- sweet-tart paneer with potatoes and cauliflower in vinegar sauce, sirka paneer
- fried flounder roe, mixed greens salad
- acorn squash soup, pretzel rolls
- penne with squashy béchamel and salami
- Cauliflower with Brown Butter, Pears, Sage & Hazelnuts
- either raisiny or anchovy-y roasted broccoli, quinoa
- salad with giant roasted chioggia beet, chèvre
- roasted turnips with poppy seeds and paprika (¿Italian? this sounds positively Hungarian)
- tortilla española
Heading to chicago this weekend and will bring back some Vicki things like beets and turnips — nevertheless got some tasty things here especially end of season and green things.
- roast chicken with plums, jasmine rice
- tomato frittata / tortilla, salad with apple
- turkish eggplant ground beef pasta, or chinese eggplant and beef with black bean sauce
- green bean terrine with fresh tomato sauce
- tarragon crab salad appetizer, perhaps on papad
The idea behind this wine club was to bring the wine that you always like to have on hand – perhaps buy by the case, or for me, tend to replace when you drink one. This is rare for me; my general feeling is that there is simply too much wine in the world to repeat very much at all. Even some things I like quite a lot, such as the Bellum Providencia or Domaine des Aubuisières Silex, I will only buy once or twice more.
The proximate impetus was a text from Matt, one of our gracious hosts. He was enjoying a glass of Luzón Verde, a 100% Monastrell from Jumilla. He suggested that we should do a Monastrell (Mouvèdre) night, but his particular inspiration made me think of my own former house wine, which I had not had in about a year. The Finca Luzón is .7 Monastrell / .3 Syrah, and better for it, imo, though we could not taste them side by side as now the Verde has disappeared from Chicago merchants. I first bought this in 2007 and was shocked at the quality for (then) $7. It’s $9 now, but well worth it. For me at least, it is more interesting than its peers. Thus my selection remained my favorite wine of the night, but there was one standout discovery, the Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2009 from NZ. NZ is primarily known for Sauvignon Blanc, but the style is one I generally dislike, too heavy on tropical fruit flavors with rarely enough acid to balance it (my favorite Sauvignons Blancs are from the Loire: see my #1 pick, from David, at the ﬁrst wine club). I recently had a decent Pinot Noir from NZ but not one I would buy again.
And so, on to the list. Although for some, this was the result of just grabbing what was at hand or running into the wine store, I did get a better sense of a few people’s palates. I have only a couple people’s notes – such are the difﬁculties of hosting at someone else’s home – so remarks are mostly my own.
- Finca Luzón 2008 (Mike)
- as good as remembered. more tannic, could hang out a couple of years.
- Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon (Matt)
- more oak than I remembered, but lots of nice cherry. good structure. lingering dark fruit.
- Zafrika Pinotage (Paul)
- strange plum flavor; lots of sour cherry and overwhelming raspberry. would be good with chocolate mousse, maybe?
- Cambria Pinot Noir, Julia’s 2008 (Chris)
- very light, pleasant strawberry. ideal for roast chicken, or hummus.
- Marqués de Cáseres Rosé 2009 (Ben)
- too fruity and not enough acid – this is the sort of thing I would add an ice cube to. would be quite good with summer squash dishes.
- Trentatre (33), TJ’s (Jon)
- much softer than I remembered – would not serve with pizza, which is the category I previously assigned it to. apparently considerable merlot in the blend, a shame. quite good for the price, but rather boring.
- Il Valore Sangiovese, TJ’s, (Claudio)
- drink with pasta. boil pasta in it. sure. cheaper than the 33, but I liked it better. very nice everyday choice.
- Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Aaron)
- unremarkable but ok, as the only sauv blanc of the group. would be my pick if I ate predominantly seafood.
- Humbrecht Pinot Gris Alsace 2008 (Jacob)
- strong lychee with some guava and a hint of grapefruit. surprising lack of crispness for alsace, but made me think, this is why they so often blend it with sylvaner.
- Ste Michelle Merlot 2006 (Alan)
- Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2009 (Shaardad)
- some of the characteristic NZ passionfruit, but with a background of peach and hints of lime. really excellent; the only standout for me.
