March 31, 2011

Beating the Drum Again: 2009 Domaine Terres Dorees (Jean Paul Brun) Morgon

In case you, my fine reader, are not absolutely devoted to my little corner of the blogosphere here, you may have missed me professing my admiration over the past year for 2009 Cru Beaujolais. For more, see here. And here.
Clearly, I have been beating the drum. But, deservedly so, the 2009s are fine, fine wines that will shine for years to come.

The 2009s are serious wines, full of structure, but also bearing ripe fruit that is showing fairly well young. I recently ripped in to the 2009  Domaine Terres Dorees (Jean Paul Brun) Morgon and had a similar experiences.
The wine was wrapped up rather tightly initially.  I poured a glass, and let it sit for 30 minutes. With time the nose become explosive with notes of lavender and floral aromas. The palate is meaty, it actually has a raw meat essence, along with notes of ash and spicy-sour raspberry. Very crisp and focused wine that tastes good now, but will most likely be a head-turner in 3-5 more years. A great buy at $20. I bought mine at Tower on Piedmont.

March 23, 2011

A Couple of 2007 Pinot Noirs from Oregon

I don't drink a lot of Oregon Pinot Noir. However, I'm starting to think maybe I should. The 2007 vintage in Oregon is a somewhat maligned vintage; many professional rags and amateur wine lovers alike were not very fond of 2007 from the start. There was a lot of rain right around harvest time requiring skilled winemakers to prevent wines that were too light or washed out. I recently had the opportunity to try several 2007 Oregon Pinots and figured I'd post on a couple...notes on several others will follow.
The 2007 Harmonia is a beautiful pinot made by winemaker-ownder Michael Beckely. This wine is a tremendous value for pinot coming in at around $18. The wine shows a skillful touch from a winemaker in tune with restraint and power without weight. Matt Kramer from Wine Spectator had some high praise for this wine in saying "In addition to exceptional quality, here's the clincher: price. To find an Oregon pinot noir that limbos under the $20 bar is rare enough. To find an Oregon pinot noir this good at just $18 is nothing less than unheard of." This was indeed a delicious and interesting wine that I'd like to drink again.
The other bottle I opened was the 2007 Eyrie Vineyards. Eyrie has a long history of producing world class Pinot Noir from Oregon's Wilamette Valley; Eyrie was, in fact, the first winery to plant Pinot Noir in Oregon back in the 60s. This 2007 was not quite in the same league as the Harmonia for me. It lacked any real personality, and of the 2007s I've opened recently, it showed most like a wine produced in a tough rain-soaked vintage. There was nothing obviously wrong with the wine, and there are probably worse ways to spend $25, it just didn't move me this time.

March 17, 2011

$17 Well Spent: 2009 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais Cuvee Traditionelle

"Winemaking From the Heart and Soul of the Grape"

So reads the back label on the bottle of 2009 Domaine du Vissoux Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais Viellies Vignes Cuvee Traditionelle that I opened the other night as I continued to roll on 2009 Beaujolais. Like many of the 2009s, this is already providing a bit of pleasure, but it will also continue to evolve for many years. Pierre Chermette believes in making wine as naturally as possible, you can read about his philosophy in the link above from the importer. The result is wine that feels pure and unadulterated.

The wine has really heady aromas of fresh herbs, ash, licorice, and stony soil. Fruit pops with sweet cherry and cool fresh berry. The wine is still rather tannic and seems poised for several years of success down the road. I certainly recommend picking up a couple. Drink one now and forget the rest for a bit. Readily available at Tower on Piedmont for $16.99. A steal of a deal for what's in the bottle.

March 13, 2011

Occasionally Bordeaux

I don't drink a lot of wine from Bordeaux. If you read my blog at all you'll know that over the past couple of years, I've sold my wine-drinking soul to Burgundy. I don't think I'm ever getting it back. However, I do have a variety (dwindling everyday though it is) of wine in my cellar, including a few Bordeaux hanging around.

Chateau Camensac is a fifth growth according to the Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855. So, it's a fifth growth, what the hell does that mean? Well, when the Bordeaux classification was developed, wines were ranked from first growth to fifth growth based on reputation and current trading price. This was supposed to be a reflection of the overall quality of the chateau/wine. So, in essence, Camensac makes the list, but as a fifth growth it's not really a heady Bordeaux estate. That being said, it has a reputation of being a fine wine that can age a bit and not break the bank. Current releases can be found for less than $25.
I had picked up a few bottles of the 1996 a couple of years back and have enjoyed popping them over the years. The wine has held up well. It was never a rock star, but always a solid drinking experience. I opened my last bottle this weekend to find a similar result. There was mature tobacco and leather on the nose. Dusty red fruit and some wood notes on the palate. Mint, too. A drying finish that doesn't really go anywhere, but that's ok. The wine was good. Almost very good, but quite nice for what it is at 15 yrs of age.

