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A Week in Burgundy With John Truax (Part 4)

A Week in Burgundy With John Truax (Part 4)

SUNDAY November 15th 

We were invited to a grand lunch at Becky Wasserman’s house in Bouilland. Her husband Russell Hone is a celebrated amateur cook who once worked for celebrated  Richard Olney. He made a dish that he has become renowned for - leg of lamb with 100 cloves of garlic. Take a leg of lamb, generously salt and pepper, brown in goose fat, flame in brandy, add 100 peeled cloves of garlic, cover with Sauternes and cook at a low temperature overnight until the meat is falling off the bone. Lunch for eighteen people, young and old, mostly people in the wine business, some very early in their careers, some retired, semi-retired or just tired - like me.

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A Week In Burgundy With John Truax (Part 3)

A Week In Burgundy With John Truax (Part 3)

SATURDAY November 14TH

Saturday the tragic events in Paris cast a pallor and sense of uneasiness over the celebratory mood. Some questioned whether the auction would even be held. Would the party at the Clos Vougeot be cancelled? The Paulee de Meursault? People responded in different ways, a somber tribute of music at one dinner, declarations of freedom and solidarity and patriotism.

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Georgia On My Mind (Part 2)

Georgia On My Mind (Part 2)

Amber Waves of Taste

There’s been a lot of talk recently about “orange wines”: white varieties macerated and fermented on their skins, taking on an amber hue. The examples that exist are largely from “natural” winemakers and are usually sold to people interested in the novel or edgy bottles of the world. The truth is, however, that these “amber wines” (as they should be more aptly called) are anything but novel. At the foot of the Caucus Mountains in, what is known today as, the Republic of Georgia, this style of winemaking has been going on for many thousands of years. Yet, Americans are just beginning to discover them as the small country emerges from the oppression of Soviet rule.

The crux of what makes “traditional” Georgian wine different is the use of Qvevri. Qvevri is the proto-amphora clay vessel used in traditional Georgian winemaking which has been adopted by many western European winemakers. Qvevri are large tear-drop shaped vessels, anywhere from 1,000-3,000 liters in volume, made from clay and buried in the ground. Once harvested, red or white grapes are crushed under foot and the entire mash (seeds, stems, skins and juice) put into the Qvevri. The vessels are sealed using wet clay and a slab of slate, then covered with dirt or sand. Depending on the rate of fermentation (almost always spontaneous), the vessel might be unsealed for occasional punch down to prevent overflowing. Due to the shape of the Qvevri, the fermentation process creates a convection cycle which suspends the solid matter evenly through the liquid medium. As fermentation finishes, the cap naturally settles, effectively filtering the wine.

When this traditional method is employed for white varieties, such as Rkatsiteli, Chinuri or Mitsvane, the resulting wine is a rich amber color. Also referred to as “orange” wines, the style has emerged recently on the international wine scene from producers in Italy, France, and Spain and even from the New World. Gravner is largely cited as the first winemaker to use Qvevri outside Georgia, but others have followed: Paolo Bea, COS, Foradori, Vinos Ambiz, Bernhard Ott and Thierry Puzelat. Many argue that the skin contact and Qvevri fermentation increases the perception of terroir, while others say that it muddies it. However, given the coexistence of the Georgian varieties and the Qvevri technique, it’s hard to argue that these amber wines betray the place from which they come. 

So what do we serve with these amber wines? These are rich and tannic wines that have aromas of tea, fresh and dried stone fruits, north Indian and Middle Eastern Spices (saffron particularly) and nuts. This is Silk Road cuisine wine... Afghan, Persian, North Indian, and some Chinese. The cuisine of Georgia largely reflects these Eastern influences with the use of spices and nuts as flavorings and thickeners. Though a world away, other cuisines that riff on the asiatic them work equally well. Jerk chicken, BBQ and Mexican all make good partners with wines like these as well as meals with a variety of flavors earthy savory flavors.

