Tag Archives: red

Last Wine in DC: 2006 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe “La Crau” Châteauneuf-du-Pape

10 May

Hello from Bittersweet in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.  That’s an apt name given the subject of this post.  After nearly four years in DC and Virginia, I have decided to move to New York to try and pursue professional and creative opportunities.  Some of those opportunities are in the legal industry; others are in the wine industry.

I’ve been in New York for about nine days now.  I’m already writing a wine column for a local Brooklyn neighborhood blog, and I’ve surveyed the local cafes, bars, and restaurants.  There is so much hustle and bustle here.  I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Virginia with its clean streets, quiet neighborhoods, and familiar haunts.  But there is an energy here that I love, something in the atmosphere that not only inspires people, but makes people receptive to new ideas no matter how crazy.

I had a wonderful wine dinner with friends at Founding Farmers the Friday before I left DC.  We had a number of good bottles, including the 2009 Stangeland Pinot Gris2008 Stangeland “Miller’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir2008 Margerum “ÜBER” Syrah, and the 2008 Domaine de la Fontainerie “Coteau la Fontainerie” Vouvray Doux.  The Stangeland Pinot Gris was fruity and tasted sweet, prompting one of the guests to say that this was not a “Joon wine” (I like sweet/fruity wines!).  The Pinot Noir was my favorite of the evening, with nice red fruits and a savory aspect.  I had tasted this wine previously, and it showed even better during the dinner.  The Syrah was good but did not show as well as it had previously, and the Vouvray was super sweet but had great elegance, structure, and weight.

For my last bottle of wine, however, I wanted something special.  Mary Kate and I were having Thai delivery for dinner, and I would never recommend this pairing to anyone, but I had one more nice bottle squirreled away that needed to be drunk: the 2006 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe “La Crau” Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

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Champagne Day at Weygandt Wines (and a Whole Lot More)

7 Nov

I had the opportunity to go to a media night at Weygandt Wines last Friday, on the occasion of International Champagne Day.  This was Weygandt’s first effort to reach out specifically to DC food and wine bloggers, and from what I can tell it was a great success.

Weygandt Wines, located in Cleveland Park, reminds me a lot of Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.  That venerable Berkeley institution is one of my can’t miss shops whenever I visit my alma mater, and for good reason: the wines I buy from the store are perhaps the freshest, most vibrant wines I’ve ever found.  KLWM is sort of like a farmers’ market for wine.  If that is the case, then Weygandt Wines is sort of like the Eastern Market of wines.

The namesake of the shop, Peter Weygandt, and his wife Maria (née Metzler) have been importing boutique French wines since 1987.  He has recently expanded his portfolio to include wines from Italy, Germany, Austria, Australia, and Spain.  He imports some killer Beaujolais and Burgundy, and has an excellent Rhône selection.  In all, they import around 70,000 cases of wine from over 100 producers.

The Weygandts were not at the media event, but the event was run by the store’s general manager, Tim O’Rourke.  Tim has an interesting history, having started out as a chef.  He graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland in 2000, did tours at Café Atlántico, Ristorante Tosca, and Citronelle, and has cooked with such celebrity chefs as Daniel Boulud and Michel Richard.  Being the general manager of a wine store probably has its own set of stresses, but I can imagine that it might also be very relaxed in comparison to working in some high-profile kitchens!

I had been to Weygandt only once before, and recently: I picked up a bottle of Cabernet France for an ongoing dinner with friends at Dino (which is right across the street).  The store was technically closed but I sneaked in and asked who I found out later to be Tim whether he could recommend a good Cab Franc, which he did.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember which bottle he selected, but it was good, and I appreciated being able to pick up a bottle after closing time (and at a substantial discount to boot!).

The event started out with a flight of six sparkling wines–one Crémant de Bourgogne and five Champagnes.

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A Night of Eating and Drinking Well

22 Nov

What happens when you are part of a Wine Buyers Collective and a Wine Appreciation Society?  A lot of wine to drink with a lot of people.

Kate and Rahul, who are esteemed members of both organizations, thus found themselves with about two cases of wine.  They invited us over for dinner where they would provide the wine; Meredith, a trained chef, agreed to coordinate a dinner to go with the wine.