- Alamos Torrontes 2008 (David or Wes)
- banana. I hate bananas. I hate torrontes.
- Golden Gate Cab NV
- wood chips, vanilla oak.
- Alamos Malbec
- too much oak (my problem previously with this one), but after some time in the glass this dissipated and I got some more plum out of it; still not a favorite malbec even for the price.
- Hess Cabernet (JP)
- thin. do not want.
- szechuan dry-fried green beans
- salad with hard-cooked egg and rare steak
- gazpacho, with some cantaloupe
- quiche with bacon, zucchini, and oregano; salad
- thai cantaloupe basil salad
- spicy potatoes with chiles and tomatoes, molagha urulikazhangu; or stewed potatoes with tomatoes and garlic, tamatar bateta (660). They are similar but the latter is more tomatoey, as beﬁts the season.
- roasted chicken pieces with spicy plum chutney
- tacos de calabazas horneadas, frijoles de olla, rice
- some variant of meat chili
- tagliatelle with corn and bacon pesto
- roasted corn soup with tasso, mesclun salad
- gai pad krapow chili basil chicken, cantaloupe basil salad, sticky rice
- more oat-apricot blondie things
- slow-roasted bell pepper with red lentils (660)
- thursday picnic: keftedes, falafel, tzatziki, and pitas
- vanilla plum galette
- stone fruit tea cake (plums and apricots), unbaked, straight into the freezer for later!
- braised beef with pineapple, carrot purée
- dum aloo, and sweet corn and tomato medley (660)
- blueberry apricot muffins
- cantaloupe sorbet
- shredded kohlrabi and cabbage thai salad with basil and peanuts, sticky rice
- black bean - corn - cucumber salad, with (for some of us) tasso and/or hard-cooked egg
- dahiwaale rajmah, tart-hot kidney beans with tomato and yogurt sauce (kohlrabi greens thrown in for good measure); plain rice
- fresh pasta with pesto; arugula and cherry tomato salad
- kashmiri dum aloo (whole new potatoes, stewed with yogurt, fennel, and black cardamom)
- blueberry corn muffins
- apricot upside down cornmeal cake
I was so busy grilling things, and we had overall such a wonderful night (and extremely well attended) that labels and bags lost sync. I have a few that I know for sure, and a few more by who brought them. We will have to be more careful next time. I would say my two favorites are the top two here, followed by the Montes Alpha and the Petite Sirah (cheating, but super tasty).
- (T) Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez 05
- This was my choice, and one of my two favorites. Dark, concentrated, smooth.
- (P) Claymore Dark Side of the Moon, Clare Valley AU
- Garrett's excellent selection, similar to above but more spicy
- (V) Boom Boom WA State 07
- (X) Casa Castillo Valtosca, Jumilla, 07
- unusual to find this style from Spain. It is straight shiraz blended with a bit of Viognier
- (ℶ) Winner's Tank Velvet Sledgehammer, Langhorne Creek South AU
- (I) Quivira Petite Sirah
- Exactly what is lovable about petite sirah, with mushroomy earth and delicious complex fruit.
- (W) Qupé central coast CA 08
- Dominio IV Columbia Gorge
- Mark & Yaron
- Epiphany Gypsy Santa Barbara County 05
- ‘The Catcher’ AU 07
- Ravenswood 08
- Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve 07
- Cambria Santa Maria Count
- Chris Wingland Barossa 07
- Montes Alpha, Chile
- As I mentioned at Chilean night when we had their Chardonnay, Montes is one of my favorite wineries and their stuff is generally very French in style. This is no exception.
- D'Arenberg The Footbolt, AU 07
- Hitching Post Santa Barbara County 06
- This was thin, generally unimpressive
- Ex Umbris Columbia Valley 08
Next time, date to be determined, will be “house wine” — bring the thing you probably drink the most of, or would like to have every day. For me, this is probably Luzón or Juan Gil, though I need to re-taste some Chapoutier Belleruche before I decide for sure. For Scott it is probably a Vinho Verde or the Albero Sparkling.
