Scroll down for some photos of the experience:
Saison (San Francisco, California)
I had an amazing dinner at Saison in San Francisco!pineapple uni
Scroll down for some photos of the experience:
There's nothing more decadent than uni with some gold.caviar lemongrass salmon heirloom tomatoes Australian truffles! crispy greens mushroom, liver, and maple foam lemon, raspberry, basil buds buckwheat tea
I really enjoy reading certain wine blogs that delve into meaty history topics; and I especially appreciate the posts that are well researched and cited. I believe that this is the key to the emerging discipline of wine reaching a better level.
A like-minded wine blogger, Aaron Nix-Gomez, over at www.hogsheadwine.com, and I have joined forces and, in the true spirit of the symposium, we are presenting broad research topics and an open invitation for others to participate.
Here is how it will work:
1. We will release a topic. Our first topic is "Wine and the Sea." You may interpret this however you like. All that we ask is that your post includes some form of research, and that you cite your sources in a bibliography. We also ask that you follow ethical writing practices, such as obtaining permission for all images used, and abstaining from plagiarism.
2. With each topic there are two posting deadlines.
The deadline for your post on "Wine and the Sea" is November 30th, 2013.
Please post your research blog to your website between 12:00am and 8:00am EST on November 30th, 2013.
If you have no website, but want to participate, contact Erin or Aaron about having one of us host your article.
3. The second deadline is a post that incorporates links to the other participants' posts. This can occur, ideally, as an appendix to your research post, or it can be a separate blog posting. The idea is that when a reader finds one of our posts, they will be able to connect to the entire symposium topic. We will send out a complete set of links the day after the blog posting deadline.
This will be due December 2nd, 2013.
Please post your links to the complete symposium between 12:00am and 8:00am EST.
4. To participate, fill out this simple form. One week before the symposium articles are posted, we will publish all of the participant websites together so that we may all easily browse the symposium articles on the release date.
Dogfish Head 'Theobroma' (Milton, Delaware)
Theobroma, or, 'food of the gods,' is one of the loveliest beers I've had in quite a while. It's an ale brewed with honey, ancho chilies, annatto, and Askinosie cacao nibs. The recipe is an ancient recreation based on chemical evidence from 3,000 year old pottery sherds in Honduras. An alcoholic chocolate beverage similar to this one was used by early civilizations to toast special occasions.
This is part of Dogfish Head's "Ancient Ale" series-- a collection of unique fermented beverages that have been brewed based off of historic evidence. Some of their other interesting ancient ales include: Chateau Jiahu, Etru Sca, Midas Touch, and Ta Henket.
Grape Leaf Tea
Grape leaves are edible, and you can dry yours to make a lovely tea that will remind you of an earthy green tea. This is a great way to make use of cuttings that would otherwise be thrown away.
First, collect one grape leaf about as big as your hand, then collect baby grape leaves about as big as a quarter. Put the baby grape leaves in the middle of the larger grape leaf.
Fold up the bottom left corner.
Fold up the bottom right corner.
Fold over the top left part of the leaf.
Fold over the top right part of the leaf.
Fold down the point to complete your "envelope."
Lay these "envelopes" out on a dehydrator tray, and dehydrate these at 150F overnight.
Add boiling water to your dried grape leaf tea.....
I work with a mostly New Zealand wine list at The Musket Room restaurant in Manhattan. As one of the few restaurants in the states that celebrates New Zealand cuisine (thanks to our Auckland native chef, Matt Lambert!) we also find ourselves celebrating other New Zealand feats, like yesterday's incredible Louis Vuitton Cup race-- the final qualifying race series before the boats compete for the America's Cup. The New Zealand team, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), won both races against the Italian team, Luna Rossa. They are racing each other up to 13 times-- the best of 13 will race the American team, Oracle, for the America's Cup. This means that the first team to score seven wins will move on to the next round. Yesterday's races brought New Zealand up to 4 wins.... three more to go!
