Friday, January 20, 2012

A Chard, Some Chevre, and a Chanteuse Provide a Preview to a Classic French Meal

In cultivating a love of all things French, I wanted to share a recent Francaise overload...
My prelude to a dinner of coq au vin (my first attempt at the classic French-braised chicken in wine) consisted of a glass of Joseph Drouhin's excellent Laforet, a young Bourgogne (that's French for Burgundy) full of bright lemon and stone.
Laforet met its match with a creamy Humboldt Fog Chevre (French for goat cheese), multigrain crackers and fig paste. Added into the mix were the haunting and beautiful vocals of famed chanteuse Francoise Hardy, who's sort of a rock star in her native country, and for good reason.

Next up...the main course, accompanied by an elegant white Chateauneuf du Pape...would it be the best or a bust? Stay tuned for details...
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yummy Cabernet and a Chocolate-covered Bacon Bionic Birthday

There aren't many pairings better than a good Cabernet and some haut dark chocolate, but my friends and I recently one upped ourselves by matching our wine with some chocolate-covered, delicious, salty bacon. Thrown in for good measure was a favorite 1970's action hero for good measure, all to celebrate my friend Shellie's birthday. 
Our trio decided to try the appropriately named 3 Girls Cabernet, a fruity, smoky, and smooth offering from Oak Ridge Winery in Lodi. For the uninitiated, Vosges gourmet products are sort of like the Cadillac of chocolate, and their Mo's Dark Bacon Bar paired perfectly with the dark cherry and earthy undertones in our wine. My girls went Lady Gaga over this irresistable combo.
In the Bionic Woman episode 'Kill Oscar,' Jaime Sommers battles female robots (the infamous fembots) who are in on a plot to control the world via a weather machine.
What better accompaniment to viewing this iconic TV series than yummy red wine and pork belly smothered in cacao?
For our friend Cheri's upcoming birthday, perhaps we will enjoy a Petit Syrah, a few episodes of Charlie's Angels, and some chocolate-covered potato chips...

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Newly Discovered Italian Varietal is a Flavorful Surprise

Question: What's full of chocolate covered cherries, sweet tobacco, and tight tannins? Answer: A delightful Mosby Sagrantino, one of my latest finds that I've filed under the category of "Grapes to Discover in 2012."
I've always wanted to taste Sagrantino, a lesser known Italian varietal that hails from the Umbria region, and  my first foray into this tasty example from a Santa Barbara County producer didn't disappoint. Upon first opening, the wine also has a slightly earthy quality with a hint of winter pine. I decided to enjoy this little treasure with a grilled New York strip steak and cauliflower gratin.

After it had decanted for a bit, the wine took on the flavors of spicy holiday fruit cake (not the kind that Aunt Martha ships to your house each year) and smoky, big red fruit. This grape is formidable, and even the notes on the back of the bottle describe it as having "aggressive fruit."
 It has generally been my experience that aggressive gets things done, and I'm already seeking out other examples of this wine to share with my more assertive's to a New Year full of exciting and unusual discoveries of all things vino...
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