taken your guys two days! Unbelievable. I wish everything in the house building process went as quickly as this! Every little detail in the cellar is perfect and I can’t wait to start filling it!

Joseph & Curtis ‘Escaping the cube’ to Pursue Their Passion

2014 December 5
by Curtis Dahl

Joe and I were contacted by a mutual friend regarding a CNBC segment called “Escaping the cube.” The show is based on people leaving the corporate world to pursue careers they are passionate about. Joe and I always loved trading but we’re glad to do the show. There is not a single day that goes by that Joe and I aren’t extremely appreciative of our customers, work force, and all of our amazing partners. We couldn’t do it without you so please keep drinking!

Please be patient as the video loads. Cheers!

Ponte Vedra Florida Wine Cellar

2014 November 2
by Curtis Dahl

Ponte Vedra is known for its beautiful beaches, world class golf course and something you may not know – an incredible passion for wine. We have built several wine cellars in the Ponte Vedra / Jacksonville FL area where we have 2 sales reps who handle the entire state of Florida for Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars.

We recently completed a one of a kind white oak wine room on the main floor of a beach front dream home. The owners wanted total privacy so we are only able to show photos of the wine room staged, but it is pretty easy to see the uniqueness to this particular cellar. The owners have several homes which do have other cellars and were able to make this cellar about design rather than just bottle capacity.

So we came up with a pirate themed wine room which was all glass and sitting along the billiard room and tiki bar, overlooking the pool, hot tub, and the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. The great thing about being able to both design and build a cellar is the ability to pull off some pretty unique features; such as stainless steel, glass, acrylics, radius wine racks, and almost anything the mind can conceive. Uniqueness is why at J&C we say custom is always best! Please take a look at the process, and the finished project staged and ready for its deployment to the golden beaches of Ponte Vedra.

The wine cellars final capacity was 900+ wine bottles, an amount any pirate would be pleased with! :)

La Pizza Fresca Ristorante and Prunotto Wines

2014 October 10
by Curtis Dahl

La Pizza FrescaLa Pizza Fresca Ristorante (Union Square) has long been considered a wine and food industry hang out spot that very few people know about. We had the luxury of celebrating the debut release of Barolo Colonello Riserva from the historic Prunotto estate. We were the first in the US to taste the new single vineyard release (brought to fame by Aldo Conterno).Prunotto Barolo

The grapes derive from the benchmark and classic vintage of 2008 and a small one hectare plot in the prized Colonnello vineyard. For Prunotto, it is a return to the glory years of when pioneering winemaker Beppe Colla crafted cru Barolo and Barbaresco that became reference points for the noble wines during the sixties and seventies. We also tasted multiple BaWine with Friends at La Pizza Frescarolos, Barbaresco, and Barbera.

The wine was paired with several amazing dishes which included three amazing brick oven pizzas and several homemade pastas. The two pairings that really stood out were the Tagliolini all Antatra e Capperi (handmade pasta,shredded duck, ragu, and capers) with the Prunotto Barbareso 2Wine List at La Pizza Fresca010 and the Barbaresco Bric Turot 2010. I thought life could not be any better until the Agnolotti del Plin (handmade filled pasta, Veal, and Porcini mushrooms) with the incredible Prunotto Barolo 2009 and Bussia 07 simply amazing!

We finished off the night with some assorted cheese and the Prunotto Barolo Riserva,Colonnello 2008, Prunotto Barolo 94 and the Prunotto Prunotto Barolo WinesBarbaresco 1995 of which the Riserva 08 really stood out amongst the intense flavors of the cheese. La Pizza Fresca in its own right has an incredible wine list (which I pride myself on the fact that I have very good eyesight…even after several bottles :) but I would highly recommend bringing a magnifying glass to read this incredibly deep wine list.

MyPrunotto Wines friend Chris Deas likes to call La Pizza Fresca “the secret institution of Italian wine” and this wine list reads like War and Peace….so bring your magnifying glass, an incredible appetite, and a pair of sneakers because I have “heard” Pete’s Tavern is not far away (2 blocks) and its a great way to cap the night at one of the oldest taverns in New York City. Salute!

Cheers!

Amsterdam Wine Co Glass & Steel Custom Wine Enclosure

2014 September 29
by Curtis Dahl

The trend towards glass & steel wine cellars in residential, commercial and hospitality settings continues to grow. Classic wood custom wine cellars are still very much a staple of the wine cellar landscape and Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars enjoys designing and building both styles of custom wine storage.

We recently completed a glass & steel custom wine enclosure for Amsterdam Wine Co in New York City. This climate controlled wine cellar was designed to store and display the high end inventory. Floor to ceiling glass and metal wine racks that allow full views of the labels so customers can peruse the impressive selection.

