Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Greetings from Washington, DC

Apologies for the most recent lapse this week. I have been in our nation's capital, taking in all the wonderful art (reassuring to know our taxes are occasionally put  to good use), and of course eating and drinking lots of good stuff.  More on the DC experience tomorrow.  Well we're almost in Bmore.  Will say hi to John Waters and Snoop for all of you....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hip-Hop Friday Whose Line is it anyway edition

A special, goofy, winter themed edition for your viewing pleasure.

OWOS Wine Label Hall of Shame

A new occasional series on wine labels which perhaps should have never been. Or, depending on your point of view, were meant to be. Here is one that somehow got by the folks at this venerable Dry Creek Valley winery. A bottling destined for the OWOS Wine Label Hall of Shame. As a co-worker of mine once said, this one has earned a hallowed place in the Hall of Shame, "first ballot, uncontested."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poulet au vin jaune et aux morilles

Photo Courtesy of Le Placard D'Elle

Chances are, if you are reading OWOS, then you can either translate, or posit a guess as to what the title means. Simply put, the magic that happens when you slowly cook a chicken with cream, a bottle of sous voile Jura white wine (or, sherry) and morel mushrooms is a marvel of regional French culinary experience.

Care to double down and drink some appropriate whites with your traditional Jura dish? Sounds terrific, in fact I would highly recommend you do just that. In my case a few weeks ago, the selections were 2000 Houillon/Overnoy Savagnin and 2000 Houillon/Overnoy Savagnin. Same vintage, same grapes, one sous voile (literally, "underneath a veil" which is in fact a white-ish layer of tufty yeast similar to flor in sherry country). The "voile" protects the wine from oxidation while adding a nutty oxidative note. It's confusing, I know. That having been said, the sous voile version actually tasted even brighter, more energetic, more alive and crackling with Savagnin acid goodness than its non oxidatively made counterpart.

If all this makes little sense, then I'm right there with you. To summarize: Jura style chicken with vin jaune and morels, delicious. Jura style chicken with vin jaune and morels served with top notch savagnin, religious. This will take you to church, synagogue, mosque and Buddhist temple, simultaneously.

Thank you, Guilhaume and Claire for your hospitality.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BEER, BEER, BEER, BEER...[sung to your tune of choice]

(L) David McDuff of McDuff's Food and Wine Trail and (R) Cory Cartwright of Saignee

I'm looking forward to whatever beer blogging project Saignee and MFWT (not to be confused with MFSB, also of Philly) are cooking up. These are two knowledgeable people when it comes to wine, food, and of course, beer. They also write with the best of 'em, so gents don't keep 'em waiting too long now, alright?

In other beer related news, I must admit that any 'coverage' (if you want to use that term in connection to any 'reporting' that happens here) of SF Beer Week was fairly non-existent on these pages. Sadly, I did not check much of anything out. I did go to Humphrey Slocombe for a tasting of all of their beer flavored ice cream on offer that day. The Lagunitas Brewing Company Hop Stoopid and bacon combo was solid, the others, well, they just tasted too much like beer. I think I (re) learned a valuable lesson: Beer is delicious, ice cream is great, but beer flavored ice cream does not really do it for me.

SF Beer Week is an extraordinarily busy time for participating venues. Apparently, Russian River Brewery ran out of Pliny the Younger early one night. That likely would have happened independent of any SF Beer week promotion, however I'm sure that the extra hype did not help matters. I wanted to check out Pi Bar's Russian River Brewery event, as it's close to my neighborhood and it seemed like a great way to taste many of the "-tion" beers. It was packed, though. It looked as though there was hardly any room to stand and, if necessary, use hand gestures (which I admittedly use more than many others). I would have dealt with it, but a certain pretty girl who spent all day on her feet in a kitchen baking nixed the idea and rightfully demanded a bar with a place to sit. We went to the Dovre for a terrific, proper, 20 oz pint of Guiness. Don't these look delicious?

