Monday, September 27, 2010

Cantina di Soave Re Midas Corvina 2009 IGT

Italy's Veneto region is the home of the Corvino grape used in so many great wines of the region. This one is a version using that same grape aged in stainless steel tanks for three months, then in the bottle for one month... and what you get is an everyday wine that is so food friendly. Ruby red colors and fresh floral aromas and a waft of dried fruits, topped with bright cherry flavors and sweet vanilla accents and spicy undertones. Under $9/bottle.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Viña Maipu Malbec Roble 2008 Argentina

From the Andes foothills in Mendoza, Argentina, this Malbec shows deep hues of blackberry, bold aromas of raspberry with resinous accents of blue fruits. On the palate ribbons of raspberry pie, prunes, and cassis blending nicely to finish with sexy accents of spices and dried fruits, reminding me that fall is here. A great value for about $15.

Wine & Spirits panels tasted 2,195 wines that sell for $15 or less. Among these, the panels chose the 100 wines that offer the best quality-price ratio (the top values). The Vina Maipu was one of five Argentinian wines among the "100 Top Values of the Year"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Due Risotti Alla Casa Di Eric

My friend Eric Guido has done it again. He's obsessed with Risotto, and I'm so glad. Almost every time he has a new Risotto experiment he calls me to test his new recipes. It's a tough job, but hey... somebody's got to do it. But first... to the wines...

Azienda Agricola Moroder Rosso Conero 2002
Didn't take notes on this but do remember deep balsamic notes with waves of super ripe strawberries, unfiltered with lots of sediment, but a very interesting take on a Montepulciano.

Torrette Les Cretes Valle d'Aoste DOC 2006
Aromas of vanilla and caramel, blending with earth tones and a palate of blue fruits and berries... paired with red, orange, and yellow peppers, beets and radicchio with an unbelievable dipping sauce called Bagna Cauda (ban-ya cow-dah) olive oil warmed slowly for 2 hours with anchovies and garlic, this was amazing.

Cataldi Madonna Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007
Black cherries, glycerine, plums and blueberry with a slight hint of violets.

Vietti Barbera d'Alba Scarrone 2005 DOC
100% Barbera, from small single vineyard and 60 year old vines, here is a delicious nose of violets, chocolate with cherry pie, vanilla and cinnamon, carrying a nice acidity, and a long smooth finish.

Now to the two delicious Risottos... one was a simple risotto made mainly with Barolo, the other was made with Barolo, but with onions, garlic, herbs, carrots and fresh grapes (I believe that's it... I will try to get more info from Eric and post it asap).

Vina Valoria Rioja 1973
The only non-Italian in the group, this old Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain shows ruby colors, aromas of intense barnyard/animal, black cherries, then baked cherries, following by super ripe fruits and cherry candy, long and sexy finish.

Rocca Sveva Amarone Della Valpolicella 2006 DOC
Deep ruby with warmer colors around the edge of the glass, along with cherry pie aromas, layered with flavors of rich chocolate, dried fruits, bing cherries, and dark berries. On the palate has a nice full-bodied structure, with notes of hazelnut, a beautiful balance and lasting finish.

Paolo Bea Sanvalentino IGT 2006
From Umbria and made from a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino and 15% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Paolo Bea is one of Italy's top producers. Aromas of roses and dry cassis with dark cherries, oak, flowers and spices, closing with a silky smooth finish.

For dessert Eric used a huge wooden cutting board loaded with cheeses like Morbier, Taleggio and Pecorino with black pepper, Prosciutto, Italian Salami and red grapes. Much thanks to Eric for a fun and delicious evening. BTW, check out his site called The V.I.P Table, great talk about food, cooking and wines.

Oh, and I almost forgot the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with a dollop of 40 year old Balsamic vinegar.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

If you always wanted to stomp grapes, tomorrow's the day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010
11am to 4pm

(yes this means you stomp grapes with bare feet!)
12pm to 3pm in the Market Court

Monday, September 13, 2010

The New Amsterdam Market

From ice cream in flavors like chocolate/rosemary to succulent lobster rolls to probably the best porchetta I've ever had, The New Amsterdam Market offers up an unbelievable range of products from local producers bent on sustainable and/or organic farming.

This fall the market is upping it's schedule from once a month to every Sunday through December 19th (with the exception of November 28th, Thanksgiving weekend), and I finally got see what all the fuss was about. The stalls are set up under the FDR Drive so it's semi-protected from the elements.

I headed to the market having had a light breakfast, so I would have room for as many samples as possible. Good idea. My first stop was Table Tales, mainly because the aromas coming from a huge red pot of their "Sunday Gravy". OMG, imported Garafolo macaroni, pork and beef, with san Marzano tomatoes. Brought childhood memories of sauce (gravy) being made by my aunts every Sunday.

Next stop was Painted Goat Farms, where I sampled and bought some delicious goat cheese with herbs, olive oil and pignoli nuts.

I followed my nose again, and ended up at Porchetta, a little shop in the East Village, where Pig is King. The Porchetta sandwich was absolute heaven, spiced just right.

