Archive for the 'kosher fine wines' Category

11
Aug
11

Renewal Benefit Event – Food & Wine Tasting, Cigar Rolling!


CHaZa”L teach that “He who saves one life, it is as if he saved a world!” In this day and age when technology has developed new ways to save lives which mere decades earlier couldn’t be saved, it is now easier to save such worlds, but to do so is still very expensive, resources are not always easy to find and certainly not within most people’s reach. Renewal, an organization based in Borough Park, Brooklyn, is dedicated to just that, finding the means and resources to save lives and future worlds.

This evening, at 7:00pm, there will be a Food and Wine tasting to benefit the organization. Premium wine selections from the famed Herzog Wine Cellars, food from some of our areas top restaurants and hand rolled cigars, all waiting just for you. Enjoy yourself while you hob nob with the veritable who’s who of the Greater New York Jewish Community.

Where?

The View on the Hudson

101 Shad Row, Piermont, NY 10968

When?

This evening at 7:00pm

For tickets and info: Contact Daniella Sabo at: 646-493-9831 or 718-431-9831 or email her at: dsabo@renewal.org

Hope to see you there!

CS

13
Apr
11

This Evening’s Two Hour Internet Radio Show And a Recipe…


Last Wednesday’s live broadcast from Gotham Wines and Liquors‘ 8th Annual Wine Extravaganza, held at the West End Institutional Synagogue. We had some great guests on that show and made new friends. Unfortunately the .mp3 file got trashed, so we never got a chance to hear it the actual broadcast. Tonight’s show will focus on wine and food. Our guests will be several kosher winery spokesmen and distributors, then at the last half hour we will talk to Chef Jeff Nathan, Chef/owner of Abigael’s on Broadway.

We will discuss the reasons for the 4 cups of wine and other Pessach customs, we will hear about their selections from the various wineries, while Chef Jeff will explain the whole concept of the New Jewish Cuisine, which he made into a wildly successful series on Public Television. We will also talk about his journey to become a successful restaurateur and what Abigael’s is planning for Passover.

Please listen in to The Kosher Scene’s Show, this evening at 6:30pm to 8:30pm Eastern Time,

The first cookbook Jeff Nathan published – in 2002 –  Adventures in Jewish Cooking, included some great recipes that can be made on Passover. Here is one I intend to savor on the last day of Pessach, when I finally do eat gebroks. It will go perfectly with a glass of  Psagot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Veal Chops Milanese with Tomato Salad and Arugula

In Milan, you’ll find golden-crusted veal chops so big they fill your plate. Before being cooked, they are pounded while still on the bone. This creates wide flaps of meat to allow for more crispy coating that everyone loves. A combination of matzo flour, matzo meal, and matzo farfel is my secret to creating a crunchier crust than is possible with bread crumbs alone. Using matzo also opens up the possibility of enjoying this dish right through Passover week. You will need a very large, 12-14 inch skillet to cook both chops at once. Of course, if you have two such skillets, you can invite a couple of friends over for dinner, doubling the amount of tomato salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, preferably 1 red and 1 yellow, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Two twelve ounce bone-in veal chops, about 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup matzo flour (also called matzo cake flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup matzo farfel
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
  • 6 ounces arugula, washed and dried, torn bite-sized pieces.
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. To make the tomato salad, whisk the lemon juice and oil in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and rosemary and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, while preparing the veal.
  3. Place the chops between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Using a heavy mallet or rolling pin, pound the meaty part of each chop until it’s about 1/2 inch thick, to create chops with a thinner flasp of meat attached to the rib bone. (In Milanese restaurants, the veal is pounded even thinner and wider, but at home, practicality demands that you pound the veal to a size that will allow two chops to fit into the skillet.) Season the chops with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the matzo flour in a shallow dish, the beaten eggs in a second shallow dish and the matzo farfel in a third shallow dish, Coat each veal chop with matzoh flour, then the egg wash, and then the matzoh meal.
  5. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chops and cook, turning one, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Place the browned chops on a large baking sheet. Bake until they feel firm when pressed in the center, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, add the arugula to the tomato salad and mix. For each serving place a chop on a dinner plate and heap the tomato salad on top. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.

