June 29, 2009

Killer Wine and Food at Rowdy's!

Several Atlanta winos gathered for another round of culinary adventures at Chez Rowdy.
The Rowdy one has mad skills. No joke, he’s off the chain in the kitchen. Last night was quite the feast paired with ABC whites and 2001/2002 Cali Cabs.

I’ll let those who were there out themselves here if they choose.
I will say Dirty was there.

A great night of wine. Really not a bad wine all night.
Some real stars including the Rudd Oakville, Colgin Cariad, and Keenan Reserve.

There was a ton of wine; I'll post some highlights.

White Flight I-With Rowdy’s Ungodly-Good Szechuan/Nashville Fried Chicken

1996 R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Crianza Vina Gravonia—Honey up front, sweet initial attack gives way to dry lemon rind finish. Stony. Interesting wine. 12%alc

1996-Chateau D’Epire Savennieres-Deep yellow color. There’s a wisdom to this wine not found in the other whites in this flight. Sweet concentration up front gives way to some herbal notes. It’s slightly waxy in the end. It was good for me, others were more impressed.

2001 Fritz Haag Braunberger Juffer Riesling Auslese-Trocken—Probably the white WOTN for me. Killer nose that just throws fruit and stone all over the place. After 10 minutes petrol flows. Beautiful lift from the acidity on the palate. Honey and apple here. Persistent. Beautiful.

White Flight II- With Sweet Pea Flan and Vichyssoise

2007 Grey Stack Sauvignon Blanc Rosemary’s Block—Slightly feral nose initially, but it blows off quickly. Huge fruit here. Still. Just a knock your socks up your ass mouthful of fruit. Tropical. Fresh. Concentrated. Terrific. Thanks, Rowdy.

2008 Grey Stack Sauvignon Blanc Rosemary’s Block—Clove and floral notes to the nose. Shows more alcohol right now. The fruit is here, but it’s not carrying the alcohol as adeptly as the ’07. Grapefuity. Happy to have more and a standout Cali SB. Under $25 too!


1978 Ernest & Julio Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Sonoma—I brought my last bottle of this along on a lark. I think we universally agreed it was in fine form for a 32yr old Cal Cab from a not-great vintage. Cloudy-red-fading to brown color. Port-like nose, gives way to a dusty red fruited palate marked by some leather. Gary noted the amazing hit of acidity still here. A fun ride.

Red Flight I— Wagyu Beef Cheek Ravioli With Shaved Black Truffles (WOW!)

2001 Pride- Hello. Now were are talking. Powerful Cab that is firing on all cylinders. Deep, rich mountain fruit. Berries just explode in the mouth. Long, dusty-mocha spiked finish. Flout-out killer with the beef cheeks. Still kicking and does not appear to be heading south anytime soon.

2001 Rudd Oakville-These wines were all pop and pour. That said, this monster had the most potential of the first flight and was probably the wine of the flight. It will seriously kill in a couple years. Tight and unforgiving initially, but with 20 minutes in the glass—magic. Leather, red fruit, bitter sweet chocolate. Long, chewy ass-kicking finish. Wow. Stunner. Thanks Peter.

Red Flight II-With assorted Cheeses

2002 Pine Ridge Stag’s Leap—Good showing for an under-the-radar producer, but perhaps a bit outclassed tonight. Minty-herbal nose, nice dark fruit and earth on the palate. A bit candied. A fine Cab that is ready for prime time.

2002 Robert Keenan Mernet Reserve—Perhaps the surprise of the night. Kicked the ass of all the Cabs except the Colgin. Just grooving. Mint, cedar, tobacco amidst really tasty berry fruit. Finish goes on. Really fine with the Burrough Cheddar. Wine of this flight for sure.

2001 Colgin Cariad—This came along after all the other Cabs. For good reason. It needed to be alone or we would have thought all the other Cabs sucked...Decanted two hours. My scribbled notes say things like otherworldly-outrageous-sexy. Deep and expansive palate-coater. Rich dark fruit, tobacco, cedar, blackberry, and mocha notes. Goes on and on and on. WOTN by a light year. Thank you Gary. A treat.

