choose your destiny

lunedì 28 febbraio 2011

some banksy for your mind

Queen Victoria as a lesbian, by Banksy

sabato 26 febbraio 2011

Movia Puro Rosè 2003... half disgorged?

Movia Puro Rose 2003
Was quite indecisive about my first bottle of Movia Puro Rose... to disgorge or not to disgorge?  I did some internet research and wanted to try it both ways... or maybe if you could half disgorge the bottle? Do Bianchi  recommended to me an undisgorged Puro... so why not..?  I had stored the bottle upside down for a week in case la sboccatura took place.  So I turned it right side up and popped the cork regularly for an attempt at an undisgorged style... what happened to my surprise is I essentially half disgorged the wine as a bunch of the yeasts and gritty floaters came rushing out while still leaving some behind. Best of both worlds?  Above you can see the smegma left behind on my hand, which was quite gritty and sandy in texture.

The wine was brilliant.. paired with some pan seared pork chops, patate al forno con olio e rosmarino.
Very thick, cloudy cidar like...strong nose full of yeast and cellar with notes of grapefruit and oranges. Nice acidity and mouth feel, and more complex than I had anticipated. 

My friend Nick Piovanelli captured the opening on film in the appartment in Rome... although very dark, you can get the idea....

the beautiful color of movia puro rose....

Here is the link to Do Bianchi's post on an Undisgorged Movia.....

venerdì 25 febbraio 2011

Napoli... 'O Mare, 'O Vesuvio, 'E Sfugliatelle......

 Whatever your reasons for visiting Naples, one of those whether major or minor is the necessary  stop into a pizzeria.   Having always opted for the locals favorites (Il Presidente, di Matteo etc.) I realized I have never been into the famous and touristy Da Michele which dates back to 1870.  No... not going because of the recent Julia Roberts appearance in the bunk, milf pleasing Ryan Murphy film.  But just because.  I have never had a bad pizza in Naples, even when I dined in the most random tourist spots before I knew the city..... but yes this place is damn good!  You have two choices here.. a Marinara or a Margherita.  You can also go doppia mozzarella if you wish (which I am guilty of).  A Nastro Azzuro beer is a must have for the ultimate pizza pairing experience.

Da Michele
Via Cesare Sersale, 1
80139 Napoli

Earlier in the day I made my first stop into the most famous Sflogliatelle bakery, F.lli Attanasio.  Above, is their sign written in Napoletano dialect which translates into ''the three beautiful things of Naples.. the sea, vesuvius, and sfogliatelle''.  This place is pumping out sfogliatelle all morning long in their gigantic brick oven.  You can choose from the classic sfogliatella riccia (the ''curly'' layered dough), or the sfogliatella frolla (a shortcrust which is softer and much simpler).

Antico Forno F.lli Attanasio
Vico Ferrovia, 1/2/3/4
80142 Napoli

Sfogliatella frolla (on bottom) with two sfogliatelle ricce stacked on top.

Piovanelli my south african pal, chomping into a sfogliatella.
Fire in the streets, Pizza in the oven...An example of a typical neapolitan encounter outside of Da Michele. Photo by N. Piovanelli

Above, Piazza del Plebiscito.  The name which comes from the plebiscite taken on October 2, 1860, which brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy.

mercoledì 23 febbraio 2011

Revisiting Ribolla Gialla in Rome....

Popped into this Il Roncal Ribolla Gialla 2009 that I copped from their Agriturismo where we were staying during the COF2011 trip.  I really enjoyed all of the Il Roncal wines, they were overall really consistant.  We didnt get a chance to taste their ribolla so I brought a bottle to Rome.  This wine had beautiful fruit and a really nice acidity with a full body mouth feel.

The above Spigole (Branzini in northern Italy) or European Seabass were a perfect match for the very fish friendly ribolla gialla.

Waking up during sunrise at Il Roncal.  (I was staying in the Ribolla Gialla room by the way....)

 After our Branzini and Ribolla dinner, we went down a block to the neighborhoods local enoteca.  Ombralonga Vinerie - Via Oderisi da Gubbio, 41.  I noticed they had a bottle of Zorzettig Ribolla Gialla 2009.  We stayed with the theme and downed a bottle over a game of scopa. 

During the Friuli trip the ''magnificent six'' dined in the home of Annalisa of the Zorzettig estate.  Annalisa served the 2009 Ribolla Gialla with the local bean and barley soup in this case served inside a bread bowl.  They went together swell and a drizzle of the rich zorzettig olive oil over the soup was brilliant.

above, Mcduff snaps a photo of Annalisa and I at the end of the meal enjoying a much needed grappa.

We made many visits to different producers houses for dinner throughout the trip.  I noticed many had corn hanging outside of their entrance, which apparently dates back a few hundred years and has become a tradition here..

lunedì 21 febbraio 2011

Oddero Langhe Nebbiolo 2005 in Magnum, spot on...