I'm in San Francisco for a New Zealand wine seminar held in the ETNZ boatyard! Yesterday, we got to see the race from the water-- I was texting race updates back to The Musket Room kitchen so they'd know who was winning! There was much cause for celebrating after the race, and we did so with some great New Zealand wines at dinner.
Here are some stunning photos that we snapped of the race!
These markers help define the course, and serve as a finish line. You can see the Bay Bridge in the background.
ETNZ sails down the coast line, taking advantage of the current patterns near the shore.
We had a great view of the bay from our bow!
I couldn't resist DiCaprioing and doing a 'King of the World' pose!
We sailed up to the Golden Gate Bridge-- one of the most amazing structures in the world!
On board, tasty New Zealand treats kept us satiated. These are pikelets- similar to baby pancakes. (....and if they look good, you can try them from The Musket Room brunch menu!).
ETNZ with the San Francisco skyline.
Here she is with a lead in the first race.
Ross Blackman (an original founder of the team) talked us through the race. Yes, I asked what his favorite New Zealand wine is. He reports, "I don't want to sound boring, but I love sauvignon blanc." He also loves Central Otago pinot noir. So do we, Ross!
During the race, the Italian boat, Luna Rossa, came around a bend just meters from our boat! Here she is coming right at us before the turn!
She made the turn and brushed right by us!
The crew was working hard!
<-- Luna Rossa is in pursuit of ETNZ.
Before the second race the boats sail by each other, sizing up the opponent...
During turns and at high speeds, the boats literally fly up out of the water.
<-- You can see this boat flying around a turn.
Here we have another lift off!
As ETNZ sailed across the finish line of the second race, the boat was high up out of the water, flying at 46 knots! (That's a very high speed! Most of the race happened between 10 and 23 knots).
This was an incredible sight to behold as the boat whizzed by us!
Back in the boatyard we caught a glimpse of the back-up wing.
Disassembling the boats is a pretty interesting process. As ETNZ sailed around the harbor on a victory lap, this huge crane lifted Luna Rossa out of the water, and the Italian team spent a half an hour separating the sail from the body of the boat!
<-- Here is the boat, suspended about 8 feet off the ground as the team removes the foils and prepares the sail for removal.
The crane slowly lowers the sail for storage....
You can see all of the ETNZ supporters celebrating on the porch-- it was a great day!
I'm spending a few days in San Francisco!
I'm here for a New Zealand wine masterclass; and because nothing goes better with New Zealand wine than an amazing New Zealand boat team, the class is followed by a boat ride on the bay to watch the ETNZ (Emirates Team New Zealand) compete for a place in the America's Cup race!
There is really no better way to get a handle on geography than to have a giant table map. This one is state of the art, and includes the most recent NZ wine region, Waitaki Valley!
I've met some extremely cool people on this trip, including.... two of Canada's greatest sommeliers! That's Veronique Rivest on the left-- she just won second place in the Concours Meilleur Sommelier du Monde competition! And there's Will Predhomme in the middle-- he runs a fierce wine program at Canoe in Toronto.
The Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) was prepping their boat for the race today; it was very special to see them work on it! These are the giant wings!
To stay fit the team has a gym just off the waterfront!
We are getting schooled on New Zealand wine history, and it is very fun to drink back vintages of these greats, like this Palliser Estate pinot noir- this was one of the most delicious pinot noirs I have ever tried from Martinborough!
And this Sileni 1998 Bordeaux Blend.
We are reacquainting ourselves with a different kind of NZ sauvignon blanc; here's a neat one from a flight of non-Marlborough sauvignon blanc that was very eye opening:
Mills Reef 'Reserve' sauvignon blanc, 2012 (Hawke's Bay, New Zealand)
Aged pinot gris from Hawke's bay?
This Bilancia 2009 was incredibly interesting!
The beautiful "Leah" pinot noir by Seresin was so delicate.
We also got to try this very special Fromm 'La Strada' syrah from Marlborough.
Things got a bit sticky towards the end of the tasting (in a good way!) with:
Seifried "Sweet Agnes" 2012 riesling (Nelson)
Forrest "Botrytised" 2011 riesling (Marlborough)
Jules Taylor 2011 late harvest sauvignon blanc (Marlborough)
We took a walk to Waterbar, with a lovely NZ wine focus (they also pour Moa beer!). Here, there are giant aquariums that stretch from floor to ceiling, and a three-person team of oyster shuckers keeps up with the demand.
