Weeks like this remind me of why I love New York. Far too often we get caught in our day-to-day routines, and forget the amazing places and friends here on our little island. More than ever, this holiday week gets … Continue reading
Every year I try to stay on top of my Christmas shopping, yet somehow wind up in that last minute crunch. For a few weeks I toss around different ideas in my head, trying to think of the perfect practical … Continue reading
Since most people are working during my days off, one of my favorite things to do is simply walk – explore the city, see what’s opening, what’s closing, and discover something new. This week, I didn’t even have to leave my neighborhood before finding a great new store, Back Label Merchants. As soon as I walked in (dropping off my groceries and other finds from the morning at the main desk), the owner and I began chatting about bizarre wines right off the bat. He was so excited about this value-priced gem that I had to pick it up:
Domaine Faillenc, Sainte Marie, Corbieres, 2012 – ~$15
This is Corbières – you should become friends. These are big red wines from the Languedoc region of southern France (check the map), and most wines are composed of Syrah, Grenache Noir, and Cinsault grape varietals. With the Alaric mountains on one side, and the Mediterranean on the other, it creates a pretty ideal environment for grape vines.
Domaine Faillenc is tiny, only about 8 hectares, which converts to about 20 acres, or about 8 city blocks. Originally founded by Dominique Gilbert and his wife Marie-Therese, the domaine is now run by their son, Jean-Baptiste, who has done what was needed to adhere to the standards of an Organic production.
Open this wine, and taste it. Then give it some time to come to life. Leave the bottle open for 30 minutes or more and you’ll be greeted with twigs, deep red fruit, and a briny, oceanic bouquet… like the fall in a beach vacation town. As far as food pairings are concerned, I’d go for almost any roasted meat dishes, especially lamb or pork, but more than anything else with some well-made bread and good olive oil.
Little did I know that the same owners opened up ‘Stinky’, a cheese and beer shop located next door. After much internal debate, I left with this little slice, which packed a big punch! Tangy, bitter, smooth – a little goes a long way (…FYI the flavor is so pungent I could only eat about 1/4 of this before feeling totally satisfied).
I consider it a blessing that I was having this rainy day lunch at home, as after I was done all of my teeth, lips, and tongue were all stained a beautiful deep purple – readers beware, Corbières is a heavily pigmented wine!
Although NYC is still without any snow (not complaining), it is officially time to get into the holiday spirit. One of my favorites from my time living in Switzerland was mulled wine – I think of it at the Christmas market on Lac Leman, or during a ski break in the mountains. Mulled wine is not something that typically comes up in the industry or wine studies, but I have no shame…it’s so good! Few things bring people together or spark such vivid memories like the smell & taste of mulled wine.
Last weekend we tested 2 bases: Merlot and Pinot Noir. Don’t spend money on fine wine for this, you’re going to add sugar and cook it. Merlot was the preferred, as it’s fruity qualities and softly tannic structure worked well.
I’m a lucky girl, and S.S. had brought special mulled wine spices from Germany for us to use. You can’t get them here, but that’s ok: your mulled wine will still turn out tasty.
You can use your imagination for the ingredients, but start here, and you’ll get the general idea:
– 1/2 cup Orange Juice
– 2 tbs. White Sugar
– 1 magnum Red Wine (preferably Merlot)
– Spices: Cinnamon Sticks, Star Anise, Cloves, Nutmeg, Orange Peel (…here’s your opportunity to get creative)
Over medium heat, add about a cup of wine to a large pot. Dissolve the sugar in the wine while stirring. After several minutes of stirring, add the rest of the wine and all of the spices, along with the orange juice and stir. If dinner’s not ready yet, just cover and let it sit over low heat – it will probably be even better!
For Thanksgiving this year, S.S. and I headed up to the Berkshires to celebrate with family and friends. Given the impeding snowstorm, I stopped by Trader Joe’s wine to pick up a bottle for the train (it is vacation, right?). After spending my college years studying viticulture in the Finger Lakes, I am naturally a huge fan of Finger Lakes wines. The choice was Anthony Road Riesling Dry 2013.
…a few notes on wine for the road:
1. Screwcap (this is a no brainer)
2. Disposable cups. Be prepared. Note: people around you will probably be jealous, especially after facing Penn Station on the busiest travel day of the year.
3. The wine needs to be able to handle a little warmth, depending on how long your trip is. Go for a riesling, not a sauvignon blanc.
The Anthony Road was spot on for the occasion. While still showing the signature petrol aromas of classic old-world Rieslings, it was fresh and crisp, but the acid was well integrated and without food it was totally enjoyable. I think there may be a small amount of residual sugar as it was nicely balanced on the palate. For $13.99, I would definitely recommend!
The trains were miraculously on time, but the snow was too fast for the plows to keep up with, and the trip over the mountain from the train station took us almost 2 hours! …we were definitely thankful for the riesling.