So though I did ramp up the beer consumption last week, I did not make it out to any events. While SF Beer week is a wonderful way to support local brewers, promote their efforts, and galvanize the local beer afficionado community, I would make the suggestion to its organizers that it may not be a bad idea to tie in even more venues, to give people the option of communally celebrating without feeling cramped in any participating venue that one might visit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beer Day (Situations) - Fatt Snak

Never know what you'll find on Youtube. I searched for beer and hip-hop, and found this very pleasant surprise from north of the border, East Vancouver to be exact. A bit dark and moody and a really nicely done track. As anyone who knows me will attest, I am not easily impressed, but this I find to be very impressive stuff indeed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saturday's Winners, Loser and...?

Mostly winners, with one notable exception courtesy of Bordeaux, France. Without further ado here is what I tasted (and in some instances, drank) this past Saturday at work and then at Terroir.


Anchor Steam San Francisco

A local classic. Not the best or most exciting beer, but pretty darn tasty.

2006 Domaine de Tournelle Savagnin Arbois

Great acidity and freshness. This one tastes a bit more like white Burg than I remember.

NV Foreau Vouvray Brut

Solid sparkling Chenin. In the realm of Vouvray with bubbles I still prefer Huet when I want richness and complexity, Pinon when I want something bright and delicious, but Foreau is still very good.

2005 Jacques Puffeney Chardonnay Arbois

Classic Puff-puff: very broad, generous, persistent, and Jurassic like 5.

2005 Jacques Puffeney Trousseau Arbois

My sole/soul red for the evening....

2005 Domaine Rollin Pernand-Vergeless "Sous Fretille" 1er Cru

This wine showed better than when I last tasted 5 months ago, less oaky, and better put together. Still not as much to my liking as their 2004 villages, though.


1999 Cos d'Estournel St.Estephe

I hereby pronounce this wine dead. Mort. Unfortunately, tasted several times over the past year, with consistent impressions.


2000 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape

A tough wine to taste, especially after several glasses of higher acid white. I did not find that the wine budged much over the course of an hour. Grenache continues to form a major blind spot in my tasting experience. As I remarked to Jake of Cherries and Clay, who was in SF prior to heading back to his hometown for the Olympics, if I have a difficult time appreciating Rayas then it must be official: I have no love for grenache.

2006 Henri Gouges Cotes de Nuits Village Clos des Porrets St George

Very tight and unyielding right now. I'll check back in on this bottle a bit later this week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Russian River Brewery Supplication

California's most closely followed brewery recently released their highly sought after Supplication. It is a sour brown ale, brewed with cherries and aged in French barrels which had previously been used for Pinot Noir. Incidentally, RRB's brewer/owner Vinnie Cilurzo used to make wine, and as the back label points out the thought of having any Brettanomyces (one of the key bacterial strains which produces sour beer, as well as kombucha for that matter) is anathema to most California winemakers. At RRB they intentionally introduce Brettanomyces in several of their beers to achieve the types of flavors they are looking for. After aging in barrel for about a year (give or take a few months depending on how the beer is developing) the beer is blended and bottled, re-fermenting in the bottle a la methode champenoise.

How is the beer? It's pretty good. It pours an opaque amber hue, with a fairly robust, off white colored foam. As with other American sour beers I have had, there is neither the intensity of sour goodness nor complexity of flavor which you get in its various Belgian counterparts. While you definitely taste the cherries, I would not say it's a cherry explosion. The beer seems to have a bit more of a hop influence, or perhaps I should say a less subtle hop influence, than my favorites from the likes of Cantillon, De Ranke, and Drie Fonteinen, which typically are aged for twice as long, or at least they are by the time they hit the American market. The fruit and beer do not seem to have melded completely yet, so perhaps a year or two of bottle age is required.

Overall, though, Supplication is an interesting beer that should improve with each successive effort. Any brewery who can make a hoppy beer that I actually like (specifically, Pliny the Elder) is worth following and supporting in their sour beer brewing exploration.

