Archive for August, 2009

Meursault Mondays

Posted in Food, Pairings, Wine on August 28th, 2009 by nita – 1 Comment

My very good friend Dawn and I used to work together every Sunday and Monday at 56 Degree Wine. We still get  to see each other every now and then, but I wanted to write a little something about a memory that’s very near and dear to both of us… Meursault Mondays. It started out one summer Monday in 2008 when a very good customer came to the shop to chat with Chris about some wines that he wanted to purchase. Chris chose several different Village and Premier Cru Meursaults to show him. The customer purchased his wine, and ended up with 3 cases plus a bottle. He then decided to open one of the bottles right there, to share a taste with Chris. Dawn and I arrived moments later, and we were greeted with a glass each. Meursault for breakfast – any day!!!!!  Upon the customer’s departure, he left the open bottle of Meursault behind. We ran out to give it to him, and he waved his hand to us saying “You girls enjoy!”  After that day, every Monday was referred to as “Meursault Monday.” Even if we were sampling Bordeaux. Even if we were sampling Brunello, Even if all we had to drink was coffee. It was always Meursault Monday for me and my Dawn-y. So I just thought I’d post some of my favorite wines here – all enjoyed in the company of my friend Dawn. (Along with some of the unreal pairings that I’ve been lucky enough to experience!)

img-display2000 Lopez de Heredia Bosconia Rioja Reserva – (Here’s what 56 Degree Wine has as the description) Like the great producers in Burgundy, Robert Ampeau and Camille Giroud, Lopez de Heredia holds their wines back and only releases them when they are deemed “ready to drink”. The 2000 Bosconia is pure Rioja, conjuring thoughts of a great Pomerol. Supple but still primary, there is a bevy of dried cherry, leather, licorice and spice. Long finishing and in no danger of fading any time soon, enjoy this classic wine anytime over the next ten years.

PaellaI have savored the Rioja above on its own, but it shined when paired next to Paella Valenciana!

2005 Richard Leroy Anjou Sec Les Noels de Montbenault – (Here’s what 56 Degree Wine wrote about it) This is such a great wine that we couldn’t pass it up. Richard Leroy makes handcrafted wines in extremely small lots. We love the non-oxidative style of 100% Chenin Blanc. Very fine and very flavorful, the use of older oak is apparent showing richness without wood domination. Fruit forward, zippy acids, tropical tones, mango carmelized apples and a long textured resolve. Just enough sweetness to easily handle spicy dishes. Wonderful!

ScallopsI love this wine with seared scallops over a microgreen salad with fennel and citrus tarragon dressing. This is equally lovely with Thai take out!

2006 La Peira En Damaisela Obriers de la Peira Languedoc -  (Here is 56’s description) A deeply fruited and unique blend of 65% Cinsault and 35% Carignan, this wine represents some of the best juice I’ve ever tasted from the Languedoc.  Sweet mixed berries, hints of cloves and cassis with a freshness and verve that make this wine so easy to love.  The fine balance and lingering floral note that caresses the palate after the wine dissipates is really striking.  Utilize this Cellar Defender™ anytime a juicy red is needed between now and 2012.107596_116

This was fabulous with braised short ribs or braised lamb shanks over truffled polenta.

Last but not least, every time I open a bottle of Meursault, I will think of Mondays with Dawn. Here is my all time favorite producer and one of my all time favorite White Burgundies! Perfectly paired with lobster – either elegantly or casually prepared. My favorite is the classic lobster roll. Made elegant by pairing with this!

353502006 Domaine Albert Grivault Meursault Les Perrieres 1er Cru – (As per 56 Degree Wine) The Perrieres ramps up the beauty until it is almost unbearable. Owning 1.5 hectares in what is recognized as the best 1er cru site in Meursault, the 2006 version is full of amazing fragrance of spiced pears and fresh baked bread. Superb cut and balance form the basis for the tangerine, orange peel, crystalline citrus and stupendous length. This wine has excellent aging potential and is best enjoyed now through 2018.Lobster Roll

LOOOOOOOVE IT!!!! Cheers, Dawn! :) xoxo

THE Wine List

Posted in Dinners, Food, Pairings, Wine on August 21st, 2009 by nita – Be the first to comment

I realized today that I’ve barely spoken about wine in my recent posts. Perhaps because I feel like there is so much to write about? Every time I step into work at 56 Degree Wine, I am greeted not only by a refreshing burst of cool air (the temperature in the shop is ALWAYS set to 56 degrees F) but also by floor stacks of new wines that I will surely learn about that day. Each week, we  get new shipments of wines from our suppliers. And each week has in store a whole new lesson in my ongoing course that is my employment at the shop.

