May 31, 2011

Quick Take: Double Zero Napoletano

Stopped in with a few local wine and food enthusiasts to try the food at the newly opened Double Zero Napoletano in Sandy Springs. The name, Double Zero, is taken from the Italian flour (doppio zero) used to make Neapolitan pizza in brick ovens. Double Zero is the newest Atlanta-area restaurant opened by the Castellucci Hospitality Group, which also owns Iberian Pig in Decatur.

In short, our first visit to Double Zero was promising. The food was good, but short of remarkable for now.
Our table of four started by sharing a half dozen of the antipasti/small dishes. The Insalata di Mare featured shrimp, calamari, scallop, capers, red onion, crispy shallots, parsnips, olive oil, lemon, red and yellow pepper aioli. This was a tasty and fresh seafood salad that lacked real depth. It needed some salt, or a splash of citrus to pop things a bit.
 (Sorry for the crappy phone pics)

Another small plate we tried was the Gnudi alla Carbonara. This ended up being a somewhat muddled dish with its ricotta gnudi, pancetta, micro greens, white truffle oil, and quail egg offering up a singular note of cheesy richness. This was tasty, but in an over-the-top-heart-attack-in-cast-iron kind of way.
We also shared the chracuterie plate, and the pineapple carpaccio, which had some bright flavors and seemed to speak to the spring season a bit more than the other dishes. It was one of the highlight dishes for me.

Next up it was time to try the pizzas. The first pie we tried was the Double Zero Napoletana . Their eponymous pie features a tasty blend of garlic, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, fresh arugula, Prosciutto di Parma, Pecorino Gran Cru, and basil oil. We also tried their take on the traditional Margherita pie.
Pizza pics courtesy of The Legend (@ATL_Legend for those who don't know)

The pies tasted pretty good, there was some nice blackening on the outer crusts, and the cheeses and sauces were pretty tasty. However, the bottom of both pies was soggy, and the dough was a bit too 'doughy' for the style I think they are shooting for here. A little tweaking, and these pies could be winners, though they face some tough competition from the classic pizzas now being made around ATL these days.

I would be remiss to not offer a shout out here to one of the owners of Double Zero, Frederico Castellucci, and his wait staff who were more than accommodating to our wine geekiness. We showed up with a half dozen bottles of wine and popped them rather freely throughout the night. 
Corkage is $15 at Double Zero, though they do have a respectable wine list with plenty of good values.
Double Zero Napoletana on Urbanspoon

May 24, 2011

An Ode To Mercy: More Wild Heaven!

In my post last week, I ripped into my first Wild Heaven beer from their fresh-to-the-market bottles. I recently also tried the Ode To Mercy from bottle. The Ode is an Imperial Brown Ale, it is darker than the Invocation and has a slightly stronger malt taste profile. There are some hints of coffee here, too, from the roasters at 1000 Faces Coffee in Athens! Another killer brew from Wild Heaven that you need to be drinking as they are available all over town now.

May 19, 2011

P'Nut Juice! 2009 Domaine Brazilier Coteaux de Vendomois

My buddy at ThirstySouth recently gave a bottle of 2009 Domaine Brazilier Tradition to try. The wine is a red blend from the somewhat unknown Coteaux du Vendomois in France's Loire Valley. Coteaux du Vendomois has been an AOC since 2000 and with mostly Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and some Gamay planted.
The Brazilier is an interesting blend of Cabernet Franc, Pineau Aunis, and Pinot Noir. As you can see from the pic, Thirsty South thought this wine smelled like boiled peanuts...and he was dead on. One of the stranger things I've smelled in a wine, but it was also mildly intriguing....if you like boiled peanuts. It was like the essence of peanutty-ness on the nose and palate, backed with some decent acidity and earthy red fruit. The wine is a decent value for $10 and it's always fun to try new things.

May 15, 2011

Wild Heaven Bottles Hit!

Seems there has been a lot of anticipation for the first bottles of Wild Heaven's craft beers to hit the metro-Atlanta market. In case you haven't heard, Wild Heaven is the brain child of Georgia's own Nick Purdy, founding publisher of Paste magazine, and Eric Johnson, a brewer and founder of Trappeeze Pub in Athens.

