A look back at the week that was on Inside IWM
This past week, we began in Sicilia, an educational foundation for two separate eLetter offers that IWM sent out this week. It’s a mighty, mighty winemaking island, and it’s hot, hot, hot–both literally and figuratively.
Then we took a quick trip to Argentina, where Camacho helped us vicariously enjoy Bodega Chacra Barda, a serious value Pinot Noir from Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, scion of Sassicaia.
Garrett Kowalsky revealed his deep, abiding love of ham with his choices for Easter wines (one white, one red, both delicious) and his favorite ham-related poem.
And RKO read far and wide and argued that while Italy may be on top of the wine world, it’s losing ground with Italians.
Our experts were also very busy with the virtual globe-trotting. On Monday, Chris selected two amazing Spanish wines, both offering incredible, age-worthy value for the price.
On Tuesday, Will opted for two off-the-beaten path Italian wines, one Schioppettino and one world-class Merlot.
Brian Maurice selected two wines from Alain Voge, master winemaker in unsung Cornas, for his Wednesday post.
And Francesco Vigorito finished up the week with two sides of Sangiovese–one affordable and approachable, the other age-worthy and collectable.
Enjoy your weekend!
What to pair with ham
I tend to be very personal with my blog entries. At this point, considering the number of blogs I have written and the types of details I have included, some of you may know me more than a few of my friends. And if you were my friend you would most certainly know my love of celebrating Easter. In addition to all of the religious ceremony, my family celebrates with a feast—a veritable cornucopia of dishes and dressings as far as the eye can see or the table can handle. At the center of it all, as with many families, sits a large, glistening, succulent ham. (The NY Times offers a helpful article on how to pick out a good ham.)
But of course, the eternal question is this: what do you pair with a ham? I am glad you asked. Here are a few ideas kicking around my head to bring home this weekend.
Last year my colleague at the time Tim Hemphill suggested a beautiful Riesling for the festivities. I rather liked that suggestion, but there is another that immediately popped into my head. The 2011 Sartarelli Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi for $17.71. I would be shocked if you had not already heard me sing the praises of the region of Le Marche and what its doing with the Verdicchio grape. In my humble opinion, this remarkably refreshing yet detailed and crisp grape is poised to be the Next Big Thing in Italian Whites.
As for the red selection, you need a wine with bountiful fruit. Trying to combat the savory meat with a tannin-laden wine will end in your cursing the decisions you’ve made. Your bottle should be bright, vibrant and relatively devoid of mouth-puckering tannins. I have picked up a few bottles of the 2009 Domaine Chevrot Maranges Sur le Chenes for $28.99. Juicy raspberries explode from the glass and match the festive mood of the occasion. Velvety tannins work in harmony with the dish to result in an altogether charming experience.
Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Easter. Enjoy the time spent with your family.
P.S. I would like to leave you with a favorite poem of mine regarding the joys of pork.
ODE TO PORK
I wouldn’t be here
without you. Without you
I’d be umpteen
pounds lighter & a lot
less alive. You stuck
round my ribs even
when I treated you like a dog
dirty, I dare not eat.
I know you’re the blues
because loving you
may kill me—but still you
rock me down slow
as hamhocks on the stove.
Anyway you come
fried, cued, burnt
to within one inch
of your life I love. Babe,
I revere your every
Some call you murder,
then dress you up
& declare you white
& healthy, but you always
come back, sauced, to me.
Adam himself gave up
a rib to see yours
piled pink beside him.
Your heaven is the only one
you keep me all night
cursing your four—
letter name, the next
begging for you again.
—from Dear Darkness
National Book Award Finalist
Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Rio Negro Barda 2011
Easter is around the corner and I always use this time to taste what I think would go well with whatever it is I’m going to prepare for my family. I look for value and for a crowd pleaser that all can enjoy.
