Thursday, August 28, 2014


 “A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn-fed beef."

Michael Pollan ...The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
 Fortunately my local market specializes in grass fed beef,  Sliced tri-tip roast with orange tomatoes and a baked potato.   The wine was the second half of the Domaine de Nizas  in the posting just below this one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rustic and Good

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.
—  -Ernest Hemingway
The wine was a 2008 Domaine de Nizas from the Languedoc region of France. It was dark red in the glass and smelled insistently of the earth.  After a lot of swirling the fruit popped out of the glass but only as a companion to that sense of dry, dusty earth.  Full flavors of mixed dark fruits that never went over the top.  With six years of age the tannins had softened and integrated.  No elegance here, but a smooth and lasting finish.  60% Syrah, 35 % Mourvedre and 5% Grenache Noir.

2008 Domaine de Nizas.  14% alcohol and $12.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer Supper

Normal summer weather is finally here as temperatures and humidity are both far above what we have become accustomed to this year.  Time to move on to lighter fare....

Pictured above is a poached shrimp and white bean salad.  The salad is full of cannellini beans, thinly chopped fresh fennel, thyme and garlic all finished with a sherry vinegar, olive oil and fresh tarragon vinaigrette, fennel fronds for the garnish and set on some lettuce leaves.  With a couple of toasted baguette  slices and a glass of 2013 Kinkead Ridge White Revelation wine it made for a wonderful meal.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Heirloom Tomatoes & Zen

By nature a tomato is bound to assimilate. Fleshier plums and globes glory and mellow when cooked. Juicy globes offer the best of themselves raw. Tomatoes at their best lend rather than absorb. They require a cook to appreciate context, both of origin and possibility.

It is probably no coincidence that tomatoes occur naturally in the summer. It is probably wise to appreciate them as punctuation marks. At their best, tomatoes deliver a jolt, the end of a phrase, the question of what is to be, which inevitably curves back to the question of what was.

Molly O'Neill.  A Well-Seasoned Appetite.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Riesling, a Step Up

There was a small, post-birthday dinner for a friend Sunday evening with three wines.  Two of them are nearly gone from my memory because a bottle of 2006 Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling pushed them from consciousness.  I purchased three bottles about a year ago on a closeout sale and had yet to try one. 

The wine had a medium gold color in the glass and an initial bit of sulfur in the aroma.  Once the sulfur was gone there were aromas of honeysuckle and fall meadows full of dry grass and autumn flowers.  Mosel Rieslings tend to remind me of spring, but this Alsatian was all about the autumn.  The flavors tended toward apricots, nectarines and peaches and a bit of dried leaves from those trees.  The initial feeling was of sweetness, but that soon faded more to ripeness without sugar.  The finish was very dry and very long.

It was paired with toasted baguette slices with olive tapenade.  Very good together.

Beautiful wine.

2006 Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling.  13% alcohol and $50.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Regional Meal

If one believes in horoscopes then the stars aligned for a regional meal yesterday,  and it wasn't my local region - it was the Pacific Northwest.  An e-mail blast from a local market alerted me that they had just received a shipment of late run, Columbia River salmon at an attractive price.  As luck would have it I had just finished reading a recipe in the New York Times for a smoke cooked salmon and had resolved to try it the next time I saw a good price on fresh salmon.

Wondering through the wine department after picking up two center cut pieces of the fish I noticed that the staff was marking down some wines and one of them was a 2010 Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon.  The wine somehow fell into my basket. 

Arriving home the fish received a dry rub of brown sugar, salt, pepper, mace and allspice and went into the refrigerator for five hours.  The rub was wiped off the fish and it was air dried for a few minutes and received a very light coating of oil.  It was cooked over indirect heat on the grill using oak as the primary wood, and the roiling smoke did most of the cooking.  Less than ten minutes later dinner was served.

The wine was a bit tart on the first taste.  That soon faded as the salmon became involved.  The body was light and the flavors were bright cherries and berries.  A bit of tannin kicked in at the end, but it was the fruit and tartness of the wine that really waltzed around the mouth with the salmon.  Interestingly, the wine was a blend of eleven different vineyards, so it was quite regional in and of itself.

A good meal that will be repeated.

2010 Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  13.6% alcohol and $20.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014