Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obligatory Thanksgiving Wines Post

It appears to be all the rage to post about what wines to serve on Thanksgiving. So here's mine.

{NOTE: If you came to this post looking for Thanksgiving Wines to Pair with Annoying Relatives you’ll find it here.}

Everyone has been asking--What are you going to open for Thanksgiving? Well normally if all the family is gathering at my house the first thing I want to open is a vein, but barring that I like to cope with Prosecco from the Valdobbiadene region of Italy followed swiftly by a few pre-dinner Negronis. I select a variety of whites and reds to pair with dinner.

Whites: Viognier, preferably Bonny Doon, which I adore. I usually always have a Riesling on hand and lately I've been loving the Kim Crawford unoaked Chardonnay from New Zealand. I also like Costomolino Vermentino from Sardegna.

Reds: Mostly I go with all Italian wines since my family is Italian so I typically have Dolcetto and Nebbiolo but since most everyone is dead now, I think I will break with family tradition and I'm leaning towards the Mourvedre from Quivira and possibly the Shane Valenti Ranch Syrah.

Extra Wine in Food: It has become a tradition to make my Mother's famous "Tipsy Cranberry Mold" which is basically Jello with fruit and wine used in lieu of water. It sets up kinda weird and it's not all that good, but as kids we loved it for the way it made us feel all warm and numb, and that's important if you want to create a harmonious mood around the dinner table. Just for nostaliga sake, I've included the recipe written out in her own hand below.

Recipe calls for 6 Cups Red Wine!
Post Meal: It's Grappa shots all around. My favorite Grappa is Grappa Di Sarno from a boutique distillery in Umbria.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Related posts:  Thanksgiving Wines to Pair with Annoying Relatives

Friday, November 13, 2009

Experiments in Wine and Health Care: Lambrusco in the Netti Pot

A few weeks ago I gave my glass of wine a little bit too hearty a sniff, and darn if I didn’t inhale a tablespoon or more of wine. It was a bit shocking not to mention messy. But afterwards I seemed to be able to breathe better. Probably because I was no longer on the verge of drowning.

So today I was having some allergy problems due to an ongoing bathroom remodel in my house and figured I should use the neti pot to do some nasal irrigation and prevent any build up of nasty sheet rock dust in my sinuses. Normally one uses a salt or baking soda mixture in a netti pot to create a harmonious yet cleansing environment in the nasal and sinus cavities. I didn’t have any salt or baking soda on hand so I turned to what I thought would be the next best thing—Lambrusco. I just happened to have some left over from the night before. It was fresh and bubbly even a tad astringent so I figured why not and poured it in the netti pot.

On the palate the Lambrusco’s fruity effervescence is light and pleasing, but up the nose and thru the sinuses it’s downright roiling. The pain was so sharp I thought my eyes were going to explode and my brain stem was going to pop out my ear. The Lambrusco that did not go thru my sinuses backed up into my throat and all I can say about that is that wine is best experienced by going over the tongue en route to the throat, not the other way around. I’m hoping I did not introduce any harmful bacteria with this stunt but I figure the alcohol content will kill off any stray microbes. I don’t recommend that you actually try this if you want to have access to your olfactory senses for the remainder of your life, but it was an invigorating experience and left my sinuses feeling as clear as limpid pools of spring melt in a glacial valley.

Next time: Getting Crazy with the Cheez Whizz & Ear Candleing with Twizzlers

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Haber Family Vineyards

Sue-Marie and Ron Haber

Recently I was invited to a tasting of the 2006 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon with Ron and Sue-Marie Haber at the haber family vineyard on Howell Mountain outside Angwin.

It’s always great to meet new winemakers who are excited to share what they love, and especially nice to meet people who are as unpretentious as their wine.

Ron and his family have been in the construction business for several generations and specialize in metal and glass systems for commercial structures. Many of the glass edifices and decorative elements you see in major buildings in New York and around the country are work of the W&W Glass Company.

Thus it is fitting that the label for their first release the 2006 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon is a windowpane through which you see the moon and the stars above the mountain ridge. Reflected back by the moonlight is the Haber logo. It’s a clever label that encapsulates the elements of Haber’s past achievements and the prospects for the future.

The bottle we tasted was decanted the evening before and I noticed many changes in the wine as we sampled it. Ron is a fan of mountain fruit and his wine reflects that bold flavor. I detected deep berry fruit but also notes of chocolate and even mint. Sue-Marie laid out a lovely lunch including some roasted figs, which she at first thought too ripe and sweet to serve, but I thought they were just right with the wine.

Winemaker Tim Milos, who also creates wine for Rubissow and Howell at the Moon, gave us details on the soil, weather conditions and the challenges of growing in this particular region.

For now the wine is in its early stages, but I think a nice lamb and butternut squash stew might coax it out of its shyness. Haber’s background creating glass structures of integrity, strength and elegance may prove to be good experience for making wine with the same characteristics. And just as the label depicts, the Haber wine is a wine for reflection.

The Details:

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging: 20 Months

Fermentation: 85% French New Oak

Bottled: August 15th 2008

380 cases produced

$80 a bottle


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...