While the Wild Heaven beers have been readily available on tap at local watering holes since fall 2010, the first bottles, Invocation a Belgian ale, and Ode to Mercy an Imperial brown ale, became available for purchase around metro-Atlanta last week. I got my first 4 packs at Ale Yeah, Decatur's ultra-cool craft beer shop.

The Invocation is a Belgian-styled golden ale that is bursting with complex herbal and earthy flavors. It's a beer-drinkers beer; a serious ale that leaves a lasting impression on the palate. At 8.5% alcohol, it packs a bit of punch, too.

Another cool thing about Wild Heaven for Decaturites is that they will be setting up their brewery in Decatur, GA. It is poised to open in 2013. This is a welcome addition to the growing community of craft beer enthusiasts in the Decatur area.

Do yourself a favor and don't be like this guy... ...go get some Wild Heaven and drink a real beer.

The likelihood of calling an alcohol helpline decreases when you and your friends are all responsible drinkers.

May 9, 2011

Incredible Wines from Edmunds St. John

I hosted some of the usual suspects for dinner last weekend and a tasting of Edmunds St. John wines. I've rambled on about the brilliance of Edmunds St. John wines here before.
This night of wines only confirmed what I had previously known...these are some of the finest Syrahs and Rhone-styled wines coming out of California.
Further, it's clear Steve Edmunds makes wines that are posed for aging gracefully.

Bravo Steve Edmunds! [welldone.gif]


1987 Les Cotes Sauvages--Stunning, really, for what it is. Takes some time to get going, but really opens to be a treat. Smoky and dank nose. Rhone-ish character to the palate. Just enough backbone. Burgundian in intensity. My wine of the night.
1993 Syrah--Just awesome. Intense, with fresh acidity and concentrated fruit. Barnyardish nose that is so appealing. Really in a fine place and my other candidate for wine of the night. Stunning old-school styled Cali Syrah.
1995 Syrah Durell Viineyard--Concentrated. Tight. Not the best showing for this, but it's just a matter of time. There's a lot here and it's going to play well one day.


2000 Syrah Wylie-Fenaughty--Not quite right. Slightly sherried. Bummer as this was my light bulb ESJ wine a few years back and I've had some great runs with this one.
2003 Syrah Wylie-Fenaughty--Unctuous and ripe. Lots of dark fruit. Very primary. Needs time. Built for the long haul. A bigger style for Steve's WF, but time will tell.

2001 Rocks and Gravel--Fresh and vibrant. A bounce to the acidity. Ripe fruit. Just right tasty.
2001 Syrah--Nicely balanced. A bit less ripe to me. Shows great texture on the palate. Again. Tasty as hell.
2001 Syrah Basetti Vineyard--Young. Powerful. Northern Rhone. Primary dark fruit. So poised for extended time in the cellar. A real triumph and good wine to close on.

We also stated the night with a nice mag of 1993 Carillon Puligny Montrachet Les Perrieres ....ooh that Carillon was good! A good night all around.

May 2, 2011

Tasting Beaune: 2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune 1er Chateau de Beaune

Continuing on with the Wine Berserkers forum's annual Burgundy appellation tasting, I recently joined in by opening a couple of wines from the village of Beaune. To play along this time, I recently chose a little wine from Domaine Bouchard, a huge Domaine and negociant in Burgundy.  Bouchard is literally one of the biggest houses with over 130 hectares (that's about 320 acres!) of Grand Cru and Premier Cru vines. Bouchard is also one of the older domaines in Beaune, having been established in 1731.

I opened the 2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune 1er Chateau de Beaune. This is a pretty wine with floral and red fruits dominating. It is slightly simple with forward cherry and berry notes and a touch of earthiness. Little hints of damp earth emerge with air time. This wine is considered a Premier Cru; however, unlike most premiers that come from one single vineyard, this wine is a blend of numerous premier vineyards in Beaune. Drinking well already; there is nary a hard edge on this wine that is consistently a nice value in recent vintages.