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venerdì 30 novembre 2012

Eva Fricke, and a stop into Terroir for a much needed trocken fix

A handful of Riesling grapes in the vineyards of Eva Fricke in the Rheingau.  September 2012

One of the the coolest parts about traveling for wine is going back and referencing some of the shit you learned weeks or months after you have returned from a trip.  When you are visiting 3 to 4 producers a day for a week straight, certain aspects begin to blend together.  For me the most rewarding part is the day you drink that same wine in a different country or setting and are able to look back at your notes and experiences.

Stopping into Terroir in Murray Hill this week, I found myself reaching in desperation for a bottle of Eva Fricke to satisfy my thirst for that salty acidity I got so used to in Trocken Riesling's tasted in Germany last September.

A pleasant surprise to find Riesling hero Paul Grieco pouring wines himself at the Murray Hill Terroir.   Paul is a cool dude, even when he forces me out of my comfort zone and denies me of any wine Italian.

We ordered a bottle of 2011 Eva Fricke Lorch (blend of two single vineyards), an amazing example of those salty minerally notes you can find in a finely made trocken Riesling.  This was actually the first Riesling I have tasted since September and at least I got back on track with style.

A lineup of Eva's wines that she brought to our dinner at Adler Wirstchaft in Hattenheim.

Eva Fricke was the cellarmaster at Leitz before starting her own line in 2006.  She has a fresh view on winemaking and is quite in touch with nature.  Fricke wines are made using mainly indigenous yeasts, some champagne yeasts if necessary but always neutral non aromatic.  The wines age on the lees and there is some considerable skin contact, at times up to 48 hours.

Eva finds that in the Rheingau, vineyards with more quartz will produce mineral driven wines, while the vineyards with grey slate have a rounder creamier characteristic in their wines.

Talia Baiocchi with Eva Fricke steady sippin' in the Rheingau.

Christina with a glowing glass of Riesling.  Photo: Brunellos Have More Fun 

 Tasting the 2011 Lorch in the vineyards with Eva Fricke.  Photo: Brunellos Have More Fun

A little Riesling video I came across from Stuart Pigott featuring Paul Grieco.

martedì 27 novembre 2012

Riesling with Jens

Above, Jens from Weingut J. Bettenheimer in the Rheinhessen pours us a taste of his 2011 ''Illumino'' Riesling Trocken.  This single vineyard expression is full of peachy smokiness, which Jens says is a classic characteristic of spontaneous fermentation in wooden barrels.

I shot the above photo back in September with my Cannon Powershot.  It glitched out on me to produced this funky effect which I found again today browsing through some photos.

Above, some Silvaner grapes from one of the Bettenheimer vineyards.  

domenica 25 novembre 2012

Team Germany 2012

A little edit from the September trip through the wine trail in Germany.

GERMANY! from croosadabilia on Vimeo.

mercoledì 21 novembre 2012

2003 Bartolo Mascarello and white truffles

While tasting a flight of Nebbiolo based wines tonight at Maialino, I finally went for it and ordered some white truffles. House made Tonnarelli done in butter, a touch of Parmigiano Reggiano and finished with the sacred whites truffles from Alba shaved gently over the top.
Ragazzi, che meraviglia...

I saved the Bartolo Mascarello tasting for the arrival of the white truffles.  The 2003 we are currently pouring by the glass at Maialino, along with about 15 other amazing Nebbiolo based wines on the Enomatic Nebbiolo Bar.  Bartolo for $140 a bottle in a NYC restaurant is quite a steal!  This wine is very aromatic right off the bat with classic roses, earth, tar and liquorish.  The acidity is still brilliant and it is a no-brainer when it comes to a pairing with tartufi bianchi di Alba.

But 2003?  Yes an overall shit year, being overly hot and resulting in scorched vineyards, but true producers were able to put together some fine wines which are drinking gorgeously right now at only 9 years out.  Where I have tasted some B. Mascarello from finer and more talked about vintages such as 97, 98 and 2000 they can go through unfortunate stages where they are completely closed and inexpressive.

This type of experience can definitely make one rethink the whole process of selecting a vintage, especially in a restaurant setting where sometimes the underdog vintage will triumph in the end.

venerdì 16 novembre 2012

Thursday, celebrating Beaujolais

Yesterday (November 15th) brought us the celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau Day and while tasting a handful of Beaujolais Cru's I found myself fascinated by the above bottling of Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour 2009.  Belonging to the Barbet and Teissier families natural/organic farming is practiced in the vineyards as well as traditional winemaking.

The wine has some nice bright fruit aromas jumping out of the glass at first, but on the palate a whole different story of complexity.  Luscious red fruits and cherry notes are balanced by a wonderful minerality and earthiness.  The most focused Beaujolais I have tasted in a while and it really stood out from the rest.  You can find this wine through David Bowler imports for the U.S. market.

