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
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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Radio Kitchen #1316
8:22 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Maryland Honey

January 13, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Maryland Honey

The keeping of bees is an ancient form of agriculture that benefits mankind more than we realize.  Of course we all think of the products of honey and bees wax, but we owe the bees a huge debt of gratitude for pollinating our flowers, our trees and many of our crops.   So we thought it would be fun to have a bee and honey expert join us, Kara Brook and her line of Waxing Kara honeys.

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Cellar Notes
8:52 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Wine List Recommendations - 1/7/15

 The Whites:

Keuntz Bas Alsace Blanc  ** $    
(Dry, light, supple with fresh slightly woodsy notes.)

Martinsancho Rueda Verdejo  ***  $
(A wine of great classiness, ultra-smooth, rich, food friendly.)

West Cape Howe Unwooded Chardonnay  **1/2  $
(No oak?  Really?  It tastes so lush and rich, it's hard to believe.

Ecole No. 41 Semillon  ** 1/2  $        
(Thank goodness someone is still doing semillon:  delicious!)

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Radio Kitchen #1315
9:45 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Seasonal Eating

January 6, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Seasonal Eating
I think by now we can say that the eat local movement is here to stay and that a lot of us take that to heart.  As we formulate our new year's resolutions, we might want to give a thought to that corollary to local eating, season local eating. We invited one of Baltimore's biggest advocates of seasonal eating, Kerry Dunnington,  to be on our show.  And Kerry has just published a brand new cook book that is a marvelous guide to navigating the Maryland seasons. It's called "Tasting the Season" and it is available on  Here are a few winter recipes to consider:

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Cellar Notes
11:40 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Delas Wines of Southern France - 12/31/14

Delas Cotes du Rhone "St. Esprit" Rouge '12 ** $
(An unusual reverse blend of 90% syrah and 10 % grenache.)

Delas Ventoux Rouge '13 ** $
(Another syrah-grenache blend, with fresh dark berry flavors.)

Delas Croze-Hermitage "Les Launes" Rouge '10 **1/2 $$
(An exceptionally good Croze, much better than most, at a good price.)

Delas St. Joesph "Sainte-Epine" Rouge '11 **1/2 $$
(Very good wine from a small but important appelation.)

Delas Hermitage "Les Bessards" '11 *** $$$$
(Very pricy, but monumental.  A wine to keep for years and years.)

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

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Radio Kitchen #1314
11:28 am
Tue December 30, 2014

New Year Traditions

December 30, 2014 - Radio Kitchen -  New Year Traditions

In a matter of hours we'll be turning over a new page in our calendars, as we greet the New Year.  January 1st is a momentous day and many people love to observe it with their own New Year's Day Traditions.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen is really down with a lot of these traditions that help us start a new year.

Here are a few ideas Jerry has pulled from his archives.

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Cellar Notes
4:37 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

New Year's Eve Bubblies - 12/24/14

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

Gruet Blanc de Noir *1/2  $  
(Surprise value from New Mexico!)

Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi  ** $  
(A touch of muscat makes for a lucious bubbly.)

St. Hillaire Blanquette de Limoux ** $
(Tremendous value at the price.)

Clara C Fiore Rosé Prosecco ** $
(Lovely rosé, easy drinking, and classy.)

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Radio Kitchen #1313
12:27 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Holiday Drinks

December 23, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Holiday Drinks

As we get ready to make merry during the holiday season, we here in Maryland are fortunate that a number of people in our agricultural community make it their business to keep us well supplied with seasonal drinks.  Which is why we invited Susan Rayner from Boordy Vineyards to talk to us about some of the lovely things you can do with our own Maryland wines.

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