Just like his other book (which we reviewed) and has become one of my favorites, this one is also chuck full of mouth watering recipes which I can’t wait to try.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

10
Mar
11

Kaizen! Perfection at Prime Ko


Have you ever had one of those microcosmic moments in time encapsulating a window onto something so much bigger in its depth and substance? Though most of mine have not been food moments, this one surely was this past week at the Japanese inspired restaurant Prime Ko (217 West 85th Street New York, NY 10024-3901 - (212) 496-1888) when I tasted Chef Makoto Kameyama’s signature sushi Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna appetizer. But more about that in a moment…

CS and I were escorted into the ground floor dining area; they’ve got a lower level with a wet bar, TV screen and more seating. Décor showed subtle Japanese influences. The waiting area had these lovely brown leather boxy ’kabuki’ shaped chairs and couch, fresh orchids on a dark rectangular table, with a wall of hand-painted coral peonies on soft aqua…

Wall dividers of slatted mahogany separated one area from another; windows were shaded with white bamboo semi-transparent treatments. Seating was brown textured suede on wood, a few striped suede backed benches, all tucked into square darkwood tables. Settings consisted of simple white geometric china, flatware laid out on deep red bamboo textured placemats, and chop-sticks resting on logo enhanced wood pieces. Lighting was recessed in one area and a framed oval shaped ruched red fabric with a back lit center aperture against the far wall, with a row of rice textured globe light fixtures in the other area.

A partial view...

Esteemed Chef Makoto Kameyama, the former prized Sushi Chef at Prime Grill for the past ten years, has served as Executive Chef at Prime Ko since it opened last year. His experience began in Tokyo where he assisted his father, a prominent Edo-sushi chef running a successful restaurant in Japan. In1981, Chef Kameyama came to the US and opened his own Japanese restaurant. Transitioning to Japanese kosher posed quite a challenge. Aside from the dietary restrictions on pork, shrimp, crustaceans, etc. sourcing fine quality kosher fish for sushi and sashimi, replacing basic Japanese cooking elements like bonita flakes and dashi (made of fish bone, until recently unavailable with a kosher certification), achieving consistent textures and creating exciting sauces were but a few of the obstacles he faced.

Chef Kameyama is very pleased with healthy low fat and low cal Japanese cuisine becoming staple of the American diet. Be it the DHA and heart healthy fresh fish, lung healthy miso, or vitamin mineral-rich seaweed, it is thanks to Japanese cuisine masters like Kameyama that this healthy streamlined fare is taking the nation by storm.

Now, back to our meal… The opening appetizer was an assortment of Rainbow Roll, yellowtail, tuna, and salmon sashimi and that fabulous Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna I mentioned earlier. That was the defining moment of kaizen (Japanese for perfection) . The mouthful of toasted rice cake topped with spicy tuna pureed with bell pepper, topped with jalapeño and aioli sauce was a bite of pure perfection. The creative combination of textures and genius flavors conjoining to taste so remarkably well, spoke volumes about the artistry of a chef whose collective experience and expertise arrive at the table each time this signature dish is served. Bravo! Omedetou!

Sushi and Sashimi

But we were just getting warmed up… CS and I shared lovely grilled miso Chilean Sea Bass skewers in a spicy teriyake sauce served aside sautéed bok choy & veggies which couldn’t help but be outshined by an outstanding Tuna Delmonico, edged in breading served with jalapeño sauce, wasabi, beet and ginger sauce, with a side of soba noodles and pickled radish/onion/carrot garnish.

Tuna Delmonico

Our waiter, Al, our server, Lebron, treated us like royalty; they were friendly, efficient, informed. I thought we were getting the ‘special treatment’, but service to the tables nearby was just as extraordinary. Al, had the menu and wine pairings memorized down to the last nori seaweed bit & dot of sauce. Service was the epitome of high Japanese hospitality; water goblets refilled with Prime Ko’s own filtered carbonated water, napkins refolded, tables cleaned between courses, and soy sauce, dishes and silverware replaced with the arrival of each new dish.

