I celebrated Chinese New Year Friday night at Cafe Evergreen in New York City with Lisa Carley and a number of her friends. We each brought different bottles of wine to pair with the foods. I brought Prosecco because I recently gave a presentation in which I underlined how the wine can pair with all different cuisines. I wanted to put my money behind my words. I brought a Prosecco Superiore DOCG from Conegliano Valdobbiadene from Sommariva It was a Brut version of Prosecco, meaning considerably drier than an Extra Dry, oddly enough. It paired very well with parts of the 10-course meal. Its’ low alcohol, 11.5%, meant it went well with the delicate Lobster dish as well as the Steamed Scallop.
However what really interested me was the pairing of an Extra dry Prosecco from Ca’ Furlan Cuvee Beatrice and certain other elements on the menu. That too, with its residual sugar was a nice match for some of the spicier dishes. I particularly liked it with the seafood bisque.
The meal also had the traditional Lion’s dance. My pictures didn’t come out too well but this one did last weekend in Chinatown.
Usually the only wine I find in Asian restaurants are American wines and sometimes a Riesling. We know that Riesling pairs well with many dishes but I wanted to see if the Prosecco could also do the job. I was not disappointed I am pleased to say.
This week’s wine of the week is this delicious riesling vendanges tardives from Pierre Frick in Alsace. I thought this riesling was gorgeous filled with minerality, floral notes and flinty undertones. It was elegant and polished and the perfect end to a lovely dinner to celebrate this year’s group of graduates from the WSET Diploma program at the International Wine Center. On the first Monday in December for the last four years I have attended this dinner. It signifies the beginning of the holiday season in my mind and is a lovely way to see friends, old and new from the wine world. I got my diploma in 2008 and I was about as proud of that achievement as I was of getting my Master’s degree.
As part of the dinner, generously held each year at I Trulli, diploma graduates from past years bring wines to taste. We all try to sample as many as possible but it just isn’t possible when you see the amount of wine on offer.
I was thrilled to see May from In the Grape and taste an Armagnac that she brought with her. May is the Armagnac ambassador for this region and is my go to person for information about this spirit and many other wines. Seated at my table was also the lovely Stephanie Mcdade from the International Wine Center. Other wine friends and partners in crime, Eileen Lemonda, Rodolphe Boulanger of Lot18 , Sasha Smith of Spin the Bottle, Tracy Ellen Kamens of Grand Cru Classes, Mary Gorman, Eileen Duffy, and Lisa Granik who provided my table with an amazing wine from Georgia, a 2007 Mukuzani made from the Saperavi grape, located in the northeastern corner of Georgia in the Kakheti region. Thanks to this wine, I found a great blog this morning called Exalted Rations. There were many men at the dinner but for once it seemed that women were the dominant force in the wine industry.
I’m sure I left someone out but it was such a lovely evening and a long one that I hope I will be forgiven. Additionally, I live in NYC where the movie industry reigns and they are shooting a new movie on my floor. The fourth in six years….I’d rather the incentives given to the movie industry go to hire 5000 new teachers as discussed in this article but alas I didn’t go into politics.
I’ve been in California all week for the Society of Wine Educators Society of Wine Educators conference in San Mateo. It was a very informative conference with a lot of great wines, interesting seminars and friends. It also was held in a hotel with a hot tub, always a plus. I discovered the perfect wine for the hot tub, Blanc de Noirs. I’ve actually had two inexpensive American Blanc de Noirs sparklers this week, one from Gloria Ferrer and one from Korbel.
Made with a majority of Pinot Noir grapes, hence the name Blanc de Noirs, these sparkers both retail for under $10 a bottle, a great price for a fresh summer wine to drink in a relaxed atmosphere such as a hot tub. I don’t have a hot tub at home or even a balcony but I do like to picnic and I could see very easily bringing these widely available ones to a park for summer fun. I know, I’m the old world girl who has fallen for California. I’ve drunk the coolaid but with views like this from my friend’s backyard, you can see why.
I am at the Society of Wine Educators conference in San Mateo, California this week along with many old and new friends. It is an impressive array of wine people from all over the country, with special knowledge about almost every grape on earth. I am quite pleased with the seminars I have attended be they on dry German Riesling, Scotch, Wines of Provence or New Wines of Greece.
What I am most surprised about though is how much I am enjoying all of the seminars I am taking on wines from California. I am a decidedly old wine world gal, by training, “indole” as they say in Italian, and from personal experience. That said, California is creeping into these old world bones, slowly but surely. Just as France never disappeared from my memory despite 15 years in il bel paese – Italy, old world wines will never be replaced but they do have to make room for some new friends.
David Glancy of the San Francisco Wine School did a masterful job of leading us through the California Appellations North to South. I also took a seminar on the wines from Sonoma County and was delighted at a pre-conference jaunt to the Thomas Fogarty winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains earlier in the week, the first appellation to be defined by elevation in the United States. I’m sure today will hold further surprises for me. What has come to mind is why don’t we all live in California? The beauty is hard to beat.
Famed Italian winemaker Josko Gravner told me some years ago that California should grub up all of its’ vines. I wasn’t sure if he was serious at the time but I can say now with ever more certainty that he was sorely mistaken in my view and I wager even he might change that view if he could taste them more fully.
This week’s indigenous variety post is a bit delayed on account of a long birthday weekend, mine. I love my birthday and always have since I was a little girl. As a child, presents used to arrive in an old red wagon. As I grew older the gifts got smaller and more exquisite. As an adult, the most meaningful are no longer gifts but words, actions, shared moments, shared meals and wines.
