Thursday, December 13, 2007
On this evening I even did the crazy thing of having it with wine. I had the 2005 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett. Actually not bad. The sweetness and light acidity did not distract. A nice Kabinett that may be mistaken as a Spätlese.
If you ever make there I give two pieces of advice. Remember it is made to order and can take up to 2 hours to get your food. Also, watch the Video. It is a little long ... but believe me ... it is worth it.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Curiosity killed the Pinot here. Had my bottles sitting there and thought these will probably need a few years…but I had know what type of wine this was. Opened and poured a glass. Immediately I could smell the earth, bramble and toast. Expressive nose. Broad across the palate and then hit of tart acids. Finish totally clipped and slightly bitter. I poured my wife a glass and then corked the bottle for the next day. As the evening went on and we had dinner the palate began to smooth out. For the second day the tart acids had added some sweetness (but not cloying) and more complexity had developed. This will be a nice contrast to my Siduris, Lorings and Brewer-Cliftons. Of those this wine may be the prettiest. It has it its own place. But this wine is crying for sleep. If you are acid adverse this may not be for you, at least certainly not right now. I’ll probably pop another one in 18 months to check the progress but I would suspect this won’t hit its stride until 2010.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Sunday, December 24, 2006
What to do. About time to close for the holidays so a few of us gathered at the office, grabbed some sushi and enjoyed some wine. We had me, Dietz, Frayer as well as Darren and Matt who just gettings sucked into the world of wine.
We started off with a mystery white. A really nice white which I found rich and mouth coating. Jim and Gerry danced around its
Then we poured my 1998 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir. My hopes were not high as experience has shown me that these wines don’t hold up well. The color was showing some age but still very vibrant. The nose was a bad sign. Odd. Probably VA. At first sip there was a lot tannin and the fruit was fading. Not great flavors. Once we broke out the sushi it seemed to smooth out a little but still not great.
Time for my 2004 Pey-Marin Pinot Noir. Nice ripe nose. The wine is still very primary. Tasty but somewhat simple. Still a well made wine that is enjoyable now but will round in about 2 or 3 years. Wine Spectator gave this an 83. Classic! I am not sure what they were smoking.
On to Jim’s 2004 Littorai “Les Larmes”
Arcadian time. 2003 Arcadian Dierberg & Fiddlestix Pinot Noir. Guess who brought these. The Dierberg is killer. Drinking great right now. Mixed opinions on the Fiddlestix but for me it was very closed off right now. Lots of stix and little fiddle at this stage. Seems to have the right stuffing but I won’t touch it for a few years.
Gerry also provided us with an Arcadian 2000 Francesca’s Cuvee that was opened the night before. Shows age when you look at the color as well as on the nose. There is plenty of fruit but it is also showing earth, blood and meat. Still a bit of a bruiser. A pleasure to drink but I think the elegance will continue to develop as the years go by.
For a final treat, Jim brought a 375 of the 2005
How They Stacked Up
A. Mann Auxerrois: One 3rd place = 1 pts
Arcadian Fiddlestix: One 3rd place = 1 pts
Beaux Freres: One 2nd place = 2 pts
Arcadian Dierberg: Two 2nd place = 4 pts
Pey-Marin: One 1st place, Two 3rd place = 5 pts
Arcadian Francesca’s: Two 2nd place, One 3rd place = 5 pts
Littoria: Four 1st place = 12 pts
Siduri: No votes
12 points 2004 Littoria “Les Larmes” = 1st place bye a mile
5 points 2004 Pey-Marin & 2000 Arcadian Francesca’s = 2nd place
4 points 2003 Arcadian Dierberg = 3rd place
For More CLICK HERE
Friday, October 20, 2006
As many people know, I am a bit of a St Innocent fanatic. So I need to plan a dinner for the Board that I report to while I am in
Since Mark Vlossak was busy taking care of his fresh grapes and he did not arrive until later in the evening, we were joined by his father (John Innocent), his mother Dot and his wife Vickianne. For those of you who have met John, you know that is a walking encyclopedia. It was a pleasure to hear his perspectives as well as Vickiannes.
So what did we drink!?