We enjoyed a cleansing, refreshing Borgo Reale Pinot Grigio 2007 as we waited for our next course, a medley of kobe chopped beef dishes. We sampled Kobe Meatballs with ground ginger and garlic in miso sesame sauce, spicy Kobe Pizza - crispy dough, house made marinara topped with chopped salad & chopped wagyu. Wagyu Beef Sliders – a mini kobe hamburger with spicy aioli and teriyake sauce – completed this tasty Americanized trio.

Cutlery was replaced again with a fresh set including steak knives. I starved myself till dinner in anticipation, but this was turning out to be a most extravagant meal… The best was next! Three ounces of the most amazing Kobe/Wagyu steak resting on a slab of Himalayan salt rock witha side of white mushroom cooked at our table with a spritz of fresh lime. When quality is this good, extra spicing could only detract from it natural flavors – it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Taken before being cooked at table-side. 3 ozs of marbled beauty!

The second steak dish was a 6 oz. Grain Fed Chateau-Briand with vegetable rice served with a jalapeño/uzu/teriyake sauce, with salad and rice. The steak was so good, I would have preferred the sauce on the side.

Steak Chateau-Briand

Chef then surprised us with Eggplant Dengaku. Baked eggplant topped with miso and sesame sauce. Unusual, and superbly tasty. The evening’s crown,  came with the creative and most beautiful desert dish pictured below.

Beautiful presentation, superlative tasting

Two crepes laid out like a Japanese fan, topped with blueberries and strawberries with hot chocolate sauce, sprinkled with green tea powder and confectioner’s sugar that looked like fairy dust. Need I say more?

A brilliant meal overall. Our thanks to Chef Kameyama and the staff of Prime Ko for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

SYR

Prime Ko on Urbanspoon

21
Feb
11

This Week’s Events


This is a great week! If you like food, if you like wine these events are tailor made for you:

Tuesday, February 22nd

Kosher Food & Wine Experience 2011

Tomorrow’s the event of the year!

As always, the star of the show is the food and wine on offer. This year over 300 wines from all over the world will be available from wineries including Herzog, Yatir, Castel, Capcanes, Elvi, Goose Bay and more! In addition, Royal Wine will be launching some new wines at KFWE2011 including the Herzog Special Edition Chalk Hill Warnecke Vineyard 2008, the Oak Knoll Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and a new line of Gamla Reserves. Additionally, the wines of Alexander Winery in Israel will be making their debut in the United States market.

Guests will also be able to taste delicious food from some of the top rated kosher restaurants and caterers in the Tri-State area. “This is an opportunity to try some exceptional wines and great food, we don’t hold anything back,” said Mr. Landsman, “KFWE is our gift to our customers. We want to give people a chance to try the wines they are hesitant to buy, the special occasion wines they read about or see in the store.” Another benefit of this event is its proximity to Passover, giving people the opportunity to trywines that they would like to feature at their Seders.

A notable addition to the event this year will be the attendance of celebrity cookbook authors/food personalities Joan Nathan, Jamie Geller, Suzy Fishbein, Lévana Kirschenbaum and Jeff Nathan who will all be available to discuss food and wine pairing and their newest books.

KFWE 2011 will take place on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 6:30pm at Pier 60 – Chelsea Piers, NYC. For more information on the 2011 Kosher Food & Wine Experience or to order tickets, please visit: http://www.kfwe2011.com .

Don’t forget to enter KSCENE10, as your discount code, when you buy your ticket(s).

Wednesday, February 23rd

Israel Wine Lovers featuring: Barkan Winery

9 Interesting Wines, 2 Great Winemakers and 1 Amazing Evening with Barkan Winery

Nanoosh Hummus Bar

Who’s hosting? Avi Ashman, Raphael Sutton
Price: $36.00 per person
Where? Nanoosh Hummus Bar
171 Madison Avenue New York, NY
When? 7:00pm

Barkan, with vineyards all across Israel, is the second largest winery in the country.  The winemaking team’s quest to produce a variety of quality wines results in Barkan making all of the right moves (including large financial investments) to continue improvements in their vineyards and in the winery. You can always count on Barkan, and it’s Boutique winery Segal, to release quite a few interesting wines.

We are honored that Irit Boxer and Yotam Sharon, two of Barkan’s winemakers, will be with us and present a selected wine list that demonstrates the great quality of their craftsmanship.  This tasting is a MUST and we promise a fun night!!  Where else can you taste two styles of Pinotage (never tasted that grape yet? you have to…) and the effect of 100 meter (300 feet) height difference on Cabernet Sauvignon’s flavor?  Other great wines will be explored as well…

All wines and foods, during the tasting, are Kosher.

