choose your destiny

martedì 26 luglio 2011

Camille Giroud in 2001

Camille Giroud Chambertin ''Clos de Beze'' 2001 Grand Cru

Camille Giroud founded this estate in 1965 and became known for traditional and long aged burgundy wines.  In 2002 he sold to Ann Colgin and husband who renovated the winery and mixed modern and traditional wine making and became recognized as producing a more ''approachable'' Burgundy.

This 2001 was quite an interesting bottle to taste, the last year before the knew owners came to the winery.  Although 2001 wasn't the greatest year in burgundy you wonder how the selling of the winery played a part in the wine making and passion that went into this vintage for Camille Giroud.

This wine had a wonderful nose of soil, steak and charcoal and on the palate layers of mushroom, terroir, and red meat. Not much fruit however... we opened 3 bottles of this stuff and the first had the best fruit showing with nice sour cherry notes that balanced with the meatiness.  2 hours later tasting the third bottle it was as if someone took a perfect wine and subtracted the fruit from it completely.  Che peccato! With it's very nervy acidity this wine should be paired with food.

on a similar note....

Another wine past it's peak earlier in the night was this 1999 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault-Charmes.  The wines fruit had disappeared and was left with a grand minerality, traces of oak and some honey and oxidation character.  We opened three bottles of this as well and there was really only one survivor that was still drinkable.

Coffee, the art and essence

While ''hipster Cafe's'' are popping up everywhere in the states Barrington Coffee has a focus and passion that seperates them from the others...

For many Coffee is a necessity, some enjoy the taste and most look no further.  It is what it is.  But at Barrington Coffee in Lee, Massachusetts they have a completely different take on coffee and are taking it back to the very beginning: the small farms from where they receive the beans whether it be Brazil or Ethiopia. 

I have been trying to visit the factory for about a year now where my good friend Brian Heck is part of the small and very passionate staff.  Last week I finally popped into the roasting factory which is more of a museum than a factory! 

One of the few coffee roasters in the building, this one a discontinued Sasa Samiac from France.
The pre-roasted green seed as appears upon arrival

A very interesting project they are working on is vintage coffee... as you can see above the boxes are marked with the year of harvest and there is even a reserve.  A coffee revolution, where you are achieving a rare and unique coffee in similar ways as you would a fine wine.

Brian Heck in action pulling one of the coolest shots of espresso I have ever tasted

mercoledì 20 luglio 2011

Mid-July... that Vitello Tonnato time!

As the heat and humidity hit a summer high in the Berkshires yesterday afternoon... the last thing I wanted to do was slave over a hot kitchen stove.  But the reward being a slightly chilled Vitello Tonnato dinner forced me into the exact situation.  I made Vitello Tonnato for the first time last year at almost the same point in July.  I strictly followed one recipe (which I normally never do) and found out that it called for way to much vinegar and I surely ruined the fucking tonnato sauce!  Over the years of cooking for myself and others, I have discovered that I am more of a mad scientist in the kitchen than anything else.  I usually cannot follow just one single recipe and after I produce a dish its hard to explain and provide any useful recipe for it.  I never measure anything and I like to get into a zone and feel out what the dish needs in the moment.  I  have tons of respect for people like Eleonora (of the blog aglio, olio e peperoncino) who can provide a highly detailed recipe at any given moment.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun this time winging it (using multiple recipes while omitting the vinegar) and it came out pleasant and better than I had hoped. Some key steps are a quality roast, good quality tuna in olive oil (not the water shit!), cooking down white wine with whole cloves to later add into the sauce and just as important adding the juice from the cooked roast into the tuna sauce to create a beautiful consistency and depth of flavor.

Vitello Tonnato or Vitel Tonnè in the piemontese dialect is a classic dish or antipasto of Piedmont, particularly of Alba and with a nice Dolcetto it becomes a heavenly pairing.  I opened a bottle of Oddero Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 which I have been drinking at a steady pace lately.

above, the ''girello'' veal roast with onion, carrot, rosemary, bay leaves and whole cloves about to go into the oven.

above, a recipe for Vitello Tonnato from the cookbook ''Regional Foods of Northern Italy'' written by Marlena de Blasi.

