Monday, January 22, 2007

A Brooklyn Moment

I was ready to write about two wines I revisited in the past week that are special to me, both from the 2001 vintage, both Pinot Noir. So I got home from work, washed my hands (there's flu everywhere now, pal - soap and water is a must, like 5 times a day), made a little something to eat and sat down at the computer ready to go.

I'll tell you, these bagels from Terrace Bagel are still delicious, two days later. My extended family came in from out of town Saturday to "view" my very pregnant wife, essentially. At 8 in the morning on Saturday I walked a mile through frozen streets to Terrace Bagel to pick up a couple dozen and some smoked fish. This place is worth it though, particularly their pumpernickel, the most underrated of bagels.

Anyway, back to the 2001 Pinots. But I should just say one thing about this whitefish salad too. They do a great job with it, creamy but with plenty of whitefish lumps, salty and smoky, and somehow light at the same time. Calls out for a few thin slices of red onion, which I am lucky to have going on right now. Whitefish salad on a pumpernickel - fughedaboutit.

So the 2001's. One is a Volnay, one is from Oregon. You know, I made this salad dressing with anchovies and lots of good red wine vinegar the other day. I bet it would be great on some salad greens with my bagel. That vinegary taste in the dressing combined with the savory's just sound food science.

Both of these Pinots were really good when we tried them a while ago, but they might not be holding up too well. So we decided to revisit them this past week. What would be a good wine to drink with whitefish on pump with salad? Clearly not this Cahors I've been meaning to try - to heavy. Not the New Jersey (!) Sangiovese my cousins brought for me on Saturday. Ah, perfect - an inexpensive but yummy sparkling wine from the Loire Valley, a Chateau du Hureau Saumur Brut NV, $11.

Bagels and smoked fish is usually brunch food, and people tend to go with sparklers for brunch. So why not now, on a Monday night? This wine clocks in at 12% alcohol, which is nice and reasonable. There are a few really nice sparkling wines from Saumur. In fact, I think this sparkler can give any non-Champagne a run for it's money. Hureau makes serious still wine too, not just sparkling wine. Take a peek at this piece from Jancis Robinson last March. I agree with her assessment of the '04 whites - they're not giving too much right now (even though now is almost a year after she wrote that piece).

Their sparkler is great with my dinner though. I hereby abandon all attempts to write about my 2001 Pinots, and instead give into my Brooklyn moment: whitefish salad on a pumpernickel bagel for dinner on Monday night.

NV Chateau du Hureau Saumur Brut, $11.
Fine, sparse bead. Lovely aromas of green apple, lemon, and fresh cut wheat. More like a petillant (fizzy, not as bubbly as Champagne, for example) than a sparkling wine, this wine feels good on the tongue, and it compliments the smokey and savory whitefish salad perfectly. Fresh flavors, apple and citrus, some minerality. It holds its own against red onion slices too.

Next time, really - a couple of 2001 Pinots.


Marcus said...


Hey, why force a Pinot?

I too went out this weekend and bought bagels, which rarely happens (though winter does seem to bring it on) and I actually got two pump bagels at that!

They are Fairmount bagels and someday us two are going to have to have a bagel throwdown because I just don't have a clue -- what is going on with those New York bagels? Every Montrealer will tell you that they are legendary imposters. But before I say anything I oughtn't... Terrace Bagels sounds worth checking out. I think it Murray's I've tried.

I also buy sesame, blueberry, poppy seed and cinnamon and raisin bagels, but the flavour doesn't really matter. It's all in the texture.

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Marcus - If I'm not mistaken, I think I have enjoyed Fairmont bagels before during my one and only trip to Montreal a few years ago. Is it in that neighborhood with some nice Greek specialty food stores, past that big road you'd take to drive up Mont Royale? I LOVED the bagels - smaller, and yes, better texture than in my neck of the woods. I loved the long wooden spatula used to bake and retrieve them from the oven too. Blueberry though, cinnamon raisin, and such...not for me. I'm a purist. Pump, plain, sesame, poppy...occasionally an egg bagel. How do you create links in your comments, by the way, like you did to Fairmont Bagels?

Marcus said...

It's just an html tag, like you would use in your posts to hyperlink.

Fairmount is just down the street from some major Greek Montreal institutions on Parc. But even closer to them is St-Viateur bagel which is even more revered among the bagel purists (because they don't do blueberry, cinnamon etc). People do have their opinions about bagels, don't they?

I have a friend who used to work at Fairmount. I'll have ask whether he was handy with those spatulas!

Enjoy those pumps! It was fun reading about your pairing.

Brooklynguy said...

I guess it may not have been Fairmount then, hard to remember. I remember the area though, and the look of the place, and the neighborhood. I really liked Montreal.

Take it easy,

Dr. Debs said...

Hey, Neil. Thanks for this heads up on the sparkler. I have a 2004 Ch. du Hureau Saumur-Champigny in the cellar that I'm now looking forward to tasting with great eagerness. Never had one of their wines before.

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Debs - I like Hureau still wines too. oddly, like a cru beaujolais, it works well to serve it at a cooler temperature than you might think. You can pull it out of the fridge 15 mins before drinking. See what you think...