2004 Adelsheim Auxerrois: This is the first time I have knowingly drank a wine made from 100% Auxerrois. Unique from the nose to the mouth-feel. Mouth coating like cream. Creamy herb flavors mixed with pears and light sweetness. Really nice.
First Course: Salmon (I think poached) served in an amazing fish stock with mussels (with andouille sausage… I think) and potatoes. Top 3 mussels I have ever had.
Main Course: Braised beef cheeks served over risotto and fresh chanterelles. Kill me know. Damn this was good.
1994 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard (From a Magnum): Still lots of tannin and structure on this puppy. Great spiciness and cleaner flavors than the O’Connor. Certainly not acting like a 12 year old
I think most people would pick these as Burgundies. Maybe someone with a long history of tasting
We tasted some other wine during our trip but I will post that separately.Tim and Mark
Cheers! & Thanks to Tim, Kari, John, Dot, Vickianne.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Here is the second part of my interview with David Dain Smith. His wines are now released and shipped. If you received your order and have tasted the wine, please post your notes in the comment section. Congrats to David Dain for living the dream. If you haven't read Part One, click HERE .
- Your wines have been for sale for a few weeks now; how are the sales?
As I write this we have been fortunate to have already sold about 85% of our wine. We will be receiving requests from our mailing list until September 30th. Anything remaining at that time, if any, will be offered through retail channels. I look forward to increasing our produce somewhat for the 2005 vintage and having more wine for both the mailing list and retailers.
- With wine critics being so influential, do you worry about “scores”? Will you send your wine to the major reviewers?
We will be sending our wines to Wine Spectator for review. I have mixed feelings about that. I am told it simply must be done. IMHO, every time I sell a bottle of wine, the most important critics are the purchasers and their friends. I care more about what my customers think than any other critic. Given that, of course I hope our wines ‘score’ well. Some people enjoy sharing a ‘high-scoring wine’ with their friends. Nothing wrong with that really, I just want to make wine I enjoy, seems to work.
- Have you recently tasted any “under $20” wines that you can recommend?
I love the Saison des Vin from Copain, great pinot and syrah for about $18. (Copain is the winery of Wells Guthrie, wine-maker at Rossler Cellars. Wine Review ). Denis Mortet makes a
- Your wine will be made with grapes purchased from vineyard owners. Are you able to speak into the growing/picking/farming of those grapes and will your wine come from a specific spot in the vineyard or will they just be from "somewhere" in the vineyard?
- You mention "clones". What do you mean?
- How many different clones are there?
A lot, actually, but probably a couple dozen at the most are routinely planted in the
- Do you have any suggestions about where to get more information on different grapes and clones?
- What are the differences (stereotypically if you like) between California Pinot Noir and
(France) Pinot Noir? Burgundy
Same grape, different terroir.
- Is it okay to make Pinot Noir in an un-Burgundian style?
No. :-) Yes.
This question starts more fights among winemakers and wine geeks than any other I can think of. You should make the best wine your vineyard can make. If your vineyard is in
- Pinot Noir is known for being difficult. Is that from a grape-growing perspective, winemaking perspective or both?
Pinot is difficult to grow because you really need the right vineyard site. Syrah is somewhat more adaptable and can show well in a variety of climates, even
- Do you plan on making a white wine in the near future?
- Does wine always improve with age?
Not at all, some wines are meant to be consumed within 10 minutes of arrival in your kitchen. Seriously, all wine gets older if you lay it down, but not all wine gets better. Some very good wines are meant for consumption on release. If you like young wines there is nothing wrong with drinking your wines young. Personally, even for early drinking wines, I prefer to let the wine rest for about a year. Some wines should be left alone for decades. Speaking broadly,
Also, I believe most folks drink their reds too warm and their whites too cold.
(Scrutiny note: Amen to the above statement. I'll have a blog entry in the near future regarding this subject.)
- Is there a wine you dream of having one day?
Dain Wines, “Dandy”, 2004 Brosseau vineyard, in 2014!
- I know you are computer literate, but do you have an iPod…or another mp3 player?
