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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Anniversary Dinner

This past Friday my wife and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary.  Seems like it was yesterday when we said our vows at Sacred Heart Basilica in Newark, NJ.  I am happy and proud to say that 44 years later we are still going strong.

We celebrated the occasion with a romantic dinner at Restaurant Serenade, Chatham, NJ. Serenade has always been a favorite of ours.  The food of owner/chef James Laird is amongst the best in the state.  Ditto for the wine list under the direction of co-owner and host, Nancy Laird. The extensive list highlights traditional and modern producers and is fairly priced.  A number of very good wines are available by the glass as well.  Along with the terrific food and wine list, the service is top notch.  We had a terrific evening.

Carol began her meal with Corn Soup that was comprised of a creamless purée, diced potatoes, cherry tomatoes and local chives.  I snuck a taste.  It was delicate and delicious.

I began my meal with a plate of incredibly tender pieces of Grilled Octopus, potatoes, preserved lemon, Niçoise olives dressed in a fresh extra virgin olive oil.  The combination of textures and flavors worked to perfection.  I enjoyed every morsel.

For our entrées Carol chose the roasted Nova Scotia Lobster, shelled and served with fava beans, pea shoots, sweet corn coulis, and Aleppo pepper.  This is a wow dish.  The lobster is cooked to perfection and in lieu of cracking shells, you will find yourself smacking your lips with each tasty forkful.

I opted for the grilled sushi-grade Tuna accompanied by coconut sticky rice, fried avocado, shiitake mushrooms, ginger vinaigrette.  This Asian inspired dish was sublime, with all the players on the plate playing a strong supporting role to the perfectly seared tuna.

I selected a 2010 Christian Moreau Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru to compliment our meal.  The Moreau estate is one of the top properties in Chablis.  Their wines are very traditional in style and are beautiful examples of the purity of the Chardonnay grape when made without new oak.  As for this bottle, it was good and there is great potential here, but it is still a few years away from hitting on all cylinders. It just is not singing yet. Patience will be rewarded.  Available at NY Wine Warehouse, $70.

For dessert we shared a decadently delicious Strawberry Roulade with homemade lemon ice cream along with espresso and a glass of 1997 Huet Clos du Bourg Vouvray, Loire France.  I have written about Huet wines in the past.  They are a beautiful expression of the elegance and finesse of the Chenin Blanc grape, as was this glass tonight.

Needless to say Carol and I had a wonderful evening.


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