Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Bordeaux + Duck Confit Tasting

Last week I invited some friends over to practice both my cooking skills as well as tasting skills.  I had smuggled a tin of duck confit back from France last year and it had been sitting on top of my fridge ever since.  I figured these dog days of winter were as good a time as ever to cook it up.  I paired the confit with fingerling potatoes roasted in duck fat and this fennel and radicchio salad.  I asked my guests to bring a bottle of Bordeaux wine (duck confit is said to have originated in the Bordeaux region).  We had 2 whites and 2 reds.  I'd like to say we had an educated discussion of each wine, but the catch-up and gossip got to the best of us so we were more focused on that.  And the duck…..ohhhh the duck.  So easy, so delicious; I'll be bringing an extra suitcase to bring back more tins of duck from my trip in May!



The Lineup

Ready for tasting
For dessert….my first attempt at chocolate soufflĂ©, and it actually rose in my lackluster oven!
My favorite wine of the evening was actually the first one that we opened.  2011 Graves Blanc by Jean Medeville Et Fils which Emily and I picked up when visiting Tribeca Wine Merchants last weekend.  Light, crisp, refreshing, balanced acidity with fruit, but not in an overly citrus way like some sauvignon blancs can be.  It went down easy….wish I could say I remember more of each wine but like I said, the wine, conversation, and food got the best of me, and I enjoyed every last bite!

Wine:  2011 Graves Blanc by Jean Medeville Et Fils 
Purchased:  Tribeca Wine Merchants
Price: $20 retail
Would buy again: Yes  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Fontanafredda Serralunga D'Alba Barolo

Last week I had a delicious dinner at Quality Meats in midtown.  Midtown on a Saturday night….bleh I know, but it was worth the trek uptown!  After slight snafus with a backup of service, we had a great meal all washed down with a yummy bottle of Barolo.

I'm not that familiar with Italian wines so I defaulted to my dining companions.  The wine was medium bodied, fruit forward, and light in tannins, aka my perfect trifecta!  A beautiful ruby color, with a nose of spices and vanilla.  The taste was very fruit heavy with notes of ripe cherries.  It paired perfectly with our yummy steaks.


Wine:  2008 Fontanafredda Serralunga D'Alba Barolo
Purchased:  Quality Meats
Price: $45 retail
Would buy again: Yes  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrate Burgundy Week - Tasting in NYC this Saturday

How clever am I to post about Burgundy labels without even know that we're currently celebrating Burgundy week here in NYC and SF?!?!  If you live in either of these cities, check out the Burgundy Week web page for events near you!
 
I'll be checking out the open tasting at Tribeca Wine Merchants from 2pm-6pm tomorrow 3/15.  If you're in NYC come stop by!
 
Image Via
 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wine Wednesday - How To Decipher a White Burgundy Label

New world vs. old world, colors, style, logo, font….all things that factor into a wine's label.  So many of us choose a wine based on an emotional response to a label, but recently I learned a few tricks to help understand what exactly it is you're choosing.

When it comes to French whites from Burgundy, there are a few key tips to remember.  

There are 3 primary "levels" of quality:

Village Wine is your cheapest option ($) - the label will note the name of a specific village.

Chardonnay from the Macon Village
Retail Price $12
Premier Cru - ($$) From a specific vineyard within one of the named villages.  Typically village name is listed first, then vineyard.

Chablis Premier Cru from the village of Montmains, and the specific vineyard "Moulin de Vaudon"
Retail Price $39
Grand Cru - ($$$$$) From a specific vineyard that is considered to have the best soil in the area.  Labels will typically have only the specific vineyard name on the label.  Sometimes it can be labeled Premier Cru, signifying that it is a blend of different cru vineyards.  

Grand Cru
Retail Price $96
Other factors that contribute to the price/quality of the wine include oak and aging time.  Village wine is typically aged in 25% new oak, Premier Cru 40-70% and Grand Cru 80-100% new oak.  

Remember these tips next time you're browsing your local wine store or ordering in a restaurant, and you'll be sure to get the best value for your $.  And if you're on an expense account you have my full permission to go for that Grand Cru, just promise you'll tell me how it was!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Winter Walk-around at NYV

I recently attended a great event at one of my favorite wine shops in the city.  New York Vintners hosts a quarterly walk-around event where they open 15 bottles of what they're loving at that moment.  This time around it was 4 sparkling wines, 4 whites, and 7 reds with a bonus rose tasting.  It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  It was an intense amount of wine to taste in a 2 hour setting, but after a delicious brunch at Nelson Blue, we were up for the challenge!

My only complaint is that it wasn't more interactive.  But NYV has lots of wine classes that I've heard great things about, so there's options for every educational/tasting experience.  




My favorite wine of the evening was, surprise surprise, a Napa Valley Cab.  Capture Wines Fleuron 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon  was everything I love in a NV Cab, black fruit, balanced with slight spice and light tannins, a very drinkable wine.

I highly suggest getting on the mailing list for NYV as they send out fun tasting notes, winemaker dinners, and upcoming class schedules.



Wine:  2010 Fleuron Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted:  New York Vintners
Price: $45 retail
Would buy again: Yes

Monday, March 3, 2014

Winter Escape - Punta Cana

Last month my college girlfriends and I met in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for a weekend of fun in the sun.  After the winter we've had in NYC, I can assure you that I will be planning at least one warm-weather getaway in Jan/Feb, it's a necessity!  Vitamin-D deficiency and seasonal affective disorder are NO JOKE!  

I had the first flight out of JFK on a perfect day for flying, bright blue skies, no weather issues, smooth sailing.  Or not, when Delta forgets to book a co-pilot for my flight.  OF ALL THINGS!  Even with a business class upgrade, the 5-hour delay put a slight crimp in my plans, but all was forgotten the minute I stepped off that plane.  

We stayed at the Sanctuary Cap Cana, and sanctuary it was!  We booked on Jetsetter and thanks to a friend we were upgraded to one of their beachfront villas!  As we pulled up to the room in a golf cart Erin exclaimed "I feel like I'm on the bachelor!"  To top it off there was champagne and a beautiful fruit plate waiting for us!  We popped the bottle and started off the best weekend, full of laughter, sun, cold drinks, and the best breakfast buffet ever, just what the Dr. ordered!

Finally on the plane, had to celebrate with a mimosa
Sunrise from our front porch
Our villa



Wine with lunch, always






Always and forever making friends with pool boys...




Feels like a dream…..where to next year ladies??
 

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