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#5206 Sneakeater

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 04:22 AM

More Pasta alla Norma.  Nothing on the side, because, pace Wilfrid, I'd had some tapas and wine before my concert tonight.* 

 

This time I served this the Normal way, over spaghetti.  The sauce, though, not so much:  I accidentally put in too much black pepper, to the point where I increased the level of the other seasonings and even (I hide nothing from you guys) put in some sugar to counteract it; I also added a lot more ricotta salata than I Normally would.  I'm not going to say I snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and materially improved the dish.  It was, however, more complexly flavored than the usual preparation -- more interesting, if not really better -- and not at all displeasingly.

 

Which may have been a good thing.  Because, having established that Nerello Mascalese is the absolute perfect pairing for Pasta alla Norma, I brought out a big gun.

 

2014 I Vigneri (Salvo Foti) Vinupetra

 

This is mainly very-old-vine Nerello Mascalese and its cousin Nerello Cappuccio, with lesser amounts of very-old-vine Alicante (that's Grenache to you) and mystery field grapes that no one can identify.  The grapes are grown near the very top of Mount Aetna (one of the highest vineyards in Europe), so you get a combination of high altitude and very intense sun.  And it's completely natural.

 

Is this the best Nerello Mascalese-based wine in the world?  I'd love to have better.  It's deeper, more profound, than any such wine I've ever had (which is a good thing, as it's like four times as expensive).  Not just dark berry fruit, but FRUIT.  Not just rocky minerals, but MINERALS.  (And not fruit and minerals that you kind of get as metaphors:  it tastes like literal fruit and minerals.)  And both those sets of flavors last and last and last.

 

OMG was this good with what inadvertently turned out to be an equally layered-flavor dish.  This would probably have been overkill with standard-issue Pasta all Norma.

 

I'd like to thank the World Famous Orik (he was just plain Orik back then) for turning me on to this wine here on the board.

______________________________________________________

*  Which drove home why I don't like to eat and drink before shows.  Contemporary classical music -- as well as avant-garde theater, for that matter -- isn't always the most viscerally exciting stuff you could imagine.  You have to concentrate.  Which is just what food and alcohol impede.  Oh well, I had time to kill in Manhattan between events:  what was I to do?


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#5207 Sneakeater

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 04:42 AM

I think my remaining bottle of this is going to stay put for a while.  This clearly has a looooooooonnnnnnnnnnngggggggg life ahead of it.


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#5208 Sneakeater

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 04:47 AM

Huevos rotos con chistorra y patatas.  Last batch for a while.  Although now that I realize that this is a dish that doesn't rely in the slightest on summer produce, I think we'll be seeing it some over the Long Coming Winter.

 

Preceded by spigarello soup.  Accompanied by fried okra and red pepper.  (I was afraid of undercooking the okra and pepper.  So I burnt it.  Just the way I like it.  Yay me.)

 

As soon as I opened tonight's bottle, I thought of a different pairing that would have been better and more interesting.  But no, I was stuck with:

 

2005 C.V.N.E. Viña Real Rioja Reserva "Oro"

 

Here's a wine that's in its happy place.

 

The integration of the fruit and the secondary flavors is notable.  But the fruit is still very much there (although darkly).  So you get an almost seemless string of dark berries/cherries/plum(?) then herbs/coffee/leather/chocolate(?) then some soil -- except you never taste any of those elements (not even the fruit) by themselves; although there's a progression (you would never call this "non-linear"), there's always some of all of them.  (And, of course, acid:  this is a Rioja.)  Or maybe what I'm trying to say -- I said this recently about some other mature wine -- is that each layer of flavor doesn't succeed the previous one but rather emerges out of it.

 

Drink up, say I.  (C.V.N.E. likes to think this wine ages and ages.  But 15 years is a pretty good run in anyone's book.)


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#5209 Sneakeater

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 09:53 PM

I guess I should have figured that Morscher’s would close early on the next-to-the-last Friday in August.

Now I’m stuck schlepping around in my only a little stupid-looking insulated cooler backpack with ice packs.
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#5210 joethefoodie

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 11:07 AM

I guess I should have figured that Morscher’s would close early on the next-to-the-last Friday in August.

Now I’m stuck schlepping around in my only a little stupid-looking insulated cooler backpack with ice packs.

What did your date think?



#5211 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 12:32 PM

She thought the backpack looked funny.
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#5212 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 03:30 PM

She wasn't worried you weren't after <I>veal</I> kidneys?

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#5213 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 03:34 PM

No more than usually.
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#5214 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 04:09 AM

Brats.  Preceded by spigarello soup.  Accompanied by housemade German potato salad and spinach salad.

 

No wine with the soup.  With the brats and salads, you can probably guess where I went if you've been following my recent arc.

 

2013 Laurent Barth Riesling

 

An Alsatian Riesling.  Very dry:  Barth doesn't follow the general Alsatian sweeten-up trend.

 

As a pairing, this probably would have been better with something in the nature of hot dogs rather than bratwurst.

 

But as a wine, I have nothing bad to say about it.  As I said, it's very dry, like an Alsatian wine is supposed to be.  The Riesling fruit is laser-focused.  The minerals last.  And the acid jolts, as it should.


