Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cellar tracker.

So, I finally retrieved my meager wine collection from my sister’s lovely Chicago house. Many of the bottles are wines I’ve had before, some of which I’ve previously wrote about. This list is not to brag, boat, or gloat about my luck at getting access to great wines at great prices. But instead to give you a heads-up to what reviews may come in the near future and implore some help from my lurking readers. I’ve tasted some of these wines but never drank or paired them with anything. I’m going to try to (a) save money by drinking through this collection, save what I’ll age and (b) use wines as an inspiriation for my cooking.

Here is one aspect of my personal taste.

Um. Moving on. My cellar gives you a tad more insight to my taste in wine. You don't want to know my taste in TV or music. (I try to be hip.) One caveat: 90% or so of these wines were purchased on an amazing sale, so I snatched up a lot of wines that I may not have bought if they weren’t on supersale. I may have misspelled/misnamed a few wines, but I stuck most of the boxes back in my cavernous closet and I don’t really care to dig them out unless I’m drinking them.


  • Larmandier-Bernier, Blanc de Blanc 1er, NV
  • Larmandier-Bernier, Brut Tradition, NV
  • Pascal Doquet, Blanc de Blanc GC, NV
  • Henri Billiot, Brut Reserve GC, NV
  • Lamiable, Brut GC, NV
  • Vve. Eleonore, Blanc de Blanc GC, NV
  • Paul Goerg, Blanc de Blanc, NV
  • Paul Goerg, Brut 1er, 2002
  • Aubry, Brut 1er, NV
  • Bruno Paillard, Brut Tradition, NV


  • Foreau, Vouvray Brut, NV
  • Francois Pinon, Vouvray Petillant Brut, NV
  • Szigeti, Gruner Veltliner Brut, NV


  • Oliver, Creekbend Vineyard Valvin Muscat, 2007
  • Schafer-Frolich, Kabinett Nahe, 2006 (x2)
  • Lucashof, Kabinett Forster Bischofsgarten, 2005
  • St. Urbans-Hof, Kabinett Ockfener Bockstein
  • Dirler, Riesling Bollenberg, 2004
  • Albert Mann, Auxerrious VV, 2005
  • Weinbach, Pinot Gris Cuvee Laurence Altenbourg, 2004
  • Ch. Soucherie, Anjou Blanc, 2006
  • Francois Chidaine, Vouvray “Les Argiles”, 2005
  • Joly, Savennieres Roche-aux-Moines, 2004
  • Fevre, Chablis Fourchame Vignoble de Vaulorent 1er, 2005
  • Remi Jobard, Meursault Poruzot-Dessous 1er, 2004
  • Hubert Lamy, St-Aubin Murgers-du-Dents-du-Chien 1er, 2002
  • Bodegas Hidalgo, Manzanilla “La Gitana”, NV (I’ve had a lot of this, and just have to keep some around in case of a craving.)


  • J.P. Brun, Terres Dorees, Beaujolais VV Anciens, 2007
  • Marcel Lapierre, Morgon, 2007
  • Diochon, Moulin-a-Vent VV, 2005
  • Digioia-Royer, Bourgogne, 2005
  • Chevillon, Nuits-St-Georges Bousselot 1er, 2003
  • Groffier, Chambolle-Musigny Sentiers 1er, 2004
  • Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay Freimets 1er, 2002
  • Jean-Francouis Merieau, Touraine Cot “Cent Visages”, 2005
  • Dashe, Zinfandel Potter Valley, McFadden Farms “L’Enfant Terrible”, 2007
  • J. Ventura, Vina Caneiro Ribeira Sacra, 2006
  • Chanteleuserie, Bourgueil VV, 2005
  • Oliver, Creekbend Vineyard Chambourcin, 2007
  • Prunotto, Barbera d’Asti, 2006
  • Castello di Farnatella, Chianti Colli Senesi, 2006
  • Selvapiana, Chianti Rufina, 2005
  • Vietti, Nebbiolo “Perbacco”, 2004
  • Vietti, Barolo Lazzarito, 2003
  • Bartolo Mascarello, Barolo, 2000 (Drank it…amazing!)
  • Ch. Sansonnet, St-Emilion GC “Sam’s Cuvee”, 2005
  • Oliver, Creekbend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004
  • Long Shadows, Pirouette, 2003 (A gift.)

