Friday, September 30, 2011

Saladini Pilastri Falerio

Here's another bottle from the mixed case of wine I picked up a month ago, none of which I had ever tried before.  Falerio is a small enclave in the Marche area of Central Italy.  The wine is a blend of Ugni Blanc and two lesser known grapes, Passerina and Pecorino. The vintage was 2010.

Pale color, lemony nose with some hints of anise.  Crisp and tart, with the lemon showing bright and fresh.  The anise flavor faded more into fennel on the taste.  Good length to the finish, ending with a last little burst of lemon.  The first half of the bottle went down with some grilled chicken with minimal spicing, but the second half on day two was even better with a fennel and shrimp risotto.  The fennel taste in the wine was great with the dish.  The acidity cut the richness and the fennel overtones really matched well.  Good honest wine that went great with food.

13% alcohol and $14.  Good wine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Great Laugh

Here's two videos that made me laugh long and hard.  The first is from a week or so ago and the second is a reply to the first and was posted a couple days ago.

Caution: Subtitles on the first are a little over the top.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beaune - Boucherottes 2006

The autumn style weather is still here and I after reading an article on line I got in the mood for Burgundy.

The Burgundy of choice was a 2006 Louis Jadot Beaune Boucherottes premier cru.  I opened the bottle as we began dinner prep and poured half of it into a decanter, and a little bit into my glass.  Very closed nose with earth and spice but no fruit showing.

Forty-five minutes later the beef tenderloin was sauced and ready.  The wine was still closed but after some swirling there was enough fruit to plunge ahead.  This was a very reticent wine, it kept refusing to give up very much in the way of aroma save for earth and wood spice.  Near the end of the meal the cherry flavors began to emerge and the silkiness of the wine started to bloom.  Acids and tannins were great and the mouth feel was wonderful.  For the last bite or two of beef the wine was a great foil.  I loved the earthiness in the wine. 

Later that evening I poured another glass from the now re-corked bottle.  The fruit was much more pronounced and the wine had mellowed, but it still wasn't ready.

The last fair sized glass was left for the next evening, and twenty-four hours was what this wine needed.  Wonderful, ripe fruit aromas, finally subdued earth and a wonderful silky feel in the mouth.  It was difficult, but I forced myself to drink that last glass slowly.  Lots of smiles.

$25 and 13% alcohol.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pleasures of Autumn

Technically it isn't Autumn here yet, but thanks to our Canadian neighbors to the north the weather has been unseasonably cool.  That means that fall food is back in vogue, as is the case pictured above.

The roast is a six pound, bone-in pork shoulder roast.  It was brined for six hours in a mixture of kosher salt and sugar.  After that it was rinsed and thoroughly dried.  A mixture of kosher salt, sugar and smoked paprika was rubbed all over it and it was wrapped tightly in plastic film and refrigerated for 24 hours.

While it came to room temperature after its stay in the refrigerator I built a small fire in the grill.  The coals were all pushed to one side and the roast was placed on the far side.  A drip pan partially filled with water sat under the roast and a few apple wood chips were tossed on the fire.  The lid went on the grill and I monitored the vents so that the temperature in the grill never got above 325 degrees.  Five hours later the roast was done and the air in the neighborhood smelled of pork and apples.  A few hungry neighbors wandered by to check things out.

The pork rested for about half an hour while I made a sauce from some of drippings from the catch pan, some sugar, vinegar, mustard and mango chutney.  When that had reduced we carved the pork, opened a couple bottles of apple cider and spent a wonderful evening sitting outside watching the blue sky turn into evening pink.  The dogs even managed to get a few pork tidbits mixed in with their dog kibble.

Life can be very good, and very delicious.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weingut Max Ferd Richter

I recently had the pleasure of tasting seven wines from Max Ferd Richter with Dr. Dirk Richter of the estate in Mulheim Germany. Informative and delicious are the two words that would best describe the experience.  It was a drop in tasting rather than one that was formally organized so there was a fair amount of one on one conversation about the wines.

Most interesting  was tasting both a Kabinett and a Spatlese from two separate vineyards.  The wines involved were the 2009 Graacher Himmelreich and 2009 Veldenzer Elisenberg.  The Elisenbergs were sharp, focused and very precise with citrus and peach flavors. There was a distinct difference between the Kabinett and the Spatlese, with the Spatlese being more full and fruity while the Kabinett was dry and racy.  The Himmelreichs were fuller wines from the start, explained by Dr. Richter by saying there was clay in the slate soil of this vineyard that lends fuller flavor  whereas the Elisenberg is slate and quartz primarily.  I was getting apple and yellow plum aromas from the Himmelreich wines.  I loved the Kabinett, but the Spatlese quickly put it to the rear.  Very, very good wine and one I could sit, smell and sip all day.

Click below for the rest of this article.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Another wine from the mixed case I picked up recently was a 2008 Neckenmarkt Blaufrankisch from Austria. 