I have a Sony Clie which is useful for photo, video and music. My kids have iPod(s). Clearly I am finally an adult; I can tell because I hate rap and love the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. The Brandenburg Concerto by Bach is proof of the existence of God.
- You have a link to Project Hope (pjhope.org) on your website. How did you get involved with them? How often do you participate with them?
- Describe for us a perfect day for
Actually, my vision of a perfect day would be one that ends with me grilling salmon while Cathy prepares some veggies and rice. We sit down to the table with the kids and some guests, and drink a 1995 Williams Selyem RRV Pinot Noir!!
- Who is the most influential person in you life?
“The child is a father to the man”
I don’t know who said that but it is very true indeed. The most influential person(s) in my life are definitely my children. Certainly the event that changed my life the most was becoming a parent. Hopefully, I am the most positive influence in their lives. All of them are very interested in wine production by the way! ~
Friday, June 16, 2006
Actually this is for anyone that makes a note and a personal judgment on a wine.
I have kept a record of my tasting notes for 10 years now and have always finished with a score. I love to score! But agree that a note should accompany it. When I read others notes I enjoy seeing their score but focus on the note and descriptors. For many years I have used the “Parker” Wine Advocate scoring system of, 5 (color) 15 (aroma) 20 (flavor) & 10 (overall). Add 50 yada yada.
It is great for comparing my wines and knowing my preferences. I have kept it the same so that my scores should be the equivalent through the years…although my palate or preferences have changed.
But, why judge the color. At the end of the day does it matter? If I taste a wine in a dark room and proclaim my love for it only to have the light turn on and see that it is cloudy or brown, will I retract my love. I drink wine, not look at it. Why does color make up 10% of the score on the “Parker” system?
This is not a rant. It is a real question.
For More Thoughts CLICK HERE
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Pictures from Right to Left: Brian Loring Loring (Loring Wine Company) & Frank Murry (host), and finally the wine
So what happens when your friend suggests we do a Pinot Noir tasting at his house and then he invites a few wine makers? Well, I would say an amazing day with a whole lot of wine, almost all of it provided by the generous wine-makers. Once one wine-maker joined in, it seemed like a competition to see who could provide the most wine. This was such a great opportunity because I got to try all 2004 Pinots from The Loring Wine Co (LWC), A.P. Vin, Alcina, Dain Wines and 4 or 5 from Siduri.
With so much wine it is not what I would consider the best way to judge a wine but it is great for getting familiar with the different styles and flavor profiles of different vineyards and wine-makers. Basically, it is a lot of short pours and a lot of spitting. A few wines jumped out at me, in no particular order:
- A.P. Vin & LWC “Clos Pepe Vineyard” Simply fantastic. There is probably not much A.P. Vin out there but the LWC is not yet released. Get on the list if you want some.
- Siduri & LWC “Keefer Ranch Vineyard” Both of these were awesome.
- Dain Wines Anticipation “Alder Springs Vineyard” Wow, this was a nice surprise for me. I had never even heard of this vineyard and of course, this was my first experience with Dain Wines. Great spicy wine with a lot going on. Look for this one to really start shinning in a few years.
- Alcina is another new wine on the scene. Buy everything you can. This is quality stuff. Greg brought his new Russian River Valley bottling that is drinking well already. Typical red fruit RRV Pinot. Great acidity that makes this wine very food friendly. Alcina’s “Sangiacomo Vineyard” is a different animal. It is a very structured wine that will need time to show all it has to offer. The 03 Sangiacomo is one of my wines of the year (05).
- Not a Pinot, but Greg from Alcina also brought his 03 “Gabrielli Vineyard” Syrah. To me this is all that is good with California Syrah. California fruit profile with the elegance and age ability of a Rhone. Give this one 4 or 5 years.
I can honestly say I didn’t taste a stinker in the bunch. After tasting about 25 wines, that is an amazing statement.
And a huge thanks to the wine-makers for their generosity. This is a cool bunch of guys.
Jason & Greg Piatigorski (Alcina Cellars)
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Anyway, I was interested to read in US News that some labels are testing CD locks, which allow music to be played in any CD/DVD player, but when it comes to the computer, there are limitations, i.e., anticopying technology. So, what do the 20 million plus iPod users think about these limitations? I don't know, but I can assure you that the iPod is inconsistent with anticopying technology.