Israel Wine Lovers meets at the back of Nanoosh and brings their own food, their own wines, since Nanoosh is not under ANY kosher supervision!!!

CS

28
Oct
10

Kosherfest: Day 2


We went back to Kosherfest yesterday and once again it did not disappoint. Interesting products were abundant, a lot of the old classics were improved and there quite a few new ideas as well.

One delicious variation on an old classic was this frozen pizza by Mor Fun Foods

Tastes fresh, not frozen!

Next we passed by Toobro, a distributor of the Golan brand of cheeses, Morning Select, Spreads Instead, Emes, etc., etc., We will, be’ezras Hashem, do a more in-depth review of their products over the next few weeks.

Toobro's portfolio of brands...

Products we got to taste within Toobro‘s lines included a delicious Roaster Garlic and Herbs by Spread Instead. Spread Instead products are succulent blends of gourmet cream cheese, herbs, etc.  Frankly, we couldn’t enough of it… Superb, excellent, delicious… none of these words do actual justice to the taste

Deeeelishious!

Next we visited Lily Bloom’s Kitchen. The owner, Larry Shiller, took his mother’s recipe for delicious macaroons (I’ve never been a fan of macaroons, but these were good!!!), in various flavors: Chocolate, White Chocolate and Raspberry, Chocolate/Almond, Chocolate/Walnut, Chocolate/Peanut Butter, Chocolate/Cinnamon, Chocolate/Cherry, and Chocolate/Orange.

Winner of Kosherfest 2010 Best New Product

Next we passed by the Kedem Marketplace pavillion…

Partial views of Royal Wine Corporations huge selection of wines and liquors

Being an unabashed, uncompromising cheese lover, I was truly excited to see Israel’s Seyman company bringing its huge selection of European made cheeses from such famous names as La Cremerie, Coeur de Lion, St. Maure, Bresse Bleu, etc. I can’t wait for them to find an American distributor…

I can't wait for the moment I walk in to kosher supermarket and pick up a Manchego!

Organic Traditions, had some very interesting items:

Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Poda, Goji Berries, dried Apricots and so much more

Finally I was ready for the talk of show, the pièce de résistance, something quite a few celebrities kept on going back to time and again (don’t worry I won’t name you, you know who you are!)… Jack’s Gourmet Sausages.

Dr. Bronner - Jack's Gourmet's co-owner and some of those incredible sausages or what was left of them...

Frankly, there were quite a few more items we loved and we’ll review some of them in-depth over the next few weeks. All in all, we were excited by what we saw and tasted. Kosher is no longer just gefilte, kasha, or brisket, kosher wine is far beyond Extra Sweet Malaga or Extra Sweet Concord… we now have world class selections!

CS

10
Jun
10

La Carne Grill


Enticed by the glowing review this restaurant garnered in 2007 in The Jewish Press, a 2007 mention in The New York Blueprint, a nice review and slide show in New York Magazine and quite a few others – along the same vein – we couldn’t wait to try Eddie Allaham’s eatery. Knowing Eddie was one of the original owners and the creator of Prime Grill’s concept, made our mouths water in anticipation of visiting La Carne Grill (340 Lexington Ave; New York, NY 10016; 212.490.7172). Daniel Ronay (whom readers of our blog have met before, came along this time in place of SYR who couldn’t make it).

The main dining area...

Daniel started the meal with Crispy Sweatbreads, they came with an olive tapenade and mustard aoili. He described them as nicely crispy and flavorful without being overpowering.

I opted for the Garlic Baby Artichokes, which consists of sauteed baby artichoke, drizzled with sweet garlic sauce.

Garlic Baby Artichokes

I am a potato lover and had I eaten these blindfolded, I would have thought – based merely on the taste – that I was savoring some very buttery potatoes… superbly done!

We each followed the appetizer with a sushi rolls (who would have believed, less than six month ago, that I would EVER touch fish based sushi?!?!?).