We are out of town next weekend, so we are getting another box of Wednesday. Trying to use up stuff we have, but also keep room for new fresh tasty things.
- linguine with tomatoes and fava beans, salad with tasso, hard-cooked egg, cucumber
- braised carrots, carrot-top sauce, mashed sweet potato, seared zucchini and mushrooms
- probable picnic foods: thai and chinese cabbage salads; potato salad; focaccia
- mushrooms and peas in fenugreek-cream sauce (malai waale dhingri mutter, 660)
- picnic: pita, cucumber mint raita, radish raita, salame
- fresh pasta with parsley-basil pesto
- persian rhubarb beef stew, salad
- palak paneer with the beet greens
- chicken sour cherry rice
- upside-down sweet cherry cake, one of the best looking things in rustic fruit desserts
- sour cherry muffins with coconut struesel for the scott-breakfast
and a couple wineclub plans:
- roasted sliced golden beets ﬁnished on the grill
- grilled meatballs (with bacon and ricotta? yes please.)
- crack pepper beef (video: inside the flavor inside!), steamed broccoli, hong kong fried noodle
- kale, andouille, white bean soup; salad with radish and strawberries
- baked potatoes with spring onions, béchamel, chorizo kale, valdeón, tomato, sour cream, cheddar, etc.
- more calzones with spinach and mashroom, salad
- quiche of zucchini, spinach, and bacon
- crack pepper beef with steamed broccoli
- yogurt-harissa chicken; spinach salad with beets, radishes, broccoli, and onion tops
- albondigas and braised kale
- spinach lasagne
- spring onion - garlic chive - mushroom dumplings for the freezer
- more rhubarb syrup
PDF. This is a really great compilation of things to check when typesetting, and helpfully geared toward Minion Pro. It does not address protrusions, which I lament that I have to give up for xetex.
Also, for web stuff, see Google Font Directory
- aloo saag – potatoes with kohlrabi greens & kale and bangala clove-cardamom masala
- arroz con pollo ahumado
- crêpes with nutella and strawberries
- spinach salad with strawberries, turnips, and fresh and roasted beets; kohlrabi soup; focaccia
- red-braised tofu skin sticks
- cabbage and plantain kootu with buttermilk & pigeon peas
- Salad of arugula, spinach, and radishes; garlicky mashed potatoes and turnips.
- Saag murghi, stewed chicken with spinach, radish, and kohlrabi greens sauce
- Aai braised kohlrabi and palak urad dal, spinachy skinned-split black lentils
- Spaghetti with arugula and cream
- Thai red curry root vegetables and sticky rice
- Rhubarb buckle with ginger crumb
- Asparagus: blanch & freeze
The initial suggestion for this was Grüner Veltliner, basically the grape of Austria. Thinking it would be tough to find a large number of examples of that specific cépage, I suggested an expansive interpretation of German Europe, excluding its best known and most common grape, riesling. Two grüner veltliners each showed up twice. They and a third one were quite lovely and all of them would be exceptional with thai food. I’ve tried to group the list below somewhat thematically from light and dry to heavy and sweet.
- O. Kuentz-Bas, Alsace, 07
- This blend of chasselas - gewürtztraminer - pinot blanc was light yet complex. It smelled of lychee, flowers, and grass, and it was crisp and slightly mineral. One of my favorites. Two people managed not to like it, saying it was watery or bland.
- S. Schofﬁt Pinot Blanc Auxerrois Vielles Vignes, Alsace, 07
- One wrote “heavy in a good way” referring to its sweetness, which was slightly more than the kuentz-bas but still balanced by sufﬁcient acidity. I wrote “party: goat cheese” and also craved a tarte flambée / flammeküche.
- N. The Furst Riesling, Alsace, 07
- A nice example of alsatian riesling, less citrusy than the trimbach, but otherwise comparable. Notes include “fresh, tangy” and “smooth. like.”
- Q. Loimer Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal, 09
- This was lightly effervescent, and really well balanced sweetness and acidity. It wasn’t assertively floral like O and S, but had more mineral than the other grüner veltliners. People found it “sparkly, balanced” or “med. sweet, unexciting”.