No matter who my 56-er is that day (by “56-er” I mean 56 Degree colleague)… I can be sure to get the education that I crave! Every Monday, Jay and I enjoy comparing notes of the wines that we’ve recently tasted. If I have a question about Burgundy or Spain, I go to Joe, the wine director. If I am stumped on a classification of Riesling or a region in Germany, I go to Tim, the store manager. And if I have a question about pretty much ANYTHING wine related, I go to Chris, the owner. He not only answers my question, but then takes me on a geographical journey of the region, then googles the specific winery, and usually ends with personal photos of him drinking that exact wine. Seriously – am I lucky or am I lucky!?

And the greatest part of these 56 relationships… when I invite these guys over, I cook, and they bring AWESOME wines! So, needless to say, most of the times that I have experienced ethereal wine pairings, my 56-ers have been in attendance. So I’m sure you can understand the excitement I felt to be part of a wine dinner that none of the aforementioned crew was at. It was a Friday evening at the end of March (i.e. beginning of Spring.) Not only did I take notes like a librarian, but I followed up with the hosts of this magnificent dinner party to email me the wine list. They were kind enough to do so.

Before I reveal THE WINE LIST (which is TOTALLY what I refer to this list as) I want to also mention that the food that we were served this evening was MAGNIFICENT! We started off with a gorgeous plate of artisanal cheeses and flatbreads as well as some delicious mushroom tartlets. Our first course was a beautifully prepared halibut atop earthy lentils and the dish was topped with a grape tomato butter. The second course was a fennel, blood orange, and goat cheese salad. The main course revealed “melt in your mouth” braised short ribs over a celery root puree (yum!) and the dessert was a decadent piece of chocolate cake. THE WINE LIST needed to be this great to stand up to the amazing food!!

1999 Leroy Bourgogne Rouge (appetizers)
2005 Bachelet Monnot Puligny Montrachet Les Referts (appetizers)
Margaine Rose Brut Champagne (when we were first seated at dinner)
2006 U Baccan (Bruna is the producer, from the pigato grape indigenous to Liguria) (with halibut and salad)
1990 Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou (short ribs)
1990 Ch. L’Angelus (short ribs)
1991 Ridge Montebello (after the short ribs)
1994 Dominus (sometime after short ribs and before/during dessert)
1988 Ch. Climens (during/after dessert)

Thank you to my friends that threw this amazing dinner party! And thank you to my 56-ers because without your knowledge that you’ve graciously shared with me, I would not have appreciated this incredible spread! CHEERS!!!

Food Battles

Posted in Food Battles on August 21st, 2009 by nita – Be the first to comment

It was my intention to write about the following experiences in separate posts, immediately after the events occurred. But now that so much time has elapsed, I will condense my thoughts into one blurb.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I have felt incredibly lucky to have shared numerous “foodie” experiences with my family and close friends. In one way or another, with every important person in my life, food has played a very important role.

My husband and I take part in a monthly food challenge with 3 other couples. Each couple takes a turn hosting and it is the hosts’ responsibility to choose a theme. Each couple is assigned a “course” and the courses are all judged on presentation, creativity, and taste. There is ultimately a winner of the evening – but in all honesty, all 8 of us win after tasting the magnificent creations!

The most recent themes were Battle Nut and Battle Stone Fruit.  See below for some pictures from both of these challenges. I apologize in advance to all of the wine lovers that are reading this… I know that some really nice wines were served with these, but can’t remember all of them!

This first photo is the incredible appetizer course that Sejal and Rick brought to the Nut Challenge. It was a delicious tuna tartare with ground almonds. So earthy but still so fresh. We had this with some lovely sparkling wines.

