Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. It's the least controversial, sanest, and non confrontational day of the year.

A pot of morning tea and some fresh cranberry pecan and orange quick bread  were a great way to start.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Les Charming

The man in the produce section at the local market handed me the last of the fresh chanterelles of the season several days ago.  Along with some veal steaks cut into cubes, some chicken stock, a little flour, a little butter, some cognac and some sour cream they became a veal and chanterelle stroganoff.  Served with some noodles it was pale, and creamy, rich and satisfying, and just plain delicious.

It would have been easy to overwhelm this meal with a big red wine so I opted for a 2012 Cave de Lugny, Macon Lugny, Les Charmes, a modest white burgundy.  There was nothing fancy here, just a simple and crisp chardonnay without any pretensions.  Tart and lemony with touches of white pepper it made a perfect dance partner for the veal and mushrooms. 

The wine and the meal were simple,easy and quite tasty.

2012 Cave de Lugny, Macon Lugny, Les Charmes.  13.5% alcohol and $15. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Still Life

There is a new sushi shop in the area and it is a definite upgrade over what was previously available.  This is a Lady in Red Roll - visually beautiful and rather tasty. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Something New

Something new and very delicious arrived a couple of weeks ago via UPS.  It spent appropriate time resting from its long journey but finally one of the foursome lost its cork and fulfilled its destiny of providing pleasure.

The wine was a 2012 Benanti Rosso di Verzella  Etna Rosso fresh from the slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily.  It is a blend of  two new grapes to add to the list of wine grapes I have tasted - Nerello Mascalese (80%) and Nerello Cuppiccio (20%). 

There was spaghetti with meat sauce and pepperoni and it was time for a simple, Italian red wine to wash it down.  In that context this wine was almost perfect.  Fresh, fruity aromas and flavors of tart cherries jumped out of the glass when the wine was poured into it and sipped.  Those aromas and tastes just kept on giving with more swirling.  

The wine was light in color like Nebbiolo, tart with cherries like a Chianti and had a mouth feel like a not too serious Valpolicella.  On the finish its tannins gripped the sides of the mouth like a Langhe Nebbiolo, but added a bit of the earthiness of a Chianti.  Definitely an Italian red wine and definitely delicious and happy.  

One bottle will be put away for a time as an experiment, but this wine is so delicious to drink now that the other two will not last long.  It's also affordable.

2012 Benanti Rosso di Verzella  Etna Rosso.  14% alcohol and $15. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014


The best local brewery in this area is Rhinegeist (Ghost of the Rhine) in Cincinnati.  They just released their holiday beer which they are calling Dad.

To quote the can:
This hoppy, red ale balances crisp hops with juicy malts like a well worn flannel embraces the cold, early, dark days of winter.
The photo is from three days ago, but the weather is definitely un-sunny.  It is cold, gray and overcast  and we are expecting the first snowfall of the season this weekend.   I'm going to need a lot of flannel.

Rhinegeist Dad.  Red Ale - 6% alcohol.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2003 Astralis

The wine for the rack of lamb and the chanterelles was once again from Australia. It was a 2003 Clarendon Hills Astralis. their high end syrah bottling.  This was a big wine full of fruit and depth and well integrated tannin.  Lots of blueberries and black raspberries in the initial sip with velvety tannins and great acid.  A viscous wine that coated the mouth and left its flavors lingering.  Rich and gamey and marvelous with the lamb, it just refused to fade.  There were herbs and spices in the finish and even a suggestion of soy sauce.   A wine that was a true treat to drink.

2003 Clarendon Hills Astralis.  14.5% alcohol and about $250.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fresh Chanterelles

The local market has been overflowing with fresh mushrooms lately and I have been unable to resist most of them. Pictured here are fresh, golden chanterelle mushrooms which wound up sauteed in butter and then tossed with pasta and cheese and served alongside a rack of lamb.  There have been king trumpet mushrooms on a pizza, fresh porcini in risotto and white beech mushrooms in a salad.

The first few days of November are for mushrooms what the last few days of March are for lettuce, spinach and early herbs from the garden.  And due in tomorrow are fresh hen of the woods mushrooms.  The last bounty of the year. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New Addition to the Staff

It has been ten months since the last of the original crew of canines referenced in the title of this blog died.  This week we welcomed a replacement who was in need of a new home.  Her elderly owner had to surrender her when she was forced to relocate to assisted living after a diagnosis of dementia. She needed a home and I needed a Gordon Setter.  Problem finds solution.

I'm happy to report that she is definitely a kitchen dog and has been named sous chef for her skills of quickly cleaning up anything that falls to the floor.    She is also very attentive to the tree where the squirrels hang out, which is where her two predecessors spent a good deal of time.

Life is good.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Felsina Rancia

It has been some time since I opened a wine from the Fattoria di Felsina. That was remedied last night with a 2007 Chianti Classico Risesrva, Rancia.

Very dark wine and the aromas were all about ripe, red cherry fruit and dry Tuscan earth.  Lots of wines are earthy but, to me, there is a certain uniqueness to the Chianti region earth.

At seven years out from the vintage the tannins had mellowed somewhat in this wine and the fruit was really shining in the taste as well as the aromas.  Great depth and length to the wine. 

With a plate of sauteed, fresh Chanterelle mushrooms surround by some strozzapreti pasta and topped with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano the wine was even better.  The earthy flavors in the wine and the same flavors in the mushrooms complimented each other, while the fruit just highlighted the cheese.  Good meal - great wine.

2007 Fattoria di Felsina Beradenga Chianti Classico Riserva, Rancia.  14% alcohol and $40.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A 2011 Weekend

It was a strange weekend, starting cold and wet and finishing cool and sunny.  It started Friday night with an unusual combination of stir fried noodles, moved on to Saturday with some scallops followed by a small steak, and ended Sunday with a velveted chicken breast in a mustard sauce.

The 2011 Kinkead Ridge White Revelation went nicely with the noodles, which weren't too spicy.  It went even better with the sauteed scallop appetizer on Saturday.  The 2011 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc was excellent with the small steak with a cherry sauce underneath, and just as good with a simple chicken dish on Sunday night.

2011 Kinkead Ridge White Revelation.  13.5% alcohol and $14
2011 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc.  13.8% alcohol and $21.