- W/X. Huber Hugo Grüner Veltliner 09
- One wrote “interesting! and spicy” and I found it tart like a green apple, but not at all lemony. It was called “acidic and strong” and “tingly”. This wine made me want tom kha soup.
- P/D. Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner 09
- Less sweet than Q and less citrusy than W. It had a bit of yeasty taste usually associated with champagne. Generally well liked but no one seemed to ﬁnd it more than “passable” or “meh”.
- Y. Becker Estate Pinot Noir, Pfalz, 07
- This stood out as the only dry red, but I was very pleased to try it and will be buying more. Most people disliked it, but we will be tasting it again with its peers whenever we have pinot noir night. I also like Zach’s suggestion of smoked trout with it but we were this wine’s only defenders.
- H. Vranac Red, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 07
- A 1939 interpretation of “german” brought this lush red. It was “rich” and “very smooth” with a long ﬁnish, that I compared to Hungary’s egri bikaver. I wanted a rich meaty gulyás with this wine.
- T. Valckenberg Dornfelder, Rheinhessen, 08
- This light, sweet red smelled of violets and tasted like pluots. One suggested this would be a nice addition to a batch of mulled wine.
- Z. Martin Schaetzel Gewürtztraminer Cuvée Réserve, Alsace, 08
- This was “cloyingly sweet” and “anæsthetic” but it was the most complex of the sweet wines. One said “blackberries” which is fair but “honey” predominated.
- V. Saint Josef Kabinett, Rheinhessen, 06
- I said this tasted like pineapple- and lemon-flavored haribo gummy bears or pineapple jolly rancher. Two agreed that it tasted mysteriously “dusty” and “sweet. too sweet.”
- —. Seebrich Scheurebe Kabinett, Niersteiner Ölberg, 03
- This was the last sweet one that was accidentally left in the refrigerator until after the tasting. It had considerably more acid and better balance than V. We found it improved with just a dash of chartreuse.
- collards with merguez over either couscous or quinoa
- matzo ball soup, challah, and salad (probably with crispy bacon and creamy dressing, knowing me)
- stir-fried asparagus and tofu with oyster sauce, more LSC cabbage
- more delicious:days muffins with carrots and nuts (the blog is great, but these are not on it)
- baked fish with potatoes, olives, and capers en papillote
- green chile potatoes with mint and cilantro, yogurt rice
- tamarind garlic taro (wanted this for a while), lime-chana dal rice
- red-braised beancurd sticks, pan fried noodles, lao sze chuan style chile cabbage
- ma po tofu with kale (unmade from last week)
- indonesian stir-fried carrots
- salad with roasted potatoes, green goddess dressing
We finally had malbec-and-steak wine club, and managed to all go to delicious Tango Sur with lots of great wine. A great night overall I have to say.
- A. Pélisse Croix du Mayne Cahors 07
- Very full bodied with tons of fruit, my note for this simply read, “yum, but needs steak.” This is what I drank mostly with my meal.
- B. NQN Malma 07
- The lower tier from my favorite Argentine producer – I could not get the reserva or the “colección” from NQN, but still recommend them highly. Yael and I loved it but some others found it overly acidic and alcoholic.
- C. Clos de los Siete 07
- Interesting oak, forest-floor-like for me, on top of heavy fruit. Bitter and watery for some.
- D. Pulenta La Flor 08
- Smoke, heavy, “tastes like a 2×4.” One person found it interesting, another “smooth” but too oaky.
- F. Urban Uco 08
- Although in Cahors malbec/côt is often blended with Merlot, this one from Argentina is not. Surprising, since it tastes more like bad merlot than X below (which was boring, but not offensive). The most positive note was "lightly sweet and peppery", one "meh", and one "ew"
- G. Bodega Septima 08
- “Good” or “great” according to two. This tasted more like good high-cacao dark chocolate than anything else we drank. Very well integrated tannins and oak, with hints of vanilla and lots of fruit.
- H. Árido 08
- This is what I think of when I think Argentine malbec. One called it rounded and tingly, two noted the bitter grip of its tannins.