Then I remembered that the new Pope, Francis I, ,is from Argentina so I’m sure that he’s also a soccer fan and a wine drinker. I wonder if he prefers Vin Santo (the Tuscan dessert wine whose name translates to “holy wine”) or Lachryma Christi (the traditional Campanian wine whose name translates to “tears of Christ”). I did read somewhere that while deciding who the next Pope would be the Cardinals drank Ribolla Gialla and Brunello (two of my favorites) during their breaks. Since Argentina is the home country of the new Pope, for this year’s Easter feast I will be sharing some Bodega Chacra from Patagonia in Argentina.
Bodega Chacra is located in the Rio Negro Valley of northern Patagonia. It’s about 620 miles south of Buenos Aires and sits right in the middle between the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The air in this region is pristine, creating tremendous luminosity and purity of sunlight for the grapes to soak up. The man behind Bodega Chacra is Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, the grandson of the late Mario Incisa, who, in 1968, launched the Super-Tuscan movement with Sassicaia, his pioneering blend of Cabernets. Piero’s passion is reminiscent of his grandfather as he has introduced his own groundbreaking efforts with Pinot Noir in the Pategonia region of Argentina. Three wines are made at Bodega Chacra and each one is named after the year in which the vines were planted, and all are original root stocks: Treinta y Dos, complex and intended for cellar aging; Cincuenta y Cinco, offering approachability with depth; and Barda, a soft and inviting everyday wine/
For Easter I need value and easy drinking, so I’m going with the Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Rio Negro Barda 2011, a real value at $26.99. I found the wine to be smooth with bright elegant plum, cherries, rose petal and some violet and spice aromas on the nose followed by a bit of cherry and lavender like tones. Behind the elegance you can taste the origin with some light earthiness and minerality, spice and herbs. Firm tannins and a nice silky finish lead me to think it will do well with some herb crusted lamb chops.
Irrigation for the Bodega Chacra vineyards is managed through an intricate system used to bring water from melting glaciers in the Andes. Interesting historical side note: this system originated in the 16th century with the Spanish settlers using techniques previously used by the Incas. Water flows down from the mountain through a series of ditches and canals, where it is stored in reservoirs for use by the vineyard, and I believe that all that movement through the mountain helps yummy minerality trickle into the grapes. A recipient of that minerality, Barda is composed of fruit from the two extremely old vineyards used for the estate’s Treinta y Dos and Cincuenta y Cinco, planted in 1932 and 1955, and is 100-percent biodynamic with only 800 cases produced.
This Sunday I’m raising a glass to the new Pope with some Bodega Chacra. I’m very much looking forward to it.
Two expert selections from RKO
My picks today are reflective of what I enjoy drinking. There is no greater expression of the Chardonnay grape than fine Chablis. Yes, people are saying ABC (Anything but Chardonnay); however, Chablis means you need to throw that notion out the window. Chardonnay handled properly, as it is in Chablis and in the Côte de Beaune, delivers world-class wines. Spring is just two days off and the Lion of Winter is hopefully making its final roar here in the Northeast, and there is no finer wine to drink than the Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore 2008 to ward of the cold, snowy, sleety weather. It warms you from the inside with the heat of the Tuscan sun.
Domaine Barat is one of the lesser-known producers of Chablis; however, Barat is a star on the rise making extraordinary wines at all levels from Petit Chablis to Premier Cru. The most important thing at the moment about Barat is the great price-to-quality ratio, something especially important in this vintage. Simply put, the 2010 vintage is a great vintage on par with the fabulous 20008. Chablis is one of the best areas in the world to express the inner dimensions of the Chardonnay grape. The Domaine Barat Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Lechet is a top-notch example of how good 1er Cru Chablis can be. The 1er Cru vineyard “Cote de Lechet” is known for its mineral expression and Barat clearly brings out this manifestation. Straw yellow, this wine’s nose shows prevalent mineral and flint with white flowers and scents of Empire apples. On the palate it is lively with zesty tastes of citrus, apples and pears, a wonderful balance of acidity with a long refreshing finish. (Also available in a split for $16.99.)