Now, I implore my readers (please!) to give me advice about what to pair with this vino, whether to open it soon or keep it for some number of years. If you’ve had these recently (or in the past): what do you think? I’m just starting out as a collector and would like to know your strategies for value purchases and timing of purchases. Also, these are in boxes in my closet in my garden-level apartment. A cool closet has always been my storage facility of choice, but is there a better place?

Feedback, is quite appreciated. It's like should just do it because it's good.

I have watched this video about a dozen times this week. Is that insensitive of me? Kristin Wiig is genius in everything she does.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beaujo 2007

As ya’ll know, the Beaujo (Please don’t abbreviate “BoJo”—it reads lewd.) is one of my favorites/obsessives. I was back in ChiChi last weekend and grabbed a few of my favorites, both for about $16. I’ve had a bottle of the Terres Dorees l’Ancien 2007 this summer, but I hadn’t had the 2007 Lapierre yet.I miss Chicago terribly, not only because I can get my Louis/Dressner fix there, but because of the vibrant cultural atmosphere. (Entrepreneurs—what Chitown needs is a hipster natural wine bar. It would be bonkers awesome.) I went up to Andersonville (my #1 favorite neighborhood) and headed to meet a friend at a wine bar and wound up getting their VERY early. So I happened to walk into a little, unassuming corner liquor store that I had passed hundreds of times without giving it a second thought. (Which is right near Hopleaf, the best beer bar and gastropub I’ve ever encountered. I love their food too.) Upon entering and eyeing about 4 bottles, I was sold—this store is a gem! I saw a Lallement Brut NV and the ever-blogged-about Dashe l’Enfant Terrible Zin and the Merieau Touraine Cot, and thought, LOVE IT! SO I bought the latter two, but was disappointed about their lack of Beaujo. Anyway—if you are in A-ville you should stop by the liquor store on the NE corner of Clark & Foster. (Kate, we really should have gone there.)

So I headed to the bar and spied a bottle with a conspicuously simple white label with a large cursive word on the front and a cherry-red wax top and knew—I have to have a glass. Mmm. Morgon. After tasting Brun’s 2007 l’Ancien in July and Lapierre’s 2007 Morgon at the bar (as well as Duboeuf’s entire icky-bland-tastic Cru line up and a few Jadot in early July) I have an idea on how a few 2007 Beaujo (good Beaujo) tastes. Whereas 2005 has this amazing brooding dark core of structure and crazy ageability, and 2006 has a little more softness and frivolity without being overly light and thin, 2007 seems to me to possess a few traits (they may be from youth, too): pepper (aromatically), super vivid tangy fruit (strawberry, and tart red cherry), and bright floral notes (more lavender than violet), and a satisfyingly lacy refreshment quality. I’m in love, that’s totally my style. After having a few too many 2005 Beaujo that have shut down into massive cocoons of inaccessibility, I’m relieved to find some happy early drinkers!

Marcel Lapierre, Morgon, 2007, $17

Lipstick red. Aromas of rhubarb, a touch of light flowers and pepper, and red tart cherry. Soft and seductive cherry fruit. This really opens up after time. Tastiness

JP Brun, Terres Dorees, Beaujolais l’Ancien (Vieilles Vignes) 2007, $16

Bright cherry red, aromas of white pepper, lavender, wild strawberries, with flavors that follow suit, and that lovely pepper spice coming in on the end (and not alcohol-induced pepprer, either). I prefer this over 90% of basic Bourgogne rouge at double the price. A by-the-case. (Silly drama about declassifying this beauty. Even if they do, I’ll pay the same price.)


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Coming Attractions

I've been out of town (aka MacBook-less) and have some very exciting things coming up:

My take on 2007 Beaujolais (so far).

I retrieved my wine collection, including 1 full case of grower Champers.


Adventures in Pork.

...and more!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Coming back to Indiana, I wanted to take advantage of being in a semi-rural setting, enjoying the bounty of a left-leaning, local-loving community. I pretty much only patronize local businesses and obsess about the local farmer’s market during its season. So I met an extremely nice lady at the market who sold me a whole 4 lb chicken! She even showed pictures of the chickens and invited us to see the farm. She told me that they eat what they should eat, therefore the bird is quite flavorful and that I shouldn’t do anything fancy with it.

