Al Spoler

Host, Cellar Notes and Radio Kitchen

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.

His most rewarding immersion in cooking came through his work as a television director at MPT.  Spoler served as off-line editor and assistant director on two series featuring the legendary French chef Pierre Franey.  He also worked with Mexican chef Patricia Quintana, and with Bed and Breakfast expert Gail Greco on her series "Country Inn Cooking". Al says traveling all over the US visiting country inns and taping recipes that they prepared in little makeshift television kitchens was an incredible education.

Spoler's tastes in cooking are influenced by regional tradition and contemporary casual French fare. Never slavish to recipes, he is never happier than improvising a Sunday dinner with whatever ingredients come to hand.

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Cellar Notes
10:17 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

The Branding of a Wine - 4/16/14

Hugh shared his thoughts on the true meaning of brand names in wine.  No recommendations this week.
 

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Radio Kitchen #1230
10:03 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Micro-greens

April 15, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - MICRO-GREENS

When we dine out these days, there's something happening on the plate at good restaurants everywhere that might be easy to miss.  More and more chefs, and home cooks for that matter, are using something called "micro-greens" as ingredients and garnish. Easily mistaken for alfalfa sprouts, micro-greens are created during the infancy of an edible plant.  They usually have a wispy little stem and several small but flavor-packed leaves.  They are very easy to grow, requiring minimal space, and they come in a wide variety.

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Cellar Notes
12:50 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Inexpensive Bordeaux - 4/9/14

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine
 

Ch. Tuilerie Pagés, Bordeaux 2010 *  $    
(Light, inexpensive Bordeaux for current every day drinking)

Ch. La Landotte, Médoc 2010 **  $$
(Classic petit Bordeaux, suitable for laying down for aging)

Ch. Gachon, Montagne Saint-Emilion 2008  *1/2  $
(5 years old, nearly mature, decent fruit, significant tannin)

Ch. Les Vielles Pierres, Lussac-St. Emilion 2009 **  $
(A very good value in petit Bordeaux, merlot dominated)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.  See sponsor tab.

Radio Kitchen #1229
8:30 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Spring Potatoes

  April 8, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Spring Potatoes

I'm unusually skeptical about the weather this year, and I wish I could feel more confident that spring truly has arrived.  In many ways this is like the beginning of a new year for us, with all of the springtime produce now in the pipeline.  And one thing I can't get off my mind are those lovely little tender white potatoes that we get this time of year.

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Cellar Notes
5:30 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Riesling - 4/2/14

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Ch. Ste. Michelle Riesling, Cold Creek Vineyard, Wash. St. 2012 *1/2  $
(Good soft texture, good fruit, decent acidity, very food friendly)

Ch. Ste. Michelle Riesling, "Eroica", Columbia Valley 2012, * $$
(Made with Mosel's Dr. Ernst Loosen, still a work in progress)

Karl Erbes Riseling, Urziger Wurtzgarten Spatlese 2012  **1/2  $
(Great value in balanced, off-dry fruity food friendly Riesling)

Schmitt-Sohne Riesling, Piesporter Michelsberg Auslese 2009 **1/2 $
(Another wonderful value in rich, fruity German Riesling)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.  See sponsor tab.

Radio Kitchen #1228
5:30 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Welcome, Spring

April 2, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Welcome, Spring

All right, the calendar page has turned.  It is officially April and it is well past the turn of the seasons, so let's have us some Spring!  The era of root vegetables, God bless 'em, is behind us, and the era of Primavera is at hand.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen knows, cuisines all over the world know how to celebrate the coming of Spring.

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Cellar Notes
5:30 am
Wed March 26, 2014

A Look at Portugal - 3/26/14

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Chão das Rolas Peninsula de Setubal 2010 * 1/2 $
(Rustic, lively with zingy flavors, perfect for suckling pig)

Crasto Douro 2011 **1/2  $
(Fabulous value in a serious, sophisticated red, same grapes as Port)

Alente, Alentejo DO Non-Vintage **  $
(Full-flavored, spicy, informal, perfect café wine)

Alente Premium, Alentejo DO 2009 **  $
(A more intense version of the regular Alente, great dinner wine)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.  See sponsor tab.

Radio Kitchen #1227
5:30 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Creatures of the Deep

 March 25, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Creatures of the Deep   

Last week we talked about dishes from Spain that I hoped I would encounter when I go there next October.  This week we're going to cover some of the favorite foods of its neighbor, Portugal.  If you go online and peruse any Porutguese restaurant menu, you will find numerous references to octopus and squid.  And those of you who are veterans of spring break in Florida will remember another creature of the deep: conch.

Here is Jerry's favorite recipe for octopus, plus two other great recipes.

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Cellar Notes
4:55 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

The Southwest of France - 3/19/14

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Domaine de la Bouysse, "Hauterive Rouge", Vin de Pays d'Oc 2009  ** $
(Full, black fruit flavors, great for early grilling, bargain!)

Domaine de la Bouysse, "Mazerac", Languedoc (red) 2010 *** $$
(Intense, dark flavors, rustic notes, great value)

La Borie la Vitarelle, "Les Terres Blanches", St. Chinian (red) 2010  **1/2 $$
(Rhone blend, complex, full bodied, age-worthy)

Mas Bruguiere "La Grenadière", Pic St.-Loup 2010  **1/2  $$
(Intense, lovely aromas, loaded with Syrah, complex flavors)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.  See sponsor tab.

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Radio Kitchen #1226
9:43 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Spanish Dishes

March 18, 2014 - Radio Kitchen -  Spanish Dishes

A little later this year I'm going to be going to Spain and Portugal, and in anticipation I've been looking up some recipes in my big book of Spanish cooking.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of the Waterfront Kitchen knows, there's a lot to like about Spanish cooking.

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