There were three desert wines, but I have no notes. An incredible lemon goat cheesecake, too.

Rowdy-you are an incredible chef and generous host. Thank you.

June 26, 2009

Vote for Dirty! Vote for Dirty!

My good pal Hardy, (dirtysouthwine) has made the 1st cut and is now in the Top 50 (out of 2,000 apps) for the Murphy-Goode social media job that has become a national story.

The slate is now clean, and Hardy needs your vote again to make the cut to the top 10.
The top 10 will be announced July 7.

Vote for Dirty !!


June 24, 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends Eat Crappy Food Part Deux-Roast Chicken and Summer Wines

Went back to our friends (who won't be named lest you'll be looking them up to cook for you) in 30307 last weekend for more tasty bites and wine.

The menu this weekend include beautiful airliner chickens roasted and basted with bacon fat.
Sweet potato chips fried in coconut oil and diced apples finished in duck fat.

The food was killer as always.
Feeling as though we were living closer to the surface of the sun last weekend, we opened several nice whites served on the cold side. These were bottles secured locally, all for$10- $15.
The 2007 Finca El Origen Torrontes Reserve (Argentina) was perhaps the star. Floral on the palate, some citrus notes, and also a nice flinty-mineral finish. Not cloying at all and a nice wine for drinking on its own.
The 2007 Domaine Saint Amant Viognier was recommned to me by the folks at Cooks Warehouse, Decatur. It is a lively Viognier, peach and apricot notes, but I felt it was a little light on the palate. It left me wanting more.
Not sure I'd run out for more at $15.

The 2007 Laurenz Und Sophie Singing Gruner Veltliner (Austria) was also quite tasty. Pale yellow in the glass, nearly clear, yet it packs an earhty-lemon infused punch. Silky and rich minerality on the finish. Refreshing. Tasty with the chicken dish. I'd happily buy this for $13. I think this one came from Murphy's in the Highlands.

Until next time.

June 21, 2009

Weekend Eats-Crab, Pizza, and more

Sunday we worked through some snow crab legs with drawn butter and a Cali Chard.
An outrageously good match.

The 2007 Windy Oaks Chardonnay has nothing I don't like about Cali Chard (say what?). It's not oaky and all buttered up. It features a clean, crisp palate marked by some hints of butter, but more lemon and minerality. A nice wine that can age a few years. From the Windy Oaks list fort $30. http://www.windyoaksestate.com/
Later, some homemade pizza.

Made a sauce from San Marzano's, some onions and garlic sauteed in bacon fat and a touch of balsamic and evoo at the end. I cheated, the dough came from whole paycheck (shhh).

My indentured servant rolling out the dough:

Bacon for the kids:

Zucchini and basil from the garden:

One note: Jacking your oven up to its max temperature of 550 is questionable at best when it's 117 degrees outside like it was yesterday....to say I was sweating, is a bit of an understatement. Worth it though, as the pizza was tasty.

Drank my last bottle of the 1999 Qupe Syrah Bien Nacdio with the pizza. A tasty aged Syrah, but I've had better bottles in the past year. Perhaps it was the weather.

June 15, 2009

More French Laundry Cookbook Craziness

Been working my way through the voluminous tome that is The French Laundry cookbook.
This time, it was chef Keller's riffing on Mac and Cheese, which, for the record, is nothing like this crap.

Keller's mac and cheese features orzo in a creamy lobster broth with chives and mascarpone cheese dropped in. Top that with some lobster and a parmesan crisp...all is good.