So, last Wednesday I was planning on cooking the bird when I decided to go see Sen. Obama in Indy. I thought to myself, I need to show my state’s support. Indiana always votes red, and this year is an exception. Most polls show the race tightening, and I’m thinking positive.

I arrived home, beaming, ready to get things started. I knew my candidates would appreciate this meal’s tiny carbon footprint and my support for local business (JLT would love the Ag support). I love roasted chicken and found a super easy, albeit HOT, recipe. I just stuffed the cavity with local thyme, rosemary and (sadly, not local) cracked black pepper, rained salt and pepper on the outside, trussed the bird and stuck it in the oven for about one hour at 450F. Simple, honest, and confident. I did roast it over some local sweet potatoes and onions so the fat wouldn’t smoke (and so the potatoes would get GOOD). Success! (I could have cooked it 10 min less.)


Right in the middle of harvest season I decided to pop open some 2006 Chardonel from Oliver’s Creekbend Vineyard. Yes, a Chardonnay wannabe, but has a distinctiveness about it. No, not my favorite white wine EVER, but excellent, balanced and perfect with the crispy-skinned bird and sweet potatoes and local broccoli. A deeper gold than I expected from a young Chardonel, no pronounced oak flavor, but a richness and a honey tone that lend me to think a little oak was there, but it was far from spoofilated. Quite an honest wine, more Chassagne than Napa. Full-bodied, dry honey, lemon rind, baked apple, and a broad texture, with a lovely little bitter finish.

And please, if you happen to be in the Northeastern chunk of Indiana, please vote for Mike Montagano…I’d love to see a Dem take my hometown/area/district away from the current horrible, horrible congressman. And the DNC decided to invest $500,000 in Mike’s race!

Thank you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

X tastes like X (VP Debate wine)

Di Majo Norante, 2002 Contado, Aglianico, Molise, $13, 13.5% abv

Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, & Aglianico = deliciousness. These three grapes exude tastiness that I can never resist. When grown in their home turfs, their varietal character enchants me. Well-made, well-priced examples of these always have a place on my personal wine list. As the temperature drops, I start looking for some good bottles. I found this (older vintage) Aglianico at my local, wine shops (where the wines tend to be VERY poorly stored and often you get weird oxidized or funky bottles; like a 2006 Rueda that tasted like an old white Burg), so I hesitated to buy it. But I was hungry for that floral/fruity/earthy combo you get in Aglianico.

I opened this bottle, and that’s what I got. Aglianico. Classic Aglianico flavor, not as fruit-driven as the Terradora Aglianico 2006, or as earthy and statuesque as a Taurasi, but classic fruit. I really can’t find any vintage information on 2002 in Molise (Can you get vintage information on Molise anywhere?!), but this dude’s tannins had subsided, giving the black cherry, floral, and blackberry fruit a nice leathery edge, blah blah blah. When my companions asked me what I thought this tasted like, I replied, “Mmm. Tastes like Aglianico.” Good (definitely great QPR) Aglianico for that matter. The bottle was even better on Day 2.

Oh, and this was my VP Debate wine. I was hoping for Scary Palin to take off her glasses and reveal that this whole thing was a huge publicity stunt, and she was actually Tina Fey. If Fey was McCreep’s running mate, I may consider switching my vote. (Or switching my opinion of Tina Fey.)


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hump Day Bubblies

Oliver Winery, Sparkling Vidal Blanc, Creekbend Vineyard, 2006, $25, 12.5% abv

I adore this bottle of bubbly for its immense drinkability. Aged less than a year on the lees places this bubbly on the light, fresh, yet somewhat profound. Made from estate-grown vidal blanc from the Creekbend Vineyard, the foremost vineyard in the state (and one of the foremost in the central Midwest) and given a very hands-on treatment, with all aspects of bottling done by hand—disgorging, dosage, and corking. Most interesting of all is the actual dosage—made by adding a dollop of Oliver’s Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. Although not designated on the label, this bottling tastes like a the sweeter side of Brut, but not quite Extra Dry. The ice wine gives the bubbly a little more body and depth of honey/apricot richness. Deep golden color, medium-sized bubbles, this bubbly has gained some complexity since release, softer and richer, and could even go a few more years. Aromas of apricot, meyer lemon, and slightly underipe peach, and peach pit, refreshing, a balance of acidity and richness, and a touch of sweetness that keeps it from being at all bitter.

