The people at Honig Winery are wonderful and their 2009 Rutherford Sau Blanc is a product of some serious skills. This reserve sau blanc, available only at the winery )which we visited on our last Napa trip) is wonderful. In the hope of ushering in some warm spring weather, we enjoyed this Sau Blanc last night. I found it to be a delightful combination of citrus, honey and a bit of apple on the nose. Unfortunately, the spring hopes have yet to be realized as it’s still 35 degrees outside and flurries are in the forecast.
As some may know, Pinot Gris is the same grape as the Pinot Grigio grown in Italy. For some reason, in my opinion, the Pinot Gris grown in Oregon is much more enjoyable. It’s either it’s relative crispness or maybe the overall flavor – either way, I like it more. With that said, this Erath Pinot Gris is a great example of the Oregon product. It’s a bit citrusy and light as well – it went well with our roasted mushroom risotto last night (more to come on that soon).
We enjoyed this crisp, yet full J Pinot Gris tonight with some homemade chicken dijon and baked sweet potato fries. The Pinot Gris had a crisp grapefruit balanced by honeydew and mineral on the finish. This feels like a great summer evening wine. While it’s still warm, but you don’t want overly light. This was a chairman’s selection for those in PA and can still be grabbed for a nice discount off the $20 retail.
Last weekend, the wife and I made it to Osteria (640 N Broad St) for dinner. Beyond the fact that I’m not sure how to pronounce the name of the restaurant; is it os-teria or oster-ia? And, it’s in a in a somewhat obscure location as many people aren’t going to walk there, but rather have to take a taxi or drive. Outside of those items, the food is fantastic. We went to Vetri, the signature restaurant last year and the pasta we had at Osteria was on par with the outstanding product produced at Vetri before. We started with a bottle of the Laila Verdicchio which is a crisp white that matched our dinner nicely. The sommelier indicated that the grapes were grown near the coast and there is a briney finish: he was right! I couldn’t believe my taste buds, but I could pick that up and it was cool. (Side note is the bottle is $12 retail and is on the wine list for $42 – absurd…and the reason I love BYOBs)
Now, on to the main attraction, we started with the vegetable antipasti which was an assortment of roasted vegetables. It sounds simple, and it is, but on an ethereal level that can push anyone into loving vegetables. The dish included roasted brussels sprouts, red peppers, salt roasted golden beets, briefly grilled cucumbers, and at least one more thing I can’t remember. What a way to start the meal.
From there, we split two main courses: the Margherita pizza and a cappelletti (pasta) dish. The Pizza was perfect with a crispy, thin crust, fresh – almost sweet mozzarella and this homemade tomato sauce that I would put on anything. The pasta was a small handmade shell filled with prosciutto in a light-sweet-corn broth. The sweet, salty mix was great. As if we didn’t have enough corn, we also enjoyed the rustic polenta which was like a corn version of cream of wheat. I’m pretty neutral on the polenta.
We had a treat for dessert and enjoyed their version of a cannoli which was filled with a gelato like cream that was quite cold and had a coffee / chocolate like taste. There were 3 mini shells and was a perfect size for dessert.
We were very impressed with the food at Osteria and will certainly return. It’s at a reasonable price point and makes the Vetri quality food approachable to many more.
Riesling is easily one of my favorite whites as it can be sticky sweet in the form of a late harvest or bone dry and crisp. Due to this, it’s also quite versatile and in this case, the Spy Valley bottle which we enjoyed on the first night of our cruise fit the bill. It had hints of green apple with the balance of citrus and is probably in the middle of the sweet to dry scale. I ate jerk chicken that night in the Grand Pacific Dining room on the NCL Jade and the wine helped cut the pepper which is ever-present in jerk chicken rubs.
I found Le volpi e l’uva in a Travel & Leisure issue before we went on vacation which identified it as one of the top 10 wine bars in Europe. Being the wine lovers that we are, we had to find it. It was a bit tricky as it’s between Ponte Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti. Giancarlo is an amazing host, first suggesting some prosecco to start us off. It’s worth noting that we had a full lunch in Florence already with Pizza in one of the squares, but when Giancarlo asked if we wanted an assortment of Italian cheeses, the only answer was: yes, please. The cheese was wonderful and had 2 different types of pecorino (one very soft with a washed rind, and the other hard with saffron) and 3 other wonderful selections as well. They were paired with 2 honeys, and two chutneys . It was also accompanied by some extraordinarily fresh tomatoes and the best foccacia I’ve ever had – no rosemary or other herb, just simple olive oil and salt: what else is necessary? Giancarlo recommended a Chianti to go with our cheese and it was perfect and not like any other Chianti we’d ever had. It was light, slightly fruity, and a really matched our cheese well. We asked him for some recommendations and brought some of Italy (wine) home with us. We spent about 2 hours eating, drinking, eating, and drinking and absorbing all Firenze, or Florence as we know it had to offer.
You’d think that with a label and name like ‘reserve’ that this might be an expensive wine. That’s not the case. In fact, this enjoyable Riesling is a whopping $8 and is a very easy drinking warm weather wine. My mom came over today and the wife and I treated her to a home-grilled dinner and since my mom leans towards the sweeter, less-dry side of the wine spectrum, Riesling is right up her alley. This Hayman & Hill is a good value wine and has the up front sweetness and sugar that comes with this type of Riesling. I found it peachy with minimal crispness. It worked well with our dinner and is great for folks who don’t enjoy the sau blanc style of white.
So, this Vouvray, one of the final bottles from Cork & Jug liquors in the Hamptons was enjoyed tonight. Vouvray in this case consists of a Chenin Blanc grape can range from crisp to sweet and this one is definitely more towards the sweet end of the spectrum. I can best describe the flavor profile as that of a green-apple jolly rancher. I can say this with some level of definitiveness as I made it my job in my early teenage years to try every candy and sweet item produced/sold in my neighborhood drugstore, candy store, and everyone else’s neighborhood too (I have the fillings to prove it). With that said, this wine drinks very easily with little crispness and paired well with our dinner tonight (BBQ Seitan and Grilled Shitake Mushrooms). Because it’s less crisp/dry, it can also stand on its own pretty easily and since it’s about $11, trying it isn’t a hard decision.
When I see a dry riesling, I expect a crisp apple scent, some apple-like flavor and maybe lime too. In this case, I was surprised to get many of the traditional sauvignon blanc flavors like grass and crisp citrus with the finish of a riesling – the crisp, but very faint apple. This is a good riesling for people who think that all riesling tastes like apple cider and you know who you are. It’s bright and refreshing and smooth all at the same time. This was another one of our Hamptons purchases as Paumanok is a Long Island (North Fork) vineyard.