Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Muscadet Sevre et Maine

Muscadet remains one of my favorite wines because of both the taste and the price.  The Domaine de la Folliette Par Clos de la Fontaine Sur Lie from the 2012 vintage was no exception.   Crisp and tart and bracing like a cold, January wind in your face, the wine was near perfect with a rainbow trout stuffed with lemon and herbs and tossed on the grill.    The trout was sweet and luscious and the wine bright and crisp.  Great meal.

2012 Domaine de la Folliette Par Clos de la Fontaine Sur Lie.  12% alcohol and $12.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Seasons Change

There is change in thee air this week. The warm, sunny period is giving way tomorrow to late October weather. Today it is 78 degrees and by Friday the high temperature will only be in the upper forty degree range.

Once thing that the extended fall gave us a last burst of cooler weather vegetables such as spinach and the red leaf lettuce pictured above.  I picked that up at the farm market this morning.  There won't be a great many more of these until spring which means there will be a fresh salad of some sort for dinner; perhaps some red onions, a few fall mushrooms and some herbs. 

No wine in this post - I just feel more into the lettuce and saying good buy to most of the local produce until spring.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Day Later

The remainder of the 2006 Produtorri del Barbaresco Barbaresco was vacuumed overnight and reopened with a duck breast accompanied by sauteed, fresh chanterelle mushrooms for dinner last night.  The flavors were still bold and rich, but the tannins were much more integrated.  While much softer they were still strong enough to support the wine.  This last quarter of a bottle was certainly the best.  Along with the rest of the meal it tasted like autumn.  Another wine that I would have been just as happy to sit there and sniff all evening.

The photo is from a walk yesterday morning in the deep woods.  The Virginia Spiderwort is a late summer bloomer in this area, but this particular one was deep in the woods and well protected.  A search of the area revealed only this last holdout against approaching frosts and cold weather. 

A beautiful day capped off by a beautiful wine.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Books and Barbaresco

There is a new book on the market, Barolo and Barbaresco, The King and Queen of Italian Wine, by Kerin O'Keefe and it's greatest accomplishment is to make me thirsty.  More on the book in another post.

To satisfy the thirst I opened a bottle of 2006 Barbaresco from the Produttori del Barbaresco yesterday.  Other than drinking it my best decision was to open the bottle eight hours ahead of dinner. This wine needed that much time to truly open up and bloom in the glass - and there were small sips throughout the day as an educational experience (and because I couldn't wait until dinner to try it).

The color was definitely a light and pale brick and garnet color with orange and light brown edges- no purple or deep red here.  The aromas in the glass from the first pour were the expected flowers and warm asphalt.  During the day the tannin subsided a bit and so did the road tar.  By dinner time this was still a tannic wine, but a lot had faded and the wine just smelled of earth and flowers.  The acidity was always there and the length of finish was long.  This was exactly what I was wanting when I was reading the book. 

There was a small, but thick steak grilled to the rare side of medium rare and it got a bit of lemon juice and olive oil after resting and being slice.  There were sauteed, fresh porcini mushrooms, a very small salad and some baguette sliced doused with olive oil and sea salt and toasted to go with the wine.  A small bit of the wine was put aside for tonight.  A delicious wine and my last bottle of that particular vintage.

2006 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco.  14% alcohol and $30.  Very much a bargain.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2010 Jarhead Red

This is a story of passing through a wine shop and being stopped in my tracks by a name and a label.  I put two bottles in my basket before picking up a third bottle and reading the back label.  Jarhead Red is a wine made for U.S. Marines by U.S. Marines.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle go to a Marine Corps scholarship fund.   Nothing beats drinking wine made by former members of an organization of which I am a former member, and one which supports a worthy cause.  In this case the Firestone winery is involved by way of Captain Adam Firestone and Sgt Ruben Dominguez. 

This particular vintage is a blend of Cabernet Franc with Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah playing the backup role.  A couple of weekends ago I opened the first bottle at a pig roast where another, and much younger, Marine was  one of the guests.  It was definitely a full bodied wine but the brightness of the Cabernet Franc and it's cherry flavors really shone.  It was mouth filling and had just enough acid and tannin to support the fruit.  A very well balanced wine.  Once the cork came out it was the first of six assorted bottles to be completely drained.  Most of it was consumed by the two Marines in attendance and led to stories and raunchy jokes.  It was a fun time and wine.

Jarhead Red California table wine.  $14 and with the table wine designation it was under 14% alcohol.

Friday, October 17, 2014


The wine is Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rose, a sparkling wine made from 100% pinot noir.  Fruity with strawberry and cherry flavors and a little bit of yeast.  The finish is dry and delightful.  A good way to end a Friday and start a weekend.

Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rose.  12% alcohol and $19.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


"All things on earth point home in old October: sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken."    Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River
The leaves are nearing their peak of color here and there was a young pig sacrificed to the god of a smoker last weekend.  Good food and good wine and more to follow. 

The tomatoes are mixed with parsley and basil and grated, fresh mozzarella cheese.  They were dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Roederer Estate

The wine with the pizza in the post below this one was Roederer Estate Brut, Special Cuvee from California's Anderson Valley.  The wine is blend of pinot noir and chardonnay.  It is tart and refreshing, a little bit yeasty, prickly with bubbles and finishes dry and refreshing.  The finish is long.  The yeastiness appealed to me the most.  It's not nearly as strong as champagne with the yeast, but it is there and recognizable. 

I resealed the wine after drinking two thirds of the bottle and finished it later that evening with some freshly popped popcorn with black truffle salt and butter. Amazing combination.

Roederer Estate Brut, special Cuvee.  $21 and 12% alcohol.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Grilled Pizza

Perhaps instead of grilled pizza the title should read pizza from the grill.  Regardless it was delicious.  The ingredients were a purchased crust, tomato sauce, olive oil, Provolone cheese, pepperoni slices, fresh mozzarella and parmigiano, and a little salt. 

It's sitting on an antique, but still very much used, flat burner plate from a cast iron, wood burning  stove.  When the fire in the grill was raging the cast iron went over the coals to get hot and after a minute or so the pizza went onto the cast iron.  The lid was clamped back on and after another minute the temperature was near 550 degrees.  It took four minutes to cook the pizza.  When  it came off the grill it got a dusting of fresh basil and oregano. 

To the left was the beverage of choice for the evening - the second half of a bottle started in the late afternoon.  Amazing how an overcast,  cool, and drizzly day can be brightened up with a good glass of sparkling wine.

It certainly improved my mood.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Riesling and Lobster

The local market had a special on Maine lobster tails just about the same time that I saw a recipe for a stir fry featuring lobster.  My usual luck is that events like these are at least a week apart with the lobster being off-sale by the time the recipe is noted. 

There were onions, peppers, garlic, ginger and pineapple in the stir fry mix and hoisin and oyster sauce in the liquid mixture.  I tossed in a few dried peppers to kick up the heat a little.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal but I kept thinking how much better it would have been with pork rather than lobster. 

The wine was a 2008 Jakob Schneider Niederhause Klamm Riesling Kabinett from the Nahe.  The wine was crisp and sharp with apple and lychee flavors mixed in with a good bit of lime zest.  It was drier in both mouth feel and taste than I am used to with Mosel Rieslings, and with the sweetness of the pineapple in the food this was great.  It was sharp and tart and only semi sweet.  Very long finish on this wine.  Sadly this was my last bottle of this particular wine and have seen no others in the market here.

Good meal and a good wine.

2008 Jakob Schneider Niederhause Klamm Riesling Kabinett.  8.5% alcohol and $16

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Home Again

“Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it makes brains. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat. Perhaps a couple of whales would be enough.”................Mark Twain

It's good to be home and cooking again.  Last night was a fillet of red snapper that was pan seared and served with a mango, red onion, cilantro and lime juice salsa.  The rice was cooked in coconut milk.  The wine was a 2013 Kinkead Ridge Revelation White, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Albarino.  Good fish and very good wine.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

1999 Torbreck RunRig

With three good choices from the post below the way to make the decision was easy.  I shuffled and moved the bottles like nuts in a shell game until they were in a straight line and my friend whose back was turned for the entire process then chose "whichever bottle is on the far left."   That turned out to be the 1999 Torbreck Barossa Valley Runrig.

The wine, pictured above in a glass, is mature but not showing any signs of fading.  It is a blend of 97% Shiraz and 3% Viognier.  Rich and hearty aromas of black fruit and oak were strong.  The first sip was ripe, fruity, solidly structured and perfectly balanced between earth and fruit.  With some swirling and waiting while the rack of lamb cooked on the grill the tannins softened just enough to add a level of elegance to the wine.  There were hints of clean, dry leather, dusty earth, rich dark fruits and a finish the was long and delicious. With the lamb the wine was even better and a total treat to drink. 

1999 Torbreck Barossa Valley RunRig.  14% alcohol and $200+

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tough Decision

There comes a time when tough decisions must be made. What's great about this decision that faced me before dinner tonight was that there could be no wrong answer.  All three would be great with a rack of lamb.  What was even better is that none were from my cellar and I wasn't paying for any of them.

And the winner was........

That will have to wait for the next post.