VinoWeek Episode 30 - Breaking Traditions

Bill and I consider what may become of the tipping tradition in America's restaurants. The ever widening wage gap between front of the house restaurant employees and back of the house workers, pending government mandated wage increases and uncertainty of the direction in which current immigration policy may head, makes operating a restaurant, risky business indeed. Is restaurateur Danny Meyer a maverick altruist or does he have a crystal ball, has seen the future and is preparing for the changes. 

Richard Jennings a Silicon Valley based wine blogger took over a year off from blogging and on his return has hit it out of the park, with a comprehensive review of 230 grocery store Chardonnays. He didn't just pick up his free samples at the UPS depot. He did the hard work, trekking to local Lucky, Safeway and Costco stores to purchase bottles. Yes, he spent $4,000 of his own hard earned cash to complete the project.  If you shop for Chardonnay at the grocery store this is a must read. But wait, there's more. He's currently working on a grocery store Cabernet project. You can follow his progress on Cellartracker, Facebook and Twitter.

If you're a cheese lover Tia Keenan wants to introduce us to some of the wonderful products that are made here in the United States as well as from abroad.

Former owner of now defunct wine retailer Premier Cru looks to be headed to court again. This time the claimant will be Wells Fargo, who is looking to reclaim the 2016 ZO6 Corvette he purchased this year shortly before he declared bankruptcy. 

Wine of the week: 2012 Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo Salento IGT

Primitivo is a clone of a Croatian grape called Crljenak Kastelanski ( tsril/ yeh/ nak- kah/ steh/ lahn/ skee. Practice this pronunciation and you can wow your friends at your next gathering. You could also use it on that overbearing wine snob at your next mixer to get them to back off. Simplified, Primitivo is Italian Zinfandel. The Tormaresca Estate is operated under the umbrella of the Antinori Family. Winemaker Renzo Cotarella has the best of everything at his disposal all with the goal of showing the world, the best that the region of Puglia, in southern Italy has to offer. The flagship wine for Tormaresca is their 100% Negroamaro based Masseria Maime. Don't miss an opportunity to try it.  

Topped with a real cork, Torcicoda is 100% Primitivo and is fermented in stainless steel, then aged in French and Hungarian oak barrels for ten months. The wine rest in bottle another eight months until release. In the glass the wine is a deep ruby to violet colorand the nose shows black plums, black cherries, brown sugar and vanilla. In the mouth the flavors turn to red cherry jam and cocoa with hints of licorice and baking spice. Full bodied with ample well rounded tannins it finishes with good length. Drawing a comparison between Torcicoda and Sonoma Zinfandels, I'd say that this Primitivo is a more feminine representation of the Zinfandel grape, showing less alcohol, more savory flavors and elegance. I tasted the 2013 version alongside the 2012 and the former underperformed, so I suggest you confine your search to the 2012 version. Another reminder that vintage does matter.  14.5 % abv $17 - $20