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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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Made a simple bolognese and served it with a Rocca dell Olmo Barbaresco 2010 from Trader Joes, $9.99. It was a surprisingly good match. So much so that I went back to TJs to grab a few more bottles to serve the next time I make bolognese.

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This was a big day for me. I finally reached the end of the pork blade roast that I slow-cooked into a kind of stew or something a couple of weeks ago.

 

2009 Tajinaste Tinto Tradicional

 

I'm sure most of us have had good Canary Islands reds by now. So I don't mean to be dismissive or backhanded when I say that this is another.

 

I think this is all Listan Negro. It has a strange flavor profile: there's a good dose of cherry fruit at the start, but it almost tastes (now I see what this bit of wine jargon means) confected, candied as in a fruitcake. (Or maybe stewed, as in prunes.) This is not at all unpleasant, though -- and I did not at all get the impression that this wine is past it. Then, some pepper. Acid to close.

 

I enjoyed drinking this.

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Ribeye with carrot-green chimichurri, root vegetable puree (yes, I'm conquering my Fear Of Processing) and spinach on the side.

 

Quite by accident, the steak was cooked perfectly.

 

The last meal I will cook at home before leaving for vacation, so I wanted to have a very good wine to go with it.

 

2006 Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore

 

Ripassa is a baby Amarone invented in (I think) the mid-'60s and popularized in the '80s. Amarone is Valpolicella made from dried grapes; Ripassa is Valpolicella macerated with Amarone marc. It's cheaper to make and you can release it earlier.

 

Amarone is Big And Heavy. It may be the most palatable Big And Heavy wine in the world, because it's still from the North and doesn't lumber like Big And Heavy Southern wines do. But it's still Big And Heavy. Ripassa, while having some of Amarone's richness and concentration, is much less so, which makes it very attractive to drinkers like me. I'd even go so far as to say that, by objective standards, Ripassa is better than Amarone with grilled or pan-cooked meats like a steak, as opposed to the braised or stewed dishes with which Amarone indisputably excels.

 

Zenato is a very good producer, and this Ripassa is very good. I'd say it's at its absolute peak right now. There's a surprising amount of fruit left. But the rich smokey undertones are out in full force, as is the chocolaty finish. I think this is what Zinfandel would be like if it were really good.

 

Interesting: in a way, it's like last night's Tajinaste -- but moreso in every respect.

 

Really really good.

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They do make a nice Valp.

 

Opened up a 2010 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay last night paired with a whole BBQ'd Branzino - with some sauteed red leaf lettuce and peas on the side.

 

Great combo - still have over half the bottle left for tonight, quite impressed with this wine.

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Used to drink that Zenato years ago. Ah, I know I was looking at it recently; this was December 2003:

Foie gras mi cuit

Porterhouse steak, tomato/shittake sauce, braised cabbage

Colston Basset stilton, Montgomery cheddar, Caerphilly

Mince pies

Contratto Barolo Secolo, 1996

Zenato Valpolicella Ripasso, 2000

Pedro Ximenez

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  • 2 weeks later...

We went out for dinner at Nick's Fishmarket in Rosemont on Saturday night and brought home the left-over Shrimp and Lobster Risotto. For Sunday dinner we had some Costco duck a la orange, steamed peas with crumbled bacon, and made Arancini (deep-fried risotto balls) with the left-over risotto.

 

We served it with a Plantaze Pro Corde Vranac, 2010. It's a red wine from Podgorica, Montenegro. We were in Fresh Farm on Sunday afternoon looking at the wine section when a guy spoke to us in broken English, pointed to the bottle and gave it a thumbs up. For $12.99 we thought we'd take the bait. At first sip it was so watery and vapid I thought I'd be glad to forget this bottle. However, after about 45 minutes it opened up to be a very rich and lush bottle with a smooth finish. It's one I'm going to go back to get some more.

 

In doing some research for this post I came across this blog, which has some more detail about the wine and grape.

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For my first meal at home after vacation (my first meal in Brooklyn after vacation last night was, as per usual, at Franny's), I just pulled a likely-looking container out of my freezer and stuck it into my refrigerator to defrost. I figured I'd look at what it melted into and then choose a wine when I got home tonight.

 

It seemed unfortunate that it turned out to be this sort of mock-Mexican pork with tomatillo sauce from last summer. Probably not the thing to have after a week of often sublime food in Oaxaca.

 

I remember commenting, when I had part of this fresh half a year or so ago, that it would probably benefit from a long rest in the freezer. And it did. It's not going to put Alejandro Ruiz out of business or anything, but it was pretty good. (I made some polenta to dump it on.)

 

The obvious choice would be a thin wine with some weirdish bright flavors and almost no tannin.

 

Bingo.

 

2009 L'Opera des Vins Concerto D'Oniss

 

Jean-Pierre Robinot's Pineau d'Aunis seemed like it would be perfect. And was perfect. (Why don't they have wines like this at the ambitious/pretentious restaurants in Oaxaca?)

 

Funky enough to stand up to a highly flavored dish. Little tannin or alcohol to aggravate any spices. Peppery flavor, to go with the spices. Nice thin profile, to cut right through the food rather than fighting with it.

 

I had this sitting around, waiting for something right to drink it with. Tonight's, as Neil Young said, the night.

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