My point is not that copyright should be abolished. Rather, you can't 'un-ring' a rung bell. Focus on the future.
It's a fun time to watch or be involved with the music industry.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
2003 Kali Hart Pinot Noir
Wow!!! Great stuff! $9….yeah 9 bucks.
Yummy nose. Lush and smooth body. Great balance.
This has been my house wine for the last month and I will continue to collect dead soldiers.
Please read "J"s comments after "B"s review.
I’m trying to learn to articulate my wine tasting, but this is my first wine note, so give me a break.
My first problem was drinking this wine within 10 minutes of taking it out of the fridge. I’m not sure what the recommended temperature for wine drinking is, but I know that I don’t like red wine cold. I like it at room temperature or maybe a degree or two cooler.
Getting past the temperature, I loved it. The color was excellent. A fresh, juicy red. Dark, but not too dark. Light, but not too light. Right where a wine should be. It could have been darker, but it didn’t need it. (see note)
At first sniff, I was hit with a smell of strawberries, then mixed berries – tart ones, like raspberry and blackberry. The smell didn’t last long, which was disappointing. I don’t have a good nose for smells, so I’m automatically disadvantaged. Anyway, what I did smell was very fruity and young.
My first drink was a mixed bag. With the wine so cold, I didn’t enjoy it. I’ll fast forward to my second glass after the wine settled for an hour outside the fridge. The drink was a continuation of the smell. Fresh, strong strawberry, followed by a pungent mixed berry; even a bit of vinegar. The taste didn’t last, much like the smell. Again, disappointed, because I wanted more.
I would drink this wine again. I don’t know how long it could wait, but it has a very fresh taste. I’d like to try a bottle a year from now to see how it ages.
Scoring: The greatest reason for lack of excellent scores is that it wasn’t a strong wine, flavor and aroma didn’t last long, and was a bit fruity. Still, I’d drink it again.
** I wanted to make a few notes about Brock’s comments. First, it looks his ability to smell is just fine. In fact, I think he smells every time I see him.
Anyway, it should be noted that Pinot Noir generally has a lighter color than many of the wines you may be used to drinking such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or red Zinfandel. You may see some “modern” style Pinots that are very dark but traditionally Pinot will have a lighter color to go with its more feminine personality.
Friday, February 24, 2006
At first, the nose was very muted. I think I smelled a balloon. It opened up to show lots of earth mixed with brambly fruit. On the attack there was immediate cherry cola followed by a touch of anise. This wine showed more earthy tones than the other 03 Lorings. Lots of leather and tobacco. Softer than the other 03s I had. I think this is at a drink now phase. Very nice.
Brian Loring has been living in
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
My friend Dan Wilt posted the manuscript of Bono’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. I have long been a fan of Bono and I think this is an impressive and moving statement. Please take the time to read.
And sorry but there is no mention of him getting back together with Cher. ;-)
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Every day we go through life and encounter stupid people. How do they get like that? Where did they learn to be a jackass that drives 55 in the fast lane? What possesses them to keep their fat ass in airplane aisles for 1 minute and thirty three seconds to get their neck pillow, popcorn and cassette playing Walkman (yes they still make them), out of their bag before stowing it?
I spend a lot of time in airports and so I am constantly bombarded with a barrage of this type of madness. As I glare at the barbarian standing in the middle of the moving walkway holding their Jamba Juice, listening to Dave Matthews (further evidence of their stupidity), while 14 intelligent travelers are trying to get by, I begin to ask myself, how did they get there. Is it contagious? Did they go to a special school? Did their parents go to great lengths to mentor them and take out second mortgages to bring in special “idiot tutors”? Or do they just “home school”, so to speak.