Then it was off to Prospect restaurant for dinner, where the bartenders measure spirits with gold jiggers!
We ended with a nightcap at Sky Bar, which has super-friendly staff and a great view of the city.
Head to West Flanders, Belgium and you'll find the tiny brewery of 't Gaverhopke where rich, interesting beers are produced in small quantities. I recently tried their "Bitter Sweet Symphony" which was very interesting, and equally delicious.
't Gaverhopke 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' Belgian Ale, Double IPA (Stasegam, Belgium)
Extracted and intense in flavor and aroma. This is a cloudy, funky, yeasty, amber-colored beer that has been heavily hopped. The hops smell dark & extracted, resiny, like old pine trees. The beer also has an earthy, rich aroma like raw cacaco nibs. The flavor is bitter but in a great way. I'm not afraid of sediment, and there is a bunch of this wonderful stuff waiting for you at the bottom of the bottle.
My favorite part of this label, though, is the beer-bottle drummer with the intense expression and sideways-hat banging a snare and cymbal in the back of the orchestra. This is why I pulled this bottle off the shelf, and I'm so glad I did!
We recently had the idea to cook an epic dinner-- epic in the Homeric sense. This ended up being 25 courses, and the catch was that each course had to be grilled in some way. We came up with this fun name: The Gr-Iliad. Since we were doing so many courses, the main goal was to keep things an simple as possible. This was one of the most fun meals I have ever had:
Oysters, Gewurztraminer Gelee, Lavender
We started off with oysters warmed on the grill, lavender flowers, and gewurztraminer gelee. The pairing was a floral, spicy gewurztraminer, and it was perfect!
Melon Soup with Grilled Speck
We pureed up some sweet honeydew with mint, and topped it with grilled speck crumbles.
Torchon with Grilled Apricots
Next up was a torchon topped with a grilled apricot.
And there's nothing like a little 1985er auslese to go along with a torchon.
Fritz Haag 'Brauneberger Juffer- Sonnenuhr' Auslese 1985
Hot Dog, Mustard, Shallots
We made fresh miniature hot dog buns, and served bites of Niman Ranch dogs topped with whole grain mustard and shallots.
An ice cold beer is perfect for washing down a great dog, and we cracked this one:
Maine Beer Company "Peeper Ale" (Portland, Maine)
Scallop, Dill Pickle
This was so simple yet so delicious. We made homemade dill pickles a couple days before, and their acidity and crunch went great with the richness of the grilled scallop.
Salmon, Roe, Creme Fraiche, Parsley
Here we grilled a nice fish from the market and garnished it with parsley cut fresh from our garden.
Smoked Hummus, Pita, Carrot, Cucumber
The day before we smoked some hummus on the grill, and we served this with fresh veggies and grilled pita bread.
Tuna, Tomato, Oregano
Simple grilled tuna with a slice of heirloom tomato from our garden and fresh cut oregano.
Grilled Pineapple, Serrano
Here we played off the simple combination of pineapple and ham.
Chicken, Avocado, BBQ Tuille
This was a very cool dish. Instead of putting BBQ sauce on the chicken we made a crunchy tuille out of the sauce, and it gave this simple dish a nice crunch.
Smoked Mozzarella Raviolo and Greenmarket Peas
The day before we picked up some fresh mozzarella from an Italian market and smoked it on the grill. We mixed this with fresh peas and stuffed it into fresh pasta. It's garnished with olive oil and pea shoots.
Bacon, Cipollini, Tarragon
We grilled a whole slab of bacon then served it with grilled onion and fresh tarragon slices.
Pork, Corn Salsa, Tortilla
Corn Tacos! We grilled the corn and the pork, then warmed up the tortillas over the flames.
We served this with:
Kistler "Hudson Vineyards" 2001 (Carneros, California)
The richness of the chardonnay went great with the fattiness of the pork and the intensity of the corn.
