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.


Radio Kitchen #1321
3:00 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Cooking With Pickled Vegetables

February 17, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Cooking With Pickled Vegetables  

Late last autumn we encouraged you to buy up freshly harvested vegetables and preserve them for later use.  Well, winter is here and we ought to tell the people how to cook all those pickled veggies.  So let's look beyond pickled cucumbers and embrace everything from green beans, beets, carrots, cauliflower, radishes to hot little peppers.

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Cellar Notes
9:17 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Mont Redon/Domaine Galevan - 2/11/15

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

Chateau Mont Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape '10 *** $$$
(Ultra smooth and refined, pricey but worth it)

Chateau Mont Redon Cotes du Rhone '11  ** $
(Grenache dominated, refined CDR)

Domaine Galevan Chateauneuf-du-Pape '11 *** $$$
(Dense, well structured, magnificent)

Domaine Galevan Cotes du Rhone "Paroles des Femmes" '11 **1/2 $
(Dynamic, rustic up-front fruit, very classy, great value)

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

Radio Kitchen #1320
5:30 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Even’ Star Farms

February 10, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Even’ Star Farms
When it comes to visiting Maryland farms, one of the biggest surprises I've ever had was seeing the winter fields of Even' Star Farm down in St. Mary's County several years ago.  Even in the middle of winter Even' Star looked like Ireland, it was so green.  And that's why we have invited the owner Brett Grohsgal to talk with.

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Cellar Notes
9:32 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Ports - 2/4/15

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

Fonseca Ruby Port ** $
(Delicious, sweet, lighter bodied, supple)

Taylor-Fladgate LBV Porto 2008 *** $$
(Fabulous value, with  tons of flavor and complexity)

Taylor-Fladgate First Estate Reserve Porto *** $$
(A "reserve" ruby, with more depth and complexity)

Graham's Six Great Reserve Porto **1/2 $$
(A very reliable and familiar brand)

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

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Radio Kitchen #1319
9:23 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Sally Fallon "Nourishing Broth"

February 3, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Sally Fallon "Nourishing Broth"
Last autumn I had the pleasure of meeting one of Maryland's most successful cookbook authors, Sally Fallon.  We got to talking about her latest project, a cookbook called "Nourishing Broth," and it seemed like a natural topic for our show.  We've talked about the importance of good broths and stocks for cooking, so it was  nice to have an expert on hand.

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Cellar Notes
8:42 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Rodney Strong Resurgent - 1/28/15

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

Rodney Strong  Zinfandel Knotty Vines", Sonoma '12 ***  $
(A very strong effort with tons of flavor)

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley '12 **1/2 $
(Good Alex Valley cab, with good fruit)

Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Chalk Hill '13 **1/2 $
(Terrific value in chard from a prestigious appellation)

Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc "Charlotte Home" '13 *1/2 $
(Fruity melon style)

Rodney Strong Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley '12 ** $$    
(Good representative pinot from a strong appellation)

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

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Radio Kitchen #1318
9:09 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Winter Soups and Stews With Root Vegetables

January 27, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Winter Soups and Stews With Root Vegetables

In the depths of winter we look to the kitchen as a source of warmth and comfort.  And few things warm us up better than a hearty stew.  And since we have so many good root vegetables available to us, it's easy to concoct a delicious winter stew.

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Cellar Notes
5:34 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Maryland Wine Event - 1/21/15

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

Old Westminster "Greenstone" '13  white blend ** $$
(Drinks like an Albarino)

Sugarloaf Mountain Reserve Chardonnay '13 *** $$
(Uncanny resemblance to Puligny-Montrachet)

Big Cork Viognier '13 *1/2 $
(Bone dry approach to this popular grape)

Linganore Redskins Reserve  Red Blend '12 *1/2 $
(Pizza wine par excellence)

Old Westminster Channery Hill Red Blend '12 **1/2  $$
(Lucious merlot dominated blend)

Basignani Lorenzino Red Blend '08 **1/2  $$
(Classic Boredeaux style)

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Radio Kitchen #1317
7:38 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Zeke's Coffee

January 20, 2015 - Radio Kitchen -  Zeke's Coffee

One of Baltimore's biggest success stories has been the wonderful rise to fame of Thomas Rhodes, better known as the founder of Zeke's Coffee.   Thomas is selling Zeke's coffee all over town and has work lined up with local brewers, ice cream makers and restaurants.

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Cellar Notes
8:19 am
Wed January 14, 2015

M.Chapoutier of the Rhone - 1/14/15

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

Chapoutier "La Ciboise" Luberon Blanc '13 ** $
(Super value in delicious Rhone white; fresh and fruity.)

Chapoutier "La Ciboise" Luberon Rouge "12 **1/2  $
(A running mate with the blanc, superb value in CDR style wine.)

Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Petit Ruche Rouge '12  **1/2  $$
(One of the best C-H's you'll find, made in a stylish and generous manner.)

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