Interregnum

A Few Hints on the Day Before Thanksgiving:

The Red Wines for tomorrow are Gamay and Pinot Noir, maybe a lighter Grenache.  Don’t annoy someone with god damn Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile which makes EVERYONE’S mouth taste like they just ate a tea bag. Go soft.  Gentle.  Gentler.  Beaujolais Village Cru.  2011 Morgon.  2009 Moulin-a-Vent.  Maybe a Grenache from north of Barcelona.  Yes.  That’s the spot.

The White Wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (avoid Grigio if you can), Gewurztraminer, perhaps. Honestly most white go, since a lotta guys will be drinking beers and the women will start drinking the wine the minute they start to ignore their kids, so whatever really, right ladies?  A nice blend, like Connundrum always works.

We got delivery tonight. Bobbo is baking pies and making some appetizers for tomorrow. He does a great raspberry baked brie and a crab dip.  Then again, doesn’t everyone.

The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 is fantastic for under $10 a bottle. We have been getting it for between $9 and $10 and have been having a bottle or 2 every night. It is the time to indulge and it is a great year! Remember, this wine can ONLY be drank between Nov. 16th and Jan. 1st. The brave drink it to Jan. 15th. I am a brave man! Santé! A wonderful holiday to you, even if you don’t celebrate it.  In much of Aerica, It has turned into a time to celebrate friends and family, no matter how much you hate it!

Doing Penance

Le Grand Noir 2011 Pinot Noir (Limoux, France)

Last Years Label

Ok, had a totally sinful weekend at Sharpe Hill Vineyards & Winery & Restaurant & Favorite Place in the Northeast for me to go for an autumn afternoon.  More pictures soon.  RIght now I am sitting here, proud as punch of myself to have not engaged in the SubSin of Gluttony called Laute, expensive gluttony, actually purchasing a mixed case of wine for $141 which is $13 a bottle. So, let’s complete our penance and drink ’em up, eh?  Le Grand Noir 2011 Pinot Noir is full of fresh cherry pie and vanilla.  It contains about 14% Grenache.  It comes from south central France where we don’t usually get wine from.  It is a soft, silky drink with lots of delicious flavor and a luscious body, but no roughness.  It’s THAT bottle of red wine to sit and drink. Screw food.  Repent you bad bad sinner.  You know your wicked guilty.  Pour yourself another.  I have a dozen.  Island Spirits & Wines on Broadway in Newport has 20% off wine and liquor (I think – don’t qoute me) until October 31st.  With tax this wine was under $10.  Damn its good.  I will talk about our fantastic trip to Sharpe Hill this weekend tomorrow.

          Road to Sharpe Hill Vineyards

Committing Venial Sins and Confession to a Pork Belly

One thing that I find the most frustrating – I drink more wine than I write about. Way more wine than I have a chance to commit them to typographic memory. What can make that worse is, sometimes, when I go back to have a wine a second time, the situation of the taste… bar v. restaurant … meal v. drink … you get the picture, changes something about the wine.  I don’t want to be one of those people running around talking into their phone to record things, but it may be not too far down the pipeline. 

Same thing with food.  October 9th was a big milestone for me on my new journey back into the world of wine, what with almost 30 years of dancing around wines, grapes, vineyards, all sorts of places or things associated with the vine. I started teaching about wine again.  I did beer classes in 2010 and taught wine from 2005 through 2009  I did so many seminars in the late 90s and early 00s in California.  I still remember when I sold about 18 cases of almost “gone” Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (gone meaning it had only a year or so left in its life) with nothing but my mouth and a tub of shucked oysters and some lemons.  I have forgotten the exact things I spoke about Tuesday in class (although I started following the syllabus I developed in the beginning of the class, I’m sure). Those that know me say I go off on tangents.  I’m sure we will be on one by the end of this post. We may be already.  Who knows?  I want to memorialize my meal after the class. The Chef at One Bellevue invited Bobbo and I (or is it me?) to sit down and enjoy a 4 course meal on him.  A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Crispy Pork Belly, pickled red cabbage, golden raisins, cider gastrique

Both of us began with Crispy Pork Belly, a perfect combination of skin, fat and meat drizzled with the most divine (too gay? ok, exquisite then…) cider gastrique with a perfect amount of acid to cut through the thickness of the dish and a nice big glass of the unctuous and dark Belle Glos Meiomi 2011 Pinot Noir. I continued on with Chef Thiele’s Grand Chowder, which is a kind of medium consistency clam chowder base, then nicely supplanted with scallops, shrimp, & lobster.  It has a rich, refined consistency and is spiced properly so it doesn’t fall flat on you from the richness of the cream.  It paired perfectly with the suggested Ferrari Carano 2010 Chardonnay which has a nice backbone of acidity but the proper buttery, creamy base and late summer stone fruit upnotes. This was followed by the sushi-grade rare Ahi tuna steak with blackberry reduction.  It was red meat from the ocean, a rancher’s dream. I had my Mr. Miyagi moment when I was about to order a light Chard when the server recommended something different based upon the exercises and lecture from the class earlier.  Instead, I had the smooth, light, balanced and extremely aromatic 2009 Erath Pinot Noir. Fit the dish to perfection.  The quality of the tuna and the blackberry glaze made it a hearty and sweet dish while the bed of lentils it laid on gave it a salty and earthy quality.  We shared an Artisinal Cheese & Fruit plate while a mysterious bottle of Renwood 2004 Amador Zinfandel Ice Wine appeared before us.  The whole meal was capped off by shots of Redbreast 12-year Irish Whiskey, a smooth easy-drinking whiskey from County Cork, last years Irish whiskey of the year.