The menu, as put together by Meredith, was as follows:

  • Mushroom paté
  • Bitter greens salad with shallot-dijon vinaigrette
  • Coq au vin over potato puree
  • Quince tarte tatin

I was responsible for the mushroom paté, which recipe you can find here.  It’s one of the few dishes I’ve made that requires more than two kinds of mushrooms (three kinds of mushrooms?!?  A double boiler setup?!?  Chilling afterwards for six hours?!?  It was only the day of that I realized this dish was significantly more labor intensive than I had anticipated.)

But the mushroom paté turned out surprisingly well; actually, all the food turned out extremely well.  The coq au vin, made with love and care by Meredith, was supremely flavorful and tender, with some caramelized onion and carrot that hit me like sweet/umami bombs.  The greens were a fine balance between bitter and buttery, and the quince tarte tatin was like something out of heaven.



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South Pasadena, je t’aime!

11 May

After an unconscionably long hiatus (I blame finals and other end-of-the-year miseries) I am back!  “Back” applies in two ways: first, I am back to posting this blog, where I intend to write posts weekly over these 14 weeks of summer, and second, I am back in California.

I will be in California for five more weeks, after which I will be headed back to DC for a few days, and then eight weeks in beautiful Wilmington, Delaware, known in legal circles as one of the locations of the Court of Chancery (where I’ll be interning) and known in pop culture circles as the nameless setting of Fight Club.  Hopefully during this time there will be wine, wine, and more wine.  If this past week has been any indication, there will be plenty of that this summer!

I have to write a few posts, one of Deep Sea Wines (which was gracious enough to send me two bottles to review), another for a great product known as the Wine Diaper (it’s probably not what you think it is), and yet another for a book by Matthew Frank entitled Barolo.  And, I’ll have to write about a very wonderful evening at Founding Farmers in DC at which a bottle of Riesling figured prominently–that’ll be coming soon.  All of these will take place in good time, but before I do I wanted to “clear the palate,” so to speak, by writing about a few of the wines I’ve had at home.

One of my habits while at home is to buy a few bottles with which to tide over my mom until my next visit.  I had purchased a few bottles during Spring Break, and to my surprise (and pleasure) I found that one of the bottles had not yet been opened.

This bottle was the Candidus from Malm Cellars.  Malm Cellars is a one-person show, helmed by Brendan Malm.  He doesn’t have a winery or vineyard, but he sources fruit from select growers to make his wines.  One such wine, his 2007 Sonoma County Pinot Noir, garnered a great review from the LA Times.  The Candidus, which is made from a bunch of undisclosed white Rhône varietals (but also apparently includes Chardonnay concentrate according to Dave from Mission Wines), is about $16.  It’s intensely aromatic–I’m thinking Viognier or Muscat (though I’m not sure if Muscat is a Rhône varietal)–with an assertive nose of quince and honey.  It’s pear-colored and appears on the viscous side.  Excellent: full of dried apricot and citrus, full bodied yet light, good acidity, very pleasant.

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A New Year and a Whole Lotta Bottles of Wine

11 Jan

Another year, another few scores of bottles of wine.  I’m not sure if the start of a new year necessarily engenders hope and thankfulness–usually, I feel more of a mix of relief and a creeping feeling that maybe my life is slipping past me–but 2009 in Washington, DC, has found me in a very thankful mood.

For one, I’m living in a nice, comfortable apartment with great food.  I have a wonderful family that I appreciate more as I get older; great friends.  I am going to a good law school with outstanding professors and classes.  I have nothing to complain about, and I am going to try to be more appreciative of the incredible opportunities I’ve been given.

To kick off the new year, my roommate and I hosted a champagne and sparkling wine tasting, the details of which will be coming out in the upcoming Nota Bene (GW Law student newspaper); I will write up my blog observations on that evening a bit later.  Suffice it to say that the big winner in the tasting were a beautiful sparkler from France, the Charles de Fere Blanc de Blanc Reserve Brut ($12.99)–was, as I described it, “the group’s favorite, with a nose of hazelnut and toast, a light, almost ethereal mouthfeel, and notes of apple and pear.”

