choose your destiny

lunedì 24 ottobre 2011

Hah, never seen Cristal pour faster...

Working one last dinner in the Berkshires brought Frederic Rouzaud of Louis Roederer to the area for a Cristal and Pichon lalande wine diner.
The collection of wines included:

Louis Roederer Brut Premier Magnum
Louis Roederer Brut 1985
Louis Roederer Brut Vintage 1990
Cristal 1996, 2000
Cristal Rosè 1996 2000
Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande 1982, 1996, 2005

The Brut 1985 was brilliant, complex and if I could put it into words it was like drinking honey graham crackers.  The 1990 wasnt holding up as nice and had an edgy oxidation that wasnt so attractive.  For the Cristal I preferred the 2000. It was rich, powerful, crisp and seductive while the 1996 (also amazing) was long, deep, more complex and had nutty characteristics.  The second growth Lalande uses the highest percentage of Merlot in Pauillac which I thought really stood out in the 2005.  The 1996 had reached a nice stage with loads of tobacco and cigar box, and a slight gaminess to it.  I didn't taste the '82 but have in the past and a year ago it was amazingly complex and definitely my favorite vintage.

The title of this post comes from the Notorious B.I.G. song ''Your nobody 'till somebody kills you''.  The album was released in 1996 and Biggie was the first rapper to promote Cristal in his songs and hip hop culture (which contributed to Cristal's success in America).  Ten years later Jay-Z started a Cristal boycott after Mr. Rouzaud made some comments in the Economist towards rappers drinking and promoting the Champagne that Jay-Z saw as snotty and racist.

I will bring you back to 1996.. where all of the sommeliers of my generation enjoy a little Cristal and Biggie Smalls.

(Second verse)

Uhh, uhh
Watch Casino, I'm the hip-hop version of Nicky Tarantino
Ask Nino, he know
Green with envy, the green tempts me
to make the richest enemy, and take their cheese
Take their spots, take their keys, make my faculty
live happily, ever after in laughter
Hah, never seen Cristal pour faster

And to those bastards, knuckleheads squeeze lead
Three of mine dead, nothing left to do
but tear they ass to shreds, leave em in bloodshed
Incidents like this I take trips
Lay up in Miami with Tamika and Tammy (huh)
Some Creole C-O bitches I met on tour
Push a peach Legend Coupe, gold teeth galore
Told me meet em in the future later, they'll take me shopping
buy me lavender and fuschia Gators
Introduce me to player haters and heavy weighters
Rich bitch shit, drinking Cristal
til they piss the shit
, uhh
Thorough bitches, death to any borough bitches
Be in spots where they were no bitches, you feel me
Reminisce on dead friends too
You're nobody 'til somebody kills you

Cheers, motha fuckas!  Cristal spillin out the seams.

domenica 23 ottobre 2011

A day in Pompeii, Massachusetts and wacko wine preservation

A Thursday off of work found me in Boston for a short visit, a few days before a move to NYC.  First I checked out the exhibit A day in Pompeii at the Museum of Science.  A sharp but more limited exhibit than expected.  It did feature some body casts which were fascinating, and below these four amphorae which were traditionally used to transport wine (like the two on the left) or olives and fruit (the two on the right).

Afterwards, I stopped into Enoteca Bin 26 an Italian Focused wine list with Italian and Italian influenced food on the menu.  Didn't eat dinner, but had some pecorino toscano cheese (which was wonderful) with a glass of Aglianico.  They offer 100 ml ''tasting glasses'', 250 ml, 500ml, or by the bottle.  The 100ml is a sly maneuver because your paying $7 to $13 for essentially half of a glass of wine.  Another thing they use which has been bugging me lately with restaurants is a pump vacuum and pour system for the wines by the glass. Being an old school kinda guy, I am really feeling anti pump technology... and that bullshit wine preservation spray that they are selling now... come the fuck on! Most of the time I find these devices really suck the soul out of the aroma and/or bouquet of the wine.
Below, the wine by the glass pump system at Bin 26.

The perfect solution?
Save the wine for a day or max two days (with a normal cork) if you feel the need.  Otherwise if you have leftover wine, let the staff drink it. That way your keeping your staff and your customers happy at the same time. The staff can relax and unwind after a hard nights work, and the customers are always drinking fresh wine.  Afterall, you can't have happy customers without a happy staff!

venerdì 14 ottobre 2011

Lost in translation

Today my friend Rivka Spizzichino in Rome shared this photo from the Metro... Classic Italian workmanship here!

lunedì 10 ottobre 2011

Life, Death and Yquem 1983

''Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I have ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.''   - Steve Jobs

Above, a birds eye view of 1983 Yquem in my glass showing the vintages captivating colour.

