We were granted a preview of spring by the local weather gods yesterday as the morning started sunny and temperatures climbed into the mid-50 degree range. Though it clouded up in the afternoon the temperatures stayed pleasant all day. The windows were opened and there was fresh air flowing through the house. It also meant that things were warm enough outside to give Scott a rudimentary grooming by clippering his head and neck, trimming the feet and nails and just generally making him look like a Gordon setter again.
Another benefit was that all the snow and ice melted off the outdoor grill. With that in mind the excursion to the local market was pointed toward grilling. The market is celebrating "Italian Month" and featuring products from and inspired by Italy. That included a wine tasting featuring two Italian wines, a 2004 Tuscan red blend by Antinori and an E. Pira & Figli 2001 Barolo Via Nuova. The blend was sangiovese, cabernet, merlot and syrah and was $16. Nice and fruity and full flavored with moderate tannin to it, I thought it was just a touch short of acid. Nice wine, but not for me. The Barolo was a different story. It smelled of both fresh, tart cherries and dried ones with the pungent bite of tar and oak in the nose. It was definitely a modern style Barolo because the oak was evident. The taste had the cherries and the tar, but I had the first glass out of the bottle and it was still extremely closed. The naturally high grape tannin from Nebbiolo and the tannin from the oak were raging a battle on my tongue leaving it dry and parched. When the tannin finally faded there was a sweet fruit at the very end. The bouquet in the glass was still wonderful so two bottles came home with me and were stashed in the 3 to 5 year section of the cellar and a note was made to decant the wine before drinking.
There was also a special on strip steaks and two of those came home with me for dinner along with a $10 Chianti. We roasted some golden beets and made the salad pictured above with spring greens, a round of sweet red pepper and some crumbled goat cheese, all dressed with a lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette. The steak was delicious and there were oven roasted, red skinned potatoes as well. The $10 Chianti was drinkable, but not memorable.
We left the bedroom window open all night and the only downside was two cats doing what two cats do when they are of different sexes. Scott was not amused and spent most of the night with his head in the open window guarding against further cat incursions.