The other day attended The DSWS Annual Grand Portfolio Tasting. Held at New York's Four Season's hotel restaurant, packed with wine buyers, chefs and producers, the evening consisted of a buzz of wine speak, swishes, sniffing, spittoons and clink of glasses.
First I visited Angela Velenosi, wine producer from Le Marche. A region well known for Verdicchio, its producers are trying new blends along with old regional varietals. The first wine was a blend of Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Ludi at 13.5% was very strong, with a taste and flavor unfamiliar but intriguing. I also tried some of their whites, including some fruit flavored wine with a bit of a sparkle, which made me think of a sort of spritzer with cherries.
I then tried some delicious wine from Nimes. Produced by Chateau de Valcombe, these were crisp and full of fruit. From there I tried a wonderful selection of Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn, produced in the Rheinghau region. The minerality was amazing. In addition, I had the chance to confirm the recent NY Times writeup on Sicilian wines. They didn't dissapoint. Terrazze Dell'Etna had the most interesting wines, full of spice and sun ripened fruit flavors, benefit of the altitude and soil from the volcanic hills of Mount Etna.
Like boxes of chocolate, you never know what a bottle of wine will bring. Learning to read the label helps! It helps, too, if - like me - you have a brother who is a wine geek. Recently he moved out to work in a northern Californian winery in a town called Paso Robles. Before leaving his East Coast job selling wine, he set me up with a case of prime picks. Well, those are gone now. Anyway, here is a list of some favorites of mine.
Recently I was invited to Abbottega for an evening celebrating the food and wines of Rome. Put together by Sara De Bellis (a native of the eternal city) and her staff, it was a night of great conversation, lots of photographers snapping pictures (and making me feel like I'd "arrived,") and terrific food.
Giovanni Caveggia, wine representative from Principe Pallavicini, gave a thorough explanation of Roman wines, as we enjoyed them between courses of Sara's home town picks, including in-house baked breads, and focaccia and... well, an abundance of delicious food. In between eating, I got to hang out with with the hilarious Gennaro Pecchia, who kept me laughing in between keeping me in shots. Thank you, Gennaro. But most of all, grazie, Sara. Well done!
Presents "ABBOTTEGA WINE & DINE" A Cycle of Dinner Tasting Created to Divulge the Italian Regional Traditional Culture about "Wine&Dine"
Tuesday October 28th 8pm-10pm "Back to The Roman Roots"
The Traditional and Creative Roman Cuisine meets the Prestigious Principe Pallavicini Wines
Main Courses Gnocchi alla Romana Roman Gnocchi Mezze Maniche all’Amatriciana Half Rigatoni in tomato sauce, Pork Jowl and Pecorino Cheese Paired with Cesanese “Amarasco” 2012 Principe Pallavicini ∞ Costoletta d’Abbacchio con Panatura Rustica alla Mentuccia, Pannacotta al Pecorino Romano e Puntarelle in Salsa d’Alici Lamb Chop with Rustic breading and Mint With Pecorino flavored Pannacotta and Puntarellein Anchovies Sauce Paired with “Casa Romana” 2011 Principe Pallavicini
Dessert Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole Italian Tart with Cherry Sauce Ciambelline al Vino Dried Mini Wine Donuts Paired with“Stillato” 2012 Principe Pallavicini
Quite often I get a taste of some interesting wines, looking to my friend Gretchen on Instagram for help with her terrific descriptive details. Here are some wines I drank and asked her opinion on, along with an observance. Watch for oxidization, as sometimes it could be mixed up for mineral coming from limestone found often in vineyards.
This was a Austrian wine that has a mix of varieties, and went fairly well with seafood, with fruit and acidity nicely balanced.
Another wine with mixed varietals and price point. It's not a deep wine, but could go well with simple cheeses, chicken.
Considering this wine's reputation, my bottle was actually a dissapointment. Definitively has an oxidative quality. Gretchen seeing a negative comment about the bottle wrote back, "I knew immediately what it was!"
Such oxidative qualities clashed with my dinner of rigatoni grano arso and clams.
Gretchen wrote: "I say something with strong aromatics, and a touch sweet, Clash of Titans!"
Here is one I've missed since my first trying it in while in Rhode Island. Fabulous for seafood, this New Zealand wine has a big foot print, but is worth it.
And below is this jewel from Languedoc, a I.G.P. Wine, Cinsault grapes, which was delicious.
Ever since my interest in baking bread caught fever, I have managed to fenagle formulas from bakers worldwide. Sometimes the formulas take years to actually get right at home. Other times I hit it immediately.