Daniel had the Red Dragon Roll, a spicy tuna roll with wonton crisps on top. He liked the nice contrast between the roll texture and the chipped wonton crisps. Though it came in a nicely sized portion, Danny said he could continue eating more and more of it.

I had the colorful Rainbow Roll, a california roll with tuna, salmon, yellowtail and white fish. An artistically presented dish, did not taste fishy at all, a wonderful amalgam where each ingredient was subtle enough to allow the others to shine through to create a wonderful, perfect, combination of flavors. We each washed it down with a delightful 2007 Herzog Chardonnay.

For the main dish, he continued to a delicious Beef Wellington. It came with a grilled filet mignon with asparagus, garlic demi sauce and mushroom duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry.

Beef Wellington

While he’s not normally a fan of Beef Wellington, he felt he would order this particular version again. He found the meat tender, juicy, perfectly cooked with a nice shade of of light pink in the center. What made it so different was the delicate sauce of ground mushrooms with a touch of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Daniel couldn’t stop raving about it!

I ordered a Filet Mignon, which came with a black trumpet (mushrooms) brandy cream sauce  (delicious!!!!) and French fries. Tender and juicy, superbly cooked to medium state. I paired it with a 2006 Benyamina The Cave. This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, aged in a three hundred year old cave in the heart of the Carmel mountains and the Filet… ah, a marriage made in heaven!

We finished this royal repast with an excellent pareve capuccino and a Blueberry Cheesecake

.

Delicious pareve cheesecake

It was hard to believe, there was no real cheese inside. Delicate but full of flavor, even without the blueberry it would still have been outstanding.

We were pleased to see that La Carne Grill does not rest on its past laurels, Chef Angel Ramirez and his stuff worked hard to produce their very best still. There is no question I must bring SYR soon, I know she’ll love it!

CS

La Carne Grill on Urbanspoon

18
May
10

What Gives a Food Critic the Right to Critique?


Granted, CS and I have a combined prandial gastronomic, collectivistic consumption spanning nearly a century (we make no admission of time exceeding that!). Coincidentally, we were both blessed with superbly critical, highly skilled, culinary genius in the kitchen – parents of Polish and Hungarian descent respectively. They tolerated nothing but brilliance and excellence from their gifted, savant, miraculous offspring of the Diaspora and post Nazi oblation – instilling in us not only superior minds and egos endowed by birth, as well as a natural hunger for all things good. Our generation was brought up with the assumption that somehow we were born with inalienable rights to judge and critique the handiwork of our peers but never our parents. Both of us share the uncanny experience of every patriarchal inquisition into our lives and all critical moments predicated with the always relevant questions: “What did they serve?”, or “What did you eat? Was it good?”

The locus of kosher restaurants we’ve marked collectively through the various stages of our lives is equally impressive. From family style restaurants, to fancy upscale dating restaurants, from cafés for momentary pondering or perusal to married dating eateries, circling back to family restaurants and some of us back to dating restaurants again… we’ve done them all! The Shabbos tables we’ve set and served along with the tables we’ve guested at – often with suffered grimaced smiles of approval conceding to our napkins the putrid memorial – or being imparadised by occasional sensational dishes provided by our hosts! The trials and tribulations of experimental dishes imposed on our loving families without dis-ownership or dis-membership is legendary.

...eating our words

CS has an impressive curriculum vitae – having written many a fine food and/or wine review for well known global publications. I, on the other hand, am more the ‘everyman’, learning through doing, acquiring new skill sets, cultivating and advancing my palate and knowledge as I go along. And now we both sit here… judging others with culinary degrees and years of mastery in the art of Kosher cooking. Yeah, maybe we’ve cultivated our palates enough to judge… certainly as well as the consumers whose attendance make or break a restaurant. Mostly, we are grateful, grateful for the abundance of excellent restaurant choices and fine cuisine that we have been privileged to find and sample. It’s competitive out there and to keep the edge, a fine dining restaurant has to be good. We want a great dining experience and customers want to feel that the money spent was well worth the investment. The mediocre don’t survive for long. There are some food reviews that we’ll never publish, nameless here forever more…

There are many great kosher restaurants yet to review and savor. We love sharing our experiences with you and hope you enjoy sharing with us here at The Kosher Scene. With z’man matan Torah upon us, we would like to wish all our readers a Chag Shavuot sameach! May this time of Torah and harvest bring cornucopian blessings of plenty into your homes and lives.

