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.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Family, Food & Wine...Life is Very Good

I really look forward to the weekend because Carol and I usually get to have dinner with our family.  This past Saturday night my girls and their families joined Carol, Carol’s mother and I for a very good meal at Rare, The Steakhouse, Little Falls, NJ. Rare is owned by Gregorio Polimeni who is also the owner of Il Tulipano, the wedding and banquet facility in Cedar Grove, NJ. Rare specializes in steaks and chops but also includes some of the Italian classics from Il Tulipano when it was an ala carte restaurant. I began with a half dozen pristinely fresh oysters from British Columbia. These fresh and briny crustaceans went very well with a 2009 Patrick Piuze Chablis Montée de Tonnerre. This is a spectacular Chablis from this new and up and coming producer. The wine is clean and fresh on the palate with wonderful acidity and purity. 2009 was a great vintage in Burgundy and the wines will age well for years to come. According to Mr. Piuze, his main intention is to make a real difference between "wine grower" and "winemaker". He doesn’t own any vineyard but has a strong influence as a counselor for the wine growers. He established a trust building approach and a long-term partnership towards wine growers. This philosophy enables him to pick the best lots in Chablis, most of them of very old vineyards, to collect high quality grapes.  I have had a few of his wines and each has been spectacular.  These are very high quality and affordable wines that are worthy of purchase if you are a Chablis fan.  $45. NY Wine Warehouse, NYC.

I am not a big steak eater, meatloaf is more up my alley, but I must admit the NY Sirloin at Rare is a dish I look forward to a few times a year.  It is always cooked the way I like it, medium rare.  When combined with some of the fantastic side dishes such as Mac N Cheese, Craime Freche Mashed Potatoes and frizzled Onion Rings you cannot go wrong.  Other entrées included Filet Mignon, Short Ribs of Beef and Penne alla Vodka.  No one was disappointed.  I brought along a magnum of 2007 Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Mon Aieul which drank beautifully.  2007 was a monumental vintage in CDP and Usseglio ia a great producer.  This bottle had a great sense of place, was balanced and pure on the palate with a lengthy finish.  My son-in-laws could not stop raving about (or drinking) the wine.  According to RP it is a perfect wine to which he awarded 100 points.  Alas I do not agree. $90 for a 750ml.  NY Wine Warehouse, NYC.  

On Sunday night, Carol and I tried a new spot, Anthony David’s in Hoboken, NJ.  I had read about this very popular BYOB Italian restaurant a few years ago and so we decided to try it.  We were glad we did.  The food, with the exception of one dish, was of very good and skillfully prepared.  The appetizer choices here are interesting.  You can build an antipasto platter of 4, 5 or 6 choices from lists of artisan cheeses, vegetables and cured meats.  We selected Deceaur du Jura, a soft cheese from the Jura region of France, roasted zucchini, stuffed peppers, roasted peppers and grilled artichokes for our antipasto.  We complimented this with Grilled Asparagus with a sunny side up egg, prosciutto, grana and truffles.  While all were good, the  highlights were the zucchini, cheese and asparagus.  

With the appetizers we enjoyed another Chablis Montee de Tonnere, this one a 2005 Raveneau bottling.  Many consider Raveneau, myself included, to be the finest producer of Chablis in all of Burgundy.  The Montee de Tonnerre, their largest Premier Cru vineyard, is a wine that tantalizes the nose with apples and citrus while imparting a balanced minerality and wonderful purity on the palate.   The finish is elegant but a bit short due to its youth.  This is a great wine in the making that should last for another 10 to 15 years.  $155. NY Wine Warehouse, NYC.  

We both decided on pasta for our main course.  Carol had a lovely dish of Rigatoni with an Eggplant Bolognese & ricotta cheese.  Sort of like the Sicilian pasta dish, penne all a Norma.  She enjoyed every morsel.   I ordered Cavatelli with Braised Spring Rabbit, olives and capers.  The dish sounded great and looked terrific, but alas the sauce tasted old.  Our eager to please waiter quickly replaced that dish with a very nice dish of Bucatini with chills, pancetta & fresh mozzarella.  The Bucatini were cooked perfectly al dente and the tomato based sauce was sweet and delicious.

With the pasta I drank a 1997 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo that was superb, thankfully.  I say thankfully because myself and others have been finding a lot of inconsistencies with this vintage lately.  On 3 previous occaisions in the past few weeks each bottle was badly oxidized.  This bottle however had a great sense of place, complexity and balance and a lengthy  and elegant finish.  I recently opened a bottle of the 1998 vintage of this wine and I am happy to report that it too drank very well.  Finding these vintages will be a challenge and expensive.  The 2005 vintage which is available and can be found at DeVino Wine, NYC, The Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, NJ and the NY Wine Warehouse for around $100.

We finished our meal with Homemade Bourbon Glazed Donuts, sort of like Zeppole.  They were yummy.



No comments:

Post a Comment