One baker has helped me out in particular, someone who goes by the pseudonym Le Globe trotteur. I met Le Globe Trotteur on Facebook. He's based in Barcelona. He was kind enough to give me a formula for his "walnut red wine bread," which I'd had parked for awhile in my files. Finally trying it for clients of my micro bakery, I managed to get it right the first time, and ended up keeping a loaf for myself.
Le Globe Trotteur's red wine walnut bread
700g levain (60%hydrated
Walnut red wine bread
Walnut 800g and red wine 600gr
White flour, t 65 1.600kg
With the white flour put your maceration add 600cl more of water
Mix it 5 min and let it rest at least 45 min. (Autolyse)
If you use Levain liquide better to get only 500g of water
because the sugars will work and dilated strongly so i recommend to use hard
sourdough for this product 700g (60%)
You can try both anyway.
Well after your Autolyse introduce your levain(Whatever it
is)2g of yeast and let it in first velocity (speed) during 3 min
After your 3 minutes add the salt,40g and let it mix in
first velocity (speed) 12min
When you've got the dough ready (mixed) let it proof 1hour in a bowl with a
bit of oil (no flour)
Give it a rabat (fold), proof one more hour.
So after your rabat (fold) and after two hours 2 hours, get it out from your bowl and weigh it to whatever weight you want, pre-shape, and let it
rest 30 40 minutes, the give it the final shape. Give it a three hour proof,(if not
If your retard the dough, do exactly the same process to the folding letting it proof hour more after it's shaped, then into the
fridge. Next day take the dough out of the fridge divide it let it rest 40 minutes. shape and let
it proof, then into the oven around 250 Celcius or 485 Farenheit.
Rye red wine crust (Optional)
Mix this paste the day before. Smear the paste on proofed loaves, and bake. Try some and leave one with and one without to decide which is your favorite one. Let it cool 2 hours et voila bonne!
Housed on the edge of the Old Montreal, it's an awe inspiring setting that delivers equal emotion in terms of food. A focus of the owners is to highlight Canadian products in terms of both food and wine.
Chef Derek Dammann
Upon arriving with a party that included Montreal chef Michele Forgione, along with New York restauranteur Sarah Jenkins and her chef Lauren, we were given a tour of the facitlities, including the wine cellar where lots of Derek's home cured charcuterie hangs, literally. Then there's this amazing slicer....jaw dropping chef toy!
Dinner included an array of amazing dishes and wines. As Dana and Alex explained the cuisine, I snapped photographs, trying simultaneously to remember their words, capture the beauty of the scene, and also to sustain the succulence of all the flavors as long as possible. Enjoying a meal that could make you dizzy with delight, the evening became a wonderful blur which even affected my photographs (though let's blame that on the dimming of the lights).
If I am so lucky to return again to Montreal, I will go back and visit, hopefully get a sample of nose to tail cuisine or more of that Sea Duck I had, how deliciously gamey and so Canadian!
I especially want to thank Michele Forgione, my host, for introducing me to two amazing gourmands, who by the way are headed to Noma, no doubt for some inspiration!
The other day over a quick and simple lunch of salad, along with freshly baked walnut bread and cheese. I popped open a bottle of Tilia Bonarda from the Mendoza region of Argentina....It's a Malbec. And it's very good.
With as 13.9 percent alcohol content, the wine has nuances of cherry, dark cassis, and is slighty dry but juicy. It could use a bit of airing to let out its complex body. Two small glasses with the salad, bread and brie let to a nap with the cat for a few winks!
Then yesterday I got some mountain gorgonzola from Murray's Cheese Shop, bringing it up to my mom's home. We brought it up to room temperature, then nestled the cheese in the nooks and crannies of my newly baked Vermont Sourdough. The intense marriage of wine and cheese so complimented each other, I finished up the last drops from the bottle, noting that this is a wine to remember and at a reasonable eight dollars and change. A worthwhile pick with value in taste and the wallet!
Recently, my brother Philippe was in New York City, heading an event for his Colorado employers and Relais Chateaux . Philippe is the multitasking chef, wine & spirits guy, as well the head fly fishing guide for The Home Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
A plus of having my brother visit, a bottle of first class Cabernet Sauvignon left behind. A bigger surprise was trying a wine from Junction Colorado. It's called Colterris, and it's surprisingly akin in taste to an Argentine red, Colome. Philippe's present is the second wine I've tried and greatly enjoyed from high altitude regions in the Americas.
It's not the usual cabernet, this is pure fruit, lots of deep flavors with a palate of warm berries and lacking the sometimes harsh tannins. This probably could sit and age beautifully, but we drank the bottle. Hard to stop with such a good American wine!