Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. It's the least controversial, sanest, and non confrontational day of the year.

A pot of morning tea and some fresh cranberry pecan and orange quick bread  were a great way to start.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Les Charming

The man in the produce section at the local market handed me the last of the fresh chanterelles of the season several days ago.  Along with some veal steaks cut into cubes, some chicken stock, a little flour, a little butter, some cognac and some sour cream they became a veal and chanterelle stroganoff.  Served with some noodles it was pale, and creamy, rich and satisfying, and just plain delicious.

It would have been easy to overwhelm this meal with a big red wine so I opted for a 2012 Cave de Lugny, Macon Lugny, Les Charmes, a modest white burgundy.  There was nothing fancy here, just a simple and crisp chardonnay without any pretensions.  Tart and lemony with touches of white pepper it made a perfect dance partner for the veal and mushrooms. 

The wine and the meal were simple,easy and quite tasty.

2012 Cave de Lugny, Macon Lugny, Les Charmes.  13.5% alcohol and $15. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Still Life

There is a new sushi shop in the area and it is a definite upgrade over what was previously available.  This is a Lady in Red Roll - visually beautiful and rather tasty. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Something New

Something new and very delicious arrived a couple of weeks ago via UPS.  It spent appropriate time resting from its long journey but finally one of the foursome lost its cork and fulfilled its destiny of providing pleasure.

The wine was a 2012 Benanti Rosso di Verzella  Etna Rosso fresh from the slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily.  It is a blend of  two new grapes to add to the list of wine grapes I have tasted - Nerello Mascalese (80%) and Nerello Cuppiccio (20%). 

There was spaghetti with meat sauce and pepperoni and it was time for a simple, Italian red wine to wash it down.  In that context this wine was almost perfect.  Fresh, fruity aromas and flavors of tart cherries jumped out of the glass when the wine was poured into it and sipped.  Those aromas and tastes just kept on giving with more swirling.  

The wine was light in color like Nebbiolo, tart with cherries like a Chianti and had a mouth feel like a not too serious Valpolicella.  On the finish its tannins gripped the sides of the mouth like a Langhe Nebbiolo, but added a bit of the earthiness of a Chianti.  Definitely an Italian red wine and definitely delicious and happy.  

One bottle will be put away for a time as an experiment, but this wine is so delicious to drink now that the other two will not last long.  It's also affordable.

2012 Benanti Rosso di Verzella  Etna Rosso.  14% alcohol and $15. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014


The best local brewery in this area is Rhinegeist (Ghost of the Rhine) in Cincinnati.  They just released their holiday beer which they are calling Dad.

To quote the can:
This hoppy, red ale balances crisp hops with juicy malts like a well worn flannel embraces the cold, early, dark days of winter.
The photo is from three days ago, but the weather is definitely un-sunny.  It is cold, gray and overcast  and we are expecting the first snowfall of the season this weekend.   I'm going to need a lot of flannel.

Rhinegeist Dad.  Red Ale - 6% alcohol.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2003 Astralis

The wine for the rack of lamb and the chanterelles was once again from Australia. It was a 2003 Clarendon Hills Astralis. their high end syrah bottling.  This was a big wine full of fruit and depth and well integrated tannin.  Lots of blueberries and black raspberries in the initial sip with velvety tannins and great acid.  A viscous wine that coated the mouth and left its flavors lingering.  Rich and gamey and marvelous with the lamb, it just refused to fade.  There were herbs and spices in the finish and even a suggestion of soy sauce.   A wine that was a true treat to drink.

2003 Clarendon Hills Astralis.  14.5% alcohol and about $250.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fresh Chanterelles

The local market has been overflowing with fresh mushrooms lately and I have been unable to resist most of them. Pictured here are fresh, golden chanterelle mushrooms which wound up sauteed in butter and then tossed with pasta and cheese and served alongside a rack of lamb.  There have been king trumpet mushrooms on a pizza, fresh porcini in risotto and white beech mushrooms in a salad.

The first few days of November are for mushrooms what the last few days of March are for lettuce, spinach and early herbs from the garden.  And due in tomorrow are fresh hen of the woods mushrooms.  The last bounty of the year.