Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Chenin Economy

Umm. Bubbles and More Bubbles, and some Chenin. And Chenin Bubbles. And bad economy…for the wine & food folks.

So. It has occurred to me that wine blogging is at a sort of pause. Many wine bloggers have decreased the frequency of their posts. Or it just seems that way because of winter’s monotony. But even considering this, I am concerned for the state of the biz. The wine and food biz. This economic crisis hoo-hah is pummeling the groundlings of the biz. After the unfortunate layoffs of some of my great friends, and grate tasters, that I worked with in Chicago, and a sad layoff at CSW, I learned that even more of my Chicagoan friends have gotten busted out of the trade. Even the chef at the yummster Uncommon Ground (on Devon) was let go. I foresee more talent getting ousted soon. And it’s a ton of youngsters and people who have just began their climb up the corporate ladder. It stinks.

I haven’t lost a job, but I need some more employment to keep things, uh, interesting.

Instead of watching the entire first season of Project Runway Canada. I love it, but mainly I love Iman. In this ep. she chooses which dress she'll wear to Toronto Fashion Week. I love the Transylvanian.

Caves de Grenelle Saumur Brut “Grande Cuvee” NV ($12)
Chenin/Chard 26 months aging. So I got this for cheap. It retails at about $16 or so, and still is killer. With 2 years en triage I’d have guessed this bubbly may have had more yeasty/bready tones—not the case. I’m learning that chenin-containing or Loire bubbles don’t take to those aromas as easily as classic Champagne does. Needless to say, this wine was full of harmony and charm. Very green/gold in the glass notes of quince, lemon-lemon, tart yellow apple, and quinine, very nice body and very persistent, yet not-too-fine bead. This could use lots of time to hang out in the bottle. Also, was much better on day two. Mmm. This was had on NYE with Brussels sprouts, sweet potato chips, and buffalo burgers. It worked!

Bordelet Poire Authentique (2006) ($16)
Yum. Tastes sweet, but isn’t. Perfect with blue. Cheese, that is. I need more of this. Eric Bordelet is awesome.

Brut Tradition (Vertus) NV ($40)
Rockin! Full, round, with a little more red-fruit (I thought even red apple) than their BdB. A fantastic NV, but their BdB is worth every extra penny.

The next wine disappointed, but usually does quite the opposite. Very much like MTV's The Real World which used to be about putting together different people and watching them work out their insecurities, expand their minds, and work together. Now it's about hot tubs, booze, and abs. The new season has some of both, and it may impress with very interesting and diverse cast members. A seed of doubt came to my mind when the "this season on The Real World" was a 50 second forecast of screaming, punching, and smashing things. Also, what ever happened to the cast members having a job together? It all went downhill after New Orleans, which was an amazing season. Right up there with SF, Miami, and Seattle. Anyway, I watched it, and may keep watching:

Francois Chidaine 2005 Montlouis “Les Tuffeaux” ($22)
Um, this was corked a little and reduced a little or something. I (usually) LOVE THIS WINE. I’ve had several bottles of this and it has always satisfied my taste for uber-good demi-sec chenin. WTF? You could even taste the yumminess underneath. My drinking companions didn’t complain about it, but I was upset and pouty.

Marchesae Leopoldo Monferrato Rosso 2003 ($25)
Piedmontese Pinot Noir (100%). Light ruby, transparent, very very very perfumed. Better than the sample I smelled a month ago. I thought it was pinot noir through and through, with that licorice and rose aroma I get in a lot of piedmontese Nebbiolo. Mmm. Maybe more Gattinara than Barolo, but, hey, good stuff! If you see this, grab one. Surprise a PN-loving friend.

And I got Lady GaGa tix! !!!

And I spent two hours yesterday corking sparkling wine.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monae, Monae, Monae

She is amazing--and this link actually works.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A night of my favorites!

A few weeks back, I needed a night of indulgences. I was returning from Chicago and got my hands on some good cheese and needed to share it with some friends…and finally procured some wines that I just needed to enjoy. Cheeses: Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Robiola, Gres des Vosges, Rogue River Blue.

It’s no secret that my favorite place for Chardonnay is the Cote de Blancs in Champagne (a close second is Chardonnay from other communes in Champagne). I bought a bottle of some RM Champagne from a producer I’ve never heard of because it was (1) absurdly on sale, (2) it was a blanc de blancs from a grower based in Oger.

Vve. Eleonore Blanc de Blancs Grande Reserve NV (Oger)

Very nice bright golden hue and steady bubbles. This was pure, unadulterated ripe Champagne Chardonnay. I think it’s a blend of Crus, but I don’t know. I can’t read their French website totally. Not the most complex of bubblies, but the purity of fruit, with its yellow apple and meyer lemon loveliness and buoyant acids (not sharp, but round and with a forward-thrusting momentum…if that makes sense). We all really enjoyed this. I don’t know if I’d pay full price for it, but it sure is tasty.

Francois Chidaine Vouvray “Les Argiles” 2005, 14%abv, $25

Fucking love Chidaine. Sorry, I can’t say it enough. This was the third bottle of the night and I could have enjoyed it all night. Quite a big boy @ 14% abv, but he held it well, and it was great with the cheese. The fruit was very ripe, I can tell, and the acids were move evolved than the last bottle I had. All quince, honey, and rainbows. Big complexity. My unsuspecting friends didn’t know what to make of this, but they sure made quick business of it. I have two bottles of Mr. Chidaine’s 2005 Montlouis Les Tuffeaux waiting for me when I want some Chenin Candy!

