choose your destiny

mercoledì 28 marzo 2012

San Giovanni in Laterano

San Giovanni In Laterano Through a bus window.  Rome, Italy 2009

giovedì 22 marzo 2012

Vina Tondonia vertical with Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia.

On a sunny spring day I crossed over to Manhattan to check out the David Bowler Portfolio tasting.
With all of the chaos and time restraints that come with a tasting like this, it was pleasant to take a calm 15 minute chill out period with Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia to taste her families wines.  When the winery was founded over 130 years ago Maria's Great Grandfather began making Rioja wines and it has remained the same since.

After tasting the gorgeous 2000 Gran Reserva Rose I moved onto some of their reds. I tasted the 2005 Cubillo Crianza and then looked down the line and realized Maria was pouring a vertical of Vina Tondonia all the way back to 1964!

She poured: Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia - 2001 Reserva (in magnum) 1994 Gran Reserva, 1976 Gran Reserva and 1964 Gran Reserva with a Bosconia Gran Reserva 1981 thrown in the mix.

Tondonia wines consist of 75% Tempranillo 15% Garnacha 10% Mazuelo and Graciano and usually spend 9 years in Barrel. The Bosconia vineyard is known for its complex minerality while the Tondonia vineyard produces wines with bolder fruit than minerality.

The 1981 Bosconia Gran Reserva had lost almost all of its fruit but was still very complex and drinkable with banging acidity, crazy minerality and herbal notes. The 1976 Tondonia Gran Reserva was insane and my favorite wine of the day.  Amazing dried red fruits showing, a clay and dirty brick character with a generous length which made me look in the opposite direction of the spit bucket. The 1964 Tondonia Gran Reserva had much less desirable fruit but there were some surviving and it was quite dirty complex and long on the palate with a slightly weaker acidity.

martedì 13 marzo 2012

Pic Saint Loup Ermitage and the Garrigue Effect

Over the last couple of months my roommates and I noticed this very petit bistro slowly pop up in our turf of Williamsburg.  Bistro Petit. After pointing fun at this tiny business for a few weeks my mate Jimmy sprung it on me to give it a try on a quiet Sunday evening.  I first checked some Yelp reviews because I was very hesitant, and every single one raved about it even going as far as claiming best spot in Williamsburg.

We left our apartment and one block away there is Bistro Petit.  Some of the interesting notes about this restaurant are NO BATHROOM, NO TAP WATER, NO BOOZE, but thankfully BYO no corkage charged.  The baby blue tiles await you with a very small but interesting menu including a kobe burger, lamb shank, homemade pasta and duck confit. It is a truly intimate restaurant and grasps the feeling of your go to small local eatery where you can unwind with whatever the hell you want to drink.

This time around on a Tuesday night, after barely sneaking into a spot at this twelve person capacity restaurant I brought a bottle of 2009 Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup ($17).

The Ermitage is a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mouvedre from the Languedoc.  Since 1999 the Ravaille brothers have been practicing Biodynamics, and mainly traditional techniques.  This wine had beautiful fruit and mouthfeel with a touch of femininity that was reminiscent of some Paolo Bea wines.  The nose was strongly muddy and herbal, which with some research I discovered the meaning of Garrigue.

The word Garrigue refers to the windswept hilltops around Provence which include scrub-brush and Provencal herbs.  It's used in wine tasting to describe the notes of rosemary, fennel, thyme, lavender and lemon verbena that are typically found in red wines from Provence and The Languedoc.  What an amazing sensation in this wine and with it I ordered the duck confit which I had planned at the end of my last trip. All so very delicious together.

Above, Chef Park at Bistro Petit
South 3rd and Driggs of Williamsburg.
Brooklyn, NY

mercoledì 7 marzo 2012

Scan Life with Antonio Vallana Spanna

Stumbled upon a very modestly priced bottle of Antonio Vallana Colline Novaresi 2008 at around $13.  Started searching out some information on this wine when I noticed the QR (Quick Response) Code apart from the UPC code.  I have seen these around and haven't had the chance to research or use the technology at all.  But now that I have found it on bottles of delicious Spanna I decided it was time to check it out.  Apparently the QR code was invented by Toyota in 1994 as a way to track vehicles during manufacturing.  I guess I'm a little behind the times, but in this particular case it was amazing when I simply scanned the code with the ScanLife App within a second it brought me to a webpage with all the information I was looking for on this particular wine.

Above, scanning the QR code to the bottom right....

Instant information about the wine popping up at Michael Skurnik Wines...

Besides all this nerdy shit, the wine was delicious and simple upon opening. although the next day opened up a beautiful and deep earthiness that didnt exist previously.  Skurnik says we have 95% Spanna with the balance Vespolina and Bonarda.  It is quite a bright colour and not exactly what you would expect (coulorwise) from a 100% nebbiolo wine vinified traditionally.  It is Fermented in cement tanks and then is aged for six months in large oak casks.

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