The process:
Lobster stock rendered from lobster bodies, tomatoes, carrots, tarragon, h2o, and canola oil:

After the stock simmered for a couple hours, I strained it (twice...Keller is anal!). Once the stock was clean and pure I whipped in some heavy cream. This creamy lobster broth was like a little bit of heaven on a spoon:

The creamy broth reduced again. Then one cup was added to cooked orzo.
Into the orzo went a small handful of chives and 1/4 c of mascarpone cheese.
Holy cheesy-creamy goodness.
Topped with parmesan crisps that my daughter made.
Not the greatest pic--one should not drink a whole bottle of wine whilst cooking:

Drank a 2006 Bjornstad Chardonnay with the lobster. The Chard was perfect with the dish.
Lobster and phat Cali Chardonnay = Happiness.
Unfortunately, the Bjornstad will run you about $50 www.bjornstadcellars.com

June 10, 2009

Time for Some Nice Summer Drinkers--$14 Well Spent

As the temp outside begins to skyrocket, it's time to roll out some nice summer drinkers. I've got a few white wines worth checking out that are available around town and won't break the bank. First up, a Pierre Sparr Riesling from the Alsace region of France. Alsatian Rieslings are usually quite dry, crisp wines. They tend to have slightly higher alcohol then German Rieslings, and the Alsatians tend to age well. The 2007 Pierre Sparr is really an entry-level bottling meant for drinking now. It is full of melon and apple on the palate. There is a crisp acidity that keeps things lively and focused. It's not a mind-blower, but a good wine to chill well and sip on the deck on a hot day. Matched well with my chicken quesadilla and would do well with seafood, bbq, and even slightly spicy food.

Available at Cook's Warehouse Decatur for $14. A decent buy.
More white wine recommendations coming...

June 6, 2009

Zucca Pizza and 2006 Chateauneufs--Domaine de la Vielle Julienne and Caboche Elisabeth Chambellan

So, this update is arriving in bits and pieces...
...it was a long weekend

Opened two lovely 2006 Chateauneufs on Friday night to go along with some pizza from Zucca on the square (more on the pizza later). The wines were quite lovely, the Chambellan is a nice entry-level Chateauneuf, easy drinking now and walking a nice balance of juicy fruit and old-school charm. About $25.
The Vielle Julienne is a monster, full of black currant, licorice, and sweet spice-tinged dark fruit. It's built to last, though, and really needs some air to shine. The last glass from the bottle was tasting fine on night two.
It aint cheap. Around $50. If you're lucky :-)

Now, for the pizza. I keep trying to like Zucca. I'm still trying. The pizza Fri night was the Victory Pie. Sausage, mushrooms, fresh mozz, some other stuff. A $20 pie that was terribly uninteresting, like someone heated up a cheap grocery store frozen pizza. I only got through a piece and a half before giving up and sparing myself retribution from the carb police (that'd be my wife for those of you playing along at home).
I guess I'm back to Fellini's and the Mellow heads for now.

Some more notes on value-drinkers coming this week.

June 3, 2009

2007 Andezon Cotes Du Rhone---The Parade of Killer Values Continues

2007 was a great year for reds in the Rhone valley. Even low-priced entry level CdRs are popping. This one from D'Andezon is 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache from 60 year-old vines. Cherry and blackberry on the palate amidst scents of herbs, licorice and cocoa notes. Would match well with just about any meaty thing you can throw on the grill.
For drinking over the next few years. Another stellar value for $10 at Tower on Piedmont.

June 1, 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends Eat Crappy Food

It's great to have friends who love good food and know how to cook.
Saturday night, we were invited to our friends' place in Candler Park for a wonderful meal.

My buddy got some beautiful breast from YDFM and cheffed up some tasty bites from the cool new cookbook FAT

Pan-seared duck breasts over field greens dressed with a blackberry-port reduction. Served with potatoes fried in, well...DUCK FAT. It was a heavenly meal, full of warm-fatty goodness.

Before the duck, we noshed on grilled, prosciutto-wrapped zucchini over melon "pasta" dressed in a balsamic reduction. Holy shit, that was good.

What to drink with duck...2004 Domaine Pavelot Savigny Les Beaune Dominode.
I don't need to tell you, but this pairing was insanely good. Though the Burg was still quite young.

I highly recommend the FAT cookbook. FAT is your friend.