We’ve collected some great Yom Tov recipes here and here. Enjoy!

SYR

10
Mar
10

Glatt a La Carte


So, I’ve got to admit, I showed up to Glatt A La Carte (5123 18th Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11204; Telephone: 718.438.6675) in Boro Park bearing preconceived notions of uber chulent-fresser waiters in bowties serving upscale Jewish chic, featuring ptcha in arbes parsley pesto and liver pâté in matzo taco shells, with huge mains of brisket and mashed potatoes in a pomegranate reduction sauce.

Nothing could be further from the truth! This restaurant was understated chic and welcoming. There were inconspicuous screen separators between some of the tables giving a sense of privacy and intimacy and tall lean white winter branches warmly lit from below against the back wall.  The waiters, detail oriented and attentive, gave an exemplary dinner service.  Chef Mark Green, a 10 year veteran of Glatt A La Carte, personally brought us the courses that unequivocally proved his superb talents and artistry of taste. It all further demonstrated, the coordinated organic time-lapse frame of a restaurant which, through the patient masterful guidance of owner Binem Naiman and Chef Mark combined,  has grown from the ordinary to the extraordinary, incorporating the traditional with  the contemporary.

I started the meal with a Butternut Squash Ravioli, the sauce consisted of roasted butternut squash, apple sauce, onions and winter sage. The ravioli were freshly made, the combination of spices gave an out of the ordinary perfect taste, rich in flavor and pleasing to the eyes.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

CS had a Spicy Tuna Tartar with a special avocado wrap.

Spicy Tuna Tartar

I followed with a Beef Brisket Spring Roll, served with red cabbage confetti slaw (red cabbage, finely sliced orange and yellow pepper and red onion) in a hickory BBQ sauce. It was the best brisket spring roll I ever tasted. I liked the hickory/honey sauce was on the side as it the well seasoned brisket stand alone on flavor. The bright colored confetti slaw was festive and tangy, a perfect partner to the brisket!

CS opted for the Grilled Veal Sweetbreads, served with rustic chimichurri sauce and parsley with home made garlic bread sticks and olive oil. The presentation was enticing, the flavor all conquering.

Next I had a Reserve Steak.

Reserve Steak

It was a rib eye steak, served with grilled onion and a tarragon béarnaise sauce. It was what every rib eye I ever consumed should have been, exploding with flavor, an exquisitely traditional ta’am.

CS had a Bone-in-Roast Prime Rib with the Columbian Rub (blend of fresh ground coffee and spices), served with Bourbon Aju and topped with crispy seasoned fried onions. It was super tender, juicy and flavorful. The coffee rub, brought out some unusual flavors (my mouth is watering as I write). It cut like butter. I don’t think I can rave enough about either of the steaks!

For dessert CS ordered a Plum Carpaccio.

Plum Carpaccio

This dessert came topped with mango and raspberry sorbet, it was served with molasses and honey… colorful and delicious!

But… I had the best of all. I ordered the homemade Angel Food Pinwheel, it was topped – in front of us – with a luscious, warm blueberry sauce. The cake came filled with whipped creme, decadently succulent! Perfect ending to a perfect dinner…

During the meal we enjoyed a very nice 2005 Segal’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. We accompanied our desserts with a glass each of 2008 Baron Herzog Late Harvest Chenin Blanc. Excellent choices both!

SYR

Glatt a la Carte on Urbanspoon

17
Feb
10

Enjoying your Wines – Part 4 – Grape Varieties


There are literally thousands of grape varieties in existence. Most wine grapes are made from the European species, which is considered to be superior to the American vine species. The reason for the numerous varieties is that grape vines have a tendency to mutate and cross breed with ease. Advances in genetic technology have allowed scientists to determine the origins of many well-known grape varieties. The following will give you an introduction to the world of most common grape varieties.

Red Varieties

Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon requires care and attention in the vineyard, with fruit exposure and yield directly related to fruit quality. However its thick skin makes it incredibly resilient to adverse climatic conditions. In the winery, winemakers often age Cabernet Sauvignon in a mixture of French and American oak.

