Friday, August 10, 2012

Red Meat and Red Wine with Tom

 This latest appearance on the Tasting Room with Tom Leykis we brought friend of the store, Nathan McCall of McCall's Meat and Fish in Los Feliz. They are great. They understand their craft well and enjoy what they do. We highly recommend seeking them out; Mccall's Meat and Fish

The theme was red wines to pair with red meat. We also talked about the qualities of different cuts of meat, fat content, pairing ideas and supporting local businesses, among other things. It is always a blast to do the show. 

Listen to it here: Tasting with Tom

On to the wines...
2007 Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Marina Cvetic, Italy
2008 Jean-Louis Tribouley Orchis, Cotes de Catalanes, France
2008 Parr Selection Syrah Purisma, Santa Barbara, California

Montepulciano: the grape grows all over Italy. Places like Abruzzo and the Marche do well with it. Not to be confused with the region Montepulciano in southern Tuscany, where the grape grown there is Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile, local dialect). Related to Sangiovese, maybe a distant cousin, but a little darker. Can be made in different styles, fresh and fruity or more serious like this one.

2007 Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Marina Cvetic $29.99 Italy
(92 Points: Wine Advocate) The 2007 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo San Martino Rosso flows from the glass with layers of perfumed red fruit. This is an especially silky, refined Montepulciano that impresses for its textural elegance and long, polished finish. Sweet red berries, flowers and licorice wrap around the close. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.
Grenache and Carignane: from the Cotes de Catalanes in the Languedoc-Rousillon region, these are old vines with intensity. The Languedoc region is kind of the wild west of France in that there are far less rules than any other region. Almost anything goes. There are some very good values there.

2008 Jean-Louis Tribouley Orchis $29.99 France
(93 Points: Wine Advocate) There is at least as much tannic backbone and sense of density evidenced in Tribouley’s 2008 Orchis as by either of his 2009s. But this also projects an impressive sense of sheer energy. Bittersweet floral aromas which vie with bitter-edged black fruits, while iodine, stone, and iron filings seem to suffuse the fluid fruit concentrate to the point of some austerity. Like its 2009 counterpart, this displays an uncanny sense of sheer lift for all of its palpable density, making for considerable finishing exhilaration. Look for it to serve well and fascinatingly for at least the next 8-10 years.
Syrah: from the Purisima Mountain vineyard site, which is owned by the Beckman  family, located a few miles west of Los Olivos. Farmed biodynamically and responsible for excellent quality Syrah.

2008 Parr Selection Syrah Purisma $29.99 California
This will be the last vintage of Parr Selection for Raja Parr (renowned Michael Mina Sommelier), and it may be his best. Full throttle Syrah from the famed Purisima Mountain vineyard. Pretty aromatics of rose petal, violet, blueberry and pepper; ripe verging on sappy fruit; soft tannins and silky texture. A very impressive wine in that it manages to be California in expression but Northern Rhone in spirit.

And the meats...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

To Obscure or Not Too Obscure: that is the Question

 There has been a recent kerfuffle between between Steve Cuozzo, a NY Post food writer and Eric Asimov, a NY Times wine writer, on the idea of an obscure restaurant wine list. The concept of a wine list and these articles got me to thinking...

My feeling on the subject is as follows; in the 6+ years of selling obscure wines (and 20 years drinking them), I like them, but I don't always choose to drink them. I have also learned that the majority of the "wine public" definitely do not drink them. But that most assuredly does not stop me from seeking them out and getting excited when I come across good ones. And I am all for a challenging wine list...

but I do also believe that some of the Sommeliers that take this obscure concept too far are playing "wine pocket pool," if anyone remembers that expression. Yes, a mainstream and unthoughtful wine list is status quo and a dull list also shows a certain laziness that I find deplorable (read: do the work), but a 100 SKU list with nothing recognizable to the average drinker can also be lame.

Ultimately I know both of these guys are looking to sell papers and/or garner online hits but come on, there is a happy medium. 

My belief is that there can be a captivating wine list with both obscure and known; some Saint Pourcain as well as a little Bordeaux. Just be thoughtful and do your homework, and then most importantly, train your staff.

What say you?

Here are the two article links for those of you that missed them:

Steve Cuozzo, on wine lists that are so avante garde that no one knows any of the wines, here: NY Post

Eric Asimov, rebuttle of sorts saying you must fearful of wine unless you fill your list with obscure, here: NY Times