WBW #54-Wines of Piedmont

WBW crept up on me again this month. It has a nasty of doing that these days…especially in short months like February.  Our host this month is David of McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail.  David set us to what seemed like an easy task at the time, drinking any wine, white, red, or otherwise from Piedmont.  However, after checking out my local wine shop and finding only a $50+ bottle of Barolo, I had to make a rush order from Jill at Domaine547, who again humored my refusal to use her website and quickly helped me choose a half case of wine (the most economical way to ship to me that I’ve found…plus, I can always use another half case of wine…right?  RIGHT?).

I always like the opportunity to taste reds from Italy as I tend to find them to be great values, so I’m happy that Domaine547 had a red from Piedmont to offer me!  I chose the 2006 Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto D’Alba.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and cost me $22.99 from Domaine547.

On the nose I found chocolate covered cherries, currants, berries, anise, spice, white pepper, cherry, and plums.  The nose kept evolving as the wine aired, it definitely needed some time to open up.  In the mouth I got juicy cherries, earth, some bitter notes, raspberry, cedar, dark fruit, and chocolate.  Overall, I found the wine to be incredibly juicy.  The fruit showed as fresh and bright.  The wine had nice tannic structure and acidity.  We ate this with roast beef and it stood up well to the meat, but I also really enjoyed sipping it after dinner.  The wine is young and would definitely benefit from some vigorous decanting or some more time in the bottle.

Many thanks to David for hosting and for pointing me to Italy once again.  I really should drink more Italian wines!  And as always, a tip of the virtual hat to Lenn, the founder of WBW.  See you next month!

The Omnivore’s Hundred

I’ve seen this list popping up all over the blogosphere, most recently at McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail. I thought about participating earlier this week when I first started seeing it, however, other endeavors got in my way. Today, however, is Labor Day, and my only plans for the day include catching up on my much neglected roaming of the interwebs ;). The idea behind The Omnivore’s Hundred list is that you check off all the things you’ve tried, and cross off the things you would never try! The official rules are:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste linking to your results.

Here’s my list, things I’ve tried are in bold, italics (because I can’t figure out how to strike-through…) are things I wouldn’t eat, I put stars next to the things I can’t identify, which probably means I haven’t eaten them.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho*
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi*
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses*
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream (I don’t like nuts.)
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper (I’d like my tastebuds to be able to taste wine..)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (I’m allergic.)
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda*
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi*
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (I don’t drink soda of any kind, ever.)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I’ll take the cognac, minus the cigar, the smoke would give me an asthma attack(
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal*
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu*
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi*
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (I don’t eat at McDonalds.)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin*
64. Currywurst*
65. Durian*
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (I’ve had caviar, no idea what blini is though…)
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu*
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong*
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum*
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky*
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa*
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I don’t think I make a good foodie. I’ve only had 38 of these things and I wouldn’t eat 6 of them. Further, I have no clue what 16 of them are. I’m a bit of a picky eater, but I’ve gotten better in recent years…

WBC #1 Round up posted and WBC #2 Announced!

Our host for the first edition of the WBC was David of McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail. He chose the book Vino Italiano as a massive tome for our first rendition of the book club, and the turn out was fantastic! 25 people participated and wrote reviews of the book. You can head on over to his blog to read the round up from all of the participants.

Next, the announcement for WBC #2 is up! Our host for the second WBC is Tim of Winecast. Time has chosen a much less daunting task in the form of the book Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution by William Echikson. You can read all the details over here on Winecast, but the long and short of it is: read the book, write a review, and post it on your blog or send it to Tim at winecast@gmail.com by April 29 in time for our next book club meeting.

Now, Noble Rot is less than a third of the size of Vino Italiano, so no excuses about the length this time! Let’s keep the momentum from the first WBC going and get an even bigger turnout next month. Looking forward to reading everyone’s reviews in April! I’ve got a ton of work travel coming up, so this time I shouldn’t be struggling to finish. Many thanks to Dr. Debs for the great idea of a wine book club.

Perhaps Better Late Than Never: WBC #1

Our assignment for the first edition of the Wine Book Club (WBC) came from David of McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail. He tasked us with a book longer than any I have read in the last 5 years, unless you count Harry Potter and law school case books. Yes, this makes me less than intellectual, but honestly, I don’t have much of an inclination to read any more. I got tired of it to be truthful, and I still read so much for work, that the thought of picking up a long book when I get home just doesn’t appeal to me. I clearly read a bit, I’ve reviewed a few wine books here for you before, and will continue to do so as I get more from PR people and publishers (in fact, I’ve got one for you soon, I read half on the plane to Atlanta and intend to finish is Friday on the way home!). So I must say, I was actually quite glad when Dr. Debs proposed the idea of a wine book club. Like other wine geeks, wine books pile up on my shelves, and I really should get around to them!

With that in mind, I picked up this month’s book, Vino Italiano, by Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch, and got to reading. It’s 531 pages including all indexes and appendices. It took me the whole assignment time, but I did it.

First thoughts: The organization, especially with the appendices and indexes, makes this the ideal reference book on Italian Wine. You can find anything about Italian wine that you never thought you wanted to know instantaneously. Each chapter has a handy guide at the end giving the quick and dirty on the region, the principle grapes, key vintages, etc. I found the guides to be one of the most useful parts of the book, if you aren’t inclined to read it in its entirety, and trust me, I’d be the last to blame you for that one, you can easily flip to the guides and get a fast overview of the region, which can assist you in deciding if the chapter is one that will intrigue you or not. I see myself turning to this book both as a reference in the future, and for more knowledge on particular grapes and regions.

Second thoughts: The stories at the beginning of each chapter kept me going to the next chapter, even when I felt a little bogged down in the weeds. They were fun and charming tales of a slice of life in each region, and I salivated over some of the food described, while feeling a bit repulsed by other “delicacies.”

Third thoughts: The book contains so much information, that it’s hard to digest all at once, and I think perhaps the pick and choose as you are interested in a region approach might be the best in tackling this book.

Fourth thoughts: Italian wines and varietals were on my list this year of things to learn about. So really this was a perfect book for me to read. I dove in, and was again astounded by the sheer volume of types of Italian wine. But alas, I came away a touch disappointed as I learned that many of the very small production local grapes are just not available here in the US. I guess that cements my desire to make our next BIG vacation to Italy…it’ll satisfy the classical historian in Matt and my desire to drink lots of Italian wines and gorge myself on priscutto drizzled with fresh pressed olive oil….::drifts into a daydream of cheese, cured meats, and wine::

And ultimately, that’s where Vino Italiano left me: hungry (thirsty?) to try more Italian wines (and cured meats), and to continue referencing the book to learn more as I am drinking. Which, I think might be my next adventure. Pick a chapter, find a wine from that region, and drink the wine while learning about the region.

Thanks to David for hosting this month and to Dr.Debs for the WBC idea!

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