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A Study of Opposites: 2007 Antoine Arena “Carco” Patrimonio and the 2006 Gourt de Mautens Rasteau

11 Oct

I have been drinking wine for a very long time now.  For the last seven of those years, I have approached wine not merely as something to drink, but something to think about, something that could elicit sheer joy or wonderment, calm or even fear.*  I come across as pedantic or stuffy sometimes, I guess, but for me it’s far more satisfying to really delve into what each and every wine has to offer.**

A few weeks ago I was invited to a dinner with Jillian and David at Chez Kate et Rahul.  As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s been hard for me to quench my thirst for interesting wines lately.  So, in addition to being pleased to be able to see my good friends Kate ‘n’ Rahul and Jillian ‘n’ David, I was pleased to have an excuse to bring a bottle of Chenin Blanc recommended to me by Phil over at MacArthur Beverages (at left):


The Saumur appellation is located in the Loire Valley of France.  The Loire Valley–especially the region of Vouvray and to a lesser extent Montlouis-sur-Loire–is known for its Chenin Blanc.  I think Chenin Blanc is one of the underrated great grapes of the world.***  The best examples of Chenin Blanc have great acidity and taste of honey, almonds, and flowers.  Like Riesling and Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc can be aged to great effect.  I’ve had Chenin Blanc from 1983 and 1989, and when aged these wines take on low, nutty, waxy notes that are just incredible.  Best of all, just like old Rioja blanco, aged Chenin Blanc can be relatively affordable.

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Rainy Day Recipes: French Fry Tortilla

4 Oct

It has been a very long time since I’ve last posted.  My apologies!  Much has happened since I posted my last entry at the end of March.  I just celebrated eight months with a special person, I graduated from law school, and I took the California bar exam.  I am also back in DC, despite my previous plans of going back home to Los Angeles.

It’s a tough market for would-be lawyers.  I am working part-time at the Office of Student Affairs at the law school, and supplementing that income with wages from moving boxes and delivering wine for Ansonia Wines on Saturdays.  Needless to say, with law school loans coming due and the expenses of living on my own mounting, I have very little money leftover for purchasing wine.  (I have been drinking pretty well, regardless… a lot more beer and liquors.)  Mary Kate and I have been enjoying a box of Maipe Malbec recently.  In fact, we’re on our second box.  We saw the boxes at Total Wine, and as I’m a fan of Maipe we decided to pick some up for everyday consumption.  Though not the most refined wine, it is delicious, easy to drink, and a wonderful value at around $25-$30 for three liters (FOUR BOTTLES!) of wine that stays fresh for weeks.

I am also fortunate to be eating well despite my budgetary constraints.  Mary Kate and I cook at home often, and we also eat take-out from delicious, high quality-to-price ratio restaurants like El Pollo Rico, El Charrito Caminante, Fast Gourmet, Iota, and Shake Shack.  We usually find ourselves with leftovers, which are generally eaten as-is.

However, some leftovers need a bit more… finessing.  For instance, it’s one thing to gnaw on a cold rack of pork ribs (Rhodeside Grill) or slurp down reheated Szechuan lo mein (Great Wall Szechuan House).  What do you do with cold french fries?

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