Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2013 Christophe Pacalet Beaujolais Blanc

When I think "Beaujolais" I think red fruit, bright, juicy, jammy.  Who knew there was a Beaujolais Blanc white wine counterpoint to the more famous Burgundian red.  I had this wine for the first time with dinner at Perla.  A night of firsts on multiple fronts, I've been a huge fan of the Happy Cooking restaurant group for many years (Jeffrey's is an old standby) but had never been to Perla.  

I should have known I'd like it (both the restaurant and the wine).  The wine is made from the most prominent white grape in Burgundy, Chardonnay!  Like a moth to a flame....

Christophe Pacalet has been making wine in Burgundy since 1999.  He makes a wide range of Beaujolais wines, using naturally occurring yeasts and minimal winemaking intervention allowing the grapes and terroir to do their thing. 

This wine is his only white.  It had a nice minerality but a creamy, rounder palette making it a nice pairing with our AH-MAH-ZING sweet potato agnolotti in a brown butter sauce with crispy sage. 

I can't believe it's taken me so long to make it to Perla.  They're moving across 6th avenue to a new home on W. 4th street next month, that much closer to me so I'll just have to add it in to the regular rotation!   

Purchased:  Perla NYC
Price:  $64 on restaurant list

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Contesa Pecorino

I'm sure you're all familiar with Pecorino cheese, but did you know it's also a grape varietal?  A native grape to the Abruzzo region of central Italy, I recently sampled the 2014 Pecorino from Contesa over a delicious dinner at Santina in NYC.  

The wine was the perfect balance between fuller body but with an underlying minerality that kept it crisp and clean.  Slightly floral and honeyed on the nose and full of fruit.  It was a great compliment to our seafood focused dinner.  If you haven't been to Santina yet, I highly recommend it.  The dining room is absolutely gorgeous and the food is amazing.  Bar tenders are friendly and the somm was particularly friendly and helpful, a win win!

Wine:  2014 Contesa Pecorino
Purchased:  Santina
Price:  $15-$18 Retail

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Villard Syrah

This cold weather on the east coast has me reaching for bold, big bodied reds.  I recently tasted this 2014 Syrah from Villard, a winery located in the Casablanca Valley in Chile.  I wish I had snapped a pic of the wine in the glass, it was the most beautiful dark purple-red color.  

Unlike most Syrah's I've tasted, this wasn't overpowering or spicy.  The nose was full of red berries and a touch of oak (obtained from 10 months in a mix of French/American oak), the palette progressed to slightly darker berries, soft tannins, and a smooth finish that was full of chocolately notes.  Dessert in a glass!  

Wine:  2014 Villard Expresión Reserve Syrah
Purchased:  Backlabel Wines
Price:  $18

Friday, February 5, 2016

Oslo Travelogue

In between bites of food we saw the sites.  Oslo is such a gorgeous city!  We did a fantastic bike tour with Viking Biking, took a ferry ride through the fjords and toured the surrounding islands, and made our way through the hipster hoods.

While we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city, I would be lying if I said food and drink weren't the highlights of our trip.  There is such an amazing food and drink scene taking place in Oslo right now and we somehow tapped right into the heart of it!

Torggata Botaniske crafts all of their cocktails with fresh herbs that they grow right there in the bar!

Craft cocktails at Himkok
We had a great dinner at Arakataka including grilled reindeer!
No shortage of condiments at the equivalent of 7/11, they take their hot dogs very seriously!

We went to Territoriet our first night and ended up coming back every night, it was like we were locals by the time we left!  With an amazing wine selection, snacks, a record player, and the friendliest staff, it was heaven!  

Two new to me and very different whites.
Is there anything better than Brillat Savarin and Chardonnay??
If you're planning a trip to Oslo I would recommend planning your trip to leave on Sunday as most restaurants are closed on Sunday/Monday nights.

We had such a great time, met so many amazing people, I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - Winemaker Dinner with Valle Reale

While in Oslo, we were lucky enough to crash a winemaker dinner with Valle Reale, a winery in the Abruzzo region in Italy.  We settled in to the back room at buzzing Cru restaurant as the lovely Guilia gave us some history of the winery and region before tasting us through the portfolio of wines.  Flights of wine were paired with delicious food and amazing conversation with new friends.

Abruzzo is located east of Rome, is known as the "greenest region in Europe" and is home to many national parks.  Valle Reale focuses on the Montepulciano varietal, not to be confused with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (a Sangiovese-based wine from Tuscany).  The reds, while based in the same grape, ranged from juicy red fruit in the younger 2014 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Organic DOC to darker black fruit from the oldest vines on the property in the 2011 San Calisto Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.    

The white wines were made with the Trebbiano grape, yielding a citrus driven wine with notes of stone fruit and a slightly herbacious finish.  The natural yeast and lack of filtration of the wines create a luscious, full-bodied finish.   

The whites were paired with a delicious Norwegian lobster tail!

Pea risotto with speck

Reindeer for the main course was delicious with the older reds.
Making new friends

The red wines took us right into dessert - creamy gelato with a rhubarb sauce
The lineup
A big thanks to Cru and Valle Reale for including us in this special night.  Such a fun way to cap off our weekend in Oslo!  

Stay tuned for part 3 of my Oslo travelogue including what we did besides eating and drinking!


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