Now I surely needed some vino, so I stopped at Benmarl Winery (America's oldest vineyard) to sample their Cabernet Franc (my favorite) and Merlot.

And finally for dessert, The Bent Spoon where I had the chocolate ice cream with rosemary.... I know that sounds weird, but man those flavors really go together well.

There were so many vendors I wanted to sample but not enough time (or space in my stomach), so I guess I'll just have to go back, soon. It's worth the trip.

Here is a list of the vendors from this past Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010:

Acme Smoked Fish
Basis/Good Food To You
Benmarl Winery
The Bent Spoon
Berkshire Cheese
Bowery Lane Bicycles
Breezy Hill Orchard
Cooperstown Cheese Company
Dickson's Farmstand Meats
Do Re Mi Farm
The Filling Station
Great Performances
Green Mountain Energy
Hudson Valley Duck Farm
Jimmy's No.43
Kombucha Brooklyn
La Newyorkina
Liddabit Sweets
Luke's Lobster
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Mosefund Farm
Mother-In-Law's Kimchi
Nordic Breads
Orwasher's Bakery
Painted Goat Farm
People's Pops
Queens County Farm Museum
The Ravioli Store
The Redhead
Rick's Picks
Sullivan Street Bakery
Sweet Deliverance
Table Tales
Taza Chocolate
Zone 7

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nine Bordeaux: A Tasting at Snooth

Greg Dal Piaz from Snooth organized a tasting last week to sample nine Bordeaux wines from the 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages, and below are some of my tasting notes.


Chateau Sociando Mallet Haut-Medoc
Full bodied, animal, barnyard, chocolate covered cherries, cherry liquore, dry leaves, $50.

Chateau Prieure-Lichine Margaux
Vegetal aromas, lilac/violet, mesquite, flavors of wood, bark and licorice, $40.

Chateau Dassault St. Emilion
90% Merlot, blackberry, cherry, berries, vanilla, barbecue sauce, nose shows petroleum, chocolate, flavors of caramel with coffee-like tannins, normally $40 but can be found for as little as $20.


Chateau Mazeris Canon Fronsac
Raspberries, blue fruits, cooked fruits, wax cherry candy, $30.

Chateau Olivier Pessac-Leognan
Muted aromas, mint, mocha, clay (someone mentioned playdough), powdered dry flowers, musk, $40.

Chateau Camensac Haut-Medoc
Petrol, ripe cherries, milk chocolate, and violets, $25.


Chateau Sociando Mallet Haut-Medoc
Minty with cigar smoke, cedar and vanilla, $50

Chateau Camensac Haut-Medoc
Purple fruits, noticeable tannins, some bite, $25

Chateau Prieure-Lichine Margaux
Liked this, sweet and pretty, chalk flavors of blueberry and blackberry, $40

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Vintners Cuvee XXXII

Thought by many to be one of the better California Zinfandels, Rosenblum Cellars makes this blend of the 2007 and 2008 vintage to very interesting results. Hues of dark ruby towards the blue side color the glass, as waves of blackberry, figs and spices round out the aromas. In the mouth flavors of cherries, vanilla, cocoa and dried fruit combine for a smooth finale that is rich and attractive. Paired well with a risotto with sausage and radicchio at Il Poeta Restaurant.

Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple

Gary Grunner and Bob Lipinski, two old pro's in the wine business, have a new book out that is a really handy pocket reference guide for Italian wine and cheese, and if you're like me you'll love it.

It begins with a brief history of cheese, along with an alphabetical listing of over 250, their regions of origin, aroma, flavor, what cheese it's similar to, texture, etc. Next a chapter on Italian wines with lots of background information, bouquet and flavor and the recommended cheese(s) to go with them.

There's also a really cool chart listing wines and every cheese that will pair well with it, a section listing the 20 regions of Italy and the cheeses produced in each, an appendix listing grapes and the wines that are made from them, and even a section that pairs cheese with fruits.

This is a great and valuable book that can be appreciated by a neophyte as well as an old wine afficionado, and will be a useful guide in any wine shop, wine bar, cheese shop or restaurant.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trespass Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2006 Napa Valley Estate Grown

There were only 250 cases produced of this Napa Valley gem, this bottle given to me as a birthday present by my good friend, Eric Guido. Eric and his wife Deborah took a trip to Trepass Vineyards last year and returned raving about their wines, so I was really happy to unwrap this Cabernet Franc.

Deep and opaque ruby colors are followed by a sexy bouquet, strutting the catwalk with style and grace, but confident power. The aromas are red currants and blackberries while the palate shows signs of herbs and flowers, a wonderful balance of acidity and tannins, finishing beautifully with a suggestion of spices and strawberries.

Cabernet Franc is used for blending Bordeaux and other varietals in the Loire Valley, but is being seen more and more around the world.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Macari Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Long Island

From "Katherine's Field" on the North Fork of L.I. This Sauvignon Blanc shows colors and aromas of straw, hints of metal, like flint and stone with flavors leaning to the grapefruit side of citrus, and kiwi on the finish. Wine buddy Marco S. found this wine to exhibit grass, slate & melon, and I would have to agree.