- S. Doña Paula Estate 08
- I called this restrained and elegant, some people found it overly oaky and several noted “bitter.”
- T. Cèdre Hermitage Cahors 07
- I enjoyed the lightly vanilla oak and very firm tannins here. Two said “bleh” and that they didn’t want to try it again, but I think they just hate tannin.
- W. Caminade La Commandery Cahors 06
- Though some found it “flat,” another wrote “:) the most interesting so far!” with licorice and earthy flavors. Some things online call it “textbook Cahors.”
- X. El Colectivo 09
- For me just unforgivably boring. Others said flat and uninteresting, generically fruity. “Nice, but not outstanding.”
- Y. Clos Triguedina Cahors 05
- Very tight, tannic, but light bodied. One person hated it though.
- Z. Alamos 09
- Charred barrel, overly oaked, “California style” wrote one. Not great.
- creamy turnip soup (needs stock) with caesar salad
- black beans & rice (glee night)
- spaghetti with kale
- polenta with braised collard greens
- burnt caramel ice cream (with colombian panela from sebastian)
- biscuits and sausage gravy
- ma po tofu with some kale
- chicken breast filets al ajillo, potato-turnip purée
- zaletti: polenta cookies with currants
- saag paneer variation (radish greens, mexican cheese)
- szechuan carrot soup plus miso; bekana and radish salad with thai dressing
- braised turnips with mustard sauce; salad of spinach, goat cheese, beets, pepitas
- steamed bok choy with oyster sauce; tofu and mushrooms with black bean sauce
- tamarind garlic taro, cucumber salad
- quiche with bacon and zucchini; spinach and red onion salad
- hamburgers & pretzel rolls; nappa and watercress salad
- mango tofu with red peppers; jasmine rice
- potato and sweet potato with spinach; blackened chiles and coconut milk
- short pasta with zucchini and freezer-pesto cream sauce
- challah for Yalda’s dinner gathering
- whole wheat berries for breakfast
- tea and ginger simmered chickpeas; tamarind-garlic taro
- thai green curry with tofu, asparagus, and mushrooms; sticky rice
- baby potatoes roasted with garlic and rosemary; black eyed peas with bacon
- puneri dal with rice
- moong dal with chiles and onion
- biscuits with sausage gravy
- quiche with zucchini and bacon
- A. Lapostolle “Casa” Chardonnay 2007
- The most amusing note about this was that it tasted like “vomit and fruit.” It had an unwelcome bitterness. Most people found it unbalanced, inelegant at best.
- B. Ché-vere Cabernet Sauvignon Valle Central 2007
- B was for Boring, for most of us. Someone said it was like D but not as good; it was exactly as deep as the typical Che Guevara T-shirt wearer.
- C. Montgras Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley 2006
- This was full of cherry flavor. One person remarked that it was well balanced, inoffensive, tame. Another called it simply “red.” It would be a good party wine.
- D. Santa Ema Reserve Merlot, Maipo Valley 2005
- “Smooth” appears in three separate notes. Flavors of cacao, chocolate, with some bite – one person said “rubber cement, in a good way,” it has nice spice to it.
- E. Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere DO Peumo 2007
- Raspberry, herb, chocolate, plum. This was a well made, unmistakable Carmenere. Inky purple, full, and rich. One person did not like its lingering finish. This was my clear favorite.
- F. Casa Silva Sauvignon Gris Cochagua Valley 2007
- One note says “watered down martini,” another “mouthwash tang.” This had a nose of diesel on top of dirty melon rind.
- G. Montes “Classic” Chardonnay, DO Curico Valle 2008
- Classic indeed. Beautiful fruit, well integrated hint of oak. Nice acidity, crisp, went nicely with the crab dip. I would add that everything I have had from Montes is either very good or great.
- H. “Calcu” Blend Colchagua Valley 2007
- Cabernet Sauvignon .5 / Carmenere .3 / .15 Cab Franc / .05 Petit Verdot. Tart, tannic and tight. One person loved it, finding it Pinot Noir-like, peppery, spicy but light. Another way of putting this was “beef + caramel”.