I realize it may seem like I am describing discourteous behavior but I see them as parallel acts of offence. For my part, I wake up each day and try to educate my daughter so that she is not stupid. Well, I guess I am counting on “nurture”. If in the end, it is “nature” and my daughter turns to be one of the 46.45% of the population that suffers from “stupid”, I will just bite my lip and love her in the same unconditional way I do now.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
BYBLOS CAFE - Mediterranean
This cafe is located just outside the Orange circle at 129 W. Chapman Avenue. They serve a variety of meat and vegetarian dishes, and do it well. You must try the lamb , or if you try breakfast, the ....I forgot the name! I think it's the "Armenian breakfast," but I could be wrong. Anyway, I've eaten there a few times now and you should too.
SIMBALA - Chinese
Rowland Heights - 18489 Colima, next to SF Supermarket. It has bright yellow sign, but it's kind of tucked away. This place has AWESOME spicy beef noodle soup! In fact, it's the best I've ever had - here and in Taiwan. If nothing else, try that. Otherwise, I think they're known for sausage, because they have about 20 sausage dishes, and they're sausage is the best I've had as well. The fried chicken roll is good, the onion pancake is good, the sticky rice is good. I didn't really care for the distinctly Taiwanese shrimp with egg (Xia Zen Jian?) because of the sauce. The best of that dish is right across the street at Good Time Cafe, just make sure you're not ordering some scrambled egg with shrimp dish. The one you want is a mixture of egg, shrimp and vegetable fried into a sticky substance like Japanese Mochi, which is covered with a red sauce.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
(Mark getting us some samples)
As always, it was great to visit with Mark Vlossak and glean from his knowledge. His 04s are going to be great right across the board. All of these were barrel samples and as always, these have zero stem inclusion.
04 Justice Vineyard Pinot Noir
This is only available on futures. First vintage from this vineyard and wow, buy it while you can. This will be an amazing $24 bottle of Pinot. I hesitated buying the futures but once I tasted, I whipped out my credit card. I am bummed that Mark no longer makes a Pinot from the Brick House Vineyard but this may fill the gap. Wonderful spice. Clove and pumpkin mixed with a touch of red fruits, while the dark fruits punch in periodically. This should be great right out of the gate. I wish it were bottled now.
04 Temperance Hill Pinot Noir
I normally don’t buy this bottling. It has never impressed me out of the barrel or bottle. But the 04 is great. For me it is the best Temperance yet. I will buy this one.
04 Shea Pinot Noir
Mark is working on this wine right now. We tasted multiple barrels as he using a number of techniques to deal with the present tannins. I am sure it will all come together as great wine. It seems like there are going to be many Pinots from Shea in 04 that will be winners of the vintage. (see my Patty Green note). So complex. Cherry fruit hits you at the front and then reappears 30 seconds later.
04 Seven Springs Pinot Noir
As always, this will probably only have only a short drinking window before needing to go to sleep. Great structure with solid acid that is a tart right now. Darker and more rustic profile.
04 Anden Pinot Noir (formally the lower half of 7 Springs)
I haven’t found an Anden I have liked yet. Better said, I haven’t found an Anden that was anywhere near ready to drink. My first impression of the 04 is that I will love it. For me, maybe the winner of the 04s but that is a guess since it will be years before it is ready to drink. Sweeter acid than the 7 springs but on the front end a great balance of dark fruit and minerals.
(Mark and Jason after having a lot of great Pinot)
Scott Paul Wines
I had never tasted Scott’s wines, so I was glad he was able to make some time for us the Carlton Winemakers Studio. I believe he said this will be his last vintage there and will be moving to his own place very soon. Very nice facility. A great setup with a number of wine-makers and yet it still has a personal feel. I was nice to taste his wines. Great wines made with restraint. Plenty to enjoy at first sip but my impression is these are wines that need time and are to be enjoyed be people that like subtlety.
(Scott Wright and me after enjoying some wine)
Scott said he makes this wine as somewhat of a loss leader. A great idea since for about 20 bucks you can taste his wine and get a sense for his style. This is a very nice wine with a bit of primary fruit but also earthy nuances. Lots of strawberry and a touch of citrus. This was the favorite of my two friends.
04 La Paulee Pinot Noir
Showing darker fruit and more complexity but will need some time to work off the baby fat. Shows a bit of roast meats.
