Archive for February, 2013
I distinctly remember visiting the Tuscan wine country back in the early 1980′s when Cabernet, Merlot or Franch barrique were not politically correct to talk about. Many vintners had them planted & made wines using all of the above…..they just did not talk about it so much publically. Fortunately for me…..on that particular trip…….our “tour guide”……..was superstar oenologist Vittorio Fiore, who gave us very practical, highly informative insight into this “quiet” wine revolution that was perculating down in the cellars underneath the otherwise peaceful, serene Tuscan countryside.
At our VINO restaurant we strive to serve good food….done with a Mediterranean edge. We also want the food to be very wine friendly at the same time.
One of the dishes VINO Chef Keith Endo features on the menu is a Braised Lamb Shank which is served with roasted fingerling potatoes, parsnip puree & root vegetables. This is a dish which works really well with rustic red wines, especially those from the Mediterranean basin.
1995 Domaine Tempier Bandol “Cabassaou”
Isn’t it always a great feeling to see long time friends! here are 3 I ran across over the past few days.
I first met Tawfig back in the late 70′s/early 80′s. Over the years he & his wife Richel would come to whatever restaurant I was at, to say hello, dine & share a bottle of wine. Being a wine collector, the wines they opened over the years & shared was amazing…the oldest dating as farback as an 1809 Madeira! Theyencouraged a young boy to “dream” …….much mahalo!!!!!!
Chef Jean Marie Josselin
As a consumer, it is so easy to get lost in the world of Burgundy wines. Unlike the Californian single vineyard model which most of today’s wine enthusiasts are more familar with, Burgundy can get quite confusing because of the extreme vineyard/parcel fragmentation over the centuries, mainly due to the country’s inheritance laws.
Even for the wine professional……..keeping track of who owns what….or who it is share cropped with/for (metayage)….or who the grapes were purchased from….is a daunting task. AND, with every generation of the family, this complex matrix inevitably changes.
There is NO easy, quick fix answer.
One of my favorite sea critters to eat is octopus. It has good flavor & such an unusual character, which I much prefer to squid.
Octopus Terrine (red wine & Port) with eggplant caponata & Nalo Farms baby arugula
So, the question is, what kind of wine should we serve?
I was recently asked by a wine publication my thoughts on Bordeaux wines & their viability in restaurants today, given the high prices of the top chateaux.
There will always be a market for Bordeaux wines. The top producers have done a stellar job on marketing themselves over the centuries from Thomas Jefferson to the 1855 Classification to Robert Parker’s landmark reviews on the 1982 vintage (& the ensuing stronger American following) to today & the demand created by the Orient (Japan, Korea & China). The demand is still high…and the prices are too.
VINO Chef Keith Endo has been getting some really good “NO growth hormone…NO antibiotic” chicken lately. Because it is so good, it is now hard for me to eat & appreciate other chicken. Tonight, Keith seared the dark meat first, then braised it with celery, red & green bell peppers, onions & chicken stock. till tender.
So…..what kind of wine did we serve with it?
2007 Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva “Vigna del Sorbo”
We are continuously searching to find tasty, interesting, food friendly wines produced from indigenous grape varieties to Italy & the Mediterranean basin for our VINO restaurant. We have discovered…….easier said than done. Recently. however, we have found TWO….& are absolutely thrilled not only with what’s in the bottle, but also how much quality they deliver, given the price.
2011 Nanfro Frappato
Organically grown at roughly 1300 feet elevation in Sicily amongst sandy/clay soils, this is a wonderfully perfumed, delicious, juicy, lightly colored & incredibly food friendly Italian country wine which has finally arrived!!!!! There are a surprisingly number of this grape variety now coming into the states, but nothing this good!
Ever since I started in the wine industry I have been enamored with the wines from Fontodi. From my very first glass, I have thought their wines to be the benchmark of what Chianti could be, especially under the direction (at least in the early days) of superstar consultant Franco Bernabei.
The 130 acre estate (70 planted) is located just south of the town of Panzano, right in the heart of the Classico region with calcareous-clay-schist soils at higher elevation & today organically farmed.
It has taken over 30 years to finally get some of their wine (at least legally) to Hawaii.