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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Great Deal to be Thankful For!

Thanksgiving Napkin made by Mia
Skewered fruit
Thanksgiving is a day for all of us to be thankful for what we have, especially when it comes to family and health. Carol and I are most fortunate to be able to spend each Thanksgiving, as well as each holiday, with our immediate family.  The fact that we are all together and can all actively participate in the celebration is what makes the day so special.  While the food and wine are always good, it is really secondary to being with each other and thoroughly enjoying the day together.

However, food and wine do help to raise the level of any occasion or celebration.  While roast turkey is not one of my go to dishes, I do enjoy having it on Thanksgiving.  For the past half dozen or so years our oldest daughter Gina and her husband Nick have hosted the day at their home.  Gina is a terrific cook and always turns out a great meal.  We began the meal buffet style by partaking of a delicious antipasto, compliments of her father-in-law Vinny.  Nuts, homemade corn muffins and fruit skewers also rounded out the buffet.   A wonderfully crisp and elegant 2004 Bzikot Puligny Montrachet les Foliatieres Premier Cru was the perfect white for both the appetizers and dinner.  It was crisp, clean, unoaked and focused with a long delicious finish.  Current vintages available are the 2008 & 2009, both at $90.  56º Wine, Bearnardsville, NJ.

Appetizer reds included a 2010 BioVio U Bastio Rossese di Albenga.  From the Liguria region of Italy, the winery is largely unknown here in the US.  The minuscule production comes from some of the best plots in the entire Albenga area, with vines of up to 40 years of age.  This is a fun wine to drink as it is young, fruity, fresh and very easy to sip.   $20.  ChambersStreet Wines, NYC.

The other red was 2011 Michel Guignier Beaujolais Villages La Bonne Pioche drank superbly.  The wine is an example of how well the Gamay grape can be when it is tended to by a top producer.  This is a beautifully made wine with pure earthy fruit and only 11.5% alcohol.  Another very easy and pleasing wine to drink while conversing and picking at the antipasto.  $15 @ Chambers Street Wines, NYC.
Pumpkin Soup

Next we sat down to a bowl of Gina’s creamy Pumpkin Soup.  I must say that while I would prefer a pasta course before the bird, this soup is really delicious and sets the stage for the bird, the mashed potatoes, stuffing and veggies that follow.  As always we did an admirable job stuffing our tummies.

Along with more 2004 Bzikot Puligny Montrachet les Foliatieres Premier Cru I opened another Beaujolais, 2011 Christian Ducroux Regnie.  This was my first taste of wine from Ducroux and I can promise it will not be my last, that is if I can find more.  What a wine.  The wine had gorgeous pure fruit that was focused and compelling and finished with considerable length.  I am talking about a $16 bottle of wine that was round and delicious and the perfect compliment to roast turkey.  Chambers Street Wines, NYC.

Both of my son-in-laws Nick and Andy have both become big fans of Sauternes dessert wines. Knowing this I brought along a bottle, however Nick surprised me by purchasing a bottle of 2005 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes to be enjoyed our array of desserts.  He made a great choice.  While still a baby it drank very well.  The underlying balance and complexity were evident in each sip.  The bouquet was gorgeous and enticing.  This wine will provide wonderful drinking for many more years to come.   $40.  Wine Legend, Livingston,  NJ. 

Another wonderful Thanksgiving.  Thank you Nick & Gina.

Just 5 days prior to Thanksgiving, along with friends and extended family we all gathered at Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove, NJ to celebrate our grandson Andy John (AJ) Rossi's christening.  Of all that Carol and I have to be grateful for, I'd have to say that our grandchildren top the list.  Gina & Nick (Mia & Nicholas) and Lisa & Andy (Isabella & AJ) have given us four adorable grandkids to share our life with.  Their close proximity to us makes us even more greatful as it means we get to be with them a lot.

Il Tulipano did it's usually excellent job with the affair.  The food was plentiful and delicious. The white wine I selected was 2011 Pepiere Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie from Domaine de la Pepiere.  From the Loire region of France this is a crisp, clean & briny white wine with great acidity and impeccable balance.  The grape here is Melon Bourgogne and the wine is made by  one of the wine world's top producers, Marc Ollivier, in a very traditional style.  Ollivier hand harvests the grapes (a rarity in the region), uses natural yeasts and bottles with a very light filtration. The vineyards are in old vines (40 years and older) with a particularly good exposition on a plateau overlooking the river Sèvre. All the vineyards are from original stock: Ollivier is the only grower in the Muscadet who does not have a single clonal selection in his vineyards.  The wines are so well made that they will last 10 to 15 years.  It is hard to believe that this wine is only $15.  Treat yourself to Ollivier's wines.  You will be glad you did.  Chambers Street Wines, NYC.

For red I served 2003 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape which drank beautifully and brought praise from all those who tasted it.  The earthy bouquet built high expectations of the taste to come, and we were not disappointed.  On the palate it was rich, vibrant and balanced.  It had a wonderful focus and finished with considerable length.  $60.

It is the occasional bumps in the road that serve to remind us how thankful we need to be of what we have.  So open a bottle of wine with family and/or friends and say thanks that you are able to do so.


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