Archive | November, 2009

Even Dwarves Started Small: Alex’s Ultramarathon, a 1990 Riesling, and Herzog’s New Movie “Bad Lieutenant”

24 Nov

As I had mentioned in my previous post, my roommate Alex ran the JFK 50 Miler on Saturday, finishing 41st out of 1050 competitors.  As per our custom, to celebrate and to help him recuperate I cook a “fancy” protein-filled dinner for him a day or two afterwards.

This particular meal, however, would be extra-special.

I had purchased a case of wine from the excellent MacArthur Beverages in Georgetown a few months ago, ostensibly for the purpose of hosting various wine tastings (including the Spanish tasting, the notes from which you can read here, and the outstanding Burgundy tasting, the write-up of which will be coming out later this week).  While there I came across this bottle:

It was the 1990 Weingut Max Ferd. Richter Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spätlese from the Mosel region of Germany (seen on the label as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer).

I was intrigued.  Law students don’t come across 19-year-old bottles of wine very often; one comes across old white wines even less frequently.  The price was right, too, at around $35-$40.  Phil, one of the wine stewards, saw that I was getting a few off-the-beaten-path-type wines like the 1999 Viña Gravonia Crianza and recommended the wine, saying that it was still very much alive and well though with some of the characteristic oxidation found in aged whites.  To seal the deal, the wine was apparently stored at the winery in perfect conditions until only a few months prior.  I couldn’t resist.

After the Burgundy tasting a few weeks ago, this was the last wine from my memorable trip to MacArthur Beverages.  But it was soon to join its noble brethren, as I had plans to open it for Alex’s celebratory meal.

For dinner, we invited the always engaging (and fellow Golden Bear) Waiching, who brought fresh blueberries and blackberries for dessert.  I can’t really describe what I cooked–it’s a recipe I made up some time ago and never bothered to write down.  I guess it could loosely be named lemon-mushroom chicken.  For my own purposes (I forgot what ingredients I needed while I was shopping for the meal at Trader Joe’s) I will list the recipe here:

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Book Review: “Drink This: Wine Made Simple” by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl

22 Nov

My roommate Alex just finished an ultramarathon–the JFK 50 Miler–yesterday, coming in 41st out of 1050 competitors.  (Congrats, Alex!)  Needless to say, he’s pretty intense when it comes to running.  He subscribes to running magazines, plots out his training schedule months in advance, and reads books upon books on marathoning.

I harbor no similar aspirations of athletic greatness, but I do read a lot on my own passion, wine.  The first book I read was Karen MacNeil’s excellent, excellent Wine Bible, which is a must if you’re at all interested in wine.  Other books I liked were Mark Oldman’s Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, which is a very accessible primer with useful recommendations on everyday value wines, and the haughtily entertaining tome on French wines from the British wine writer Clive Coates, MW, An Encyclopedia of the Wines and Domaines of France, which though published in 2001 is still an exhaustive overview of literally every appellation of France.  (He writes like how I’d imagine General Cornwallis would have written had he been a wine critic in addition to being commander of the British troops in the Colonies.)

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Guest Post: The Foodie Guide to Pairing Wine and Cheese

17 Nov

It’s the holiday season, which means there will probably be a lot of celebrating going on. If you’re having a party, you may be looking to pair wine and cheese, which is an often-daunting prospect. Thus, I’m delighted to have this guest post from Sara Kahn, Founder of The Cheese Ambassador.

Whether you are hosting a soiree or a casual get-together this holiday, your mission is to provide your guests with warm hospitality, lively conversation and a delectable spread of food and drink. Whether the menu is complicated or simple it better be delicious. Serving a sumptuous gourmet cheese course is perfect as a starter or centerpiece of the meal. Not only is the preparation simple (no cooking!) but more importantly, your guests will enjoy discovering and savoring new favorites. As a wine lover, you want to impress with the right pairings but the overwhelming selections of wine and cheese can make your head spin. Relax. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing the right combinations of cheese and wine. Just keep in mind a few simple considerations.

A cheese course is about observing and enjoying contrasting and complementary flavors. For a foolproof gourmet cheese course, select 3 – 5 cheeses that vary in texture and flavor. Add some crusty bread, fresh or dried fruit, olives and nuts and voila!

Remember, wines are meant to cleanse the palate, wash away the tongue-coating richness of the cheese and prepare your mouth for the next delicious bite. It’s important that your selections don’t overwhelm the cheese and vice versa. Essentially, you’ll want to match wine and cheese of the same intensity level. Just remember “like for like”.

Take a look at the gourmet cheese categories and wine recommendations below for guidance. You’ll see how easy it is to serve an elegant wine and cheese course. For best results, just add friends and family.

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