Maitake Mushroom, Saba, Pesto
There is nothing quite as intoxicating as the aroma of a grilled maitake mushroom. We touched it up with an herbaceous pesto and a few drops of sweet saba.
Lamb Burger, Mint Yogurt, Black Sesame Roll
We made fresh buns, then grilled them with the burgers. The mint yogurt is made with fresh mint from our garden.
Someone brought a magnum of Barolo & we opened that right about now.
So simple, but grilled asparagus is one of life's sweet pleasures.
Steak, Herb Butter, Bronx Lettuce Sprouts
We grew baby lettuce in our window box, and cut it at the last minute to garnish this bite of steak.
Pan Con Tomate, Midnight Moon Cheese
Pan Con Tomate- one of the greatest foods ever invented, and made for the grill. We added slices of gouda-like cheese, Midnight Moon, made by Cowgirl Creamery.
Blue Cheese, Smoked Cherries
We smoked these cherries the night before and it gave a great smokey depth to the cheese.
I grew up having ambrosia at every picnic-- it's marshmallows, sour cream, fruit and coconut. Overnight, the marshmallows set with the sour cream into a pudding. We grilled the coconut inside, and topped them with blueberry slices.
For the dessert courses we opened up a bottle of:
Barboursville "Phileo"(Monticello, Virginia)
Fennel Sorbet, Grilled Fennel, Grapefruit
We grilled some fennel a few days prior to the dinner, then we spun this grilled fennel into a sorbet and stuffed it into hollowed out grapefruit shells. We topped this with grilled fennel and grapefruit segments. At the last second we torched the grapefruit for a great aroma.
Mango, Coconut Sticky Rice, Grape Leaf
Mango and Sticky Rice is one of my favorite foods, but grilling it was difficult. We decided to wrap this dessert in grape leaves and grill those. The grape leaves are from the vines in our backyard.
Cinnamon Bun, Orange
Baked goods on the grill proved challenging, but I took a cue from an old camping trick I learned a while back. You can bake over grills and fires by putting your dough into citrus shells. The shells withstand the heat nicely and keep you dough moist, plus they add a pleasant aroma.
Homemade graham crackers, homemade marshmallows, and chocolate- the best S'more I have ever had!
Caduceus Cellars (Arizona)
The Caduceus Cellars tasting room is in Jerome, Arizona-- a town with some rich history! This was once a copper mining town in the late 1800s. We passed by several incredibly old buildings, and even the tasting room holds some secrets of the past: you can see the old tin-stamped ceiling in the photo to the left.
The Arizona wine scene is truly blossoming, and it would be impossible to discuss Caduceus without first putting into the context of Arizona wine as a whole. As the Arizona wine scene has unfolded several "founding wineries" and several second and third generation wineries have emerged. At each winery I visited it seemed as if one or two people in the cellar also had their own label; and this genesis is quite interesting to watch. Winemakers join forces as they start their companies, then split apart when they have sufficient cash flow to operate solo. Three such linked wineries have recently unwinded into their own identities: Arizona Stronghold, Caduceus, and Page Springs. Arizona Stronghold is a large winery that sources much of its fruit from two main vineyards in Southern Arizona; the main source being the aptly named Arizona Stronghold Vineyard. Caduceus also sources some fruit from here (for their second label, 'Merkin'), but now the two projects are separated on paper and have different, distinct mission statements. Caduceus uses fruit mostly from the Bonita Springs Vineyard, which is located close to the Arizona Stronghold Vineyard in southern Arizona.
For several years, Caduceus winemaker/owner Maynard James Keenan produced wines with Eric Glomski who has since moved on to run the independent Page Springs Cellars. These three wineries are quite important to the image of Arizona wine on the global scale, and each has a different part to play.
