Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The beer mostly came from my closet/cellar of slumbering goodies, all East-coast craft beer from Maryland to Quebec. Several one-off beers, anniversary brews that seemed to come around for a number of brewers over the last couple of years. The lineup featured a dozen some odd beers(some very odd) including Allagash Interlude, Four and Odyssey. Dogfish Head Red & White and Theobroma. Brewer's Art Green Peppercorn Triple, Unibroue Edition 2005, Middle Ages 10th Anniversary IIPA, Weyerbacher Decadence 10th Ann., Southern Tier Unearthly, Southampton Publick Houses' 10th Anniversary Old Ale, and Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout. The defunct Heavyweight brewings' Biere d'art was just that, a touch over the hill, showing a little more oxidation than I would have liked.
Had I remembered to grab my camera, I surely would have posted pictures of all the imbibing, merriment, and jollity, but since I was camera free, you get none of that. All of that was going on though, trust me. What I was pleasantly surprised by was that no clear favorite emerged, some really liked the Uber-hoppy beers like the Southern Tier or Middle Ages. Some the Malt bombs such as the Southampton, and some loved the more complex beers like the Theobroma, or the Interlude. All in all a good beer night.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste linking to your results.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi(*)
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper( I'm giving myself a half point for having tasted the tiniest sliver of a raw scotch bonnet, and it was still too much. Yikes!)
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda(*)
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (I'm counting chocolate covered ants here)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
63. Kaolin(*, I'm still not sure here)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
76.5 out of a Hundred, not too shabby a number, I did have to use Wikipedia to figure out what several of these were(*)..... And see #26 for how I got a half point. I crossed of three items due to my issue with eating offal,.....just, can't, go, there.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Fast forward to 2003 in the Walla Walla Valley, the Whitman Cellars Cabernet showcases much that is good about Washington State wines. A beautiful dark garnet/purple color, the aroma of this wine was pleasant, full of currant and berries with a slight confected overtone. No candy in the flavor though, just pure elegant fruit, fine grained tannins, excellent balance, and a great finish.
The next five wines were tasted blind with only the knowledge that there were at least 2 California and 2 Washington cabernets. 1 wine poured first, and then 2 at a time, all of the bottles bagged and numbered, without further ado I present.....
Blind Wine #1 - First whiff, big alcohol punch right to the schnozz, there may be some fruit in there but the nose is really a hot, wet mess. Fat on the palate, with a spicy kick from the alcohol, some jammy black fruits, and with aeration a host of vegetal overtones. Yikes! I pegged this one as California and gave it a $20 price tag as I felt someone spent a little money crafting this train wreck.
Blind Wine #2 - The nose has a touch of sweetness right off the bat, blueberry/blackberryish with a spicy whiff of alcohol, and the flavors mirror this. Simple, cheap, but tasty. Again California, but a price range of $10 to $12 I'm guessing.
Blind Wine #3 - Bold nose of black-currant with hints of olive weaving through, leaning towards full-bodied, but this wine was all elegance. Fine supple tannins, pure complex flavors, and a lingering, weightless finish. Delicious! The group pretty much all agreed that this was Washington and I gave it a price tag of around $20-$25.
Blind Wine #4 - Initial reticent nose, but with some agressive aeration a bit of dark fruit overtones appeared and soon after some notes of mint as well. Big rough hewn body, this one took a swing at my palate with big meaty fistlike tannins, the fruit was a bit punchy as well. But after 20-30 minutes this guy calmed down and showed a bit of his debonair side, big and brawny yes, but not entirely inelegant. California, $20(ish).
Blind Wine #5 - The nose has a nice perfume right off the bat, bright red fruits, followed up by a whiff of oak and chocolate. Strong oak flavors wrapping up rich dark fruit on the palate, but well balanced and a long finish with a nice bite fro the tannins. I waffled on this one, but in comparison to the others I felt this was the second Washington state wine and pegged in around $25.
Wine #1 was Gordon Bros Cabernet 2001 from the Columbia Valley, we were all way off here, though who could blame us, none of that trademark elegance that Washington wines are known for, just an overblown mess purchased for $18.99 several years ago.(I was especially disappointed here not only because this was the wine that I brought, but I've had much better wine from Gordon Bros. in the past. Much Better.) Ray's Station Cabernet 2005 coming from Sonoma and Napa California was #2, available for generally between $10 and $15. The wine we all pegged as Washington was indeed from the Columbia Valley, it was Barnard Griffin Cabernet 2006, purchased for around $25 and an excellent example of Wasington State Cabernet. Wine #4 was Calistoga Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet 2002, purchased for approx $30. The Final wine was Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet 2005 picked up for about $20.
All in all, the wines were generally representative of their origins and in most cases offered excellent value.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Bollig-Lehnert is located in Trittenheim along the Mosel River, most well known, if not the best of German wine growing regions. The estates wines are imported by Derek Vinnicombe through WineSellers Ltd. The Apotheke vineyard near Trittenheim is a highly regarded vineyard site and the steep slopes and preponderance of blue slate make for great growing conditions for Riesling. This 2005 spätlese is a livewire, racy, crisp, with steely minerality, and a good core of green apple, apricot and melon fruit. The nose is mostly melon and apple blossoms. Sweetness is restrained and well balanced by the zippy acidity, all in all a great value at the $20ish that I acquired it for.