04 Audrey Pinot Noir
It was a quick stop with Scott but thankfully I had more time to enjoy this wine since Scott generously let me take this one home to my wife. This wine is not released yet which is wise on Scott’s part. Already showing its potential but the needs some bottle time. I think is at least a middle-ager. Powerful nose of earth, strawberry, flowers and even some stone. It has a silky texture that starts off with cherries but then followed by dark fruits and earth. Seems to have the stuffing but will need time to integrate better.
Jim Anderson of Patricia Green provided us with a great tasting of their wines. Their 04 line up is top notch.
04 Four Winds Chardonnay
I never had a chard from PG but I am now a fan. This is an extremely rich and complex chardonnay the sees all neutral wood. I would have guessed it did see new wood but it doesn’t. Very balanced acid and fruit with a touch of minerality. It was a bit buttery but it did not get in the way. The richness took it to the next level
04 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
This was the only 04 I had previously tried. When I had it previously, the nose bothered me because there was a lot of cat pee. I thought maybe I had an off bottle. Nope. Same thing. I found this wine a little odd. We will see if in a few years it comes together better.
04 Croft Vineyard Pinot Noir
Impressive full bodied Pinot. Full smoky nose combined with dark fruits, earth and brush. Lots of dark berries on the front end followed by pleasant tannins and acid.
04 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
Wow. This wine is simply delicious. As with most of the PGs there is a dark earthy note on the nose and attack. The complexity is shown by all the bright fruits that come through on the mid palate and finish. This wine probably has a small window for drinking but has plenty of fruit tannin and acid to improve with some age. One of my favorites of the day.
04 Notorious Pinot Noir
This is meant to be the top wine from PG representing the best from multiple vineyards and see 100% new oak. As you can imagine, the 04 is showing a lot of oak at this stage but it is not overwhelmed IMHO. The fruit is there and it seems to have the ingredients to survive the oak. Great wine but not cheap. $70. This one should lie down for at least 5 years.
We had one other Pinot but I spaced and did not note which one it was. I think it was the Eason. An enjoyable wine as well but for my taste buds, all of these could use some time with the exception of the Shea, which I will struggle to keep my hands off when it arrives next week.
As I read through my notes, I thought where are the stinkers? Well thankfully, most of the wines we tasted were B+s or better. That is a good day.
I must also mention that while we were at dinner we had the 02 Drouhin Pinot Noir regular bottling and it was drinking really well.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE
P.S. See the David Dain Smith interview HERE
Monday, January 16, 2006
I have recently made may way through a few bottles from Roessler Cellars. I have seen there wines but hadn't tasted any...and I thought I should change that. Well I am glad I did. The wines are made by the acclaimed Wells Guthrie of Copain Wine Cellars.
2002 Roessler Pinot Noir (
A really enjoyable Sonoma Coast Pinot. If you like wines with a toasty dark fruit profile, this is for you. You can immediately smell tobacco and a hint of coffee mixed with blackberry. Flavors follow the aromas. Not much acidity to this wine and so I don’t think it stands up to food very well but if you are just looking for some hedonist pleasure, give this wine a try. Drink now.
2003 Roessler Pinot Noir Red Label (
Very similar to the 2002 but maybe not as well integrated. With a little more bottle time should be very comparable to the previous year. The only distinct difference at this point is the aroma of burnt rubber. Reminded me of something from
2002 Roessler Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard
This was nice but I think it needs some time.
89 pts (I think there is big upside here and in a few years I may want to revisit my score.)
2003 Roessler Pinot Noir La Brisa (
Well this one was a miss for me. Where I felt the previous 3 wines showed bold concentrated flavors, I thought the La Brisa was relatively simple. The nose was completely muted. Mild flavors of cherry and green tea. It is a decent wine but a step down from the other 3.
So keep an eye out for Roessler.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
On a serious note, I finished slower than I thought I would, but still did well. I really noticed a lack of energy and fatigue. Of course it probably didn't help that I had bronchitis for the month leading up to the race, and hadn't exercised in six weeks prior to the race. In the end, it's not a good message, because I know I can do well in a race without proper diet or exercise. What message does that send?
