Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cotes du Rhone

If there's a better value in a basic, red wine than E. Guigal's Cotes du Rhone I would love to find it.  This wine from the 2010 vintage is packed with flowers, fruit and earth and has almost perfect balance.  It's also consistent from year to year as other vintages have been almost the same.  And they do this for less than $15.    Simply amazng.

After pouring the first glass the rest went into a decanter for a little more than an hour while dinner was working.  The tightness was gone by the time the steak hit the plate and the wine was making some beautiful music with the beef.   The acid and tannin cleared the palate between bites and sips.  The evening was long and wonderful.

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone.  14% alcohol and $14.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

First Taste of Autumn

"Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers."
-  Carl Sandburg, Under the Harvest Moon
Thanks to a large cold front from Canada the temperatures which were 90 degrees last Saturday are 62 degrees this Saturday.   The humidity is gone and the dew point is low and the skies are clear.  This is as good as it gets in this area.

There was the first, fresh sauerkraut in the market this week, some fatty pork, butt steaks and some freshly made bratwurst.  They were all combined with apples and onions and the first of the seasons apple cider to braise away during the afternoon.

The wine was a beautiful friend who remembers, a 2007 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett.  It's full of slate and apples and citrus peel.  Like the weather - it is almost perfect.  With the food I believe it is perfect.

2007 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett  9% alcohol and $15 several autumns ago.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rhinegeist Franz

There was enough spice in the chicken meal described in the post below that I thought a beer would be the best accompaniment.  The only beer in the house was a Franz Oktoberfest from the Rhinegeist brewery in Cincinnati.  The brewery describes it as "untraditional" and it certainly was.    It was mellow with deeper flavors than I expected and wasn't the greatest match for spicy food based on hot peppers.  Cougar or Truth from the same brewery would have been better choices. 

Good beer but not for this meal.

Rhinegeist Franz.  5.4% alcohol  Munich and Vienna malts.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Local and Spicy

Harvest is in full force in this area and a trip through the farmers market provided nearly the entire meal tonight.  The chicken was local, as were the onions, the tomatoes, the very hot red peppers and the first of the fall garlic.  The herbs were from my garden so that left only the rice and the seasonings on the chicken as 'strangers to these parts'.

The chicken legs were marinated in lime juice and olive oil, and when they came out of the marinade the vegetables went into the marinade.  The seasonings on top were ancho chilli powder, smoked paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper.   The vegetables were poured over the top of the chicken and both went into a hot oven for thirty five minutes,  just enough time to cook the rice.

The local peppers were quite hot and provided a pungent and prickly sensation to go with the mellowness of the tomatoes and the chicken.  There was some brow mopping during the meal but it was all delicious.

There was a beer!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Drew - Fog Eater 2010

It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days…Lightly, lightly—it’s the best advice ever given me. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly, my darling.
—  Aldous Huxley from Island
This is a wine that is dark in the glass but so light and agile on its feet.  It's full of fresh, medium cherry flavors with great tannin and acid underneath.  A full bodied wine that isn't heavy.  It's confident and real.  It's also delicious.  More please.

Drew Pinot Noir, Fog Eater, Anderson Valley.  13.6% alcohol and $45.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Falanghina - First Time Experience

There was something new at the market earlier this week, a wine that I had read about but never saw before in this area.  The wine was a Falanghina, an obscure white variety that thrives in the hills of Campania in southern Italy.  It's an ancient variety that survived primarily because it grew in such an off the beaten path location.  The wine that came home with me  was a 2012 Gran Passione Beneventano.

The minute the cork came out of the bottle there were flowery and citrus aromas filling the room.  The color was almost crystal clear with just a bit of green and gold.  With some swirling the aromas got a little stronger and for a while I was happy to sit and smell the wine.   The flavors were on the citrus end with orange peel being predominant.  There was some ripe apple and a bit of lychee lurking in the glass as well.  The mouth feel was full and almost creamy, but just I was about to criticize it for that it turned dry and sharp.  It left my mouth dry and refreshed with a wee bit of the same minerality I find and love in Chablis. 

There were some bay scallops sauteed in butter and olive oil with a tiny touch of garlic, some halved cherry tomatoes and a bit of fresh thyme and oregano to help the wine along.  A perfect match.

2012 Gran Passione Falanghina.  12.5% alcohol and $12.  A bragain.