Wine storage can be much more than storage. It can be a beautiful visual within a home, restaurant or wine store and this custom wine cellar with glass and metal is a perfect example of that style of contemporary wine display and storage.

One of a Kind Stainless Steel and Glass Wine Cabinet with Custom Humidor

2014 August 12
by Curtis Dahl

Glass Wine Cabinet with Custom Humidor
One of our favorite parts of our business is design…it’s one of the things that has separated Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars from any other firm out there. It’s something in which we take a tremendous amount of pride. A recently completed project was a monumental design, fabrication, and install.

It started as a simple photo of a wine cabinet that the designer had seen, and then asked if we could make but with ALOT more detail (glass and metal), oh, plus a custom humidor which could hold 100+ cigars. And by the way, it was on the 21st floor of a high rise in NYC….and there was a very strict timeline as well.

J&C are very proud to report that the project was an incredible success. This custom wine cabinet was built in the center of a 9 bedroom / 8 bath duplex in the heart of NYC. It would remind you of a giant aquarium, but for wine, not fish. The build was very tricky because of the fact it was glass on both sides which enabled the client to be able to see their $20 MILLION DOLLAR VIEW through the cabinet.

The wine cabinet was constructed in pieces, and I can’t really begin to describe the extent of detail (trade secrets), but once we were able to figure out how to get this 14′ x 9′ custom cabinet into the building (up 2 different elevators), the rest was a piece of cake (not really).

It has a hidden climate controlled system for the refrigerated cabinet, as well as humidification system in the Spanish cedar-lined humidor. The cabinet holds over 450 wine bottles and has the ability to hold 750ml, 1.5ltr, and 3ltr bottles on the custom stainless steel racks.

Please take a look at some of the photos and you’ll see why we are so proud of this custom engineering feat. Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars are able to build custom wine cellars, and cabinets around the country and world, so please give us a call to discuss your dream cellar/cabinet.

Eric Asimov New York Times Wine Critic Interviews with Joseph & Curtis

2014 July 21
by Curtis Dahl

Eric AsimovWe recently had the luxury to interview one of our favorite authors and wine critics from the New York Times, Mr. Eric Asimov. Eric is the chief wine critic of The New York Times, a position he assumed in June 2004 after having covered wine with The Times’s tasting panel and in his Tastings column for the Dining section, and is also the interim chief restaurant critic for the Times.

Asimov created the $25 and Under restaurant reviews in 1992 and wrote them through 2004. He is a co-author of “The New York Times Guide to Restaurants 2004,” the fifth edition of the guide. He has also reviewed takeout food for The Times in his To Go column and has offered commentary on food and wine on WQXR since 1999. His freelance work previously appeared in Food and Wine, Details, and Martha Stewart Living.

His first book, “$25 and Under: A Guide to the Best Inexpensive Restaurants in New York,” was published annually by HarperCollins from 1995 to 1998. At The Times, he was editor of the Living section from 1991 to 1994 and editor of Styles of The Times from 1994 to 1995. Asimov is a graduate of Wesleyan University and did graduate work in American studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is married to the editor of the New York Times Bestseller List, Deborah Hofmann, has two children, Jack and Peter, and lives in Manhattan.

We spent about 20 minutes discussing all aspects of the wine world, some of Eric’s background at the Times, and unique ways to look at your wine collection. Eric has a terrific book out called Wine with Food: Pairing notes and recipes, and one of my favorites How to Love a wine: A memoir and manifesto (scroll down below the video). So reach into that cellar and pour yourself something nice and enjoy this very interesting interview.

Don’t forget to check out Eric’s excellent books and follow him on Twitter @EricAsimov

 

How to Love Wine by Eric Asimov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine With Food by Eric Asimov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canadian Wine Trail (Niagara on the Lake)

2014 July 11
by Curtis Dahl

Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide
Working up in Ontario led me to a very cool Canadian wine trail along Niagra on the Lake. I have never been a big fan of ice wine but thought I would give the region a shot…I am very glad that I did.

My family accompanied me on our day trip which began with a gorgeous drive along the lake. One of the highlights of the day trip was Inniskillin Vineyards which has been making wine for over 35 years. The tour consisted of the usual wine making walk through, a tour through the vineyard itself, and ended with a tasting in the wine cellar.

I learned a new found respect for the winemaking efforts up north eh….and learned a tremendous amount about how they harvest grapes in the winter, how the giant “fans” help keep the grapes warmer in long cold winters, and how impressed I was with several of the wines I tried. My two favorites were the East-West Riesling and the Pinot Noir Rose.

A visit to Inniskillin is a unique experience that blends tours, tasting award-winning vintages, and food into an unforgettable day spent in the Niagara wine region. I also recommend Peller Estates. Peller was much more commercial with a very new and large tasting room….Peller seemed to be more of a destination spot (not meant in a bad way) with a very large garden and outdoor seating area for lunch and tasting.