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All Grown Up: My First Hosted Wine Tastings

21 Nov

It’s strange being 25.  I remember being a kid in grade school and looking up to the new young teachers, those who were obviously younger than people like Mrs. Donaldson or Mr. Kinter–people who had been at the game for years and years.  They didn’t really know what they were doing yet, but they were bright and fun and energetic.

And now I might very well be older than they were at the time.

(My torts professor summed it up quite nicely when he quipped, “It’s a strange feeling when both the president-elect AND the chief justice are younger than you are.”)

Now that I’m a quarter century old, I feel as if I should be an adult.  I certainly feel adult-like at certain moments–for instance, when I cook dinner, or when I go to the Ritz-Carlton for drinks (that one time!)–but sometimes feel as if I’m a child playing grownup. I think many of my peers feel the same way.

All that aside, it IS nice to get together and do grownup stuff–like hold wine tastings.  My roommate and I decided to throw a wine tasting; I decided also to throw a wine tasting before that wine tasting to get the feel of things.

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2006 Bodegas Enosur “Tierra Prometida” Malbec

7 Jul

My brother and I were going to cook a tenderloin roast yesterday for dinner. This called for a red.

Not just any red–something that could stand up to thyme and rosemary. Something that would accentuate the lovely rareness and juiciness of the meat.

I was thinking of something from the Cotes-du-Rhone, but bleh. I haven’t been impressed with any of my selections from that region lately. I was at a loss as to what to get.

Luckily, Chris at Mission Wines had the perfect wine: the 2006 Tierra Prometida malbec from Bodegas Enosur, which is located in Mendoza, Argentina.

This wine is a solid malbec, dense but silky, tasting of plum and chocolate and a whiff of tobacco. With the roast the wine revealed notes of herb and pepper… very good match with the thyme and rosemary combination. The medium tannins of the Tierra Prometida worked well to cut through the “fat” of the tenderloin. There’s not a lot of fat on a tenderloin, anyway, so any more tannic wine might have been too much.

I tried some of the leftover wine tonight with Korean food: rice, kimchi, kalbi, and even some raw crab pickled in soy sauce. Surprisingly, the malbec went well with the spices and strange textures of the Korean food. There was just enough umami for the crab, enough body to counteract the acidity of the kimchi, and enough fruit for the kalbi. My usual aversion towards mixing sticky rice and wine (in my stomach, NOT in a bowl, mind you!) was overcome, and I had a very enjoyable meal.

I would highly recommend the Tierra Prometida. It might even be better than the Maipe malbec I love so much!

Wine and Dine at Lou on Vine!

6 Jul

It’s funny how seemingly different things are related. For instance, it’s been well-documented on this blog that I love Intelligentsia Coffee. I was reading more about this specialty coffee roaster online when I came across this New York Times article on the interior design of Intelligentisa:

I really like the blue and white tile. (Thanks to the Times for the picture!)

At any rate, Intelligentsia’s space was designed by a woman named Barbara Bestor. I found that she had also designed the interior of a quirky wine bar / restaurant called Lou, which happens to be in a seedy strip mall–sandwiched between a Thai massage parlor and a 24-hour laundromat–off of Melrose and Vine in Hollywood.

I did some more reading on Lou and liked what I read: a fair-sized and eclectic wine selection? Check. Hip interior? Check. Good food? Check. All I needed was to actually go.

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The Priest Who Became a Clown Who Became a Winemaker: 2006 Jean-Luc Matha “Cuvée Lairis” Mansois

14 Jun

Having been born and raised in the Los Angeles area, I had to drive quite a ways to get to and from Berkeley during my breaks. Luckily, I like driving, and I liked the sensation of starting the journey on the 5: setting out before the dawn and entering the hills and valleys of Angeles National Forest before emerging from the Grapevine on the other side.

I liked driving through the grand expanse of land that is the Central Valley, that incredibly rich swath of earth from which much of this nation’s produce is coaxed. I am always reminded of my mother’s roots in the South Korean countryside, of growing up on a country estate. We didn’t get too much greenery in Alhambra, California, so the abundant agriculture of the Central Valley always amazed me. Continue reading