Monthelie 2005, a rebellious Pinot Noir

Pierre Morey 2005 Monthelie - (Monthelie is located in the Côte de Beaune of Burgundy in between Volnay and Meursault.) In my own view I don't find this Monthelie as being supple delicate or elegant as some of the cliche tasting notes (from some fantasy world) describe it.  Instead I see a very rustic expression of Pinot Noir.  A well made wine, with a rebellious edge to it and showing off a unique terroir with earth, gravel, healthy fruit and chalky tannin.  For me that's where the enjoyment came from drinking this wine.  An escape from your everyday expectations of Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

venerdì 15 luglio 2011


Roma, Piazza Venezia un anno fa.

mercoledì 13 luglio 2011

Heredia by the lake

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rosè Gran Reserva 2000
60% Garnacho 30% Tempranillo Viura 10%
Ageing in barrels: 4 and a half years, being racked twice a year and fined with fresh egg whites.

It was a hot and unpredictable summer afternoon with blue skies accompanied by threatening clouds.  I met up with Caitlin at her lake house and stepped out of a beat up Ford Focus carrying a crinkled up paper bag.  I pulled out some Manchego cheese, barlotti beans prepared in the style of my Calabrian great grandfather and a bottle of 2000 Heredia Rosè.  The first mistake I made was pouring the wine at fridge temperature as it is definitely best served around cellar temp (60F - 16C).  The nose was straight funk from the beginning, but on the palate all I got was the oxidative character.  At first I thought shit! it might be a bad bottle.  We waited ten minutes. If its a faulty bottle its gonna get really gnarly with little time... if its good it will improve and be delicious.  Sure enough it was just too cold and the fruit started to emerge with time.  The acidity and that oxidative character matched up perfectly along with layers of hazelnut and strawberries.  What a fucking gorgeous 11 year old Rosè we have here!

Earlier, looking for advice on what to pair this bottle of wine with.  I asked a couple of bloggers what they preferred.

Samantha of Samantha Sans DosageCured ham and Comte.  That wine is too complex to get crazy with the food. Let the wine be the star and the salty and fatty bits frame it. 

Jeremy of Do BianchiOur friend Brad at our favorite restaurant in Austin, Fonda San Miguel, keeps a stash of Lopez (and Produttori) just for us (well, not just for us, but we like to pretend it's just for us!). My all-time fav pairing for that wine (so far) is... Huitlacoche Tamales because, as Sam points out, the purity of the flavors in the dish doesn't fight the crazy goodness and subtleties of the wine. So there you go!  (Or do it with some fresh east coast oysters!)

I say, if your tasting a Heredia wine for the first time go super simple as Samantha suggests.  If you've had it and know what to expect get a little more daring Do Bianchi style.

Caitlin and I throwing down before the storm on Onota lake, Pittsfield MA

lunedì 11 luglio 2011

1990 Chateau Haut-Marbuzet = earth + tobacco + Tapatio!

Chateau Haut-Marbuzet 1990, Saint-Estèphe
Vineyard:  50% Cabernet Sauvignon 40% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc

A not so traditional wine coming from Saint Estèphe with large amounts of Merlot and loads of new oak.  The wine was drinking complete despite many reviews I read that said the wine is far past it's peak.  Still very dark red/ruby in colour, and a wild spicy note that reminded me of Mexico.  I can't really say if I like or dislike this wine but It's definitely unique. 
To put it into an equation:  earth + tobacco + Tapatio = 1990 Haut-Marbuzet!

lunedì 4 luglio 2011

1982 Grand-Puy Lacoste

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Pauillac 1982 (approximately 75% cab 20% merlot 5% cab franc) The 5th growth from Pauillac drinking nice earlier this week.  Dirty with lovely tobacco and black pepper, some tasty fruits but starting to fade.  Definitely lacking some of the complexity that you'll find in some of the 1st and 2nd growth Bordeaux's.... black pepper and earth lingering on the palate minutes after.

lettori fissi