- S. Origin Carmenere Central Valley 2008
- Well-liked, easygoing, straightforward and uncomplicated. This could tend to uninteresting depending on food pairing, but another good party wine here.
- T. Peralillo “Arenal” Carmenere Central Valley 2008
- Tight, tannic, leather, stone. This improved by being open and swirled around a bit. For anyone on the fence about it, I would say to try another bottle, this seemed to me slightly corked.
- V/W. Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon Central Valley 2008
- No one identified these two as being the same. I said one was “full, rich, cherry, chocolate” and the other a “neat blend.” It is in fact Cab .85 / Syrah .15. Many people noted fruit flavors like cherry, pomegranate, currant, blackberry.
- X. Urban Red Blend Maule Valley 2008
- .41 Merlot / .29 Cab Franc / .22 Carignan / .08 Cabernet Sauvignon was two people’s favorite. Called spicy, huge, long-lasting, “lips on fire” which I think refers to its 14% alcohol content.
- Y. Simone Special Reserve Carmenere Maule Valley 2008
- Very fruity, well made, nice finish; one person found it bland and dry though. A good expression of the grape.
- Z. Cono Sur Carmenere Colchagua Valley 2008
- Very assertive coffee flavor. Gregg’s alliterative adjective works best: zealous.
My ranking: E X G D VW Y H C S Z T A B F
- (0) Poggio al Chiuso 2007
- (1) Ruffino 2008
- (2) Casa alle Vacche Chianti Colli Senesi 2006
- (3) Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2006
- (4) A Quo Toscana IGT 2008
- (5) Castella di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi 2006
- (6) Gabbiano 2008
- (7) Gini 2007
- (8) Tiziano 2007
- (9) Monsanto Riserva 2006
- (A) Ruffino Riserva Ducale 2006
- (B) Piccini 2008
Impressions: 2 was universally hated, but the other Colli Senesi was well received. Fèlsina (3) owns Farnetella (5); both stood out as fuller-bodied than the others, with 3 probably the most complex and elegant in the lineup, and 5 the most concentrated and intense. 4 was aggressively oaky, and stood out as the most CA-styled. 8 and A were both overly tannic, improved with exposure to the air, but were not well liked overall. 0 was thought bland and uninteresting. Most people were “indifferent” toward one group, either the (oak aged) Riservas or the unoaked ones. My own preferences tended a little toward the unoaked ones. In the future, when I want to pick up something to go with a Tuscan meal, I will choose 3, 6, 7, or 9.
I very much enjoyed our first wineclub gathering last night and look forward to next time, Chianti. Here is the roundup of what we had, in roughly lightest and driest to sweetest. My favorite was definitely #1, followed by 5 and 8 tied for second. The Spanish 3 and 4 were both delightful in totally different ways and thus tie for my third ranking. I did not much like 7 (boring) or 11 & 12 (both overwhelming, palate fatiguing). [I don’t mean that as any kind of competition, just my subjective experience and what I’d like to remember.] Thanks to everyone for joining in the fun! What were your favorites?
- Gitton Sancerre “Les Belles Dames” 2007 (Sauv Blanc)
- Château Graville-Lacoste Graves (Bordeaux) 2008 (Chardonnay)
- Pazo Señorans Albariño 2008 Rias Baixas
- Montecillo 2006 Rioja (Viura)
- Champalou Vouvray 2008 (Chenin Blanc)
- Skouras White 2008 Peloponnese (Roditis 60% / Moscofilero 40%)
- Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina Sannio 2008
- Colombelle Vin de Pays Côtes de Gascogne 2008 (Colombard 70% / Ugni Blanc 30%)
- Hugo Grüner Veltliner 2008
- Trimbach Alsace Pinot Blanc 2006
- Petit Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2008
- Crios Torrontes 2009
- Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium 2007 Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Kabinett
- tindora (ivy gourd / gentlemen’s toes!), yogurt rice
- potato chorizo soup, no-knead bread, pumpkin flan or tarte tatin
- pumpkin hummus, pita, baked beef-lamb kibbe
- sweet potato purée, glazed broiled tofu
- fresh tagliatelle all’alfredo, glazed carrots