I like to celebrate all month long in July and tomorrow’s Piedmont tasting feels like a perfect occasion for further celebration. This is a maxi consortium tasting or a group of consortium that have put their full force behind this initiative. I’m not sure exactly which producers will be present but I am sure the lineup is very impressive.
Some producers and consortium I know well wondered why Piedmont would choose mid-July for a big tasting in New York. I too had that thought when I was looking at the region primarily as one of big red wines.
Instead today I thought of all the fabulous white grapes that are made into great wines that come from Piedmont, be it Arneis, Cortese, Erbaluce, Favorita, Malvasia or Moscato Bianco, to name a few indigenous varietals that make Piedmont proud. I have tried many an Arneis that made me happy in the past years, including a great one from Malvira’.
Moscato is all the range in the States but I think that it’s sister grape, Malvasia has been sorely underrated on these shores as has Gavi made from the Cortese grape. The most memorable Moscato I have ever tasted was from a producer named Gianni Voerzio. I wrote a long post about him back in 2008.
The idea of trying some of these wines brought a smile to my face despite the 100 degree weather we are experiencing here in New York. I hope to see some of my dear friends from Piedmont as well.
I’ve finally had more time to read the news and look at the devastating pictures of Emilia Romagna. Scary. According to this story published yesterday on the Wine Enthusiast’s website, much of the damage has been to the cheese industry rather than the wine industry although some producers have naturally been impacted severely. Here is a nice blog post with a list of places to donate money should you want to give concrete help. As the days pass by and I am closer to the event, leaving for Italy on Thursday, I am getting more anxious. Not for myself but for the people who have been harmed and for friends in the area.
I looked into which wineries are located right near the epicenter of the earthquake. They seem to be around the towns of Carpi, Finale Emilia and Mirandola. That is an area know for producing Lambrusco and not just any Lambrusco but specifically Lambrusco made from Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce.
In order to make this Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce DOC (denominazione d’origine controllata), a wine must be made with 85% Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce. There are other famed Lambrusco clones that one sees widely including Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grassparossa di Castelvetro and Modena DOC Lambrusco.
Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce comes in a variety of styles: red and rose’ both with a frizzante and a spumante version. There are a few wineries that are known for producing this particular wine including Cantina Santa Croce.
Emilia-Romagna has a number of DOC wines, although few that are very well known. In April I spent a considerable amount of time tasting wines from the Colli Piacentini while staying with friends in Bobbio, a wonderful town in the northern part of the region.
Parma is another city that I love and I have tasted numerous wines from the Colli di Parma DOC, as noted in yesterday’s repost of an article I wrote two years ago about these wines. Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa DOC are wines I know less well while the Colli Bolognesi are favorites from my graduate school year in Bologna. Reno DOC, Bosco Eliseo DOC, Colli d’Imola DOC, Colli di Rimini DOC, Colli di Romagna Centrale DOC are all wines that are seldom seen in the States. I’ve tried some of them during the years I frequented the Lidi Ferraresi with my exes. Yes plural. Both of my long term Italian partners had families in different parts of Romagna. Thus, it is an area that was and remains close to my heart. I hope the earth has stopped shaking although I just read that today they had 30 small earthquakes. I hope that population has at least some rest and sogni d’oro stanotte.
It’s hard to believe it is the end of the month already. Summer’s here, the World Science Festival is back in town and troubling news of earthquakes has been coming from Italy all week. For those who don’t know me, I wear many hats and sometimes they converge, sometimes they do not.
This week, my worlds are converging around science. I have been working for about five years for a client called the International Balzan Foundation. I work for them under my other company, Gold Communications. Thanks to the Balzan Foundation, I have developed a fascination with science and scientists. That’s why I am always so excited when the World Science Festival comes to town. This week’s line up is most impressive. In fact, almost everything is sold out including a great discussion held at Eataly about ancient brews. I wish I could go but it was sold out early on.
I also love the science behind studying wine. When I studied for the sommelier certificate at AIS in Milan, I was thrilled with learning about all the chemistry behind winemaking. I still think this is largely ignored in most English language programs and I think it is something that should be added to the curriculum.
I noticed on the AIS website that this week was the setting for the Oscar del Vino by Bibenda. Bibenda was just recently translated into English and is available via Amazon for those who want to purchase a copy. This year’s Miglior Vino Spumante went to three producers from Franciacorta, including the Non Dosato Gualberto 2005 from Ricci Curbastro. Riccardo Ricci Curbastro is a lovely and bright guy, a great font of information on Franciacorta. His wines are brought in by Domenico Valentino.
These last few weeks were also the scene of horrible earthquakes in Emilia Romagna. My heart goes out to those whose loved ones were affected first and foremost but I also hate seeing the physical destruction of Italian landmarks. I studied in Emilia Romagna, at SAIS in Bologna, so I feel a particular kinship to this region. I know producers of Parmigiano Reggiano were impacted. I haven’t heard of any devastation of wineries and wines. My friend, Dave Buchanan at Wine Openers wrote a nice ode to Drei Dona, a famed winery in the area. I had the pleasure of meeting a number of producers from Emilia Romagna when I was translating for them last year with a well-known wine magazine during Vinitaly.
Emilia Romagna is often overlooked but I think that is a real mistake. They have lovely wines, including great Sangiovese and Pignoletto to recommend as well as some interesting passito made from Albana and other wines made from grapes such as Bonarda and Lambrusco.