Bill Daley - Food and Wine Critic - Chicago Tribune

03/15/2008 14:59


Bill Daley is the food and wine critic with the Chicago Tribune. His recent articles may be found here.

What was the first memory you have of wine?  
My parents never drank wine so my first memory was wondering what those bottles were by the cash register at the liquor store. One shelf held 5 bottles of red, the other 5 white. that was considered a fully stocked wine department in 1960s Connecticut. My first taste of wine? Well, must have been in high school. Mateus, I think. not bad...but then it was the 1970s and I thought I was very sophisticated.

What was the first wine that you considered to be good wine? 
I remember a French semillion/sauvignon blanc from the Graves region. I loved the lemony tartness of the wine with lobster and wanted to know why the wine worked so well. 

Do you think it's the taste of a good wine or the experience while drinking wine that makes it good?  Why? 
Both actually. I think good wine is a treat whereever you are but if you have a good setting, like-minded companions, fine glassware and some choice nibbles, the experience seems more exalted. 

How big is your cellar? 
It's two shelves of my linen closet! We Chicago apartment dwellers don't have a lot of room. 

What is your favorite varietal (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot)? Why? 
I love gruner veltliner. Never had it until I was in my 40s, in Las Vegas, because Connecticut didn't sell the wine then. Loved the acidity, the touch of richness, the crispness. And discoverered, much to surprise, how well the wine worked with California foods - especially seafood. 

What is your favorite region for wine (i.e. Napa Valley, Margaret River, Montelcino) 
I don't really have one...I like wines from all over. 

What is your favorite vineyard or brand? 
Ditto; plus I couldn't play favorites in public anyway. I like wines that deliver on their promise and at a fair price, too. 

Do you have a favorite bottle? (varietal, region, year) 
Still fond of 1982 French Bordeaux because that was the first big vintage I really was aware of. 

What wine are you saving for a special day? 
Already happened. The arrival of my daughter in 1994. Veuve Clicquot Champagne. 

 Where do you buy the majority of your wine? (Retailer, Direct, etc. Feel free to name the store you shop at or the site you buy from) 
I rarely buy wine any more because we get so many bottles here at the office. I take home a bottle or two and try them. 

Have you ever had an organic wine?  Did you like it? 
Yes. Yes, getting better all the time. 

What is the most you've ever spent on a bottle of wine? 
Retail? $120. I'm cheap. 

What was your favorite wine experience (or one of your top experiences)? 
Standing in the vineyards at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars tasting barrel samples with the wine maker. 

What one wine do you recommend for our readers to try? 
One wine? Hmmm. I think a white, a gruner or riesling. Goes with the growing trend for pan-Asian/fusion cuisine. 

 What is an up-and-coming wine (or winery) you think is a good value right now? 
Can't really say. 

Bill Daley is a food and wine critic with the Chicago Tribune. He writes a weekly wine column, "Uncorked," for the Tribune’s food section called Good Eating. His column in Sunday’s Q section, "Daley Drink," answers questions from readers on wine, beer and spirits. In tackling the food and wine beat, Daley also covers chefs and food personalities, cooking techniques and trends. He tapes a weekly video segment on food and wine that is displayed on the Web sites of the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune-owned newspapers. A weekly spot on food and wine airs on WBBM-AM, the CBS all-news radio station.

Daley arrived at the Tribune in 2004. Previously, he was a food writer and restaurant reviewer with the San Francisco Chronicle and spent 11 years at the Hartford Courant, where he ultimately became the Sunday magazine’s restaurant reviewer. He has been recognized twice for restaurant criticism by the Association of Food Journalists and has served as that organization’s president from 2002-2004.

A graduate of Manhattanville College, Daley also holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. He serves on the board of directors of the Gerber/Hart Library and is a resident of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.


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