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 6, 2013

White Truffles and Eggs

While I do not look fondly on the cold weather and shorter daylight hours that November brings, I very much look forward to its arrival each year for two very good reasons.  My first child, Gina, was born in November and celebrating her birthday is always a joy.  It is also the month that fresh white truffles from Alba, Italy arrive.  And when they do, along with a couple of friends, I head to my favorite restaurant, Esca, in NYC and have them with soft-scrambled eggs. Eggs, in almost any form, with lots of shaved white truffles on them, are the ultimate conveyance for this culinary decadence in my humble opinion.  Chef/co-owner David Pasternack (Mario Batali & Joe Bastianich are the other owners) has a masterful hand in scrambling the eggs to perfection, resulting in a dish that must be tasted to appreciate.  The only improvement that can be made to this dish is to make it with fresh duck eggs, which I intend to bring to David next week for a repeat performance of the dish.

I chose 2011 Domaine Comte Abbatucci - Ajaccio Fuastine Blanc to drink with our meal. From Corsica, France, the wine is crafted from 100% Vermntino grapes, by the very passionate owner and winemaker Jean-Charles Abbatucci.    In addition to his wines being certified biodynamic, to keep his vines happy, he’s known to drive his tractor out to his vineyards and play traditional Corsican polyphonic songs over loudspeakers for their benefit.  After the harvest he treats his cellar to the same music.  I don't know if this makes any difference, but I can tell you that his wines are absolutely round and delicious as this was today.  It possessed a diamond like sparkle in the glass and on the palate was, clean, crisp, fresh, with great balance and acidity.  It got better with each sip.  Clearly a wine with lots and lots of soul.  We enjoyed it so much that we ordered a second bottle to drink with the balance of our lunch.  $41 at 56º Wine.  You might also want to check out his 2011 Ajaccio Rouge "Cuvée Faustine”,  a red wine made from the native Corsican grapes Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu.  I had a bottle a couple of months ago and it was superb with pristine fruit, balance, great acidity and a long elegant finish.  Also available at 56º Wine for about the same price.

I sung the praises of David Pasternack in September in my post, Lunch at Esca.  Below are the other dishes he prepared for us today.

Baked Clams are a must at Esca.  They simply have no peer. They are always plump, tender and briny. David varies the stuffing from time to time.  On this occasion small cubes of apples and soppressata were added to his homemade breadcrumbs before baking.  Devine!

Another must here are the pasta dishes.  Today we had a menu standard, Spaghetti with a one pound lobster, chilis and mint (below right) and the pasta special of the day, house made Buccatini pasta with gulf shrimps, arugola and tuna/tomato ragu.  Tony cleaned his plate of spaghetti, while Jerry and I did the same with our Buccatini.


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