See my post on the Weingut Baumann 1975 for my thoughts on a German Riesling with more than a few years under the belt.
Friday, May 2, 2008
This past Tuesday I had the oppurtunity to taste through a selection of wines from past and present vintages along with Thierry Gardinier. Beginning with the 1996, we then tasted through a selection of vintages culminating with barrel samples of the 2006, 2007, and an early preview of a new project beginning with the 2007 vintage called Feu aux Roses.
Chateau Phelan-Ségur Saint-Estèphe 1996 - This was a very sexy wine...., perfumed, elegant, voluptous, silky. Immensely enjoyable, it is a wonderful thing to taste great
Chateau Phelan-Ségur Saint-Estèphe 2000 - From the "big" vintage, this one was a little quixotic, rich, full mouthfeel, some dark fruit flavors up front but not any more forthcoming than that. A bit dead and disappointing. Nothing off, just nothing on either, I suppose it could have been a bad bottle?
Chateau Phelan-Ségur Saint-Estèphe 2004 - Back on form with a much overlooked vintage, the '04 is fresh and vibrant, with primary flavors of cassis, cherry, and cedar underpinned with crisp acidity and fine minerality. Look for this to evolve well over the next 5 years or so and develop into a fabulous drink.
Chateau Phelan-Ségur Saint-Estèphe 2005 - Displaying characteristics of the vintage, this was a strong muscular wine, firm tannic structure and rather young and closed off. Some tobacco like earthiness, maybe a touch of vanilla wrapped around a black fruit core, wait a couple of years and check it out again, I think given time this will be a winner.
Chateau Phelan-Ségur Saint-Estèphe 2006 - This was a barrel sample, still several months away from being bottled but showed well nonetheless. Soft tannins, red fruits, cigar box, floral overtones and a lithe freshness, look for this one to be an early drinker.
Chateau Phelan-Ségur Saint-Estèphe 2007 - Still very young this Phelan-Ségur was deep and inky colored, with very strong tannins that need a bit of softening yet. Overall quality is often hard to judge at this stage though I feel this will be somewhere in between the '04 and '05.
Feu aux Roses 2007 - Named after a boat belonging to original Phelan-Ségur owner Bernard Phelan, this interesting new project appears to be an attempt to challenge the Cult wines of
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I have felt the sun on my face, and it is drinking Mascarello wines on an otherwise ordinary Wednesday. Mauro and Giuseppe Mascarello along with Importer Alberto Panella paid the shop a visit. I tried to play it cool in the face of what they may have to share…
Mauro Mascarello is a producer of Barolo in the traditional style, with minimal intervention, and no fining or filtering prior to bottling. The wines are sleek, elegant, vivacious, and incredibly aromatic. This Wednesday I had the opportunity to taste the Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco in Castaglione 2005, the Barbera D'Alba Scudetto 2004, the Barolo Villero 2003,and the Barolo Monprivato 2000. The Dolcetto was a delicious example, a mélange of black and red fruits with floral overtones and a firm underlying tannic structure, The Barbera, fresh and vivacious, a high-toned explosion of red-berry fruit and floral aromatics.
The Barolos, from the Villero and Monprivato respectively were a study in contrasts, and yet still displayed the Mascarello elegance and Traditional style. The Villero, from the 2003 vintage displayed an intensity that matched the notoriously hot summer. Coming from a vineyard that has a mix of calcerous and ferrous soil types, the iron rich soil makes itself known in the strength of the wine. Intense, with strong underlying tannins, and a bit of reticence on the nose, this wine was just starting to display some of the secondary characteristics that Barolo is known for. Hints of orange peel, rose petal, and spice peeked out from around the strong core of fruit and tannin. I would give this wine a couple more years to really develop, and then enjoy years of fine drinking.
The Monprivato was a Contralto in her stride, Deep-timbered, pure, ethereal. The Monprivato vineyard is a monopole, belonging entirely to the Mascarello family. A stunning site for the Nebbiolo grape, its calcerous soils provide for the minerality, freshness, and beautiful aromatics of the wines grown here. Wild strawberry, dried cherry, rose-petals, cigar-box, and a length of finish that exceeds taste and mouthfeel, this is a wine that sings itself into the nooks and crannies of your memory.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Dogfish Head Burton Baton, this oak-aged double IPA from the occasionally wacky, often experimental Delaware Brewer DogfishHead, is very aromatic with spicy/piney hops, woody overtones, and sweet vanilla malt. The beer is amber colored verging on brown with a complex flavor profile consisting of caramel, peach, spicy oak, vanilla, and floral hops following through to a balanced, mildly bitter finish. For more info on the Burton Baton, see this article at the Beeradvocate.
Oskar Blues Gordon , serious big beer in a can from Lyons, Colorado Brewer Oskar Blues. More honeyish on the nose than the Dogfish, with a good smack of citrusy hops, and colored like burnished brass. Honey shows up again in the taste, with flavors of sweet malt and tropical fruit and pine/citrus hops. Oskar Blues has been hand canning their beer since 2002, and here's hoping that more brewers follow suit.
This is supposed to be the part where I rate the beers and say which one is better. I'll give that part a pass, but what I will say is that these are two very tasty beers that fans of full-flavored beer should seek out.