Appetizer Course - Battle Nut Tuna Tartare

Appetizer Course - Battle Nut Tuna Tartare

This next photo is the first course that Manish and I brought to the Nut Challenge. Manish called it “The 3 second Rule” – sort of his take on a fallen ice cream cone. The green puddle is a fava bean puree with pine nuts, the “ice cream scoop” is a warm crab salad with almond crumbs, the “cone” is a pine nut tuile, and of course – can’t forget the blistered cherry tomato on top. We had this with the 2007 Domaine Pollier St Veran.

First Course - Battle Nut Crab Salad with Pine Nut Tuile

First Course - Battle Nut Crab Salad with Pine Nut Tuile

The winner of Battle Nut was Piyush and Jigna’s creation… Trio of Pork Tenderloin (Jigna’s version was substituted with Tofu.) The first presentation was roasted butterflied pork tenderloin, stuffed with herbs, rolled and encrusted with grainy mustard and pistachios and served with a Bordelaise Sauce. Next was a roasted pork tenderloin encrusted with grainy mustard and panko, topped with almond butter. And last was a roasted pork tenderloin with mahammura sauce.  Mahammara Sauce is a mixture of walnuts, roasted red peppers, panko, garlic, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Creative and the flavors were divine! I remember a Pinot Noir being served with this but can’t remember which one… sorry. :(

Entree - Battle Nut Trio of Pork

Entree - Battle Nut Trio of Pork

We don’t have a picture of the lovely dessert that was presented at the Nut Challenge. Priti and Chirag created a scrumptious “feta” cheesecake with hazelnut crust and to accompany that, they served homemade butter pecan ice cream on the side. They made sure to serve this with a wonderful dessert wine from the Long Island wine region. Talk about splurge!!!

Priti and Chirag stepped it up again at the Stone Fruit Battle with their drink and appetizer course. They served mouth quenching blackberry mojitos to start. And their appetizer plate had three components: a peach and yogurt soup; a crostini with fontina and dried apricots; and a lychee and coconut sorbet. So fresh, so tasty, and so original!

Appetizer - Battle Stone Fruit - Peach Yogurt soup with Crostini and Sorbet

Appetizer - Battle Stone Fruit - Peach Yogurt soup with Crostini and Sorbet

Next was the reigning champion’s dish… This first course was so unique, and again, so flavorful – sweet and savory all at once. The course was a mango gazpacho with cilantro oil drizzle.  On top of the bowl was a skewer of 3 grilled shrimp which were marinated in garlic, oil, lime juice, a little jalapeno, paprika, and cayenne.  On the side was a simple grilled avocado with almond oil filled in the cavity and a sprinkle of kosher salt.  (The gazpacho was made with mango, jalapeno, cucumber, green apple, celery, orange juice, lime juice, ginger) This was served with the 2006 Barth Rene Pinot Blanc. Perfect pairing!

First Course - Battle Stone Fruit Mango Gazpacho

First Course - Battle Stone Fruit Mango Gazpacho

Sejal and Rick created an entree that I think about making every Summer Sunday night after work. It’s a perfect balance of rich and delicate flavors on a single plate. They served a perfectly grilled mahi mahi over a fragrant saffron risotto. The dish was outlined by a stream of mango sauce that completed the balance of flavors. Deliciously paired with the 2006 Pride Viognier and the 2004 Kongsgard Chardonnay (Rick correct me if I’m wrong here.)

Entree - Battle Stone Fruit Mahi Mahi and Saffron Risotto

Entree - Battle Stone Fruit Mahi Mahi and Saffron Risotto

Last but not least, everyone was kind enough to vote our dessert the favorite of the evening… We served warm sugar beignets with three sauces: one was a blackberry plum coulis; one was a peach mango sauce; and one was a black cherry and chocolate fondue. In the middle of the plate was a lemon scented dollop of fresh ricotta. Served along with dessert were two dessert wines – both from the producer Braida in Piedmont, Italy. The 2006 Bracchetto d’Aqui and the 2007 Moscato d’Asti.

Dessert - Battle Stone Fruit - Beignets with Three Sauces

Dessert - Battle Stone Fruit - Beignets with Three Sauces

To my monthly food challenge brothers and sisters – thank you so  much for these “5 star” meals! Can’t wait for the next one!!