Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Wine Big Shots and the Wines they Share

One of the many perks of the glamorous blogger lifestyle is the fact that you get to hang out with people in the wine and restaurant business whose knowledge of wine utterly dwarfs your own. Well, maybe you know more than I, but their knowledge dwarfs mine, anyway. And if you invite these big shots to your house for a drink or for dinner they tend to bring some fantastically interesting and delicious wine.

In the past week or so two of my favorite wine big shots came by, and I got to drink great wines that were new to me. And these aren't fancy expensive bottles - these are things that we all can afford to buy and share with friends. These wine big shots...they really know how to get the best out of $20.

Jeremy Parzen, the dude behind the great Do Bianchi blog, was in town recently and he came over one afternoon with his terrifically friendly and lovely bride Tracie P. It's a rare treat for me to get to hang out with Jeremy and although we insisted that he and Tracie were our guests, they insisted upon bringing a wine to us, a dry Muscat from the Veneto. We drank Champagne and Poulsard on that sunny afternoon, but I made sure to ask Dr. P what to eat with this wine. He recommended something like a salt cod purée. I've never made that dish, although I do love to eat it. Instead of waiting until I learned how to make salt cod, BrooklynLady and I opened this bottle a few days ago with seared fluke and spring vegetables.

It was fantastic! 2007 Vignalta Muscat Sirio Veneto IGT, about $20 (don't remember the importer because I'm sitting in the airport in Charlotte, NC, but that's another story). This wine is bone dry, which is the only way I enjoy Muscat or Gewurztraminer at this point. But aromatically so satisfying, with focused exotic fruit aromas and something like bitter honey. The palate is exotic and lush, and very fresh and pure with good focus and a mineral cut. It was great with our fluke, but I can see how a more robust dish like creamed salt cod would be an even better match. Thanks Jeremy and Tracie P - we truly enjoyed this wine and will be going back for more.

And that's not all - the inimitable Levi Dalton and his terrifically friendly and lovely girlfriend Ayako came by for dinner on a recent warm and sunny evening. Levi is the head Sommelier at Alto restaurant, and he's very good at bringing wines that he knows will be interesting to whoever he is hanging out with.

On this evening he brought a magnificent bottle of Lambrusco by Vittorio Graziano, the 2005 Vittorio Graziano Lambrusco Fontana dei Boschi, about $20, (again, don't remember the importer). Levi explained that this is an unusual Lambrusco in that it does very well with a bit of bottle age. Most Lambruschi are meant to be consumed when young and fresh. He compared Graziano in his talent and uniqueness to Raveneau in Chablis. This wine was fresh as a daisy, and it achieved this while mingling aromas of aged salami with dark purple fruit. A tickle of effervescence on the palate, dusty dark fruit, and a cooling almost medicinal hint on the finish - this was simply delicious wine. The next day it was even better, by the way (we had a lot of wine that evening, which is why a wine like this made it back into the fridge). We ate speck and roast asparagus with this wine, along with fresh bread and butter. All was good, but if I have the good fortune to drink this wine again (it is barely imported and Levi snapped up everything that came into the country this year), I will most surely pair it with the funkiest of salami.

Levi also brought along a wine that is more familiar to me, although I'd never had it in the 2004 vintage. The 2004 Domaine du Vissoux Moulin a Vent Rochegrès, price unknown, Peter Weygandt Selections, was in a great place. Mellow and smooth, the aromas and flavors like a bowl of fresh strawberries on a bed of iron filings. This is the kind of Beaujolais vintage that I really like, and this wine is developing beautifully. It still has plenty of upside, as it also improved the next day. Thanks to you too Levi and Ayako for sharing these wines.


Do Bianchi said...

BrooklynGuy, thanks again for the wonderful wines you shared with us! I'm so glad ya'll got to meet Tracie P. And also glad that you enjoyed the Moscato: it comes from the beautiful Euganean Hills outside Padua, where Petrarch spent his last years transcribing his songbook and not far from where I went to school and lived in the Veneto. I was surprised to see it at the same wine shop where I used to shop when I lived in your neighborhood. Even though bringing you a bottle of wine is like bringing coal to Newcastle, I couldn't resist sharing it with you and am so glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next time... thanks again and thanks for the shout out... un abbraccio J

Unknown said...

My wife and I just had that Muscat last evening out for supper!

You are SO right!

I LOVED the smell of that wine!