Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2013 Picpoul de Pinet

Over the last few years this is the third Picpoul de Pinet that I have tried.  They are always inexpensive, light and pleasant.  This particular incarnation is the 2013 vintage from Les Costieres de Pomerols and it is much like the others, inexpensive and pleasant.

The wine is very herbal with some lemon scents and flavors.  It was tart and crisp on the front of the tongue before turning fruity by the time it reached the back of the tongue.  For a medium bodied wine it had a surprisingly long finish to it.  Very easy to drink and doesn't require any thought - just a thirst.

It washed down some oven poached flounder filets with tarragon and a few shrimp.  The match was good.

2013 Costieres de Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet.  12.5% alcohol and $10.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Saved on Sunday

No, this isn't a religious post.  It's probably a post about nothing, but there is a picture and a story.

There was some forethought put into a late breakfast of French toast on Sunday.  The bread was cut and left out Saturday evening to dry, and the custard mixture full of milk, eggs, cinnamon, mace, and cardamon was mixed together and allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight.   It all came together on Sunday morning with some fresh, tree ripened peaches added to the plate with a bit of butter and a little maple syrup.  There was also a Bloody Mary prior to breakfast and a second with breakfast. 

Very early Monday morning an e-mail arrived from the local market with news that the peaches I purchased (and ate with the breakfast) were possibly contaminated with listeria bacteria and should not be eaten.  They had been recalled by the grower. 

It's bad enough when it takes four months to get my General Motors vehicle repaired after the ignition system forced a massive recall, it's quite another to have yesterday's breakfast recalled after eating it.

Thanks heaven for the alcohol in the Bloody Marys.  Well, I guess this was a religious post after all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


When all was said and done it turned out to be about elegance.  The wine was an Albert Bichot Beaune from the 2010 vintage.  The first sniff was earthy and nondescript, but the second was about fruit and earth and class.  The first sip was earthiness with fruit but the final sip was perfectly ripe fruit supported by that sense of earthiness.  Good acid and good tannin and good price for a Burgundy. 

It was opened to accompany a duck breast with a thyme, orange zest and maple syrup  glaze.  The duck was young and wonderful and the balance between the sweetness of the syrup and the tartness of the orange zest was perfect.  The side dish was faro with yellow carrots, celery and red onion.  A pairing I could repeat frequently.

2010 Albert Bichot Beaune.  13% alcohol and $35.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dolcetto d'Alba

Every summer has to have a place for a Dolcetto d'Alba, especially when there is prime steak involved.  The wine was a Giacomo Borgogno Dolcetto d'Alba from the 2012 vintage.  The wine was somewhat unusual as it was more of a deep ruby color than a deep purple shade.  The nose was full of dark cherries and strawberries and that sense of Italian dirt.  This is a very fruity wine with with lightness and great acid to give that lightness an extra boost.  The tannins are there in proper proportion and give just enough of a sense of drying to keep this wine rolling along.  The finish is deep and sweet but the tannin keeps it in balance.  Great sense of earthiness. 

I don't eat nearly as much beef as I used to eat, but when I do eat a steak it has to be a good one, and with the price of beef skyrocketing it helps to find a sale.  Everything came together last weekend and the the result is pictured below.  Grilled to the rare side of medium rare over coconut shell charcoal it lived up to all of its possibilities.  It also made for leftovers for two more meals.

2012 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Dolcetto d'Alba.  13.5% alcohol and $20.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Other Summer Love

I've been so busy this summer drinking rose' wines that I realized I had ignored my other summer love in the wine world, Riesling.  This despite an excellent article in the NY Times about the dry versions.  That article was in a series where Eric Asimov picks three wines and asks readers to buy them, drink them and then discuss them in the comments section for the next month.  You can find the link here, but be certain to open the comments and read a few - and there are very many.

I was surprised that I did not have look far for one of his three recommended wines - no farther than my wine cellar.  The wine was a 2012 Leitz Eins Zwei Dry from the Rheingau region.  The wine is very dry with aromas of fresh lime zest a tiny bit of freshly cut spring hay - young and happy.  The taste was austere and tart suggesting white peaches just before they are full ripe.  There was a small bit of earthiness in the finish that really appealed to me. The wine helped wash down a thick pork chop from the grill and some mustard potato salad.  It did an excellent job. 