Tomorrow, we'll take a mid-week wine break before going back into Beer mode. Prost!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy Monday, and Happy SF BEER WEEK

Yes, that is a mini keg of Reisdorf Kolsch; the plan is to drink it tonight with pizza.

In case you have not heard, SF Beer week recently kicked off a few days ago. So many beer related events are planned for the Bay Area, that the week's festivities actually run for 10 days, through this Sunday February 14th. There is a lot going on, though between the website, twitter feed, and even an iphone ap, you should be able to stay current with all of the action. I'll be sure to have a bit more of a beer oriented bent here to keep in the spirit of the week's festivities celebrating the famed malty beverage.

Happy SF Beer Week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A votre animable attention, Arthur Barolet

This surely must be the week of co-worker appreciation here. Earlier in the week , I mentioned that Jason bestowed upon me the gift of espelette peppers. Today, it's back to wine and an example from the universally strong 1978 vintage. Through the generous gift of another co-worker, I was recently able to sample a true curiosity.

Dr. Arthur Barolet, a quality oriented, smaller negociant based in Savigny-les-Beaune, passed away in 1969, apparently leaving 200 228 liter casks of maturing wine to his sister; the oldest of these containing wine from the 1954 vintage. So clearly, the man preferred to take his time aging the wines he bought. I am not sure if the 1978 Barolet et Fils Savigny les Beaune "Le Village" was similarly aged for a long period of time. Though I do know that it has what I so relish in wine a few decades of age or older: mature yet still lively fruit, savory, meaty and/or earthy complexity (in this case that aged Burgundian jambon quality), a softer texture (i.e. tannins that are either fully resolved or at least balanced) and a harmonious balance between all the aforementioned flavor components. If I were more successful in researching the wines of Barolet, I'd offer more information about their wines but this has proven to be difficult to come by (at least online, anyway). I'll have to consult Mr. Clive Coates at some point today for more information. I imagine that Dr. Arthur Barolet is one of those names whose history and wines are known by relatively few, passed along through sheer anectodal knowledge and the occasional appearance on the auction block.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Freshly ground espelette peppers

Thanks to a new co-worker of mine who is sayin' it loud (he's Basque and he's proud) we now have incredibly flavorful, freshly ground espelette pepper in the house! Even better, we have seeds which we will sprout soon and plant later on in Sacramento, along with Padron peppers as well. Yes, 2010 will be the year of the Peppers Project. Jason, thank you for your generosity and may you once again take home the title for best sausages.

Peep the simple ground espelette production process.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wine drunk recently (one word TN edition)

2007 Alice & Olivier De Moor Aligoté - invigorating

2007 Movia Ribolla - splinters

2005 Richard Leroy "Les Noels des Montebenault" Anjou Blanc - generous

1996 De Montille Volnay 1er Cru - iwuzrobbed

2007 Federico Tinto Roble Ribera del Duero - roblemineralidad

1991 Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Gran Reserva Rioja (signs of seepage on top of cork) - Advanced

2000 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja - Awyeah!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Visionary hip-hop dj/producer plays SF, DJ's, drinks Viña Ardanza

This is my idea of a really fucking good time. Great music, musicians, and fine wine, particularly a magnum of 2000 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" (a bit fuzzy, but shown in the above photo). There was also some Occhipinti Frappato in the building. Though it was fun, playful and inviting, it's so different from, and as a result not as easy to appreciate on its own merit, the heavily oak influenced (in a good way) 2000 LRA Viña Ardanza (which was showing amazingly out of magnum I might add). It was the first vintage that they released magnums for sale, a format that I hope they continue to bottle going forward. Oh yeah, the record selection and overall crafting of Madlib's set was quite skillful as well. Unfortunately we had to take off early, though I suspect that the crew might be back later in the year since everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that DJ Shortkut was working the one-ses and two-ses as well. Incredible skills. Check out the 1998 DMC Finals here. Dude does Daly City proud!