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Casarecce (I believe that's Italian for "wreck it yourself") with spigarello, bacon, and chanterelles.  With melty goat cheese and, since you might as well be hung for a sheep as for a goat, grated pecorino.  The bacon was this peppery (to put it mildly) back bacon my butcher came up with this week; between all the pepper and all the salt in the bacon this dish required no seasoning at all (unless you count a splash of Balsamic for acidic brightening as seasoning) (well garlic duh but that's not seasoning:  that's life).

This pasta, with all the leafy greenery it contained, didn't require a vegetable contorno.  But it's High Summer, and my crisper and larder are bursting with attractive items that are highly perishable.  So:  eggplant sautéed (well let's be honest:  the other stuff was sautéed but the eggplant was fried) with tomato and LOTS of flowering basil.  (This was obviously a run-up for an upcoming spaghetti [or something] alla Norma.)  This got grated parmigiana.

I didn't plan it this way, but how great that this was a plausible pairing for a superannuated bottle I just found somewhere in my storage "system" it shouldn't have been that was WAY past it's drink-by date.

2006 Paolo Bea Arboreus

Yeah, you read that right:  2006.  This was 16 years old.

Bea's Arboreus was one of the first orange wines many of us had that wasn't from Georgia or Slovenia.  (It's from Umbria.)  It's made of Trebbiano:  a notably undistinguished grape (unless you distill it into brandy).  But orangize it and, at least if you're Bea, it becomes something.

I'd like to say that the high tannin levels in this wine prepared it for this long aging, and that the loss of most of the fruit was mitigated by the development of deep tertiary flavors.   I'd like to, but I can't.  You could tell something was missing.

BUT this wine wasn't gone.  You can taste apricots, maybe some figs.  The spice, of course, is still there.  Interestingly, with the fading of the fruit, the Sherry-like oxidativeness has become less pronounced; this is another case where the various flavor components in an aged wine melding together as they fade.  So while drinking this wasn't as variegated and deep an experience as it would have been, say, five years ago, it wasn't unpleasurable at all.

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I read all these threads about these fabulous dinners people have at home, with photogenic, obviously labor-intensive food, and legendary bottles.   I can't speak for anybody else on this board, bu

If I'm not enjoying wine when I'm seventy, then my nieces and nephews are going to be stuck with a shitload of wine they won't know what to do with.   Or my next wife, who by then should be almost

Whaddya mean? That's more than half the meals I serve. Tossed with great care, I might add.

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I opened this wine refrigerator-chilled but decanted it (with an aerator).

It's interesting how much better it's getting as it heats up.  Optimal at cellar (rather than refrigerator) temp.

If I'd started at this temp, I'm not sure I'd have been so sure this wine was past it.  (But it is.)

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We may seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel here -- but really, it was fine.  And the refrigerator imposes its own imperatives.

Bacon Cheeseburger Sausage -- when I saw this at my butcher, I couldn't pass it up -- with milk bread rolled up around it (ketchup and mustard duh).  With the end of the spigarello salad with Bizarre Korean Ranch dressing I made at the beginning of the week to accompany some real burgers.  (To most people, leftover salad is something they wouldn't even permit to exist.  But since to me salad is a way to hide the fact that you're eating raw leafy greens -- mainly through overdressing -- I relish leftover salads, which the way I make them improve in the fridge like stews.)

This was preceded by an ear of corn, cuz August.  In a desperate quest for novelty, I roasted it for the first time in my life rather boiling or steaming it.  Roasting, it turns out, is a fine way to cook corn on the cob -- but not a patch on boiling or steaming.  (The corn, of course, got no wine.)

So, a pretty boring dinner (although it all tasted good enough).  But quite an enjoyable wine.

2019 Domaine Vincent Ricard Le Vilain P'tit Rouge

A Côt (that's Malbec to you) from Touraine.

Vincent Ricard is mostly a maker of Sauvignon Blancs -- and his whites are house favorites here at Chez Sneak.  (They seem to be much more popular in France than here.  Our bad.)

But he dabbles in this one red.  And it's a real winner.

This is a very light Côt, not a brooding bruiser like a Cahors, and certainly not a fruit bomb like an Argentine Malbec.  A nice hit of plums (not stewed, not prunes:  good fresh plums) at the start, after you've smelled a bunch of flowers on the nose.  Then, minerals -- but light, dancing.  And, for a slight surprise, some salinity.  It's all very balanced.

I thought this would go well with the sausage -- as it did -- but I didn't know I would like it quite this much.

Unspeakably enjoyable.  This really is a nice Summer red.

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I guess it's incumbent on me to be more informative.

Cocchi Dopo Teatro is a Vermouth Amaro.  Oversimplifying, that means it's a sweet red Vermouth (from one of the best producers out there) blended with a Chinato (from one of the best producers out there).

Vermouth is funny in that it's clearly an aperitivo, but it also has some characteristics of a digestivo.  Vermouth Amaro is a Turinese attempt to square that circle by making a Vermouth with enough bitterness that you would only want to drink it after dinner.

Cocchi calls this "Dopo Teatro" because in Turin people tend to drink this kind of bitter Vermouth after a show.

New York is fucking barbarous.  

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10 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

(Although it's making me feel sad that I live in a city where the whole notion of "Dopo Teatro" has been destroyed.)


10 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

New York is fucking barbarous.  

For the outsiders reading along, what are you saying?

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10 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

I’m saying it has become very difficult to find places in New York that are still open after shows. 

But not a recent trend, right? More like a ten-plus year trend.

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Sablefish hot-smoked in the Ibushi Gin Donabe, topped with Furikake and some chili crisps. (So why didn't I just use Togorashi instead?  How the fuck do I know?) (Cuz I wanted to use up the chili crisps, is my best guess.)

On the side, stir-fried purslane (why didn't I think of this before?) and some rice.

I pat myself on the back (it doesn't take much to get me to do that) on the pairing.

2019 Ratzenberger Bacharacher Rivaner

Rivaner is an early name for Müller-Thurgau, based on people's early misapprehension that Müller-Thurgau was a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner (actually the non-Riesling grape in the cross is something called Madeleine Royale).  The main sellling point of this grape was that it was easy to grow in what used to be Germany's cold climate.  So acres and acres of it were planted, and it was grown in bulk.  It became -- and remains to this day -- the most-planted wine grape in Germany (it's the grape used to make Liebfraumilch, for example).  With the inevitable result of oceans of bland washed-out undistinguished wine.  (Good wine is made from Müller-Thurgau in the Alto Adige, where it tends to be more tense and minerally than its German cousins, and sometimes in Swabia.)

In keeping with the current trend of trying to make good wine from what are generally mediocre workhorse grapes (cf. Juan António Ponce's Bobals from La Mancha in Spain), good German winemakers are turning their attention to Müller-Thurgau.  Such as Ratzenberger, a good solid producer (if unfortunately not a great one).  (Ratzenberger still hedge their bets by using the old name for this varietal instead of coming out and identifying it as Müller-Thurgau.)

This is a carefully made wine, and there's nothing wrong with it.  I know that sounds like faint praise, but I don't mean it that way.  This tastes like a good German white:  exotic fruit, minerals (less of those than in other German whites), lots of acid.  I wouldn't call it off-dry exactly; it's more like a Feinherb:  barely slightly off-dry.  Still, while this was perfectly good, a more exciting producer would have made a more exciting wine.

The point of this selection was for the wine to have enough fruit and stuff to stand up to the meaty flavorful smoked fish; to have a good deal of acid to cut the fish's copious fat; and to be just a touch sweet to compliment those chili flakes.

Mission accomplished.

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