About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Celebrating Mom

Mother’s Day is always a special day, especially for our family since we have mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers to celebrate with  After all where would we be if it were not for our moms? Carol’s mom, Grammy as we call her, is 96 and still going strong was in attendance.  Unfortunately my mom, Nanny as she is known, and is 90 years young, was a bit under the weather and did not join us this year.  We missed her presence but the grandkids called her and made her day. 

My daughter Lisa and son-in-law Andy started a tradition a few years ago of hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch followed by dinner at their home in Florham Park, NJ.   It has become a great tradition that Carol and I look forward to every year.   We deviated last year from the tradition (can’t remember why) but we got back on track this year.  Lisa and Andy are wonderful hosts and they do a great job in making the day a special one for family and a few special friends who attend.
Uovo in Purgatorio
Andy and I man the stove and cook fresh eggs to order for everyoneThe egg choices include scrambled, sunny-side up, over easy, make-your-own omelets and Uova in Purgatorio (Italian Eggs).   A bit more on Uova in Purgatorio.  This is a classic Italian peasant dish.  Eggs cooked sunny-side up in a spicy fresh tomato sauce and served with toasted Italian Panella bread.  I usually make it with duck eggs, but alas this year we settled on regular chicken eggs.  This is good as eggs can get.  Two of my favorite foods on the planet are eggs and fresh tomato sauce.  When combined in the same dish it is orgasmic.  One taste and I am sure you will agree.
Zucchini & Tomato Pie

Bacon, breakfast sausages, hash browns, & Gene's cornocoppia fruit salad accompany the eggs.  This year my lovely wife Carol made a delicious Zucchini & Tomato Pie (sort of a quiche) to add to the offerings.  It was delicious and you can bet it will become staple at future Mother's Day brunches.

To drink with this great brunch I brought three white wines from Italy for us to enjoy.  Everyone began with  2000 Bellavista Grand Cuvée Pas Opere, a dry sparkling white made from 100% Chardonnay grapes.  This is a beautifully rich and full-bodied champagne-styled wine from Franciacorta, Italy.  I love it by itself, while my ladies prefer it as a Mimosa mixed with fresh orange juice.  In either case it was delicious.  Bellavista also makes a gorgeous Brut Rosé.  I paid about $40 a bottle 5 years ago.  Probably more today and unfortunately not easy to find, but if you can find some, I am sure you will enjoy the wine.

For those who did not want to stay with the Bellavista there was a wonderful 2010 Testalonga Bianco Vermentino Dolceacqua.  Made by Antonio Perrino in Liguria from the Vermintino grape, it is a wine lover’s wine, i.e. is not a wine for everyone..  The wine sees extended skin contact, which imparts an almost funky, muted straw hue to the wine.   On the palate it is peppery and complex and seems to evolve forever in the glass as you drink it.  I find it to be a wine that is hard to stop drinking.     $27 at Chambers Street Wines, NYC.   From this same producer is Rossese Di Dolceacqua, a red wine made with the Rossese grape.  Like the white it is peppery on the palate and reminds one of a Poulsard from the Jura.  $30 and also at Chambers Street Wines.

The third white was the ever-present 2010 Ceretto Arneis Blanghe, Carol’s favorite wine.  The 2010 vintage drinks beautifully.  A little spritz on the first sip, the wine is pure, clean and delightful on the palate.  A much better option in my opinion that Pinot Grigo.  $20 and widely available.

Brunch Wines

Bivio Manicotti
After brunch we took advantage of the gorgeous day Mother Nature provided us and sat outside to digest our food and sip our wine while we engaged in idle conversation and relaxation until dinnertime.  Dinner of course was macaroni (know as pasta today) and gravy (sauce today) with meatballs, spareribs and sausage.  For the macaroni this year we had remarkably light (if you did not eat them quickly they would have floated off your plate) and tasty Manicotti.    I wish I could say that I made them as they were absolutely off the chart, but alas I did not.  They were made by Tommaso Colao, owner of Bivio Pizzeria in Little Falls, NJ.  I was very fortunate to get them as they are not a menu item at Bivio.  I had the opportunity to taste them twice before when Tom had made them for special occasions.  I asked him, begged might be the more appropriate word, if he would make a batch for me for Mother’s Day.  You can imagine my joy when he agreed…and I wish you could have seen the joy on the faces of everyone who ate them that day.  They were simply magnificent.  I hope to convince Tom to add them to his menu at some time in the future.  BTW, if you did not read my post Bivio e Brovio in November of last year, click here  to check it out as his Pizza is the best this side of Naples, Italy.

Pasta this good needs a great red wine and fortunately we had two of them.  I brought a magnum of 1997 Teobaldo Cappellano Barolo Pie Rupestris which I decanted for 6 hours. This was truly a classic old world Barolo with a nostalgic earthy bouquet, soft tannins and gloriously pure fruit on the palate. The wine was round and delicious with a lengthy and elegant finish. Definitely a wine with soul.   My only lament is that it was my last bottle and I have been unable to locate any more anywhere.  

My good friend Gino brought along another fabulous Barolo, this one a 2003 Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barolo Cannubio.   Even though 2003 was a slightly lesser vintage in Piedmonte, this bottle was superb and is a great example of what a great winemaker can do is lesser vintages.  The wine was very similar to the Cappellano with soft tannins and wonderful purity on the palate.  While it finished nicely, it lacked the elegance of the Cappellano.  $58 at the Pluckemin Inn Wine Shop, Bedminster, NJ.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms who may read this post.  We love you.



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