Speaking of A Louis/Dressner wine. You must read Captain Tumor Man, Joe Dressner's blog. Great wine, great man, great attitude. Get well soon.

And you really should listen to Janelle Monae’s EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite. She is amazing. Afro-punk about robots—nice. Here’s new music vid:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aromas of Blasphemy

Sorry, its been a few days since I’ve posted. The change of weather, illness, and lack of inspiring vino has left me to post about the one amazing botella I’ve had lately.

USofA winemakers:
Experiment, do something DIFFERENT for God’s sake. Thank you Dashe (and others, I know you’re out there, too).

Dashe Cellars 2007 McFadden Farms, Potter Valley Zinfandel “L’Enfant Terrible”, $25, 13.8% abv

What a long name for such a lovely wine! Yes, this baby has been the subject, not of controversy, but a lot of bloggish hubbub. For traditionalist it may be a blasphemous interpretation if Zin, yet us Beaujo freaks and natural wine enthusiasts see it as a domestic victory. Wherever your vinous philosophies lie, this wine is tasty.

I read somewhere that Mike Dashe calls this wine his cool-climate, Cali answer to a Cru Beaujo, and he is spot on. Remeniscent of a Foillard Morgon, this wine, fermented by natural yeasts, aged in a somewhat-neutral, large, foudre-type barrel thing, this wine is crazy low in ABV compared to most Zin. It has that cherry pie, lipstick, strawberry-rhubarb, brown sugar, and dark stony aroma that makes it uber-yum. Even some of my friends who adore the big, spicy, jammy Zin concurred. I even got a choco-vanilla lover to claim, “I guess I like some reds without oak.”

This lady loves it, too. Too much.

This is going to be ONE of my Turkey day wines. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. If I had to go all USofA wine, I’d do this, some Rocks & Gravel some OMP Rielsing and some L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs. But I probably won’t do that. I'll just watch the new Beyonce video over and over and over and over...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Finally, less politics, more wine!

We don’t need to talk politics—we are victorious! (Except for CA Prop. 8 and its evil ilk.)

Here are my celebratory bubbles. Capital C Champagne. Capital RM, Recoltant-Manipulant. I would’ve gone more local, as Indiana went blue, but I think the French are celebrating right along with us! And this stuff is amazing. I lovelovelovelove RM! So distinctive.

H. Billiot, Brut Reserve, Grand Cru, (Ambonnay)

Most Pinot Noir, billowy, fresh, mouth-watering white cherry yellow plum fruit! Apple-blossom and a puffy, delicate pastry finish. Bright, fresh acid and very persistent fine bubbles! Tastes like a cherry Danish, but you can’t tell where the cherry ends and where the dough begins. YUM. You cannot not like this Champange. Just as good on day three of being opened (even though there was only about one glass left). Tons of joyous personality!

I love Champagne! And democracy! And Democrats!

Way to go Hoosiers!
(We can do even better!)


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Notes on Yesterday

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA. Growing up, because my parents have always advocated voting, I assumed that everyone voted and everyone should. After the 2000 election, I realized this isn’t the case. I have voted in every election since 2002. In 2006 I stepped up and donated a few bucks to important races. This year I donated a little more and, more importantly, got off of my ass and hit the pavement.

Yesterday we pushed through to make a Change here in Indiana. Jason woke up at 4:00 am to monitor polls. I was out at the Obama HQ at 8:30 to start canvassing. Yes, I knocked on 50 doors, yes, I called over 75 phone numbers, and, yes, I helped get people to their correct polling locations and improve our candidate's visibility in Bloomington—but so did so many of my fellow volunteers. I believe that I and my fellow volunteers helped get those five votes per precinct that colored Indiana blue.

So, yes, my efforts paid off big time. I am proud to be a Hoosier. I am proud to be a Hoosier because of the fellow Hoosiers I met yesterday. When I showed up at the Obama office to get in line to check in for canvassing, an elderly gentleman, shaking and barely able to walk, came up to me and told me that he shakes too much to pin a button on his hat. So he handed me his hat and I pinned a “Veterans for Obama” button to his navy blue hat. Before I had the chance to talk to him he raised his voice a bit and said “Let’s F*ing do this!” before grabbing his canvassing packet and

Later that day, after canvassing and calling, I went with two lovely ladies to go get students to vote on the IU campus. One girl I was with was only sixteen years old, and she had been volunteering for the campaign for several weeks. Although unable to vote, she knew she needed to do something to engage her community, and she tried to get everyone she knew—and plenty she didn’t know—to get out there and vote for our guy. America is coming together.

Like our President-Elect said—we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to keep working. We need to work to reverse some of the perverse ballot measures that passed in many states, most notably California’s Proposition 8 and similar measures in Florida and Arkansas. Luckily we still have Massachusetts and Connecticut and a few more of us are elected officials. Gay marriage will be legal in this country soon. We need to be actively involved in helping this country resume its place as an example for the world, on this issue and many more. We need to work to get this country back on its feet, get its head in the right place, and get it progressing the way it should.

Finally, watching the Grant Park rally, with my sister and brother-in-law somewhere in the crowd among many of my friends and fellow Chicagoans, only one block from where I used to work, I realized I was watching a defining moment not only for myself, my generation, but for all generations, and those to come. From now on, I will work for Change.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I know you will. Remind your friends, family, and neighbors. Since I know I have responsible readers, join me in getting out the vote. I'll be out all day. Let's Hope it's a good one!