Last night I enjoyed some Chateau d'Yquem 1983 (in Magnum) which was given to us by a very generous guest at the hotel.  I don't think I have even seen Yquem in a magnum before, but I knew it would be special as it always is.  After many recent posts on brief tasting notes which gets old quickly this sauternes surely caused me to stop and think for a few days before attempting to write about it. First off, this must be my favorite vintage I have had yet from Yquem... definitely the most flamboyant and instantly seductive.  A very concentrated vintage.  The amazing thing about this wine which for me is the reason why it's delicious, is it's ability to be very sweet and bone dry at the same time.  at first you taste the sweet (the honey, creme brulee, citrus notes etc.) but in your mouth you are left with a sensational dry aftertaste.  There is a wonderful acidity of Yquem which balances the sweetness.

While drinking this wine as it made me ponder, I couldn't help but to think about life and death.  If your familiar with Yquem wines you know they are special for their capability to age for a very long time.  Many say over 100 years for the 1983 and it is already a year older than I.  Most of the people on this earth today will be dead when this wine is still being enjoyed by our children.  It recalls as of recent, the passing of Steve Jobs and his motivational views on life and death.  The importance of doing what you feel from your heart without any fear. Or as the slightly less optimistic motto goes in which Michelangelo Merisi lived by  Nec Spe Nec MetuWithout hope, without fear

With your next glass of Chateau d'Yquem ponder just a bit.. about the future of the world and who will be drinking that same exact wine 100 years from now, long after you have passed.

above, natura morta. grapes from Yquem during the botrytis cinerea (noble rot) process. 
photo from

above, Sommelier Luc Chevalier pouring some liquid gold.

domenica 9 ottobre 2011

Friday bringing more Leflaive to the table

Had a couple of Leflaive white burgundy wines this friday... The Puligny-Montrachet 2003 ''Les Pucelles'' was showing an unusual weak side.  There was not much expression here, tasted almost watered down.. mineral, citrus and some toasted notes but a weak finish and a bit of a disapointment..

Later in the evening a superior Grand Cru from Leflaive made an appearance in the dining room...
Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet 2004 Grand Cru was showing ages ahead of the ''Les Pucelles'' with an incredible complexity.
The 2004 harvest (ending on Oct. 3rd) took place a month later than the 2003 harvest (ending on Sept. 5th) in which the grapes suffered through some scorching summer heat.
Although tough to compare these two wines (sourced from different vineyards) I have had other great experiences with the 2004 vintage from Leflaive's Puligny-Montrachet. 

The Leflaive website says the 2004 Grand Crus shouldn't be enjoyed before 2012.  I would beg to differ as this wine is already exploding with action...long, toasty, and mineral deliciousness!

martedì 4 ottobre 2011

19 year old Chardonnay!

Posting quickly about some nice wines tasted last night including 
Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet 1992!
19 year old Chardonnay from Burgundy. Amazing shit... layers of honey, citrus, toasted almonds, sauternes-like characteristics...longevity for days.. lasting over 5 minutes on the palate.

Free Amanda

After a terrifying 4 years in prison Amanda Knox has finally returned to her home in Seatle...

lunedì 3 ottobre 2011

Oddero Rocche Di Castiglione 2005, showing marvelous

After a freaky bizarre night in the restaurant and some shitty weather around (a damp and rainy fall in the Berkshires so far) I arrived home and Oddero Barolo called out to me.  Instead of planning a certain moment to open a special bottle of wine, I find it always best to open spontaneously... you know when you just feel like having some Barolo.

Oddero 2005 Barolo, Rocche di Castiglione.  Right away this Barolo had the most magnificent bouquet.  I have never had such a young Barolo still strong and tannic, be so expressive at the same time.  Beautiful dried flowers, cherry, spice, liquorish, and tar.  Enjoyable on the palate with good acidity but one of those wines you cant stop smelling.  I reheated some Beef Bourguignon, my father ''big frank'' had cooked earlier that night and it went insanely good together.

It is said that Barolo made here in the Rocche vineyard in Castiglione Falletto has a markedly aromatic nose that makes it outstanding even when drunk only a year or so after the harvest.  Some Barolos (like those from Serralunga d'Alba for instance) take a lot of bottle age to acheive these classic barolo characteristics and aromatics.  The soil of Rocche is also very unique.  Slightly sandy, limestone-rich and loose packed, with a very hard rock like surface just a meter deep.  This type of ground does not retain water well and Rocche suffers the most in the very hot and dry years.

Cristina Oddero shared the following photo through twitter of Nebbiolo grapes during this past weeks harvest.

Ultimi giorni di raccolta a Bricco Chiesa, storico vigneto attorno alla proprietà Barolo é di casa!

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