Another thing that's interesting is how the "barnyard" characteristics of this at least quasi-natural wine recede with time. As I said, it's become all a gestalt.
The Rest of Us
Posted 11 August 2017 - 09:37 PM
But the tannins -- always a factor in Dolcetto, even though it's a wine you usually drink young...
Despite its name, Dolcetto is a bitter wine. And although the bitterness melds into the other flavors here more than in your typical Dolcetto, it's still also very much there. Which is why this is as good with tomatoes as Dolcetto always is.
I can't tell you how many Dolcettos [Dolcetti?] I drank growing up in the 1990s hoping they would prove as approachable as the name. I think I wanted them to be the Italian equivalent of Beaujolais: relatively easy and fruity reds to drink with everyday meals. Eventually I gave up. I don't know if I've had one this century.
I was also informed by more than one book that they would be a good match for pizza, pasta, etc. Unlike Sneak, I rarely thought the bitterness a good complement to the sweetness and acidity of tomato.
Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:16 AM
You probably know this, having drunk so much Dolcetto, but just to get the point into this discussion, the Dolcettos from Dogliano are markedly better than other Dolcettos. I didn't really like Dolcetto until I learned this (courtesy of Daniel and Miss A, I must say).
But if you're looking for the Italian equivalent of Beaujolais, aren't you looking for Barbera?
Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:27 AM
Hot dogs. Roasted tomatillos. The end of this batch of Marcella beans.
It was only as I was sitting in the promenade lobby of David Geffen Hall tonight, waiting for one of my concerts to start, that I thought of Jacquère. I mean, they drink it with light sausages in Savoie, right? And its punishing acid would stand up to both the fattiness of the hot dog and the spice therein.
But not just any Jacquère. I somehow remembered -- this is the kind of thing you know I routinely forget -- that I had one that I put away several years ago. The idea was, if Jacquère is commonly called "Mountain Muscadet", and we now have decided that Muscadet benefits from aging, why not Jacquère?
Why not indeed?
2007 Pierre Boniface Apremont "Les Rocailles"
So, two experiments: Jacquère with hot dogs, and aging Jacquère.
The aging turns out to work fairly similarly to a Muscadet: you lose the fresh snap of the young wine, but you gain in complexity and also in what I can only call savoriness. So the herbaciousness that characterizes Jacquère gets ramped all the way up; the fruit declines; and the extreme acid integrates some. You lose something; you gain something.
This turned out to make it pretty good, however, for drinking with hot dogs.
So the aging experiment was a qualified success. The pairing experiment -- while this isn't a pairing for the ages or anything -- was a fairly unqualified one.
Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:30 AM
Actually, getting down to the dregs after dinner, this wine is pretty good alone. Without the hot dogs running roughshod over everything, you get this extremely appealing recessed fruit -- let's call it pear -- no, wait, let's call it quince -- at the beginning, along with some totally unexpected honey, and then a big whiff of herbs afterward.
There really might be something to this aging of Jacquère.
Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:23 AM
Leftover restaurant roast beef, pomme purée (with bacon), and creamed spinach. It was good to have some food on hand that merely required reheating, as my late-night nightcap concert went later than expected and, given the vicissitudes of weekend subway riding in New York, I got home pretty late.
OTOH, that meant that the wine that went with this didn't get the long decant it needed. Indeed, it barely was adequately chambrered.
2005 Château Petit Bocq
Nobody is going to confuse this with a great wine. But it's a good one.
It's atypical for a Saint-Estephe: it's at least half Merlot. (The blend has changed over time. I believe that when this bottle was made, Merlot was half the blend or just over. Most of the rest of it was Cabernet Sauvignon -- and it tastes it -- with trace amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Since, Merlot has predominated even more, and the amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot have also gone up. The greater proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in this vintage's blend was better for the roast beef, IMO.)
It's also a Bordeaux just the way I like it: at the very end of its drinking window. I love old Bordeaux. Granted, in the scheme of things a 2005 Bordeaux isn't very old -- but this Cru Bourgeois sure is elderly. So while I'm quite sure this was very fruit-forward in its youth, now it's kind of recessed, letting the secondary leather/chocolate/tobacco flavors take the stage sooner. I wish there were more of those (and a longer finish) -- but this is a modest wine. Even now, it isn't the height of elegance. But it's a step in that direction.
