With an authoritative voice and a distinctive kick-you-in-the-gut grittiness, I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite blogs has closed up shop…at least for an undisclosed period of time.
Katie Gomez Pizzuto, aka Gonzo Gastronomy, said her wordless farewell to the wine blogging community on August 6, 2012. The ever-feisty, graduate of the “Groucho Marx School of Thought” and admirer of Hunter S. Thompson, penned some of the greatest piss-in-your-pants rants I’ve ever read on any wine blog. To this day, I still scratch my head in bewilderment that from 2008-2012 Katie never-ever received even one Wine Blog Award for her in-your-face, thought-provoking, original shit. Now that’s just cray!
I sincerely hope that this is just some Morgan Freeman death hoax because I, for one, am not ready to say, “This is the end, beautiful friend…”
Hello Pressure Cooker
–Your summer vacation is OVER!
Hello delicious, Fall Sunday Dinners
Venison Stew with Cinnamon & Wine
Recipe by: Edgar Navarrete, Affaire Bistro & Lounge, NYC
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 lb. venison meat diced for stew (leg)*Venson can be substituted with lamb. It’s just as awesome!!
1/2 cup olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1 celery root, peeled and diced
3/4 cup flour
1 bottle of red wine *(2010 Graffigna Centenario Malbec was used in this recipe)
2 quarts beef broth (canned)
5 cinnamon sticks
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
Heat up a large braising pan. Season the meat with half of the olive oil (1/4 cup), salt and pepper. Heat the rest of the olive oil (1/4 cup) in the braising pan and cook the venison for about three minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Put the vegetables in the pan and sauté for about three minutes, season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables begin to soften, add the venison and mix. Sprinkle flour on top and continue mixing. Once the flour is cooked (when you can no longer see it) add the wine, beef broth, cinnamon sticks, parsley and thyme, and bring it to a boil. Add sugar and tomato paste, and stir until incorporated. Cover with aluminum foil and reduce heat to a simmer (very slow boil). Cook for one hour, adding water if needed. Once the meat is tender, it is ready to serve.Hello dark, peppery fruit bombs
–2010 Graffigna Centenario Malbec (Sample, MSRP: $13 US)
Hello, you lovely vision in green
I missed you… and all of the great food and wine that goes best with this time of year!
“Labor Day could be a washout across parts of the East, but that may only be the beginning…” AccuWeather.com.
“In New York City, showers have dampened the holiday festivities Monday morning, followed by overcast skies and more rain in the afternoon and into the night hours.” TheWeatherChannel.com.
“The remnants of Isaac will slowly crawl towards the East Coast spoiling outdoor plans along its journey this weekend. Just the opposite will hold true in the West; a showery start will turn out sunny and pleasant by the end to the Labor Day holiday.” WeatherBug Meteorologist, John Bateman.
Yep, all those dismal weather forecasts were spot on. It was nothing but grim darkness and showers, nearly the entire Labor Day weekend, for us East Coasters.
But you know what? I kind of loved it, in a strange way…
Nothing to do all weekend but lay around, listening to the rain smacking against the house, flooding the gutters and washing down the driveway into the grass and flowerbeds. Nothing to do except hang out with the family, play some games, and curl up on the sofa to watch some “quality” TV with Mrs. WineLife365 and the kids.
Not a thing in the world to do, but soak up some quiet time and turn a Labor Day cookout into an impromptu cook-in. You gotta keep up your energy when you’re doin’ nothing, right?!
What to eat…what to eat? How about a little homemade (homemade by the local deli department) roasted vegetable and grain salad, lemon orzo w/pine nuts, and sesame noodle salad partnered with my indoor creation of grilled lemon-lime-nutmeg-Montreal-and-bbq seasoning rubbed chicken!
While checking out the wine stash in my cellar (aka, closet with a rack in it): I came across the perfect bottle to celebrate our impromptu east coast cook-in.
Producing 8,000 cases annually, Heritage Vineyards of Richwood, in the Dirty Jerz, is cranking out some terrific grade-A juice. The 2009 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX (Sample, MSRP: $70 US) truly earns its “reserve” status: only 119 cases of this Jerseylicious juice were made. The ‘09 BDX cuvée consists of 70% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and is aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months. Notables on this red include: black cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper, toasted oak…and it was the shit with the stovetop grilled chicken and lemon orzo w/pine nuts. What an extra special treat to end a long, rainy weekend on an exceptionally high note!!
With only 119 cases produced, it’s probably all gone by now. But guess what?! The 2010 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX ($70 US) is available now in the winery’s tasting room; and it ranked 3rd in the Judgment of Princeton*, just behind the 2004 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild ($650 US) and 2004 Chateau Haut-Brion ($650 US)!
*The Judgment of Princeton, was a structured blind tasting of top New Jersey wines pitted against top French wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy. The event was based on the famous 1976 wine book, Judgment of Paris, and it took place at Princeton University on Friday, June 8, 2012.
Once a year, our kids take a vacation to get away from us.
Well, that’s not entirely true…
You see, every year during the first week in July, since our sons were toddlers, my parents take them to the beach…without us! Time on the beach, boat rides, water slides, bumper cars and junk food…the whole nine yards for one entire week.
With all of the day-to-day commotion that takes place in our house – the kids, the dog, the laptops, television, video games and constant tomfoolery – it’s hard enough to hear what we’re saying to each other, let alone hearing yourself think.
It’s funny, though: my wife and I start out excited to have some alone time, but by mid-week we miss them like crazy! Nevertheless, Kristi and I do, in fact, get to spend some quality time together, which includes having more time to try new wines!
One of the most intriguing wines that we sampled, when the kids were away, was the 2008 M Trignon White (MSRP: $23.99 US). This wine is from Chateau Du Trignon, which is nestled at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail in Gigondas, France. The 2008 M Trignon White is made up of 100% Muscat, and it packs one heck of a concentrated sweet/dessert wine punch! Right off the bat, you might think you’re drinking a French Sauterne. Fermented in stainless steel and cold stabilized to preserve freshness, this wine just oozes in sweet honey, honeysuckle, apricots, lemon and peach flavors.
3 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 M Trignon White. It’s crazy-syrupy-sweet, cheaper than most Sauternes, and it comes in a rather interesting, perfumey-looking bottle. It’s perfect for those who would rather drink dessert than eat it.
Another wine, which was a bit off the beaten path for us, was the 2010 Domaine Houchart Rosé (Sample, MSRP: $12 US) from Domaine Houchart which is owned by the Quiot family from France’s famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The thing that drew me to this wine was its interesting blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. This summer sipper possesses a lot of nice acidity that makes it a pair well with many different food combinations.
I paired it with a thinly sliced spicy grilled chicken breast topped with fresh bruschetta and shaved parmesan cheese. The soft strawberry, lavender and minerally finish paired nicely with this dish, however it wasn’t quite enough to give it 2 big thumbs up.
2 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 Domaine Houchart Rosé. This Rosé definitely shows its best characteristics around foods with a little gusto and spice: it’s a no-brainer with barbecue.