Archive for July, 2009

Bring the Funk!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

The other night a good friend of mine invited me over for some beers as part of a club he and a few friends formed. Devoted to tasting and evaluating new beers, Beerhunter is right up my alley. Casual and fun, but truly devoted to serious beers, just like the people in the group.

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Random Snippets: Edition #2

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Get your WINE GEEK on:  The art of BLENDING.
Winemaking is a skill, a science, but also, an art, an expression of not only the soil and terroir of a particular vineyard, but also the grape varieties, weather conditions, particularly rainfall or irrigation, from the past two years, and the conscious decisions of the winemaker.  I am assuming, for the sake of this discussion, that the winemaker is also the farmer that grows the grapes and tends the vineyard. (more…)

Queue-ing.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

I would wait in any line, any day, any time, for more of those ribs, with a little more pickled watermelon to cleanse my palate. Yes, last Saturday was the second installation of what is definitely my favorite of the LUSH dinner series. Quintessentially American, with loads of family-style food and lots of big, bold, juicy Zin to pair with it. Despite a few brief spurts of rainstorms, the night was perfectly comfortable; not too hot, not chilly. We even got to see a rainbow in between showers, and then, after that, a DOUBLE rainbow! LUSH even included free fireworks from the lakefront as part of our dinner package. Highlights of the evening included Ms. Jane toasting the top of the mac and cheese with a blowtorch, and, of course, Mitch sabering a bottle of Champagne for the LUSh staff after we finished all the cooking.

The menu lineup, prepared by Chef Mitch and his hardworking sous chef [ahem, me] was as follows:
–Heirloom tomato salad layered with sweet Vidalia onions and olive oil
–Pickled watermelon and feta salad over local arugula
–Cucumber salad with sherry vinaigrette
–Homemade macaroni and cheese, with cornbread and truffle oil topping
–Fresh grilled sweet corn
–The star of the show, BABY BACK RIBS
–Strawberries topped with sour cream and brown sugar for dessert

The wines were a who’s who of producers and regions, featuring pinks from Carhartt Vineyards of Santa Ynez, and the lovely Carignane-based rose by Carol Shelton. The Zinfandel assortment included wines from Lodi (Benson Ferry ‘9 x 9′ Old Vine Zinfandel), North Coast (Zoom Zin), Paso Robles (Brochelle Vineyards and Tobin James ‘Fat Boy’), Sonoma (Rockpile), and Mendocino (Elyse Vineyards Zin).

I already ate my leftover ribs. Sigh. I guess it’s another twelve months til the next one, huh? Mitch, what do you think of a reprise in November?

Things I heart, take 4

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Hmm, so many new things how can I ever choose?  Well, the thing that I really heart most today would definitely have to be the 2002 Domaine Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut.  Holy crap that is good!  I had the pleasure of drinking it at one of my favorite BYOBs, Home Bistro in Boystown, last Sunday with great friends.  We opened it at the beginning of the meal and of course I was excited, but after sniffing then tasting, I was even more excited.  Such an amazing sparkling wine.  Beautiful in the glass with a golden color and tiny bubbles.  Aromatic and vibrant on the nose.  Honey and lemon really came out on the palate with a great minerality that I love heart.  It also has a great acidity which is probably why it also went so well at our Fried Chicken and Bubbles event last week.

My suggestion is to grab a bottle of this and drink it.  Sharing is optional.

Random Snippets: Edition #1

Friday, July 24th, 2009
Get your WINE GEEK on:
Wine don’t hurt.  Flawed, corked, or infected with bacteria…bad wine will not physically harm you.  Wine is a natural, organic product that is absolutely prone to spoiling and damage.  Wine may be corked.  A bottle may have components that react poorly together in a disastrous chemical reaction.  Tetrahedral crystals may form and swirl through the bottle as snowflakes in a snow globe.  Now, a ‘flawed’ bottle may taste horrid or cause awful anguish, but, you’ll make it through.  (more…)

She should have come to Lush.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

True Story.

A friend of mine made a trip recently to a wine store in her neighborhood. Knowing a thing or two about wine but being short on time, she deferred her selection to the seemingly helpful lady present behind the counter. Her needs: two bottles for dinner; one red, perhaps an Argentinean Malbec and one white, preferably an unoaked chardonnay. The advice she received: check the price tags. Anything over $17 should be unoaked.

I can’t make this stuff up, folks. Of all the bad advice I have experienced in my time of wine, this takes the cake. I wonder what her criteria for selecting a pet is? Anything over $25 should get you a pony?