2012 Leitz Eins Zwei Dry, Rheingau Riesling Trocken.  11.5% alcohol and $19.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


For the Independence Day party and fireworks there had to be an American wine so I opted for a 2007 Spring Napa Valley Red Wine from the Bunter Spring Winery, an extremely small winery.  The wine is a blend of 34% Petit Verdot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot.

With that much Petit Verdot I was expecting big flavors and that is exactly what was in the bottle; it was full of dark plum and deep, black cherry flavors.  The Cabernet Sauvignon added some red fruit to the mix and also some leanness to the structure.  The Merlot was juicy and happy and tossed in a few blueberries to the mixture.  The tannin was well integrated here and it retained enough acid to hold everything together.

This was a full flavored wine that never went over the edge in to the range of being over extracted.  It was a big wine with balance and even a bit of elegance to it.  The more it breathed the better it got.  I wasn't the only one who liked this wine and for that reason  it disappeared quickly - very quickly.

2007 Spring, Napa Valley Red Wine.  13.7% alcohol.  Price is unknown since it was part of an auction basket I purchased over a year ago. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Very ripe, local, red tomatoes, some halved yellow cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and some fresh basil. Party time.  Olive oil and sea salt were added at the last minute.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hemingway Inspired

The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain has begun and already there has been several injuries including a goring.  They were discussing this on the radio early this afternoon and that got me to thinking about Ernest Hemingway.

Above is a version of one of his favorite drinks, a Floridita.  It's white rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and sugar.  The final ingredient is supposed to be half an ounce of a maraschino liqueur, but since that wasn't on hand the drink got one drop of juice from a fresh black cherry.  Shake over ice and strain  into a glass.  To keep it Caribbean add a small flamingo to the side.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Provence Meets Alaska

There are still so many rose's and so little time to get through all of them by the end of the summer, but I'm trying.  This time it was the 2013 Aime' Roquesante Cotes de Provence Cuvee Reservee.  The color was a pale salmon pink, best represented by the coloration off to the side of the bottle in the picture above.  The aromas were dry and earthy while the initial flavors were white peaches with a bit of strawberry.  Crisp and tart and a beautiful wine for a beautiful day.

Alaska was present in the form of Coho salmon that was fresh out of the stream and just off the airplane.  It was portioned, painted with a Pacific northwest barbecue sauce and grilled with some smoke from Alder.  The rich and fatty flavors from the salmon were a great counterpoint to the crisp and sharp flavor of the wine.  They played off each other very nicely.

A second wine for the evening was a 2008 Saintsbury Pinot Noir from the Carneros region of Napa Valley.  The wine had good fruit flavors but tasted a bit over the hill.  It opened up somewhat with some swirling and was acceptable, but this was a wine past its prime. 

2013 Aime' Roquesante Cotes de Provence Cuvee Reservee.  13% alcohol and $12.

2008 Saintsbury Pinot Noir Carneros.  13.6% alcohol and $18 on closeout.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4

Picnic and party day to celebrate - and this year the weather cooperated.  Happy Independence Day.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ten Years Makes a Difference

I find it difficult to believe the number of rose' wines that are now available in this area. Ten years ago each wine store or grocery outlet might have half a dozen tucked away in the corner but never given any serious space.  Nearly all of them were from France or Spain, and if there was a California rose' it was usually sweet and made from Zinfandel. 

Things have definitely changed so I made a point to count the available rose's at two of my more frequent haunts.  I wasn't prepared for the results.  The first store, wine and liquor only, had just shy of 30 rose's in stock.  The grocery outlet with a great wine department had nearly 50.  There were rose's from all regions of France, from Spain, from Italy, from Chile, and a very strong selection of dry rose's from California and Washington. Prices ranged from near $30 for Tavel rose's to as low as $8 from some other regions of southern France.  U.S. prices were from $10 to $25.  It's a great time to love rose' in this area.

Last night's wine was a 2013 Bieler Pere et Fils rose from Aix en Provence.  The wine is a mixture of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.  It was full of ripe strawberries and cherries, though the cherry flavors tended to a little darker than most rose's; possibly this was the Cabernet speaking.  Great acid and a sense of dry earth balanced out the fruit.  Light and happy, it was perfect with bay scallops sauteed breifly in butter and olive oil with dill, thyme and chives, lemon juice and zest and finished with some crispy, pancetta cubes. 

Bieler Pere et Fils Sabine Rose'.  13% alcohol and $12.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Just a little bit of vodka, some lime juice, ice and Sanpelligrino Aranciata Rossa, which is a dry, blood orange soda.  Rather tasty on a hot, humid day.