If planning a trip in the Niagra area I would highly recommend a visit to the Niagra on the Lake wine region. The views and small town are amazing and I also recommend grabbing a couple bikes and pedaling to each vineyard.

MoonStone Wine Cabinet in Great Neck Long Island

2014 June 30
by Curtis Dahl

Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars have designed and built many Long Island wine cellars. Residential and restaurant wine cellars and cabinets are our specialty. We recently designed and built a contemporary wine cabinet for a new Chinese restaurant in Great Neck, Long Island.

MoonStone is a newly renovated space at 14 Northern Blvd in Great Neck. Owner Tommy Lee met with Joseph & Curtis and asked us to design a contemporary glass and steel wine cabinet to cellar the restaurants impressive wine collection.

The new restaurant is stunning without being stuffy or pretentious. The menu is both traditional & eclectic, but make no mistake, this is Chinese cuisine at its best.

One highlight of the food we sampled was Jumbo Prawns cooked in a sweet & sour sauce in their shells. Peel the shell back to expose Lobster like meat that melts in your mouth. Traditional ‘soupy buns’ to which one of our guests commented ‘these are as good or better than what I’ve had in Shanghai.

A custom wine cabinet can be both wine storage and a beautiful way to display your wine list to guests. Make the trip to MoonStone Chinese Cuisine and sample their great food/wine and atmosphere.

Cheers!

Scarsdale New York Custom Wine Cellar

2014 April 26
by Curtis Dahl

Beautiful Brick ArchA recently completed 2500+ bottle wine cellar located in Scarsdale, NY was a true design, build, and install. The new wine room was being used as a home gym…but the homeowners and the design team at Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars were able to find another location for the gym equipment, and then utilize that large room for an exciting customized cellar.

Stunning brick cellarThe homeowner left every detail (except for the bottle capacity; he wanted a minimum of 2,000 bottles) to the unique vision of our design team. So we engineered the layout of the wine room on our 3D Cad software for the owners’ review…once approved, we created a timetable and a budget toward the overall completion…and then we went to work.

Steel beam disguisedThe room had a couple challenging areas (large metal beam across the front half of the space, and a mechanical room closet) which both became focal points of the space (the beam became a large brick arch with columns, and the mechanical room became an area to store one of the compressors for the ductless split, with a gorgeous wine case veneer over the door). The custom brick work was carried through the space on two columns, the front facing of the soffit, two sidewalls, and the backsplash in the arch.

Mixture of racks with archThe wine racks are made of natural Sapele wood and feature 750ml storage, large format storage, baker-style wine racks, display rows, cubes, and case-bin storage. The arch niche was designed and built with a double deep base cabinet area, so the owner would have more wine storage, a nice counter top to decant wines and to rest cases before they go into the wine racks.

Custom tasting table

 

We also built a custom tasting table which holds an additional 200+ bottles with a water-based clear lacquer finish on the counter top which matches the double glass door entrance way. The wine room boasts two ductless split cooling systems so that there is a natural backup in case either system fails. The owner has an incredible wine collection and this backup enables the owner (who does a lot of traveling) to rest more easily in case another Sandy-type storm struck again.

Brick and sapele, a magnificent matchThe wine cellar was completed on-time, on budget, and far exceeded all of the owners’ expectations…and what truly makes Joseph & Curtis proud is the fact the owners recently recommended us for two projects located in NYC and East Hampton. Please check out our testimonials page, or the 35 reviews we have on our Houzz page. Then call us!

Modern Wine Cabinet in Historic J. B. Lippincott Headquarters

2014 April 7
by Curtis Dahl

Joseph and Curtis recently completed a custom wine cabinet made of metal (brass), glass, and wood at the J. B. Lippincott & Co. Headquarters Building. It has (2) separate cooling systems for each side of the cabinet and is able to store over 400 bottles. Working in historic buildings is always a challenge (due to small elevators, doorways etc) but with proper design and engineering almost anything is possible. The cabinet is located in the hallway as you enter the expansive loft and is offset by a modern custom paint finish. J&C worked along side Delatorre Design to create a functional and one of a kind custom wine cabinet.

Please let us know how we can build the wine cabinet, or wine cellar of your dreams. At J&C we dream in RED and WHITE!

