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.


Cellar Notes
3:23 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Williamsburg Winery - 9/10/14

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

Williamsburg Winery Act XII Chardonnay, Virginia 2011 $  *1/2
(Classic East Coast chardonnay.)

Williamsburg Winery Cabernet Franc, Hennings Statute, Virginia 2010  $$  **
(Full bodied, dark, with pronounced cedar notes.)

Williamsburg Winery Virginia Trianon, red blend, Virginia 2012 $$ **1/2
(Resembles the Cab Franc, only moreso.)

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Radio Kitchen #1250
10:47 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Cobblers, Crisps and Crumbles

September 9, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Cobblers, Crisps and Crumbles

If you're by nature patient and optimistic, this time of the year is the big pay-off.  We all love summer, but that humidity is just a killer.  So when we start to detect those first cool breezes of Autumn, we all indulge in a quiet little smile, take a deep breath and think, "bring it on."  And along with these first cooler days comes the richest season in Maryland for fruit.  And Chef Jerry Pelligrino of Waterfront Kitchen suggests  some very nice ways of enjoying the harvest.

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Cellar Notes
9:04 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Provence Rosés - 9/3/14

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

Le Provencal Rosé, Côtes de Provence 2013  *  $
(Pale pastel pink, pleasant picnic wine, grenache dominates.)

Ch. Pigoudet "Insolite" Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence 2013  **  $$
(Despite pale color, loaded with flavor, cab sauv based, very well made.)

Ch. La Mascaronne Quat' Saisons Rosé, Côtes de Provence 2013 **  $$
(Very pale but full bodied, loads of red fruit and peach flavors.)

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Radio Kitchen #1249
9:52 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Canning and Pickling the Summer's Best

September 2, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Canning and Pickling the Summer's Best

Well you can't eat it all.  Nope.  This time of year, there is so much good food out there that you need a long term plan to handle it all.  So that's why we invented pickling and canning, and Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen knows all about this stuff.

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Cellar Notes
8:24 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Old Zinfandel Friends - 8/27/14

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

Frei Brothers Reserve Zinfandel, Dry Creek 2012  **1/2   $
(Textbook Dry Creek zin, restrained scale, deep flavors, lovely aroma.)

Rosenblum Zinfandel "Old Vines", Sonoma 2009  **  $
(Big, juicy, rich zin, a well behaved fruit bomb.)

Buehler Vineyards Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2011  **1/2  $$
(Perfect Napa zin, with sturcture, deep flavor, restrained scale.)

Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi 2010  **1/2   $
(Shamelessly big and rich, a hedonist's delight.)

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

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Radio Kitchen #1248
1:34 pm
Tue August 26, 2014


August 26, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Eggplant

One of the more eye-catching vegetables you'll see in the market is the eggplant.  These days, local farmers have moved far past the elongated deep purple standard varieties, and they are bringing out an amazing assortment of shapes and colors that are sure to delight you.  And as Chef Jerry Pelligrino of Waterfront Kitchen notes, a backyard chef couldn't help but feel inspired by all these different varieties.

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Radio Kitchen #1247
7:46 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Recipes from Old Arabia

August 19, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Recipes from Old Arabia

One of the best aspects of Maryland's locally produced food is that it supports a wide variety of cuisines.  Classic French, check; Indian curries, check;  Mexican, check.  And how about the cuisine of Medieval Arabia?  Well, Chef Jerry Pelligrino of Waterfront Kitchen, I happen to have a wonderful little book called Scheherazade’s Feast by Habib Saloum (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) and friends, and it actually researched ancient cooking ideas from the Middle East and adapted them to the modern kitchen.

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Cellar Notes
9:57 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Maconais Chards, the Other White Burgundy - 8/20/14

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

Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Blanc 2012  *1/2 $$    
(A very rare wine, informal chardonnay, very nice.)

Sylvain et Alain Normand Macon-La Roche-Vineuse 2012  **  $
(Good buy in a spicy, mineral Macon.)

Fabrice Larochette, Chat. Chaintré Macon-Chaintré 2102  **  $
(Attractive peach, pear and mineral notes, well made, good value.)

Louis Jadot Macon Villages 2012 *1/2  $
(A very good value in Macon chard, from a reliable producer.)
Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.  See sponsor tab.

Cellar Notes
5:30 am
Wed August 13, 2014

House Swine (A Maryland/California Collaboration) - 8/13/14

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

**Wines are line priced at $20

House Swine Chardonnay, Santa Barbara 2011 *1/2  $$
(Classic Santa Barbara chard, creamy and loaded with good fruit.)

House Swine Zinfandel, Paso Robles 2011  **1/2  $$
(Superb zin, big but not massive, very complex and rewarding.)

House Swine Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, 2010 **1/2  $$
(Very Burgundian in style, supple, complex, graceful, impressive.)

These wines have been released in Maryland, and are available.  If you want to try them, contact your local wine merchant.

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

Radio Kitchen #1246
9:01 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Grill Mates: Part Two

August 12, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Grill Mates: Part Two

Last week we talked about working some inspiration into our grilling.   With all the incredible local produce available, it's fun to get creative out on the back deck.  Using Emeril Lagasse's very useful cookbook "Emeril at the Grill" as a guide, we also tapped into the wealth of knowledge that Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen brings to the table.  As we said last week, our fabulous locally grown produce offers nearly infinite possibilities.  So, we are marrying up a featured protein with a dynamite sauce or a killer summer salad.

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