Archive for Wine
1997 was a VERY highly lauded vintage in Italy, which many people believe one of the best vintages ever. On this night we tried 3 standouts (16 years old), side by side. They are just now opening up again. Just another opportunity to learn.
1997 Terreno Chianti Classico Riserva
a very elegant, classy, highly refined 90% Sangiovese Riserva by superstar consultant Franco Bernabei. “The estate consits of 150 hectares of oak, chestnut trees, vineyards (30 hectares) & olive groves on an amazing terrain. The soil is of the galestro type with large amounts of stone at roughly 1000 feet elevation“. the 1997 had 10% of “other” red grape varieties (Cabernet, Merlot & Canaiolo Nero). Yes, this wine has really opened up again–classy, stylish with forest floor, cedar, stony nuances. This is a very pretty Chianti, which is NOT overdone or internationalized.
Alexander was the founding chef/co-owner of the highly lauded Seven Hills restaurant on Hyde Street in the Knob Hill/Russian Hill cusp. 2 weeks ago, he left the restaurant & is now looking to open his own place. His food is contemporary Italian with real classic roots. Here is the menu & wine pairings of the night.
Crispy Polenta with seared Bay scallops & a chanterelles mushroom reduction
The wine world today seems so fascinated with big, rich, opulent, lavish wines. Isn’t there room for elegant, highly refined, more finesse oriented wines? Just to make sure our regulars remember that finesse & nuance is okay…we have put together a quartet of worldly red wines from 4 true winemaking Masters (at least from my point of view). Each of these wines are excellent….interesting….absolutely delicious….& so food friendly. REALLY cool wines!!!!!!!!….& certainly one of the most interesting tastings we have put together in some time, that’s for sure. Just another opportunity to learn.
Last night, we did a wine & food pairing workshop for the staff down at Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar & DK Steakhouse featuring some of their more popular dishes. The intent was for each of the participants to walk away with a first hand experience of wine & food & therefore have more knowledge of the hows & whys, as well as more confidence on the subject.
At our VINO Restaurant, Chef/Partner Keith Endo has been churning out alot of small plates specials every night, just to have fun (& our customers greatly appreciate his work). This also gives us an opportunity to have fun pairing wines to the onslaught of these new dishes.
Fresh Razor Clams–with white wine, lemon, Italian parsley & a little butter
California certainly has been producing world class wines, which has steadily risen in perceived quality since the 1976 Paris Wine Exhibition. Take Napa Valley grown & produced Cabernet for instance. The critics’ scores & accolades rival, & in some cases exceed, the very best from France’s iconic Bordeaux region.
One could certainly make a similar case for Chardonnay & Pinot Noir as well.
California is also making great strides in raising the quality & the awareness of their wines made from Rhone grape varietals as well. It has taken some time, but as time goes on, the very best are finally getting recognition, culminating with the selection of the 2007 Saxum “James Berry Vineyard” Red Wine by the Wine Spectator as the numer one wine of their Top 100 Wines issue a few years ago.
Certainly one of the highly regarded estates of Chianti, with vineyard holdings just over 65 hectares at between 1000 & 1700 feet in elevation….with calcareous clay, pebble rich soils. The 2006 was rated 92 points by The Wine Advocate. It certainly displays the dried cherry/red fruit & autumn leaves nuances, one would expect from Tuscan Sangiovese with the pedigree & character would one expect from such a top estate. We were also glad to see the 2006 open up again, eventhough only slightly. The big question is…….is this wine worth $42 retail?
Italian Lambrusco is yet another wine, which I would list under the “Ugly Duckling” category. It is sad that too many wine drinkers have some preconceived notion that sparkling (or fizzy) red wines are not “cool” to drink…..OR….that the rage of inexpensive, sweeter styled Lambrusco in the 70′s & 80′s has forever tarnished the wine.
I can readily understand. I, quite candidly, at one time thought the same. Then, I had my first glass of the Ermete DeMedici Lambrusco “Concerto”….back in the early 90′s…..well chilled…..with an assortment of salumi & cheese. I am now an avid fan of good Lambrusco.
Santorini is an ancient, very picturesque Greek island, with remarkable blue waters & breathtaking, panoramic views.
This is also the home of one of Greece’s finest white wines, which is produced from the indigenous Assyrtiko grape variety.
The vines are planted in volcanic soils, which have very little clay, resulting in wines of a distinct minerality. Furthermore, these soils, interestingly, are inhospitable to the phylloxera louse, which is why there is still a remarkable amount of VERY old vines scattered throughout the wild countryside.