A Beaujolais Slinger at L'express on Park ave and 20th st. New York.

lunedì 5 novembre 2012

Day number 62 on the road in Europe... La Partenza

Finally the day has come. The last day where I find myself in Milano after 62 days of travel throughout Europe.  Originally having some plans for Alba, and then possibly Bergamo I find I am simply to exhausted to partake in such events.

I have experienced the last day blues many times before, but this may be the longest I have traveled without a home or fixed place that I was living in.  Of course I have mixed feelings, but I also have a mixed suitcase of dirty clothes and wet shoes that need a changing.

Arriving in Milan back in September I spent a few days and then then took off for Germany.  On the wine trail with some amazing wine writers and ending the trip in Berlin for some unforgettable times.  Berlin definitely had a lasting effect on me and it really gave me the feeling of a special city on the rise through creativity in a special moment in time.

From Germany I flew to Geneva, Switzerland, a stop in Lyon, France and then a flight to London to regroup with old Roman international friends.  From there I found myself in Marocco checking out Casablanca and Marrakech with a two day trek to the entrance of the Sahara desert and a night camping out under the stars.  One of the coolest feelings I have ever experienced.

I flew back to Milan and took a train to meet my mother in Rome and Florence for her first visit to Italy.  From there I met an American friend (Jay, aka Guido laBici) and stayed a week in the quiet Italian countryside of San Donato Val di Comino.  Three days in Napoli, a day in Procida and back to Rome for a night before flying to Amsterdam.

The last week coming back to Italy I found myself with old snowboarding friends from a different life in Emilia Romagna.  I watched a snowboarding big air, I played drinking games, I danced and I had an Aperitivo in Modena, which was followed by a dinner in Bologna!

And now in Milan the day before I fly back.  A lot of disaster has happened in New York while I was gone and it will be great to arrive back on the other side.

I am absolutely spent, shot and exhausted and while meeting new and old friends along the way during the two month period, I have definitely had more than my share of food, wine, beer, spirits, espresso and celebrations.  Last night I was able to pull off a sober Milanese Sunday, ending in some cinema and green tea before bed.

Tonight I will rally it for one last night in the Navigli district, one last aperitivo, and maybe one last night cap.

Goodnight Milano, Goodnight New York.

Last day in Milan, One last Bollito Misto at Al' Less

Last night, after multiple days of exhausting parties in Modena and Bologna I walked into Al' Less on a rainy Sunday night in Milan.  I knew we weren't going to walk far for dinner and luckily it was located quite close to Piazza Piola where I was staying with an Italian friend.

As soon as you step into the place you feel a rush of creative energy as the building is decorated very artistically and precise.  After this it is normal to feel a great appetite striking you the moment you smell the aromas from the kitchen which is located in the dead center of the restaurant.

Wine from Oltrepo' Pavese Pinot Nero and Bonarda were the popular choices of the restaurant.  This region just south of Milan by the river Po' is also known for its Sparkling wine from Pinot Nero grapes. The legendary Bruno Giacosa sources his Pinot Nero from this area for the production of his vintage Spumante Extra Brut made in the Metodo Classico.

As for the food, a small to medium menu with a wonderful collection of creative Northern Italian recipes.  Primi consisted of homemade pastas such as I pisarei e fasò (a type of gnocchi typical of Piacenza cooked with beans and Parmigiano Reggiano), Agnolotti in brodo and I tortelli alla Maremmana (delicate Tortelli stuffed with ricotta and spinach dressed with a wild boar ragù) which is what we went for.

I Secondi are a wonderful display of mouthwatering meat dishes like Lo stracotto di vitello al Barolo, Il brasato di puledro (puledro or cucciolo del cavallo would be a foal or baby horse from around 11 months old), Il cinghiale in dolceforte and finally the two dishes we ordered, La carne Salada con arancio, timo e limone (a cured meat from the Trentino, with its unique texture resembles more a type of carne cruda or carpaccio) and of course the dish for which Al' Less is known for, their Bollito Misto coming with four gorgeous salsette to dress the boiled meats ranging from chicken to beef toungue.

Everything was tasty, fresh and seasoned perfect.  For dessert there were some unique options like Salame di ciocolato and Castagnaccio (the Tuscan chestnut cake with pinenuts and rosemary).

La carne salada del trentino, served with tyme over a salad dressed in olive oil and orange.

Bollito Misto, the signature dish of Al' Less which comes with  four delicious salsette including the classic salsa verde.

Al' Less 
V.Le Lombardia 28
20131 Milano, Italia

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