Sunday, April 27, 2008
On food, wine and mashups.
I've been meaning to write up a few random food products and wines recently, so I figured I'd do so while listening to some terrific mashups by Bigga Bush. For the musically challenged, a mashup is basically taking a popular song, keeping one aspect (say, the lyrics, for example) and adding an entirely different musical track from another song. Sort of a supercharged remix, or a double sample. As an example, take the 'Crazy Right Now' smash hit from Beyonce, keep the vocal track, ditch the mediocre music behind it, and then add a classic mid-70's reggae instrumental track: a dramatic and newlyenergized, soulful tune is born.
2007 Domaine de Fenouillet Cotes du Ventoux Rose
Everything that I don't like about many roses is present in this wine: very candied red fruit, to the point of artificial flavors. This is generic southern French rose wine at its worst. Surprisingly it's imported by Neil Rosenthal, who is usually a solid name to see on the back of a wine bottle. Not so for this wine. Not reccommended.
2006 Acustic Cellars Acustic Montsant
50% Samso (carinena) and 50% garnacha. There is a vibrancy, freshness and acid balance in this wine that is lacking in all too many wines from Montsant - most of them in fact. This wine shows that Montsant has the potential to be to Priorat what good Cotes du Rhone is to Chateauneuf du Pape: a region producing value wines that are great to drink young or even with moderate age, and that often come across as more enjoyable than their bigger, more expensive siblings in the fancier appellation. $18
2006 Doña Paula Malbec Lujan de Cuyo
Malbec? You might be asking yourself, isn't that usually overripe, oaky, nasty wine that usually has the consulting stamp of Paul Hobbs? Well, not always. This is suprisingly delicious Malbec with a sense of real balance. Still dark fruited, still full-bodied and still a real mouthful of wine, but with a nice mineral inflected, dense, tactile sensation on the palate. $12.
Alois Golles Pumpkin Seed Oil and Apple Balsamic Vinegar
If you're reluctant to discover the joys of good pumpkin seed oil in the well stocked kitchen, you need to get over that stuff and take a trip to flavor country. Serious, gourmet condiment flavor country, courtesy of Styria in southern Åustria. This stuff is black and viscous. When poured over bread or mixed with extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing (the only way you should do a dressing with this oil, by the way - otherwise it's too strong) the oil imparts a beautiful intense peridot green hue. Rich, complex, dark and nutty tasting, with a finish that is long and tastes like the essence of pumpkin. And the apple balsamic vinegar is sweet, mellow and a natural companion to the oil. I use a splash of this vinegar, combined with shallots, salt, pepper, and a 2-1 ratio of extra virgin olive oil to pumpkin seed oil, for an addictive salad dressing. Add some chopped walnuts and your favorite salad cheese for your new favorite salad. $42 for a companion set of pumpkin seed oil and apple balsamic vinegar. Each is packed in a 250ml bottle.