J. B. Lippincott & Co. was an American publishing house founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1836 by Joshua Ballinger Lippincott. … The J. B. Lippincott Headquarters Building, built in 1900 on S. 6th Street across from Washington Square has become one of the most prestigious residential lofts in all of Philadelphia. Read more

Tasting the ‘Great Wines of Bordeaux’ at City Winery

2014 March 27
by Curtis Dahl

We recently attended the James Suckling/Zachy’s Bordeaux tasting at City Winery, in NYC. I was truly excited to taste the wide depth of Bordeaux that was in attendance…and most did not disappoint. We started with the Chateau Smith Lafitte Grand Vin 2011 which ended up being one of my favorites on the night. The wine had hints of grapefruit, citrus, and vanilla. (priced around $110)

Some of my other favorites were La tour Carnet/ Haut Peyraguey, The Montrose, Latour, and the 06 Chateau Pavie Macquin Saint Emilion Grand Cru. If ever there was ever a wine specifically made to be cellared its Bordeaux. The wines all seamed to scream of youth, Bordeaux wine in its youth, tend to feel dry in the mouth. Bordeaux wines are produced to be enjoyed earlier in life today, but some Left bank producers should be aged for 15-30 years! Bordeaux wines tend to be the thinking man’s wine and are clearly more complex with bottle age. How much time each wine needs to age depends on the producer, and of course the vintage.

Keep in mind the Left bank tends to be Cabernet and the Right bank tends to be Merlot. The wines from Pomerol and St. Emilion are among my favorites (Right Bank)…silky, sexy, and downright amazing. City Winery turned out being a tremendous place to host the event. This was my second wine tasting at the venue (Last year was the Sokolin Brunello event which was also amazing) and would highly recommend City Winery for both music events and of course wine tastings.

Joseph and Curtis invited several of our VIP clients and was happy to comp all whom attended. Our in-house Sommelier recently discovered a hidden Bordeaux gem for less than $25….and we highly recommend it! Please give us a shout if interested in trying a sure-to-please Bordeaux gem.

Cheers!

One of the Greatest Wines from One of Wine’s Best Kept Secrets (and it’s New Jersey)

2014 March 2
by Chris Deas

Bern’s Steakhouse (Tampa, Fla). Tour d’Argent (Paris, France). Bodega 1860 (Basque, Spain). Graycliff Hotel (Nassau, Bahamas). Now add Restaurant Latour (Hamburg, NJ).

Chateau RayasThat’s right…one of the greatest wine cellars in the world is less than sixty miles from New York City. Certainly one indicator of the sheer enormity of the cellar is when the Sommelier asks, “Would you be interested in the Red or White book this evening?” Needless to say, each carry the thickness of my Accounting I college text book and kept me busy to point where more than one kick under the table was required to move on.

The purpose of this post, and the many to follow, is just this, Curt, Joe and I wanted to share some great Cellar Tips and Wine Finds on where to eat, what dish to order, what wine to look for, what to pair, how long to decant, what are some great values, and what’s drinking today. There is no more fitting way to begin than including the cellar at Restaurant Latour and the wine of Chateau Rayas.

Cellar Tips and Wine Finds v1

Restaurant Latour and Chateau Rayas 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape

For those unfamiliar with Restaurant Latour, and its great cavern-like cellar, it is located at Grand Cascades Lodge in the Crystal Springs Resort. This is a popular ski and golf destination consisting of various lodges and restaurants. However, with a cellar that consists of 135,000 bottles, more than 9,000 unique labels, and a signature vertical of Chateau Latour dating back to 1863, you might say it is safe to add wine destination to the list of attractions. What I found to be even more exceptional to the size of the cellar was the value and provenance they delivered.

As a wine enthusiast flipping through the pages it is hard not to notice the significance of Chateau Rayas 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape on the list. It is one of those wines you do not find in the US as allocations are minute and demand outweighs supply and to put the value in perspective, it is a wine that could easily command more than two to three times what was listed at Latour! This was not a mistake, value and selection are part of the initial vision in establishing Grand Cascades as a true wine destination, not price gouging. On top of that, I can say with more than a decade in the industry I have rarely come across a bottle with this level of provenance – the wine was simply perfect and is reason for the visit alone.

A Word on Chateau Rayas

Chateau Rayas represents the more Burgundy side to Chateauneuf du Pape (CdP) and is easily one of the most sought after wines in the world. It is a wine from the right vintage that can appreciate like few others. The 2007, which was released just three years ago, has already appreciated more than seventy percent. What makes the wine standout is its finesse and complexity as opposed to the signature dense fruit, low acidity, high alcohol wines that come out of the region. Additionally, Chateau Rayas is a monovarietal based on Grenache as opposed to the thirteen varietals that many CdP producers choose from or include. With age few wines deliver the spectrum of nuances and the 2001 is drinking perfectly now with a one to two hour decant – direct from the cellar which with preparation provides for the perfect serving temperature. The meatiness and smokiness of the wine paired perfectly with the charred Filet, and went on to include nuances of sweet tobacco, saddle leather, minerals, rosemary, prunes, dark berry fruit, and more. This is a wine to seek out and drink over the next eight years.

One additional recommendation is to seek out the more reasonably priced Pignan from Rayas for an introduction what this producer is about and if it is the right selection for you.