Too Many Vs

VinItaly+ViniVeri+VinNatur = VVV, wasn’t that a Vin Diesel movie?

Take this as an out of office message of sorts because I leave tomorrow for Verona (another V), and the chaos that awaits me there. If you’re a wino and looking for ways to kill time online, the I suggest spending a while checking out Peter Liem’s new Champagne MegaSite. It rules!

Oh, I’m also in the Twitterverse and so if you *really* have nothing else to do and want to kill some time, I’m more likely to post there than here for the next several days. 140 characters has its advantages after all. Follow me here (I’m @spume).

A presto!

Value for Winegeeks: A Gobless Surprise

I was at Bi-Rite Market buying meat last week when on a whim I took a detour through the wine section. Okay, the line at the counter was rather long so I grabbed a number and decided to kill time oogling bottles. The one below immediately caught my eye — the sort of faux medieval script perhaps? I’ve not had a lot of still Bugey (love the bubbly version), or none actually, and the price was $13.99, which is well-within my spontaneous purchase range. The importer (for California at least) is noted Armagnac authority Charles Neal, whose eclectic portfolio of French wines is filled with many pleasant surprises.

bugey

Maison Angelot 2007 Bugey

100% mondeuse that undergoes carbonic maceration for 10 days. Dark in color, floral, with a sort of wild prettiness to the aromas of crushed berries. It’s a cool juxtaposition of dark fruit (black cherries, plums) and fresh pepper on the palate, with a lifted finish. 12% alcohol. $13.99

Charles Neal has this to say about the region and estate on his site:

The region is a natural geographical crossroads, and the grape varieties planted here reflect this, juxtaposing the grapes of Jura, Savoie and Burgundy. Bugey uses a large variety of grapes to make a wide variety of wines, including sparkling wines and still wines. The white grapes Aligoté, Chardonnay, Rousette, Altesse, Molette and Jacquère are planted around the town. For reds, Mondeuse, Poulsard, Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes come from some of the property’s oldest vines.

Maison Angelot is run by the brothers Eric and Philippe Angelot. Their 57 acres of vineyards are divided into about 20 different parcels, some hillside and others along the valley floor. Harvest is both manual and with machine (depending on the parcel), and their modern winery houses temperature-controlled stainless-steel and fiberglass tanks.

Delicious stuff, I was sorry to see it go. Until I buy more that is. Anyway, the wine also brought to mind Peter Liem’s concept of goblessness. A gobless wine for him is one to which you could attach any of the following descriptors: refinement, finesse, elegance, subtlety, delicacy, complexity and grace. It would not contain words like: blockbuster, high-extract, glycerin, power, tannin and excess concentration, etc., etc.

I would hardly call the Angelot Bugey a light wine (and there are plenty of other light reds made in that part of France), but it certainly had a light touch. Gobless, you might say.

Sustainable Seafood, Hipster Street Food & More

Faced with a lack of creativity or inspiration at the moment, I’ve decided to do what blogland does best and link to stuff by other people! I know, hardly original, but whatever.

Iwashi – Best Choice Sushi

Last week, Peter Liem mentioned the release of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s new guide to sushi from its Seafood Watch program. If you aren’t familiar with Seafood Watch, it’s an excellent program that publishes a series of guides to help consumers make the best choices regarding sustainable seafood. Given the popularity of sushi — especially here in California — it’s nice to see this new guide added to the program. Sadly, some of my favorites are on the list: Bye bye, tai, toro and unagi. Fortunately, iwashi (sardines) and aji (spanish mackerel) are in the ‘Best Choice’ category. Check out the new guide to sushi here.

What’s the fastest way to open your own restaurant in San Francisco? Start with a taco truck!

San Francisco has some pretty killer street food, a lot of which gets overlooked but that’s just fine. More for the rest of us who don’t mind ordering food from a kitchen or refrigerator with wheels, often parked next to a sleeping bum. Anyway, this past October saw the street food concept taken to an entirely new level (I don’t know why somebody didn’t think of this sooner; also, watch for copycats). Anthony Myint, a line cook at Bar Tartine, rented an Antojitos food truck every week on Thursday night to dish up delicious flatbread sandwiches to hungry SF foodies lined up at 21st and Mission (check out past menus here). After a few weeks and a number of hiccups, it seems that Myint and crew are migrating from the truck to an “actual restaurant“:

To make this change possible, we’ll be moving from the truck into an actual restaurant. We’ve been talking with some local restaurants about sharing space, and we’ll announce the details in a few days. We’ll be closed this week for planning and will re-open somewhere in the Mission on November 6.

