Sunday, August 22, 2010

Food & Wine in The Dog Days of Summer

I’m sitting with a cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning and trying to catch up with things as my busy summer season comes to an end. I’ve enjoyed some wonderful wines this summer with more to come in the next few weeks. I’ve included notes on a few I wanted to share with everyone today.

Firstly, two weeks ago was the release of my most recent article on, Bucatini all'Amatriciana. Where I ask the age-old question of “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” This traditional Italian dish finds itself constantly downplayed in our society because of constant substitutions of its core ingredients and laziness during the preparation. In my most recent article, I show just how easy it is to make this stunning Italian classic that will blow you away. Your guests will never be able to eat this dish anywhere else, besides from your kitchen, after you show them just how delectable it can be.

Check it out on snooth: Bucatini all'Amatriciana

On to the wines; This has been a great summer for finding some moderately priced wines that deliver an amazing amount of pleasure. The three wines below are all fantastic and could easily stand tall against much more expensive bottles. They are all in the $30 - $45 range but would make for a great bottle to have at a special dinner.

2003 L'Arco Valpolicella Classico Superiore - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classico Superiore (8/21/2010)
Opened four hours prior to dinner.

The nose, at first, showed rich chocolate cover cherry, but upon a second sniff, the details began to come forward with crushed fall leaves, undergrowth and cinnamon. The palate was remarkably finessed and showing ripe cherries, dried cherries, tobacco and flower petals. As it flowed across the mid-palate, bitters and spice came forward, yet somehow a slightly sweet component shined through. The finish is long... long... long with cherries and christmas spice.

My only regret is that I didn't buy more of this great wine. This is beautiful for the price ($35). I could convince someone that this cost more than twice its price. Stunning. (93 pts.) Find it on Wine-Searcher

2007 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (8/15/2010)
Upon opening, an intense showing of cherry liquor with a sour bitter component but with time (2 hours) ripe plum came forward with soil, chalk dust and a bit of vanilla. The palate comes across as a bit sticky and sweet, at first, but rounds out into a velvety expression of raspberry fruit with cola and clove. The finish is long, soft and refined with red fruit.

It's fruit forward but still shows a good amount of earth and pinot character. I see this as a real crowd pleaser and will buy more. (91 pts.) Find it on Wine-Searcher

2006 Trespass Zinfandel - USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena (7/27/2010)
Trespass manages to walk that tight rope between richness and finesse, and they walk it so well. This bottles showed dark blue fruit and vanilla with chalk dust and a hint of heat on the nose. The palate is rich, soft... lush, yet finessed with dark cherry and allspice. The finish is long and shows sour red fruits.

Trespass continues to be one of the best performers from my cellar. This Napa Valley winery, is well worth seeking out. Check out their website here: Trespass Vineyards (91 pts.)

Lastly, a friend and fellow wine collector, Ken Vastola, has put together a new website, The Fine Wine Geek. His new sight (really and old site with an update and new home) focuses on near encyclopedic data of producers such as Bruno Giacosa, Giacomo Conterno, Bartolo Mascarello and Sine Qua Non. This is a must see website for Barolo collectors and one that I’m sure I’ll use for regular reference. My favorite part are the Bartolo Mascarello pages that show his hand drawn labels, which are near impossible to find.

There's some really great stuff in the works for The V.I.P. Table in the coming weeks. Make sure to check back for weekly updates or set up a RSS Feed subscription. See you in another week.

Eric Guido

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