Arizona Stronghold makes many wines, uses multi-state blending (CA-AZ-NM), and distributes far and wide. This is a powerhouse winery with a wide variety of wines to choose from, and they have helped make Arizona wine a more household name. Caduceus is a small-production boutique winery, which happens to be owned by a famous singer (this definitely helps the PR team!). Caduceus sources fruit from vineyards in southern Arizona and one vineyard near Jerome. Caduceus also makes second label wines under the name "Merkin" which are usually made from a blend of Arizona, New Mexico, and California fruit. Here the philosophy is carbonic maceration, and this is evident in the buoyant personality of many of the wines.
The cool tasting books (pictured below) at the Caduceus tasting room are printed on "notebook paper."
Merkin Vineyards is a second label for Caduceus.
Merkin Vineyards 'Chupacabra blanca' 2011
pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, gewurztraminer, chenin blanc, vermentino
This is an interesting wine that blends several aromatic varieties. The wine has a smooth, rich mid-palate, but the acidity is high, and it all comes out with great balance. This blend changes every year, and fittingly, Chupacabra means 'shapeshifter.'
Merkin Vineyards 'The Diddler' 2011
80% chenin blanc, 12% malvasia, 6% albarino, 2% chardonnay
light-bodied and easy-drinking, aromas of honey and apricots.
Merkin Vineyards 'Benito Rose' 2010
zinfandel, petite sirah, syrah, viognier
complex red-fruit nose, crisp, light, and refreshing--just what you want under the Arizona sun!
Merkin Vineyards 'Shinola' 2011
Fruit is from Luna Rosa Vineyard in New Mexico
25% sangiovese, 25% dolcetto, 25% refosco, 25% primitivo
this is an interesting blend of four Italian varieties grown in New Mexico. red fruits, plums, and a hint of meatiness to this wine.
Caduceus 'Dos Ladrones' 2011
Fruit is from the Bonita Springs Vineyard in southern Arizona.
50% malvasia, 50% chardonnay
peaches, orange rinds, dried pineapples; rich body with nice acid balance. a zingy finish.
Caduceus 'Oneste' 2010
Fruit is from the Bonita Springs Vineyard in southern Arizona.
50% merlot, 50% barbera
juicy strawberries, low alcohol, light and quaffable.
Caduceus 'Sancha' 2009
Fruit is from the Bonita Springs Vineyard in southern Arizona.
cherries, dried raspberries; light and crisp, soft tannins, spicy finish.
Caduceus 'Anubis' 2010
Anubis is the god of the underworld who takes you across the river Styx.
This fruit is from the Bonita Springs Vineyard in southern Arizona.
80% cabernet sauvignon
12% petite sirah that's been co-fermented with a small amount of malvasia
roasted raspberries, brulee, smokey herbs, very soft, fine tannins.
Caduceus 'Judith' 2010
Despite the hefty price tag, this wine wins awards every year and sells out fast, and rightly so. It is a special, incredibly personal, single vineyard cuvee. The bottling is a touching tribute to Maynard's mom; her ashes are spread across this vineyard.
This is the kind of thoughtful wine that is so special, you are simply left thankful that the winemaker is even sharing any of this with the public at all.
In regards to wine, there are some really interesting things happening in Arizona, and Caduceus is at the forefront.
Hillrock whiskey is interesting on many levels. The corn and grains used to make the whiskey are estate grown on a farm in Hudson Valley. Not many spirit producers take this kind of care to guarantee the provenance of their base products. Historically, more than half of the nation's grain was grown in New York and over 1,000 distilleries produced here-- but the industry was obliterated by the market drop due to Prohibition. New York is making a comeback in terms of spirits production, and Hillrock is a big part of this.
Hillrock also is the world's only solera-aged bourbon. The starter criadera came from Kentucky. What makes it into the bottle--percentage wise-- from each criadera may be calculated by a complex algorithm. They've been building the solera for four years, and they released for the first time in November 2012 once their New York material became a very high percentage of the bottling.
Hillrock is also one of a few bourbons from New York state. Bourbon can be produced anywhere in the United States, as long as it meets certain requirements.
I'm really interested to see how the flavor profile will change as the solera gets deeper. This is so interesting, and I cannot wait to follow Hillrock over the next several decades!
I’m Erin, and this is my wine blog. Here, you'll find information about wines from around the world, and Virginia.