June 29, 2011

2008 Chablis

Seems there has been some noise lately about the 2008 vintage in Chablis. Eric Asimov at the New York Times recently did a piece on 2008 Chablils and some of the superstar producers behind the wines.

Chablis is a funny place; it's not serious enough for real white Burgundy enthusiasts, and it's a somewhat neglected area of Burgundy. Chablis is the northernmost region of Burgundy and the region produces wine made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape. I'm a buyer of Chablis; and have a nice little collection of serious Chablis wines in my cellar. In the world of white Burgundy that is marred by issues with premox and escalating prices, Chablis is often a smart buy for Burgundian Chardonnay as good-to-great bottles can be hand for under $50.
I recently tried a couple of my 2008 Chablis from two of the finer vineyards in Chablis. The Premier Cru Montee Tonnerre from John-Paul & Benoit Droin, and the Grand Cru Vaudesir (one of only seven Grand Cru in Chablis) from Christian Moreau, are both excellent representations of Chablis.

The Droin is already rather approachable despite its youth. It's full of  floral notes and slightly smoky on the nose, and crisp and fresh on the palate with lemon and mineral notes. The Droin is available locally at Ansley Kroger for $30. While that may seem like a lot, it's worth it.

The Moreau, from the Grand Cru Vaudesir, drinks like a young Grand Cru Chablis. It's a mouthful of powerful, teeth-cleaning acid and really strong slate flavors. It's almost tough to drink now as it's so wound up, but it it's poised for greatness a few years down the road.

June 24, 2011

Peaches Part II: Bourbon-Peach Bread Pudding

As promised in my last post, I'm going to post some updates on the tasty bites I made with all the peaches I received thanks to the Georgia Peach Commission and Pearson Farm. One of the first dishes I made this weekend was the Bourbon-Peach Bread Pudding recipe from the Southern My Way cookbook authored by Georgia native Gena Knox. Ms. Knox is also this season's "peach expert" for the Georgia peach industry.

The recipe is a rather traditional bread pudding recipe, albeit one spiked with bourbon. Knox also offers a nod to healthier eating in suggesting the use of skim milk as a substitute for cream in the recipe. I didn't do that; I figured I don't eat bread pudding that often, and when I do, I want the full-on real deal. I used some of my Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon for the recipe. It's a damn fine, and affordable, single barrel bourbon in case you were wondering.
The bread pudding is pretty damn tasty, though I think I would have added even more peaches than the recipe suggested. The bourbon provides a nice background bite that plays off the overt sweetness of the dish. The recipe also calls for a decadent white chocolate sauce to drizzle over the pudding. The sauce really cranks up the decadence factor here and rounds out this dessert nicely.

June 20, 2011

Georgia Peaches are Here!

In case you hadn't noticed, it's time for Georgia peaches. You may not know this (I didn't), but Georgia produces 130 million pounds of peaches, our state fruit, every year between mid-May and mid-August. I recently picked up a bunch of peaches from the good folks of Pearson Farm, so that I could partake in the beautiful bounty of this year's crop. The Pearson folks are regulars at the Saturday Farmer's Market in Decatur and they had quite the crowd at their table this weekend.

Be on the lookout here for some coming blog posts on these sweet Georgia peaches, as I got busy cooking right away with the beauties you see pictured above. I had to hurry to whip some things up as my kids went nuts and started gobbling up my peach stash. However, since it was so hot this weekend, and I was thirsty, as usual, I whipped up a quick peach margarita. More on this later, but here's a little taste.

June 10, 2011

Tastes: 2010 Urban Riesling (St. Urbans-Hof)

I recently was able to taste the 2010 Urban Riesling, a value label Riesling made by Nik Weis, the owner and winemaker at St. Urbans-Hof. St. Urbans-Hof is a renowned German house that has a history of producing fine wines from the Mosel region in Germany.

The Urban Riesling line aims to offer a quality Riesling-drinking experience for a retail per-bottle price around $11-$12. According to the winery, the wine is made with a "minimalistic" approach; the grapes are not destemmed and are gently pressed before undergoing a gravity fed sedimentation.

I found the wine to be slightly one-dimensional. There was a lot of residual sugar up front along with some serious lemon and peach flavors. The wine is really packed with upfront sweet lemony fruit. I was looking for a little more acidity and cut, but I'm a big acid-head when it comes to white wines. The wine does represent a good value and would be a hit at summer parties along side some shellfish or barbecue.

Disclaimer: The 2010 Urban Rielsing was provided as a sample by the fine folks at Dana Shapiro Consulting and HB Wine Merchants.

June 5, 2011

Growler Time at Ale Yeah!

So the growler craze has been buzzing along with the burgeoning Atlanta-Decatur craft beer craze. Ale Yeah, Decatur's uber-hip craft beer shop, had been teasing for a while about joining in the growler fun. During the last week of May the taps started flowing and growlers were being filled.

Here's how it works: You buy a growler like the one pictured above for $4.99. Then you choose from the half dozen or so craft beers on tap in the shop to fill said growler with. There's an ever-changing list of beers on
tap, the day I was in the prices ranged from $7.99-$12.99 depending on the brew.

For example, here's the current growler list from the Ale Yeah website:

Dogfish Head Aprihop $15.99
O'Dempsey's Inukshuk $8.99
Brooklyn Lager $8.59
Duck Rabbit Milk Stout $7.99
Lost Abbey Red Barn $9.99
Dogfish Head Indian Brown $9.59
Terrapin Sunray Wheat $8.59

A growler holds one half gallon of beer, roughly 64 oz, which is like 4 pints of beer. Once you finish your 64 ounces you rinse out growler, go back to Ale Yea, and get a refill of your next brew choice. It's a great way to sample different types of beer from a tap.

I filled my growler with the Jailhouse Slammer Wheat which was quite tasty and the right choice for the 90+ degree heat we've been living with around ATL these days.