So, I'm thinking of running a marathon in March 2006. I was also thinking of modifying my diet. Not to remove the good things...are you crazy? Just to limit my intake. I was thinking that if I lost about 15 pounds, I would do just fine. What do you think?
Monday, January 09, 2006
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it can't be executed nicely. In Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring, there are many parts of the book that do not appear in the movie. It's a practical problem that I understand. But, when you watch Fellowship of the Ring, you get to know people. You see the story along with the "wow" F/X. It just didn't seem to happen in this film.
Maybe I'm being critical. It's just my opinion. I wish I would have watched Memoirs of a Geisha instead.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
First, here are a few thoughts on garlic and hot spice. I would almost always use garlic. My wife and I as well as our friends and family love garlic…so more is better, or a least a little in everything is good. If you are like me, make sure to try things without garlic. One dish that has been a staple in our kitchen for 10 years had lots of garlic and then one night I had no garlic. I substituted shallots and guess what, it took the dish to a new level. I’ll post the recipe soon.
The same goes for spicy hot foods. We love and crave it but I can often destroy delicate flavors and you end up missing out on so much. That is why I first recommend using mild sausage.
- 1 lb Pasta: (I like penne or rigatoni because the meat an mushroom get inside for a little surprise, but spaghetti or linguini would work well also). My favorite pasta is Latini but Barilla is also very good.
- ¾ lb Italian sweet sausage: (casings removed and sausage crumbled) Try with a combination of sweet and spicy.
- ½ cup chopped shallot: (optional: add 1 clove of chopped garlic as well) Could use onion.
- 2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms : (also known as brown or baby bellas) These are actually young portabella mushrooms. You could also add a small amount of dried porcini mushrooms. Re-hydrate the mushrooms in the broth. Then strain the broth through a sieve or colander lined with a paper towel or coffee filter. Use this mushroom broth for the sauce. Yum!
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup dry white wine or low sodium chicken broth (use Swansons)
- 1 cup parmigiano reggiano + a little extra for the table: (None of that green can crap, get the real thing, you’ll be glad you did)
- 1 Tbsp Unsalted butter
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley for garnish
- In a large skillet with medium/high heat add the olive oil, when oil is shimmering add sausage. Cook until browed. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Begin cooking the pasta as per instructions. Make sure not to overcook. It should be al dente. Make sure the water is salted (like sea water)
- Add mushrooms to the pan. Add butter. Toss to coat. Once the mushrooms have released their water, add salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. About 5 minutes.
- Add wine or broth and scrape up all the bits stuck to the pan. Then add sausage.
- Add cream and reduce by ¾. Should be thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.
- Add Pasta (only add as much as the sauce can take, don’t add too much pasta). If you skillet is too small, drain the pasta and add to pot that had the pasta in it. Stir together over medium heat for about 30 seconds. If it is too dry, add a little pasta water. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.
- Plate it up and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
It's worth every penny, and I buy a bottle every single year. Try it out!
I think I'll try another Kirkland wine.
Monday, January 02, 2006
In the picture, you see two plates. The one in the forefront is my wife's (notice the extra chilis). If I ate that, I would be praying for ice cream.
½ ROASTED CHICKEN (To make this dish easy and fast, just buy a roasted chicken from the local market, pull off the bone and shred.)
2 LARGE SHALLOTS
2 CUPS OF ZUCCHINI (Halved lengthwise and sliced)
2 to 4 CLOVES OF GARLIC (Depending on your taste.)
1 to 4 SERRANO CHILIS, (Sliced) (Depending on how much heat you can handle.)
1 CUP DRY WHITE WINE
EVOO (Enough to coat the pan)
1 TABLESPOON UNSALTED BUTTER
SMALL SPRINKLING OF DRIED SWEET BASIL
1.5 CUP PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CHEESE
FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1 CUP FLAT LEAF (ITALIAN) PARSLEY
1 Pound Pasta (For this I like a thin flat noodle or even a round noodle but something like angel hair would be too delicate. You could also use Farfalle (bow tie).
