Monthly Archives: August 2012

Summer Sipping: Truro Chardonnay

I have been spending my summers on Cape Cod, specifically in Truro, since I was three weeks old. There were many years when I was absent from the Cape because of my years living in Italy but since I have been back, I have made the Cape a consistent part of my life. I love everything about Cape Cod and it will forever represent the beach to me.

When I was a child, we used to drink Pouilly-Fuisse I remember, when my parents graduated from Mateus and Lancers. The idea of a vineyard on the Cape seemed impossible. When I used to come to the Cape there were no vinifera grapes growing. The Roberts family changed that and opened Truro Vineyards in 2007.

They make a wide range of wines and source some grapes from California and New York, making it a quintessentially American winery, if you will. I visited the winery a few years ago and have had their wines at least once a summer since. Yesterday was one of those days. A perfect beach day with a gorgeous sunset.

My favorite foods, lobster and corn, and some summery chardonnay.

We have some unwanted visitors on the Cape this year as everyone keeps reminding me…

While these new visitors have curtailed distance ocean swimming, there’s still great fun to be had on the Cape in the ocean and we now have many seals to watch as well and nothing beats a sunset at Race Point.

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Wine of the Week: Paul Newman’s Napa Chardonnay

I am on Cape Cod this week with my family in what has become a yearly retreat for the whole family. We come to the Cape, hang out on our favorite beaches, eat lobster, go to Provincetown, and go fishing.

As I mentioned in this last blog post, I have been fishing all my life with my father. I now fish with my niece and nephew as well. I’ve never caught anything that I have then eaten except some flounder when I was 22.

Instead, I’m having a grand tine eating lobster, my favorite meal in the whole world. Oddly enough, on the Cape I tend to bring wines from home but also buy wines at the package stores up here. One wine I bought was made by Paul Newman’s foundation or better, it was made for the foundation from grapes sourced in California.

I’m not sure if it is the location, the company or the good cause but this wine at $12.00 was a winner despite much oak and few tertiary aromas. I obviously had too much of it the night I posted this blog with all of those mistakes…Editing is key and I guess my head is on vacation.

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Buon Ferragosto and Bon Anniversaire to Julia Child

Today is Ferragosto or the holiday that celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. That said, mostly it’s a day when every Italian save the very unlucky few, is on holiday. The entire country is basically away this week and I for one applaud such dedication to relaxation for the mind, food & wine for the spirit and the beach to enjoy all of the above. I have spent many a Ferragosto on holiday in Italy or in other lands with Italian friends. It never feels right to me to work on this day but we do what we have to in order to get things done and I can’t complain having spent the better part of last week at the sea sailing or at the beach with a friend. On Saturday evening I even saw some of those amazing shooting stars I mentioned in my last post.

What do people drink on Ferragosto you might wonder? In my experience a bit of everything but it is slightly more celebratory than your average holiday so some sparkling wine might be involved or a good mixed drink like a Negroni Sbagliato. I can’t drink Gin it makes me mean like an angry cat so an ex-boyfriend introduced me to a Negroni Sbagliato years ago in Milan and I was hooked. I see I am not alone and that it has definitely made its’ way in the United States judging from this blog post at LA Cocktails.

Today we are also celebrating another holiday, Julia Child’s 100th birthday. I loved this piece in the New York Times by Jacques Pepin. She is and was such a part of our lives. Her cookbook stares out at me from my shelf everyday calling out for love as I slink past it to make simple fare. Sometimes though, I read it and imagine making what she would be making on any given night. As all readers of my blog know, like Julia, I was and remain a devoted francophile.

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La Notte di San Lorenzo – Night of the Shooting Stars

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Tonight is the night of the shooting stars or San Lorenzo, also the patron saint of Grosseto which is why I wrote this post last year. I alsoI wrote a long piece about this a few years ago which you can read here. Tonight with this terrible weather, I’m afraid we won’t see anything but you should never lose hope. I was supposed to be doing more sailing but I can’t complain after spending a few days sailing this week. Sailing in New York is actually fun which I was surprised to learn. Check out the Manhattan Sailing Club. It is worth it if you like to sail and live in New York.  The added perk is you can have a drink out in the water on the “Willi” Wall and see boats race and sometimes a nice sunset. 

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New World Wines: India’s Sula Vineyards & Wine blogs to Watch

Learning about different parts of the wine industry has always been fascinating to me and learning about new cultures and their wine drinking habits perhaps even more. I also love wine as a means of traveling around the world, even if only intellectually and not physically.