Oddero Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2005 (Magnum)
(Maceration lasts 15 days, aged in Slovenian and French Oak for around 1 yr. 1-5 yrs.)
From the second of being uncorked, this wine's nose is open and for the on.  Beautiful dusty red fruit on the nose, with cleaner fruit on the palate, nice cherry notes and acidity, bold tannins but not overwhelming.  Tasted with some Bresaola and Pecorino di grotta.  Went with both beautifully.

Not too often does a wine hit me in a way that I have to run and write about it.  But this beaut' gave me everything I wanted in a Langhe Nebbiolo... delicious wine right here, ever since the Oddero Barolo 2004 Brunate blew me away, I have been on a search for their wines....
I stopped into Trimani here in Rome the other day and picked up a few bottles of some shit I've been trying to get my hands on for a while.  After last weeks Friuli extravaganza, it was nice to open a wine, taste and enjoy it slowly in a calm meditative state...

Feels good to chill in my old appartments kitchen with old friends on oderisi da gubbio, in Rome!  Cheers... hope your all drinking some good nebbiolo.

venerdì 18 febbraio 2011

Carvin' Marvin....Crewsaiderz Webisode #2

Second Webisode, February 2, 2011 Crewsaiderz, filmed at mammoth mountain...

A stop into Er Buchetto

A simple lunch at Er Buchetto, with a glass of vino bianco.

So many times I have tried to put into words that feeling you get in Italy.  That midday buzz after washing down your lunch with a light and refreshing vino sfuso.  That bounce in your step that makes everything around you feel different.  That is the exact feeling I get everytime return to Er Buchetto for lunch.  The only thing they serve here is Porchetta.  You can have it in a sandwich (as shown above), or in a portion with bread on the side.  If your lucky you can find a plate of artichokes or some olives.  But porchetta is their thing and they have been doing it since 1890.  Just cheap, honest, simple, delicious stuff served quite literally in a hole in the wall (''Er Buchetto'', is the little hole in roman dialect).  This is the first place I ate in Italy, where I was reccomended to come here for lunch back in 2004.  I return everytime I'm in the city.

Er Buchetto di Alessandro Fioravanti
Dal 1890
Via del viminale 2F Roma 00184
06. 48.83.031

Er Buchetto, Dal 1890
Una Porchetta intera
These spouts on the left is where the white wine comes from.  Very drinkable and light, makes for a perfect lunch wine.

Prague day 2: Amazing Beef Carpaccio and Czech bubbly rosè

The Above deli I ran into yesterday was fantastic, one of those lucky encounters. I had some salume and something called a Cevabcici, which I believe is a Balkan dish. This one consisted of minced meat and was shaped like a big meatball that you dip into a local mustard.

Řeznictví - Uzenářství - Jídelna, Kosina Martin
Kaprova 18/7, 11000 Praha 1

Bohemia Sekt - Prestige Rosè Brut 12.5%

After a few rounds of Roulette... (I happened to be staying next door to a casino) I dropped into a market and bought their best bubbly (well, most expensive, because I dont know a damn thing about Czech wines).  This wine really surprised me, at around $15 and was absolutely delicious.  Just enough complexity but really refreshing balanced and perfect for an aperitivo.  It is pretty hard reading these Czech lables and I didnt have any idea what I was really drinking, besides it being rosè and brut.

With dinner we drank heaps of beer.. I love beer and I'm very open to drinking beer with dinner, but god damn it is tough.  Really heavy and now I remember why I write about wine and not beer.  I did have some amazing Beef Carpaccio, which was better than most I'v had in Italy.  After we stopped into the Absinth Museum of Prague, a really awesome space with great absinthe.  Czech Absinth, although not traditional is known for being stronger and more bitter and usually includes more wormwood with around 70% alcohol. 

I have just gotten back into Rome, and there will be more places visited soon...
Cin Cin

giovedì 17 febbraio 2011

Prague: reviving the palate with pilsner

After a palate staining week of Pignolo, it was the perfect vacation from a vacation one could ask for... I Explored Prague for a few days, and one Pilsner after another with a hemp beer, or a dark ale thrown in the mix, and I'm feeling much refreshed. Look at the head on that beer above..
They know how to serve and drink beer in this city, no fooling around.
.... more to come on Prague, some much anticipated sleep is on the way.
Na zdraví!

a lineup of housemade beers
pile of Czech crowns 
buildings with sun about to set...

lunedì 14 febbraio 2011

5 years con sfilacci!! (with a sick flight of natural wines)

The first time I was introduced to horse meat in general was in 2006, when I was living in Firenze but visiting my friends Filippo and Giacomo Kratter in the northern most part of the Veneto, in Sappada. It was in the form of sfilacci (a dried and shredded horse meat, as seen above) and happened to be on a pizza... it was brilliant, but afterwards I didnt think about it.  Until the day when I was craving sfilacci and kinda freaked out when I realized you cant find it anywhere in Italy except the Veneto and maybe a few other select places.

The three famous American bloggers strutting through Padova.