1. In a bowl, toss the zucchini in kosher salt. This will remove the moisture and make sautéing easier. Pour zucchini onto a clean towel (that doesn’t smell…not washed or dried with fabric softener)
2. Heat the EVOO and butter until hot and shimmering…do not brown the butter
3. Add shallots and a touch of Kosher Salt and a grinding of black pepper; cook until translucent
4. Add Serranos, Zucchini, Garlic and Sweet Basil
5. Cook until zucchini is softened
6. Add chicken
7. Once the chicken is hot, add white wine and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer
8. Check seasoning. Add salt if necessary
9. Once the sauce is reduced and getting thick (about 8-10 minutes), cook the pasta until aldente and drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water
10. Add pasta to the pan and cook for 30 seconds (add small amount of pasta water if it is too dry), turn off heat and stir in cheese.
11. Garnish with parsley and if you are daring, sliced Serrano chilis.
Wine? Are you fricken kidding me....Go with Beer!
Sunday, January 01, 2006
This is one of the staples in our house. I think it is an amalgamation of something my mom taught me. A simple salad with broiled or grilled chicken over the top. I like to use a crisp lettuce like romaine because it holds up against the other ingredients. As far as wine, I can’t really give the perfect match. If you’re like me and drink red with almost anything, I would go for a fruit forward Pinot Noir or a
Chicken Pre-Prep: Rinse chicken and trim fat. If I am grilling it, I like to butterfly it so I can cook it quickly and have less chance of overcooking. Throw it in the marinade for 1 to 3 hours.
Chicken Marinade & Prep
- Olive Oil (enough to cover the chicken)
- Juice of one lemon
- 4 or 5 cloves of garlic (mashed)
- Fresh rosemary or thyme
- Lots of fresh ground black pepper
- Splash of dry white wine (optional)
- Marinate 2 boneless chicken breasts (1 whole breast)
- Remove from marinade and salt and pepper it up.
- Throw on a Hot grill or in the broiler and cook until done.
- Remove and let rest.
- Romaine Lettuce (enough for 4 people or how ever many you are serving)
- 1 Avocado (diced and sprinkled lightly with salt)
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Good quality…be sure to taste alone)
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- Generous grinding of black pepper
- Blue Cheese for sprinkling
- Whisk the Oil and Vinegar together and toss with the salad. Do not saturate the salad…this is NOT TGIFridays.
- Gently stir in the avocado.
- Sprinkle with blue cheese (a little or a lot, depending on your own taste buds)
- Put salad in chilled bowls
- Slice chicken and place on top of the salad
- Hit it with pepper one more time if you like
I know this is a common salsa but I originally got the idea from Michael Chiarello and a recipe he calls Felicita’s Hot Salsa. I made his version but I found it bitter a bit lifeless. So I began screwing around with it and came up with this. I changed it by lightly pan roasting the garlic, added sugar, lime juice, and cut the stems off the chiles. This salsa carries a lot of heat so be careful. It is great on chicken tacos. I will post my chicken taco marinade in a few days.
See my wine comments below.
Give it a try!
1 oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems cut off
1 cup of water…just enough to fit the chiles
1 to 2 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 to 2 table spoons fresh lime juice to taste
1 cup of salted water (using kosher salt makes it easy to control). I liked it about as salty as seawater.
- Heat the water.
- In a foil lined skillet, toast the unpeeled garlic for about 4 or 5 minutes, turning often. Remove.
- Add the chiles to the skillet and toast for about 10 minutes. Watch closely and make sure not to burn. They should be somewhat soft.
- Peel and chop the garlic.
- Add the garlic, chiles, sugar and Mexican oregano to the boiling water and simmer about 10 minutes.
- Pour into a blender. Blend (be very careful with the hot liquid. Be sure to cover and hold the lid with a towel.)
- Add lime juice to taste.
- Adjust salt if necessary.
Because of the heat of this salsa you will need to choose wisely when it comes to wine. Beer may be your best option. For me, I tried a
Genius. I really do think this is great, although I haven’t tried it yet. This would be really fun for a tasting. What does wine taste like…well…wine, but as interest in wine grows, we want to identify flavors and measure the complexity of the wine. Well now there is one more way to do that. There is even a “dirt” flavored Jelly Belly. Wow! It won’t be long before that “butt” flavored cat food finally shows up.