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#5215 Sneakeater

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 05:44 AM

If I'd gone to bed at 11, I wouldn't have needed dinner tonight.  I would still have been full from the Caribbean Day Parade.  But by 11:30 -- I was sitting up writing; freelancers know no Labor Day -- I was feeling peckish.

 

Spaghetti alla Norma.  Roast nutty Crookneck squash with ground cherries and very mild (and really delicious) chili peppers on the side.

 

I'm out of ready-to-drink Nero Mascalese.  I read someone somewhere on the internet saying that Beaujolais is a good pairing for Spaghetti all Norma.  I was dubious -- but it doesn't take much to get me to pop open a Beaujolais.

 

2014 Domaine de Robert Fleurie "Cuvée Tradition"

 

My house fave Beaujolais from my personal fave vintage.

 

Like the "period instruments" debate in classical music, the "aging Beaujolais" debate seems to be over.  This wine hasn't gone anywhere.  It's different from a sparkling (not literally, duh) young Beaujolais.  It's gained in integration what it's lost in vivacity.  But it's still plenty vivacious.  Makes me hopeful for the Beaujolais I have in Deep Storage.

 

You know what?  It IS good with Spaghetti alla Norma.


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#5216 Sneakeater

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:45 AM

Orecchiette di grano arso with crookneck squash, trumpet mushrooms, spigarello, cherry tomatoes, very old spring onions, an even older garlic scape, these tiny mild chili peppers I've come to love in Italian cooking, sage, and ricotta salata.  This may be the last summery dinner I cook this year; I can see things like duck breast with grapes and crabapple (and maybe some winter squash on the side) on next week's horizon.  On the side, some Roma beans, way oversteamed the way I like them.  (My wife would have strongly disapproved.  But look:  I didn't ask her to die and leave me to my own devices.)

 

2012 Giovanni Almondo Roero Arneis "Bricco delle Ciliege"

 

Roero Arneis, the noble white of the Piemonte, is a wine I tend not to like that much -- unless it's with a food it pairs very well with.  Like this.

 

My first thought for this dish was a Chardonnay (duh).  But then I thought there's this wine that's kind of like Chardonnay -- but even weightier and herbier.  So it would love the sage and mushrooms in that pasta even more than a Chardonnay would.

 

Good pairing.  With the food, I loved it:  it starts with herbs and minerals and bitter almond nuts (apples on the nose), and then moves onto citrus fruit and peaches in the midway, and then finishes (long) with pure stone.  (It made a fine contribution to the pasta sauce as well.)

 

Without the food, I find it a bit much -- as I always do Roero Arneis.

 

 

 

 


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#5217 Sneakeater

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 04:07 AM

This, I should add, is a white that ages very nicely.  (As you'd expect from its characteristics.)


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#5218 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 03:46 AM

Some very old kielbasa residing in my freezer.  On the side, some homemade German potato salad and spinach salad that shouldn't have still been good (I guess it was all the vinegar used in making them).

 

Since the theme of this meal was "out with the old", I resisted my knee-jerk urge to pair this with a Riesling Kabinett and opened a bottle of something else I just stumbled upon that in no way should have been cellared this long.

 

2013 Weingut Knauss Trollinger Trocken "Without All"

 

This wine is not made to be held six years.  This wine is made to be drunk quickly.  It has no sulfur -- nor anything, for that matter -- added to it to stabilize it and promote aging.  And Trollinger is a light grape to begin with:  little aging potential there.

 

It's fine.  It's fizzier than its younger self was.  The fruit is a, how you say?, flatter.  But it (the fruit) is very much there.  Strawberries, mostly.  It's nice to taste strawberries again, now that they're so definitively gone for the year.

 

Not a lot else going on in this wine.  But kielbasa doesn't need a lot.  The added fizz was good with it, to tell the truth.

 

If I suddenly stop posting, then this ancient food wasn't as salubrious as I thought.  Send the police to my apartment.


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#5219 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:29 AM

My transition out of Summer:  tomato/hot-and-sweet pepper sauce on vesuvii.  Very very sautéed spigarello on the side.

 

The pairing was obvious, which made it no less perfect (I mean, it was obvious cuz it was perfect).

 

2014 Occhipinti Il Frappato

 

Served at cellar temp.

 

What makes Frappato such a perfect match for peppers?  It isn't that -- like, say, Cab Franc and Mencia -- it actually tastes like peppers.  It's that the herbs and violet of which it is redolent just slide down your tongue really well with peppers.  The bright cherry fruit (and it really is bright) is neither here nor there, pepper-wise -- but quite delicious in its own right.

 

This is a very good Frappato, evidencing all the good characteristics of such wines and none of the faults of oversimplistic triviality displayed by lesser examples.  No one can say that Arianna Occhipinti doesn't make excellent wine.

 

Too bad the prices have become prohibitive.  (They had by the time the 2014s were released -- but I got a deal.) (Speaking of Sicilian wine, I also just got a deal on some more Vinupetra, I boast.  I hope I live to drink it.)


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#5220 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:44 AM

Actually, I am tasting a little bell pepper in this.


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