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, October 22, 2015

Tis The Season…Again

The only good thing about the end of summer is that it marks the beginning of the fall season and the arrival of fresh White Truffles from Alba, Italy to a number of NYC restaurants.  While this year’s prices are significantly higher ($2500/lb) than last year, it is hard to pass up the orgasmic dishes they create, especially when in the hands of chef David Pasternack at Esca.   My good friend Emil and I made our customary trip there yesterday for soft scrambled eggs with truffles followed by homemade Tagliolini with truffles.  We were joined later in the meal by another friend, Cosmo, who had been at a steak house for lunch, and decided to come here for a “dessert” of the aforementioned Tagliolini.

In addition to great food, Esca has a superb and reasonably priced Italian wine list, thus selecting a wine to compliment the food is a pleasure instead of an adventure.  I selected two whites from Brazzano, Friuli Venezia Giulia.  Nicola Manferrari founded Borgo del Tiglio in 1981 on the marl and sandstone hillsides in the DOC Collio area.  He produces mostly white wines and to highlight the influence of the terroir the grapes from each plot are kept separate in the winemaking process. The wines are fermented in barrel.  The wines are produced from vines of different ages, harvested by hand, lightly pressed and fermented in small French oak barrels for 9 – 14 months during which time they are tasted frequently until the definitive cuvee is decided upon.  Quite a large part of the wine originally destined for the cuvee is rejected.  Borgo del Tiglio makes two ranges; the white labels, which we drank today, are considered the entry and mid-tier wines, while the dark green label is reserved for the Selezioni, or the top selections, bottlings that vary from year to year.  Both "levels" are delicious and represent pure expressions of terroir and fruit.

2013 Borgo del Tiglio Chardonnay.  While I own quite a few of his wines, this was my first time with the Chardonnay.  This bottling, his entry level Chardonnay, had excellent depth and a fresh, clean palate of ripe fruit.  It has the stuff to age for another 5 years or so.  $46.  Wine-Searcher.

2014 Borgo del Tiglio Collio Bianco.  Another entry-level wine in which Nicola blends Tocai Friulano, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon.  Like the Chardonnay it drank with a youthful precision and finished with nice length. $35.

We began the meal with an order of Tuna Meatballs.  David fashions the classic Italian Meatball out of fresh ground tuna and serves them in a classic tomato sauce.  Simply delicious.  On this day David's preparation of “Clams Oreganata” contained Bay Scallops and Prosciutto.  Briny and moist, there is simply no finer version of this classic anywhere!

David is a master of the soft-scrambled egg, and when it is topped with a generous shaving of truffles it is Nirvana.

What better to follow up this dish than he homemade Taglioni with another generous shaving of truffles.

Cosmo enjoys his "dessert"
I have said it before, and I will say it again...life is good...very good!


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