I’ve been very interested in everything Indian over the last few weeks and luckily I had the occasion to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my sister this past week and look at some beautiful Indian artwork as well as go to my local Indian restaurant with a dear friend who is staying with me. She comes to visit often and invariably we eat Indian food. In the past I would sometimes try Indian wine but more often than not, I’d pick a wine from a more well know region.

This time I had the Sula Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. I was very pleasantly surprised. It was crisp and herbaceous but not over the top. It had aromas and flavors of citrus and grapefruit with nice acidity. It paired very well with the food, my usual – Tandoori Chicken. The spicy lamb that my friend ordered went less well with the wine but still was enjoyable.

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I have read a bit about Indian wine off and on over the years but had never had one I really enjoyed. I’m glad this wine changed that. Apparently, according to my reading at Indian Wine, Sula was started by Rajeev Samant who basically changed the face of winemaking in India. The owner left the US after many years and went back to a family estate in Nashik which is now home to over 40 wineries but at the time was not known for wine grape growing,

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I also discovered a great wine blog which has a focus on Indian wines called the The Indian Winer. She has some interesting posts including one about the different Indian regions as well as who’s who of the Indian wine industry.

India is not yet a major player in terms of the wine drinking public. According to a study I read, only a portion of those who drink alcohol drink wine. Still, it is a huge potential market for importer wines with a population of one billion.All the major players in the industry are there. I wonder what future their wines or those that they export will have. Certainly Sula wines are good ambassadors for the industry.

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Wine of the Week: Offida Doc Pecorino From Le Caniette – Le Marche

One Italian region that never gets enough attention whether it be for its wonderful cities – Ascoli Piceno and Urbino for their buildings, Pescara and the Conero for the beaches or Loreto for its’ Sanctuary – or for its’ great wines is Le Marche.

In some ways I’m glad because it means it is less touristy than other parts of Italy which at times can seem like an Anglosaxon vacation colony or a German one, depending on where one is staying. That said, Le Marche really does deserve our attention.

This week’s wine of the week is a Pecorino Offida DOC from a winery called Le Caniette. I had it at a recent lunch at Giorgione and it paired beautifully with my fish and salmon tartare. I actually really loved the wine made from this indigenous variety and drank it happily at lunch.

The wine was full bodied with a nice toasty note and mineral tones. It had both acidity and alcohol which made it a good match with the salmon with just a touch of sweetness in the mix. Apparently Pecorino is a grape with a certain amount of sweetness inherent in its flavor profile.

Le Caniette is a winery with 16 hectares of vines and it is certified organic, somewhat of a novelty in Italy in general and in this area in particular. The wine does spend a bit of time in oak, about one year, so it isn’t the fresh minerally white that one might expect. It also goes through considerable battonage. It can actually stand up to heartier fare than what I paired it with as well.

I also tried their Offida DOCG Passerina called Lucrezia from the same winery with a delicious lobster last week on my return from California. This wine spends no time in oak but it also has that toasty nut flavor that you get from lees stirring. I really favor that flavor profile so both of these wines were right up my alley.

I haven’t been to Le Marche in a few years but whenever I go there, I always want to buy a piece of land. It is the perfect combinaton of farmland, vineyards and the sea. I’ve spent a few lovely vacations there at seaside towns such as Recanati and I can highly recommend it for your next excursion.

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Wine Wednesday: Sweet Sipping – Late Harvest Zin from Dashe

It’s Wine Wednesday and I’ve decided to write about a Late Harvest Zinfandel that I tried last week in California. This sweet wine with 9% residual sugar was made by Dashe Cellars. It was savory and sweet at the same time.

I actually like Zin in the right context and this was the perfect moment to drink a late harvest wine, after a morning visiting wineries with good friends, driving on the California freeways listening to the Rolling Stones and a great lunch at Willi’s Seafood. I know, I drank the cool aid, I repeat.

I like sweet wines alone or with cheese and I also like to find ones that are just on the cusp of sweet with balance, elegance and acidity holding up. This Zin had all of that in my book. It also was a novelty which is always fun and the location couldn’t be beat. I’d like to try this wine again in New York, maybe even in a bad neighborhood. Why you ask? I want to assure myself that the location factor isn’t affecting my palate although inevitably context matters.

This Zin was done with minimal intervention according to their website. I like that. One problem I had with the California wines I tried last week was that many seem to be “creations of man” rather than a product of the earth. Too much winemaking went into many of them and I am not that keen on it. That said, this wine tasted like grapes, soil and sun to me, in other words terroir, that of Dry Creek Valley. That’s what I want to taste – dirt. Not in the wine mind you but the dirt where the grapes were grown.

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