After the COF2011 came to an end Friday, part of the magnificent six took a cruise to Padova.  Alfonso, Jeremy, Mcduff and I all relaxed, then got a tour of Padova from Jar himself and after visited with Italian Guitar legends, Ruggero Robin & Gabriele Inglesi.  5 years after my last pizza con sfilacci Do Bianchi made my dreams come true when he hooked up a pizzeria reservation that specialized in it.  His good friend Marissa suggested Pizzeria bar Piave, and she also brought an incredible flight of some natural wine.

My natural wine experience is pretty limited but man these wines were all bitchin'!  Jeremy had been carrying around the Angiolino Maule all week telling us how we had to taste this stuff.  We finally opened it in Padova and I'm damned glad we did.
Angiolino Maule - Pico Garganega del Veneto IGT 2009.  This 100% Garganega was just gorgeous, some skin contact, beautiful friut, thick with nice acidity.  Just straight up fun and interesting to drink.  It was nice shlugging these back in a shitty trattoria glass (as seen below), after spitting wines all week.
Zidarich - Vitovska Doc Carso 2008.  100% Vitovska, unfiltered. This was my second favorite, and my first time tasting the vitovska grape.  Just plain scrumptious.

Prato della valle, Padova.
What a fabulous week, thanks to Jeremy, my newly discovered zio Alfonso and all the COF2011!  Ci vediamo tutti quanti a Texas!

venerdì 11 febbraio 2011

last supper for the magnificent six

''i magnifici sei'' grappa tasting. (from left) Cof2011 driver Francesco, Mcduff, Papa Ace, Dr. J, The Shredder, Samantha & Wayne
tasting a few different grappa at the distilleria domenis.

As I woke up this morning, I had a bit of sadness knowing this would be our last day exploring Friuli.  We will be going to a Ramandolo dinner and a visit to Bastianich as well which will be very exciting....  I must run out the door now, so i dont leave the cof group hanging like I did last night as I passed out on my bed from wine exhaustion...

Friday day 5, Breakfast at Il Roncal.
Beautiful view of Cividale.
Jeremy being interviewed yesterday...

giovedì 10 febbraio 2011

lessons on making a proper Schioppettino

Gatto di Cialla, sotto l'albero.
Wednesday, 9th of February Day 3, after una degustazione ganzissima with felluga we traveled close by our Agriturismo Il Roncal, and stopped at the ever so mythical lands of Ronchi di Cialla.  We could all see the excitement on Jeremy's face as this was one of the most anticipated tasting of the trip for him.  Meeting with Paolo was a real Italian wine experience... no bullshit glamor, just straight up true wine, as natural as can be expressing the land where only the Rapuzzi family makes the DOC Schioppettino di Cialla.  The sun was shining and stepping out of the COF van, walking onto the lawn of the family house, you just got that feeling... Wow this is going to be fucking awsome! Soon we were greeted by Paolo, family, bambini, cats and dogs whatever you can imagine....

From that point on Paolo continued dropping knowledge on all of us about the history and his vision of Schioppettino, all while bringing out bottle after bottle of old vintages, and offering a wonderful selection of local Montasio cheeses.
Paolo Rapuzzi owner of Ronchi di Cialla, with dog on his mythical property.

Here is the wines Paolo brought out for the COF six yesterday....
Ronchi di Cialla, Schioppettino di Cialla DOC 2005, 2001, 1995
Ronchi di Cialla, Schioppettino di Cialla Vino da Tavola 1985.
''We feel our biggest connection to Schioppettino, when we started making it 40 years ago it was almost a completely lost variety''  said Paolo.  ''We put ''Cialla'' on the bottle, the name of the zone and don't choose to use our family name.  We only use indigenous varieties, native yeasts''.... were a few of the facts Paolo was explaining.  What had the biggest effect on me was when Paolo simply stated, ''Whether you like these wines or not, they are true expressions of our land.''

I enjoyed the 2001, 1995 and 1985 more than I have any other red wine on this trip.  Mcduff and I were discussing a bit how you couldn't help but to be reminded of some great Nebbiolo in Piemonte.  Although very different wines, these older Schioppettini expressed the terroir in a very similar manner to say Barolo or Barbaresco.  One very differnet style of Schioppettino that is a bit hard for me to get used to is how the nose and bouquets are so unique and very different to the frutti di bosco notes you pick up on the palate (especially in the young 2005 vintage which I wasn't crazy about).  Piemonte wines for instance have a much more uniform togetherness that these wines don't.  But if your going to drink Schioppettino, you can't miss Ronchi di Cialla.  For me, these are by far the most harmonious we have tasted and an overall mythical experience.

Above, the sweet Picolit and the ''Frappe'' (Carneval cookies) was an amazing pairing.  The Frappe were the best I have ever had in Italy and I stuffed my face with at least 20 of those mo' fo's!
Off into the friulian hills again today, but looking forward to some grappa tasting and a little change of pace....
a huuuuuge, Grazie alla Famiglia Rapuzzi!

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