March 6, 2011

Home Cooking and Grand Cru Burgundy

Had some friends over earlier this week for some fine wines and food. I cooked a bit, which can be intimidating when you hang out with dudes like EatItAtlanta and Rowdyfood. Nonetheless, I persevered and cooked a few bites including a chicken liver mousse, roasted kale chips, and Thomas Keller's knockoff Cassoulet, which is one of my standbys. But, this cassoulet could never be confused with Rowdy's insanely good rendition.

The chicken liver mousse was a combo of liver sauteed in butter with shallots and bourbon and then whipped in a processor with some mustard and softened butter.
 pics by
I borrowed an idea from Tyler Florence (yeah, I'm man enough to admit that) and topped the liver mousse on baguette with caramelized endive and pickled red onions. The addition of the endive and pickled onions really made these little bites come to life. The sweetness and acidity playing nicely off the earthy-creaminess of the liver.
I also made some roasted kale chips that were right tasty. After roasting, the kale turns airy and super crunchy. Not a ton of flavor, but an interesting texture and fun to chomp on.
The Cassoulet was tasty as usual. Hard to go wrong with pork and beans cooked at 200 degrees for 10 hours then topped with crunchy toasted panko bread crumbs and lardons. tastes good. 

We also did what we are known to do...drink some fine Burgundy. No mindbending wines this time, but very good wines all around. The 2002 Jean-Marc Pillot Puligny Montrachet Les Caillerets was the white of the night for me as it was ready to go and drinking quite well. We had some nice reds, too, as you can see from the pics, including the 1998 Jadot Clos St Denis that was still young, and an interesting 1999 Matrot Volnay Santenots. All in all..another fun night with some A+ dudes I'm glad to call friends.

March 1, 2011

Burnt Fork BBQ in Decatur

Burnt Fork BBQ in Decatur has been open for about a month now. Seems the place had been on the verge of opening for a while now, and it's nice to see them open and busy now in a rather uninspiring section of Church Street in Decatur. Seems it's difficult these days to walk a block or two in Decatur or Atlanta and not run into a new BBQ joint (or burger or pizza joint for that matter), but nonetheless, Burnt Fork is a welcome addition.

I stopped in for a couple lunches recently and have been unfortunately uninspired by the food. I hesitate to use this blog to post negative experiences with food. I mean, who the hell am I anyway? But, when a restaurant has a few obvious misses, I take notice. Burnt Fork has a nice vibe; the staff are attentive, the place is cozy, and the menu is loaded with options. The problem is the food; it just doesn't taste that good.

Recently, in one seating, I tried another Cuban, a Korean beef taco, and a pulled pork plate with macaroni and cheese and cole slaw on the side. Across the board, the food was lacking in flavor and personality.

The Cuban sandwich was served on bread that had already passed crunchy on its way to hard, and the stuffing of the sandwich just tasted tired. There was none of that bold and tangy punchyness that one looks for in a Cuban. It was a bit on the dry side, too.
The pulled pork plate featured a rather small serving of pulled pork for the $12.95 lunch asking price (can't help but make comparisons with Community BBQ which is less than a mile up the road from Burnt Fork). However, the price wouldn't be a deal breaker if the pork actually tasted good. It was quite possibly the least flavorful pulled pork I've had in a while, which includes my own hack jobs on my Green Egg in the back yard. Sorry, that's just the truth. The sides that came with the pork were flat out misses. Mac & Cheese that was utterly lacking in cheesy-buttery goodness (think insipidly flavorless noodles), and cole slaw that I think someone forgot to dress 'cause I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to be served a bowl of plain shredded cabbage.
The Korean Beef taco was tasty, at least it had more flavor than anything else I ordered that day. Still, it wasn't anything I'd go out of my to get, and at $3.50, it's not a great deal in the world of three-bite tacos.

The Burnt Fork space is funky and laid back. It's certainly a spot where I'd like to hang out and get my fingers dirty on BBQ while throwing back a few cold ones. However, the food needs some tweaking first.