All in all, one of the most unique and satisfying non-Champers bubbly I’ve had in a little while. For some reason it reminds me of Francois Pinon’s NV Petillant.

A perfect way to drink local, always my creed, and also advocated by an awesome post by Jeff @ GoodGrape.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Complantation (with an uberCool website) and Chasselas

Belated post. Spurred on as a sort-of response to Brooklyguy’s post on Alsace. As it is the second day where it feels like fall around here (Yay!), I have decided to finish the post I meant to write, oh, in June.

When the Chicago Green City Market just got in a good swing, with lovely berries, spring onions, and asparagus everywhere I began my veggilicious diet.

I sautéed some of the aforementioned spring veggies and some basil and tossed it with some Bucati and grates some Pecorino on top. It was fantastic. And you know what else was fantastic—the wine.

Marcel Deiss, Englegarten, 2002, $35

No sign of age on this baby at all! I love many things about Deiss—Biodynamics, complantation, and sheer yumminess. While Deiss’s traditional varietally-labeled wines are fantabulous, his “vins de terroir” are a giant leap up in complexity. (His website is kick-ass. It’s in French, but you can figure things out. There’s this killer I’m-riding-in-a-helicopter zoom in on each particular vineyard that I love! I watched it at work for like 20 minutes one day.) Anyway, all of Deiss’s “vins de terroir” are made from many varietals “complanted” in the same vineyard. The Engelgarten is definitely the entry-level blend, even at about $35, and consists of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Beurot, Muscat, and Pinot Noir—the exact percentages not given. Super-interesting golden fruit aroma, from lemon to very ripe yellow apple and all fruits in between, a definite floral note, and a slight sweet/herbal note and MAYBE a hair of RS, but not much. I love the Englegarten because the acid is always soprano high. Where some of Deiss’s wines broaden out too far, this one is always simultaneously held back yet generous. I like to think of myself as a bit of an Englegarten. Heh. It’s hard to describe the actual flavors of this, but easy to say you should grab a bottle.

Here are some pictures of the Englegarten vineyard from his website:

Then, a few weeks later I too Carl’s advice (who has the #1 best blog ever…about PORK), and brined a pork loin and roasted it with a molasses-mustard glaze and roasted some onions and carrots and broccoli and shared it with my two besties in my teeny apartment.

And we had a bottle of Albert Boxler. The Pork Was Fantastic. Thanks Carl.

Albert Boxler, Chasselas, 2005, $19


According to Wikipedia, some believe this grape is Egyptian and 5,000 years old, and some believe its Swiss. I read the former in Hugh Johnson’s book. Hmm. Anyway, I LOVE Boxler’s wines like I do Deiss’s and a few other domaines’. Boxler is always on the mark, from the grand (and value, even @ $28) Riesling to the Edelzwicker. The Chasselas, usually a poo-poo non-noble grape variety found in Switz and in Pouilly-sur-Loire in France. From Boxler’s lovely estate in Niedermorschwihr (say that five times fast) comes this golden nectar. Sort of rich and round enough to stand up to the pork, a tad pinot blanc-y, all I recall are honey, apple, and some spice notes, with great body and lots of yum-factor. I loved this wine and it is a steal at the price. I don’t remember much else, but impressive. Boxler puts lots of love in this ignoble variety. Status: elevated.

And another one for good measure:

Kuentz-Bas Alsace 2005, $12

WOW value! Not the most profound bottle of wine ever, but for $12, I’d buy plenty! Since Indiana like only has Kermit Lynch wines (Grr. The fact that I can't get any LDM vino breaks my little heart. Seriously, I browse the Chambers Street website and drool. Someone PLEASE carry these wines in Indiana or I’ll have to do it myself.) Very nice little blend of the ignoble varieties 60% Sylvaner, 15% Chasselas, 15% Muscat, 10% (the always-a-different-grape) Auxerrois. Lightly floral and Muscat-y, with a touch of honey and just a light mineral/citrus/pear tone to the fruit. Nothing complex, but would be a fantastic by-the-glass sort of wine. Mmm. Need to buy more. I had it with some cheese and friends. I love upstairs neighbor!

Look! I found a pic with the cepage!

Ok, I’m done now.