Cheers,

Zach

 

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A Week in Burgundy with John Truax (Part 2)

A Week in Burgundy with John Truax (Part 2)

FRIDAY November 13, 2016

Friday morning was grey and foggy, it’s always like this during the Hospices week. We went to Vosne Romanee to taste with Louis-Michel Liger Belair. There was a large group of ten or so people. We met outside the iron gate of the Chateau de Vosne Romanee at 9:30. Louis-Michel was dapper as ever in his signature red pants. He came out to the electric gate with his gigantic dog Arak and ushered us into the courtyard of the magnificent Chateau du Vosne Romanee, the ancestral home. He then dragged a trash bin across the yard to get picked up. Even the Count of Vosne Romanee has to take out the trash.

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A Week in Burgundy with John Truax (Part 1)

A Week in Burgundy with John Truax (Part 1)

Today we begin a wonderful journey with John Beaver Truax through Burgundy. He visited for a week during the 2015 Hospices de Beaune auction and we'll be posting a series of installments of his trip each Thursday over the next few weeks. Enjoy!
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Georgia On My Mind (Part 1)

Georgia On My Mind (Part 1)

Of all the lesser-known wine regions of the world, the Republic of Georgia could be the most important one no one is talking about. Being surrounded by unfriendly neighbors & having been buried for most of the 20th century under Soviet control, most Americans are probably not versed in Georgian culture. But if they are wine lovers, they should be! That’s because Georgia is where wine was born and where it is still being made in much the same way it has been since the beginning.
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The Story of the Chick'n Shack sandwich and the Three Cru Beaujolais

Beaujolais is perhaps the most versatile wine to accompany almost all foods. Probably not good with a caramel stout brownie sundae float, but I have not tried it. However, in Lyon, a town that celebrates food, Beaujolais is served with virtually everything. A salad with warm chicken livers in a mustard vinaigrette? Check. A spinach salad with lardons and warm vinaigrette made with the bacon fat. Cool bottle of Beaujolais--yes! Salmon? Very nice with Fleurie. A roast chicken and Regnie? Yes please. Steak and fries: Morgon. Blood sausage and Chiroubles? Why not.
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5 Quick Tips for Holiday Wine-Giving

5 Quick Tips for Holiday Wine-Giving

Wine makes a great holiday gift.  Here are some tips to help you out: 
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Burgers and Chinon in the Neighborhood

Flatiron Wines is surrounded by some of the finest restaurants in the United States, indeed - some of the best on the world.  It is true - in New York you can get whatever you want.

Sometimes though, you just want something simple and pleasing. I have discovered that Chinon and Cheeseburgers are about as satisfying as can be. A neighborhood insider tip - If you go to Shake Shack at 4:30 or 5 there is NO ONE IN LINE!  A little knowledge  is a dangerous thing...

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Edges of Burgundy: Pernand-Vergelesses

Edges of Burgundy: Pernand-Vergelesses

More so than any of the other villages covered in this Edges of Burgundy series, Pernand-Vergelesses qualifies for its Edges status thanks to both its red wine and its white wines.  Don't be surprised by this: P-V lies just beneath Corton, the great hill and only village (a small exception in Musigny aside) capable of making Grand Cru wine from both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. With two grapes for the price of one village, this is an area worthy of your attention. Let's get started.
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New Australia?

New Australia?

Ever since Jon Bonne published his great book (and even before that in our weekly newsletter!) there’s been lots of talk about “The New California Wine.” And for good reason! There’s no more exciting recent development than the rise of Cali growers and winemakers who look back to the Golden Age of California Wine for inspiration to make wines that are balanced, interesting, subtle and, most important of all, delicious.

But America isn’t the only country with a long, complicated and under-appreciated history of winemaking. It isn’t even the only such new world country that, for a while, went a little bit overboard making “Parkerised” wines. Far from it!

So it's time we Americans recognized something important and exciting: the parallels between what's happening in California and in Australia are striking. Maybe we need to start talking about New Australia. 

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Just the Facts: Corked Wine

Just the Facts: Corked Wine

Here are the facts you need to know about corked wine!
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