And man, as I finish the bottle, I can taste it open. If only I had time to give it a decant of decent length! As much as I love Bordeaux with food, it must be one of my least favorite wines to drink by itself. But this is just getting better and better after dinner. (Maybe I should have had some cheese. But after that roast beef and that creamed spinach and those potatoes . . . I just couldn't.)
Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:07 AM
To be clear, the finish is getting longer as the wine opens up. (Oh well.)
Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:10 AM
(To keep being clear, I think I paid around $20 for this. It has turned out to be well worth it.)
Posted 15 August 2017 - 04:04 AM
FloFab's monkfish medallions with caper butter. One of those dishes where you find yourself wondering, how can something so quick and easy to make be so ridiculously delicious? That's why she's FloFab. (Also, it got rid of that last sprig of tarragon that was festering here.)
It occurs to me that cooking for myself is like cooking for a four-year-old. Cuz when I find something I like, I keep repeating it. "The boy'll eat that, so keep making it."
Not only that monkfish dish. Even worse, my now-weekly dose of Zapallo de Tronco. But this week's was different: instead of roasting (or sautéeing) it in olive oil, I roasted it in butter! Because, don't forget, the times I had it Argentina, it was cooked with honey! And yes, it's even better this way!
And not only the squash. What do you think I chose to drink with this?
2014 Domaine Corsin Saint-Véran "Vielles Vignes"
Now sure, I drink a lot of this because I purchased it exuberantly. But I bought a shit-ton of it because I knew I'd want to drink a shit-ton.
To call this my go-to cheap white Burgundy would be an understatement. But there's a reason (other than mere propinquity) that I reach for this whenever I want a fairly substantial lemony white. This has most of what I like about Chardonnay, almost nothing of what I don't like -- and cost less than $20 a bottle.
Is it great? Fuck no. Is it good? You bet!
Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:48 PM
Posted Yesterday, 05:54 AM
More Calabrian fusilli with more sungold tomatoes, rugosa friulana, eggplant, and okra (and lots and lots and lots of parmagiana and pecorino cheese). Steamed roma beans (I LOVE roma beans!) on the side.
This pairing goes on my application for Home Somm Of The Year.
2012 Abbatucci Rouge Frais Impèrial
This is another of those red wines that are so light they're almost rosés.
It's made from a grape that's known in Corsica as Sciaccarellu; in Tuscany it's called Mammolo (and used mostly for blending).
Boy is this good. It essentially works like a rosé but with more tannic grip. So, it opens with berries berries berries (and cherry). Mostly the berries are straw. (As has been observed by more than one drinker in the past, these Tuscan grapes -- the main red wine grape in Corsica, called Niellucciu [absent from my wine tonight], is fairly well known in Tuscany under the name Sangiovese -- show much brighter colors in Corsica; in Tuscany, they have that characteristic dry dustiness that we all love in Tuscan wines.) Then you get this heavy aftertaste of minerals -- and boy is that an attractive combination. There's also a completely understandable salinity: not something you often taste in red wines -- and a very pleasing and, indeed, fascinating accent. The light but very present tannins provide welcome structure. This is a wine that loves food. It definitely loved tonight's (leftover) pasta.
I drank this at cellar temperature, and you should, too. Because I strongly recommend you try some before the summer is over.
Posted Today, 05:17 AM
Lamb burger topped with Basque goat cheese and a charred garlic scape (on a Martin's potato bun, of course). On the side, sautéed eggplant, okra, tomato, and tomatillo (I'm not going to lie: a lot of that dish's considerable appeal came from the deployment of La Boite Mousa mix) (for that matter, the burger benefited from La Boite Zataar and Smoked Salt).
My wine choice was almost comically routine (I put too much time and energy into thinking about how I'd make the food to think much about the wine).
2013 Bodegas y Viñedos Ponce Buena Pinta
You'll all be relieved to know that this is my next-to-the-last bottle, so you won't have to keep reading about it much longer. And this time, I did something different: I drank it at cellar temperature!
It's good this way -- but I'm not convinced it's better. This is a fairly light wine, but there's enough to it to warrant treatment as a "real" red.
As I've stated a million times, this is a blend of the extremely rare Manchuelan grape Moravia Agria and some extremely un-rare Garnacha. Lots of berry fruit (but not in-your-face), lots of peppery spice, some minerals, lots of acid. Duh, just what I like. Which is why I've been drinking tons of it since release. Juan Antonio Ponce is one of my favorite winemakers, and this is my favorite of his wines.
It's almost certainly reaching the end of its window, but it's still perfectly drinkable.