Antinori Guado al Tasso 2008 $104.00
Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore 2008 is a stunner and an illustration of the Antinoris’ knack of delivering high-class wines at a value higher than their price points. Guado al Tasso is part of the Antinori tripartite entity, including Solaia and Tignanello, that spearhead the best of the best of what Italy has to offer. This 2008 Guado al Tasso—a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot,12% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot—shows a deep intense purple almost opaque with classic aromas of black currants, plums, spices, toffee, coffee and hints of toasted oak. On the palate it is dense and rich with elegant tannins, balanced acidity, and loads of dark berry fruits, wonderful depth and appeal. The finish is long and persistent with lingering flavors. This is a wine of great aging potential.
A look back at the star-studded, Burgundy-filled celebration
La Paulée de New York, March 6th through the 9th, wrapped in the wee hours this past Sunday morning at the after party at The Dutch on Sullivan and Prince, hosted by Chef Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde) and Wine Director/Sommelier Josh Nadel. No question, La Paulée is the greatest ode to Burgundy wines this country has ever seen. La Paulée is the ultimate expression in ‘la bonne vive de Bourgogne.”
The genius behind this grand event is Daniel Johnnes. Daniel was inspired at a young age to bring Burgundy wines, cuisine and spirit to our shores after attending La Paulée de Meursault in Burgundy during the three days of Les Trois Glorieuses, which take place in and around the historic town of Beaune on the third weekend of every November. A tradition begun by Cistercian monks in medieval times to celebrate the end of harvest with the grape pickers and vineyard workers, Les Trois Glorieuses faded and to be revived in the 1920s. Unbroken since, the tradition lives on in Burgundy, and since 2000, Daniel has formulated a four-day US bacchanalia of sensational lunches and dinners, inspirational tastings, and serious educational seminars on a scale that Bacchus (or Dionysus) would be proud of. La Paulée de New York is a biennial venue; during even years, La Paulée takes place in San Francisco.
La Paulée de New York kicked off Wednesday evening March 6th with a rare wine dinner featuring Domaine R&V Dauvissat and Domaine G. Roumier at NoMad, with Chef Daniel Humm at the helm and nine wines from three decades of Domaine Dauvissat Chablis and nine wines going back to 1955 of Domaine Roumier’s Morey-Saint-Denis Clos de la Bussière, Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru, and Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru.
The next day Chef Humm hosted a lunch at Eleven Madison Park featuring twenty vintages of Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet “Les Demoiselles,” honoring and celebrating Jacques Lardière’s 42 years as winemaker at Maison Louis Jadot.
One of my favorite tastings of La Paulée, “The Verticals,” took placed on Friday at Chef Tom Colicchio’s restaurant, Colicchio & Sons. Thirty-four world-class Burgundy producers select one wine from their domaines, featuring three different vintages. It’s an incredibly focused study in what makes Burgundy tick, with all the producers and winemakers at the ready to answer any question you might have.
The Legends dinner on Friday evening was an otherworldly experience of the greatest expression of Chardonnay from Domaine Leflaive and Pinot Noir from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, matched with the highest articulation of cuisine from Chefs Daniel Boulud and Michel Troisgros.
Saturday were the culminating events with an afternoon “Grand Tasting” with all 34 domaines and attending winemakers pouring the exquisite and very limited 2010 vintage. Each domaine had four wines from their best premier cru and grand cru vineyards.
The pièce de résistance was Saturday evening: La Paulée Gala Dinner with endless magnums of marvelous wines from all 34 domaines and thousands of bottles of wines brought by the 380 guests, who had dug deep into their cellars and to find the finest and most rare bottles that Burgundy has to offer.
I truly believe Daniel Johnnes was born with Burgundy in his blood. I’m so honored to have been invited as a guest sommelier as this magnificent event. It’s a privilege to spend four thrilling days with fifty of the top sommeliers in the country.
Until I can attend the next La Paulée, I’ll just comfort myself with the thought of all the Burgundy riches in IWM’s cellars, just two floors below where I sit.« go back — keep looking »