I like all kinds of wine, and though I do have my favorites I still try and keep an open mind about the rest.  The nicest thing I can say about this wine is that it was inoffensive.    It was light, which I expected, but it was almost devoid of flavor, of acid, of tannin, of any form of soul or reason to exist.  It wasn't bad, it just didn't seem to be there at all.  It was enough to make one wonder what the point was or even if there was a point to be made.

The steak was good from the grill and the soup pictured below was delicious.  It was yellow tomatoes and yellow peppers cooked together and pureed with just a hint of heavy cream, a tiny touch of garlic and salt and pepper.  That was the best part of the meal.

13% alcohol and $10.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vinho Verde

Some wines are just plain fun.  the 2009 Gazela Vinho Verde from Portugal is certainly one of them.  As you can tell by the picture the wine is almost colorless, and it was that way in the glass.  About the only thing breaking up the monotone was the near bubbles clinging to the side of the glass and slight head on the wine.  Almost fizzy would describe it.  The taste was highly tart and sharp, almost prickly on the tongue.  Young, fresh, zippy, uncomplicated, happy, glad to be free from its bottle are a few of the words or phrases that come to mind.

Dinner was a whole Branzini, stuffed with rosemary, lemon thyme, lemon slices and fresh dill and then tossed over hot coals that had more fresh dill tossed them for smoke effect.  The before shot is pictured above and the after shot is pictured below with some lettuce, beets,pickled onions and goat cheese.  Tasty fish with a notable herby taste and a particularly good match with the wine.  Fun meal.

$7 and 9% alcohol.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Out of Season

We have been in a very strange weather pattern lately.  Within the span of one week we went from recording record high temperatures of 100 degrees to record high temperatures at the other end of the spectrum with three days where we did not get above 62 degrees.  I found the records at the lower end much more pleasant, and the cooler temperatures meant it was time to braise something.

In the summer I miss braised food as much as I miss a fresh, ripe tomato in the winter.   Lamb shanks became the braise of choice.  Browned, they were thrown in the pot with wine, garlic, onions, carrots, leeks, tomatoes, and herbs.  At the end we added white beans.  I also made another winter dish, polenta.  The results are pictured below.

The wine was an old friend, a Foppiano Petite Sirah from Sonoma's Russian River Valley.  Year in and year out no one makes Petite Sirah better than Foppiano.  In this case it was the 2005 vintage.  Inky dark in the glass the nose was all about black fruit and black pepper.  There was a little bit of earth peeking out as well.  The taste was just as full as the color was dark.  The wine just oozed ripe fruit, spice and a hint or two of chocolate.  Good acid and loads of tannin balanced this wine out.  Despite its size it was not heavy and overburdened with anything.  It was just a delicious mouthful. 

It stood up to and really complimented the lamb, and it definitely picked up on the rosemary, thyme and sage that were in the braising liquid.  Good stuff.

#20 and 14.5% alcohol

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Taste of Spain

Another find on the recent out of state excursion was a 2006 El Jamon, Crianza, Tempranillo  Do Carinena from the Aragon region of Spain.  Nice aromas of tart red fruit, dusty earth and hints of oak.  Medium bodied wine with a silky mouth feel.  Lots of cherries and berries, a little taste of earth and a decent dose of tannin and acid at the end. Nicely balanced wine that just pleasant to drink.

Dinner was a pan seared and oven roasted tri-tip beef roast with a Romesco sauce of tomatoes, peppers, almonds, garlic, pimenton and olive oil.  Good little wine and a good meal to go with it.  The best "critter label wine" I've had for awhile.

$12 and 13% alcohol.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

River Village Cellars

The highlight of the three day, holiday weekend here was on Saturday.  To start the day we traveled down to Ripley, Ohio, for the release of two red wines from River Village Cellars, a second label for Kinkead Ridge. 

The 2009 vintage was, being kind here, terrible and all the red wine was declassified to the second label.  The bottom line was bad for the winery, but certainly good for the consumer as both of released wines were quite enjoyable.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is comprised mostly of cabernet sauvignon, with some petit verdot and some syrah blended in.  The wine was very closed on the nose with some faint aromas of dark cherries and earth coming out along with some dark plums.  Dark color in the glass.  Definitely a full flavored wine with a rich, fruity feel in the mouth and flavors of black cherries and other dark fruit. The wine seemed a little low in acid but there was good tannin.  The finish was a little short, but not enough to detract from the overall pleasure.

The Cabernet Franc was the better of the two to me.  Brighter cherry flavors and aromas, sweet tannin and vanilla from the oak, medium mouth feel and a tart and cheery finish to it.  The fruit here was definitely more toward the red end of the spectrum.  The finish was a little nicer and there was a littel burst of fruit at the end.  Easy wine to drink.  Both are great values at their price point.

Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.1% alcohol and $12.95
Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alcohol and $11.95
Both wines carry the Ohio River Valley AVA

Friday, September 2, 2011


Domaine de Beauregard Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2009.  It takes much longer to type that than it does to appreciate it.  Sharp, tart, bone dry, refreshing, and like sitting on a beach with salt spray in your face.  There was a fresh swordfish steak marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes for dinner and it was just about perfect with this wine. 

12% alcohol and $12