Climate has a significant impact on the sensory characteristics of the variety. In cooler climates, minty and leafy characters are intermingled with blackcurrant and red berries. In warmer climates, chocolate and tobacco characters express themselves.

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc
is a component of Bordeaux blends and Loire Valley reds. It has leafy red-berry characters.

Malbec
Malbec is a successful varietal in Argentina. Also used in Bordeaux blends.

Merlot
For Merlot to be good, it must be picked at optimum ripeness, to avoid the presence of herbal characters. Flavors of plums, red currant, mint, pimento, game, earth and leather can be found. Its tannins are invariably soft, making Merlot a good early drinking style, but this does limit its aging potential.

Merlot is most famous in its homeland of Bordeaux in France, where it is used to make some of the world’s greatest and most expensive wines. Over the last ten years, plantings have rapidly expanded across the globe, most notably into California, South America, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Petit Verdot
Petit Verdot is a red grape variety that is traditionally used in Cabernet Sauvignon based blends. It is known for its intense color, vibrant flavors and firm tannin structure making it a good choice for true red wine drinkers.

Petit Verdot has an interesting flavor profile. It can be incredibly perfumed, having aromas of blueberry and violet. Sometimes it has an attractive herbaceous and spice element, giving the variety complexity. The acidity is often prominent and due to the thick skins of the grape, the color is very dense and the tannins are firm. Structural wines with intense flavors can age well in the mid term. Due to its strength of character, Petit Verdot can have a significant impact on a blend, even when used in small proportions.

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir originated in the French region of Burgundy, where it is most renowned and revered. The true character of Pinot Noir is expressed when it is grown in a cool climate. In fact, its early ripening nature makes it able to withstand some of the cooler areas.

Wines made from Pinot Noir are typically lightly colored, with cherry-to-plum red hues. The aroma, which is often highly fragrant, can be composed of cherries, red berries, violets and spice when young, transforming into gamey, leathery, mushroomy characters with age. The palate is light-to-medium bodied with fine silky tannins.

As complexity is a vital attribute of good Pinot Noir, the winemaking process is very detailed. Some winemakers choose to include whole berries in the fermentation to increase the fragrance of the wine. Others allow crushed grapes to macerate prior to fermentation to increase the depth of color and flavor. Some choose to do this after fermentation. Oak is used as an important element in both the sensory and structural aspects of the wine, however due to the delicacy of the variety, care must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t dominate the wine. It is not unusual for a single batch of grapes to be processed in different ways to give a range of blending options for the final wine.

Syrah
The beauty of Syrah is that it can flourish in a range of climates. Syrah can be made into a range of styles, defined by the terroir of the region and the winemakers’ artistry. With its soft ripe tannins, black cherry, pepper and spice characters, it can be crafted into wines suitable for immediate consumption.

Zinfandel
Substantial plantings in both California as well as Italy. In Italy it is known as Primitivo. It produces full-bodied and richly flavored wines.

White Varieties

Chardonnay
The popularity of Chardonnay quickly rose, due to its generous flavors and its ease to grow and make into wine. In fact, it is often called a viticulturalist’s dream, as it is early ripening, naturally vigorous and is relatively resistant to disease. Most importantly, it can be grown in a wide range of climatic conditions, leading to a vast array of styles.

The base flavor of Chardonnay is generous, but relatively neutral thus the winemakers’ individuality can be expressed through the winemaking techniques used. Oak usage, yeast lees contact and malolactic fermentation are just some of the ways a winemaker can influence the style of Chardonnay.

Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a classic French variety. The basis of some of the world’s greatest and long-living sweet wines.

Gewurztraminer
Gewurztraminer is a spicy, aromatic variety. Its style ranges from the flavorsome and fruity, to fine and delicate.

Pinot Gris
There are many synonyms for Pinot Gris. In Alsace, it is known at Tokay Pinot Gris. In Italy, it is commonly referred to as Pinot Grigio and in Germany it is known as Ruländer or Grauburgunder.

Gris, meaning grey in French, refers to the color of the Pinot Gris grapes. As a result, wines made from Pinot Gris often have a slight coppery hue. They have a delicately perfumed aroma with flavors stretching from fresh pear through to tropical fruits. Pinot Gris is similar to Chardonnay in that it has good palate weight and flavor.

