Friday, March 23, 2012

Eric Kent Wine Cellars Dinner

  It is always a pleasure to work with and enjoy the wines from Eric Kent Wine Cellars. Kent and Renee were our special guests at this great winemaker dinner. Much thanks to Chef Ruiz for an excellent dinner, the fantastic pictures from Wes Chilton, and of course, the stellar wines by Kent.

Supper Club 15 -- Eric Kent Wine Cellars
Wednesday, March 21st

Menu by SaltButterPork
Chef Michael Ruiz

1. carrot ‘parfait’, crème fraiche, rhubarb, candied fennel.
2011 Eric Kent Sonoma Coast Rosé
2. cured salmon, pickled ramps, cream cheese, mushroom marcel.
2010 Eric Kent Russian River Chardonnay
3. little beets, morbier, poached pear, espellette, molasses.
2010 Eric Kent Small Town, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
4. roast pork shank, ham, bacon, limas, onion confit, smoke.
2009 Eric Kent Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Making the Case for Elio Grasso

The Grasso Estate in Monforte d'Alba
Elio Grasso is a top notch producer from the Monforte d'Alba region of Barolo. Their cellar vinifies only estate-grown grapes. The classic Nebbiolo that has been cultivated in the area since the early 20th century has been joined by Dolcetto and Barbera planted in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

We recently had the opportunity to bring in some Elio Grasso wines at some great pricing. And tasting these three wines at our bar confirmed the greatness of Grasso. The Dolcetto, Barbera and Langhe Nebbiolo are fantastic wines for their respective categories, and you would be hard-pressed to find a better value at this kind of pricing. You really should try some while they are around.

2007 Elio Grasso Barbera Vigna Martina $22.99
2008 Elio Grasso Dolcetto d'Alba Dei Grassi $15.99
2008 Elio Grasso Langhe Nebbiolo Gavarini $18.99

And if you can find their Barolo, buy them up; either the Gavarini Vigna Chiniera or Ginestra Vigna Casa Maté, aged in Slavonian oak barrels in a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Barolo style; or the Rüncot, made in a more modern idiom and matured in new French oak barriques.

Find your style. Buy by producer.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Risotto with Alsatian Riesling

Spring Risotto with Asparagus, Leek and Shallot

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes asparagus
3 cups 1/2-inch-wide slices leeks (white and pale green parts only)
4 tablespoons finely diced shallot
2 cups arborio rice
4 14-ounces (or more) vegetable broth (home made best)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus additional (for serving)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and shallot and sauté until they begin to soften, then add asparagus next to soften as well (but no need to cook through yet).

Add rice to pot and stir 1 minute making sure to coat the rice with oil and sauté. Keep broth hot in another small sauce post, and ladle 1 cup of broth in. Simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, stirring often, about 15 minutes.

Continue to cook until rice is just tender but still very creamy, stirring gently and often, about 10 minutes longer (about 25 minutes total cooking time). It must still have a bite. Remove from heat. Stir in freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and finish with a few pads of butter. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

-- Try this dish with this wine. An excellent pairing. --

2009 Kuentz-Bas Riesling Tradition
This wine expresses a complex nose of bright citrus fruit and orange, finishing with apricot and a menthol-like note. On the palate it is crisp, lively and full of tropical fruit. Great acidity gives it a certain freshness which longs for food. This is one the best values for Alsatian Riesling on the market. -- retail: $16.99