Monday, February 27, 2017

The Color of Wine

Red is for the 2001 Enzo Boglietti Case Nere Barolo

Light gold is for the 2015 J. Moreau & Fils Chablis

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Open That Bottle 2017

The last Saturday in February is Open that Bottle Night, the one night a year when you don't need an excuse to open a bottle that you have been saving for a special occasion.  It was started around 20 years ago by John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter who at that time were writing the wine column for the Wall Street Journal. 

This year was an adjustment of sorts, as the 2001 Enzo Boglietti Case Nere (black case) Barolo was a substitute bottle.  Two of the guests had to cancel the day before, and they had been looking forward to the first choice wine, a 1995 Luciano Sandrone Canubi Boschis.  I decided to hold that bottle for next year as the other folks would be thrilled with any good wine.

I opened the Boglietti about two hours before dinner and decanted it.  One sip was all it took to realize I should have opened it sooner.  It was tight, acidic, tannic and closed with little hint of fruit.  Half an hour later some cherries began appearing and the acidic assault lessened.  At just past an hour the wine began to bloom and the nose of flowers and just a bit of tar began to emerge.  It was at that point that I returned backup bottle #2 to the cellar. 

Two and a half hours after opening the bottle the lamb was finally ready and so was the wine.  It smelled like clean earth and flowers.  The tart cherry flavors were there, but so were some red plums.  The tannins had softened from an overbuilt body builder to a finely tuned athlete.  The length of flavor was wonderful and there was enough acid to cut through the richness of the lamb - roasted with Dijon mustard, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme.  Great combination. 

Of course, at the end of the meal the last glass was the best.  Everything this wine had came together.  The best news is that there is a second bottle in the cellar and it has a few years more before starting to go downhill. 

2001 Enzo Boglietti Case Nere Barolo.  14% alcohol and $70 when purchased ten years ago. 

Friday, February 24, 2017


This was the shrimp concoction that we ate with the 2105 Chablis discussed below.  The shrimp were peeled and deveined and then lightly brined in a salt, sugar and water solution for fifteen minutes. The shells were used to make a quick shrimp stock with white wine.  Finally the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and lemongrass were sauteed in some oil until fragrant, and the shrimp stock was added along with the shrimp.  The shrimp were removed and the sauce finished with some butter, parsley and lemon juice before the shrimp were returned to the pan.  The basmati rice was lightly flavored with a tiny bit of fresh turmeric while it cooked.

Rather tasty.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2015 Chablis

The purity of Chablis never fails to make me happy.  The 2015 J. Moreau & Fils basic Chablis is certainly no exception.  Sharp, tart fruit with hints of apples and lemon zest and an intense sense of minerality left no mistake where this wine originated.  Wonderful stuff at a sale price of $21.  It washed down a serving of shrimp lightly poached in shrimp stock with accents of garlic, ginger and lemongrass and finished with butter and red pepper flakes.   

The 2016 vintage in Chablis was horrendous with hail destroying a number of the vines.  I made the decision to stock up on the 2015 vintage that are just now coming to market.  I added four bottles of this wine. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Zen morning

Heavy, heavy fog rolled into this area overnight but the resident canine and I went to for our walk along the Great Miami River anyway.  We were the only somewhat domesticated creatures around.  Everyone else stayed home.

Her main interest was in locating the beavers who splashed her a week or so ago.  That was the first time either of us had been splashed by beaver in this area.  She was not happy and has been back to that spot twice since looking for them.

She found the evidence of their presence but the beavers themselves refused to make an appearance.

Nonetheless a good walk and a peaceful way to start one's day.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Early Morning Light

Nature has many scenes to exhibit, and constantly draws a curtain over this part or that. She is constantly repainting the landscape and all surfaces, dressing up some scene for our entertainment. Lately we had a leafy wilderness; now bare twigs begin to prevail, and soon she will surprise us with a mantle of snow. Some green she thinks so good for our eyes that, like blue, she never banishes it entirely from our eyes, but has created evergreens. ~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, February 10, 2017

Happy International Scotch Day

The world needs more celebrations so I was happy to see that February 10 is the first ever International Scotch Day.  That is something I am more than willing to celebrate.  It's a promotion of Diageo, who own enough distilleries to keep the world supplied, but it's not restricted to their brands.

The above bottle recently came to my doorstep - a Springbank 10 year old malt from Campbeltown in the extreme southwest of Scotland.  It is not a Diageo brand.  It will probably be followed by a Lagavulin of either 8, 12 or 16 years of age, which is a Diageo whisky.  Full details in a future post.

Party responsibly.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


A wonderful pairing last night.

Not only is the label on the wine colorful, but the meal was also.  Both were delicious as well, though no picture of the meal exists because it was eaten without the thought of photography.

The wine in question was a 2011 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese from the Mosel region of Germany.  The Merkelbach brothers (Rolf is also credited on the label) make some of my favorite, affordable Rieslings and this one is certainly no exception.

First there was a hint of kerosene, but that blew off quickly.  Next was citrus aromas and a definite suggestion of spring flowers in bloom.  Citrus and crisp apple flavors were primary, but there was an underlying sense of minerality that moved this beyond the ordinary.  There was a bit a sweetness on the finish but the acid in this wine kept it from being the primary feature.

Dinner was stir fried lamb, asparagus and red peppers all flavored with dried chilies, garlic and ginger and finished in a sauce of mostly hoisin sauce.  Simple, easy, colorful and delicious.

The bit of sweetness in the wine was just about perfect for the heat from the dried chilies.  Each gave the other some balance.   Wonderful stuff. One more in the cellar.

2011 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese.  9.5% alcohol and $21

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Franco Sera

It had been awhile since I drank a bottle of Barbera D'Alba, but during a trip through the local market several days ago a small, well fatted, rib steak found its way into my basket.  Next step was to cruise the wine department.  The Franco Sera 2014 Barbera D'Alba jumped into the basket with the steak, and since it was a bargain price of $12 I couldn't tell it 'no.'

It was exactly as I expected - full of earthy fruit and sharp acid that cut through the richness of the steak which was grilled over an oak fire.  The fruit in the wine was a good match with the oak from the steak.  There was nothing serious about this wine, it just said 'drink me and enjoy.'  We did.

2014 Franco Sera Barbera D'Alba.  13% alcohol and $12.