Riesling
Riesling is an aromatic variety that produces intensely fragrant and flavored wines of exceptional character. Notes of citrus, honeysuckle, blossoms, green apple and mineral are commonly seen. With concurrent high acidity and comparable low alcohol, the wines retain an enviable freshness which many other varieties lack. Oak is not used and the wines are very pure and clean.

Riesling is a variety that is much loved by winemakers and wine connoisseurs due to its intense flavors and its defined palate structure. Riesling is delightful when it is consumed young and fresh. However it is one of the few white wines that has the ability to age.

Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
is a variety with increasing popularity in Australia. Although its plantings are quite small, they are expected to significantly increase over the next ten years. Sauvignon Blanc is used to make fresh, vibrant wine styles with none of the heaviness of Chardonnay or the floral tones of Riesling. Its flavor profile is in harmony with Semillon and consequently these varieties are often blended together.

The flavor spectrum of Sauvignon Blanc is quite diverse. Upon a backbone of herbaceousness lie tropical fruit, passion fruit and gooseberry. Look a little closer and you may see tomato leaf, spice and flint. The stronger styles have elements of asparagus, capsicum and gun smoke. And winemaking can add tones of oak, butter and yeast. They are a feast for the senses, especially during the heat of summer where their defined acidity adds freshness to the palate.

Semillon
Semillon is a unique minerally, lemony style, which is crisp and lean when young and is made without the influence of oak or malolactic fermentation. However the wine undergoes a transformation with age, evolving into a complex, nutty, honeyed wine of great depth and complexity.

Semillon is often seen blended with Chardonnay, particularly in mass-market wine styles. The freshness of Semillon provides a necessary balance to the often overly rich Chardonnay. It is a blend that has been very successful.

Viognier
The most distinctive attribute of Viognier is its stone fruit character, most notably that of apricot. It can also show considerable floral and spice tones. In cooler climates you can see citrus whilst in warmer areas there is more honeysuckle. It has good viscosity due to generous alcohol levels and is similar to Chardonnay in that it has a weighty mid-palate and generous flavour, making it a good alternative to this ubiquitous variety.

Aaron Zimmerman

[Mr Zimmerman owns and operates Liquors Galore, 1418 Avenue J (between 12th and 13th Streets); Brooklyn, NY 11230-3702; Telephone: 718.338.4166. The above post is the lastof a multi-part series we have been posting once a week on these pages]

RELATED POSTS

Enjoying your Wines – Part 3 – Storing

Enjoying your Wines – Part 2 – Tasting

Enjoying your Wines Part 1 Buying

12
Feb
10

El Gaucho Steakhouse


Walking into El Gaucho Steakhouse, (4102 18th Avenue; Brooklyn, New York 11218; Telephone: 718.438.3006) brought back many fond memories from my childhood in Montevideo, Uruguay. The authentic decor, the food, the aromas… ah…

A detail of the wall mural

The meal consisted of some favorites from my childhood and adolescent years… yeap, these dishes were just as good as I remembered them… maybe even better!

I started out with their Empanada Casera de Carne. A turnover with beef and criolla sauce and a salad. It has a crispy exterior, and a very flavorful interior.

I followed with a Chorizo Parillero.

Chorizo Parillero and the authentic ambiance at El Gaucho Steakhouse

It was juicy and very aromatic!

For the main I ordered their mock Filet Mignon.

Filet Mignon

This cut is made from the eye of the ribeye, I ordered it medium. It was served with potato puree and mushroom sauce, garnished with minced scallions and mixed vegetables.

For dessert, I ordered their cake of the day.

Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

It consisted of a hot molten chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream with chocolate topping. A fitting crown for a meal filled with memories and tastes of yesteryear. A true delight for decadent pleasures!

I washed it all down with a very good 2006 Layla Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.

El Gaucho Steakhouse has a well stacked cellar with a nice selection of Argentine, Italian, American, French, Israeli and Australian wines, all kept at the proper temperature.  Mr. David the owner got his education in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They have a large Argentinian parrillador (grill) on premises and the Chef himself is from Argentina.

The food was delectable, the memories came flooding amidst the decor and the aromas… I’ll be back!!

CS




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