The new format will also feature guest chefs/contributors. No word yet as to where Mission Street Food will relocate, but it will be well worth checking out!

How to open a bottle of wine using only a clothes’ hanger, a spoon and a Bible

Boozehound and writer Camper English shares a funny little anecdote about trying to open a bottle of wine while suffering from jet lag at his hotel in London. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably got some idea of how he eventually got the cork out. For the full story, click here.

And Camper, one word for you: screwcap.

Speaking of London:

‘Action’ by St. Etienne, from their 2002 album Finisterre.

Greatest Food & Wine Pairing Ever (or I *Heart* Seattle)

(Above: Champagne grapes are indeed very cute)

I was in Seattle last week for the Wine & Spirits Hot Picks tasting event, which was held at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown. Like I did for a similar W&S event held in LA, I participated in a radio show in the days before the tasting (although this time I called in for a live broadcast). Anyway, the host asked me a common question: What’s the greatest food and wine pairing that you’ve ever experienced?

You think I’d have an answer to this one, but no–I just don’t think that way. I mean, there are loads of epic wine and food pairings that come to mind but I don’t really dwell on them. Too many more to look forward to, I guess. Why live in the past?

That said, one pairing immediately came to mind… Two years ago, I was hanging out in Seattle with Peter Liem prior to another W&S event, and we went to Matt’s In The Market for lunch. At the time, Matt’s was a narrow space with a fish counter and a few tables (it has since expanded to double that size). Hot food was cooked on a propane burner in the back; I think there was also a toaster in use. Peter, of course, brought along a bottle from one of his remote North American stashes: Louis Roederer’s 1983 Cristal.

1983, as Peter told me at the time, is considered an off year for Cristal (and Champagne), yet this wine was gorgeous. Better still, we ordered up a couple of fried catfish sandwiches to pair with it. Damn! Absolutely perfect combination…the Champagne was still very fresh at 23 years old, with plenty of zip left in it–bubbles, acidity–to cut through the rich fish and crispy batter. I can still taste it today, two years later. Now that’s bling!

(Above: The catfish at Matt’s is perfectly fried–crispy outer crust, the meat is fluffy and moist–and then generously served as a sandwich with aioli and greens)

I went back to Matt’s on this last trip, but alas, I didn’t have a bottle of ’83 Cristal with me. Matt’s has always had a good wine program, however, and the selection, I’m pleased to report, grew along with the remodel. Catfish sandwich ordered, we asked for a bottle of the delicious ’05 Muscadet Clos des Allées Vieilles Vignes from Luneau-Papin, a Loire Valley producer with total geek cred. Yeah, it kicked ass.

(Above: The marquee at the Paramount Theatre… not only did Wine & Spirits share the upcoming billing with NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, but also Billy Idol!)

Biodynamics and Classic Japanese Cars

I couldn’t resist that title, sorry.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in the southern Californian auto business, but I’ve always had a place in my heart for classic Japanese cars. I even drive one, the 1976 Datsun 280 ZX seen below pulled off to side of highway 128 in Anderson Valley.

Anyway, the New York Times ran an interesting little article on the increasing collectibility of old Datsuns/Nissans (read it here). While I would love to own a 1972 240 Z, my little ’76 is pretty damn reliable, to say nothing of being quite fast. It’s also yellow. We won’t speak of gas mileage.

(There’s also a nifty slideshow at the NYT showing a few cherry Datsuns from over the years.)

Changing the subject from my wine country getaway mobile to something more vinous, over at Wine & Spirits you’ll find a series of short profiles and tasting notes on wines featured at Josh Greene’s seminar on biodynamics and natural wine at this year’s VinItaly. The seminar itself was lively and fun, and the audience–including some representatives of the Italian edition of Vanity Fair–really dug the proceedings. Anyway, the post will be updated Wednesday and Friday to include all 8 wineries from the presentation. Read the first batch here.

Lastly, my friend and colleague Peter Liem has been profiled by Tom Wark over at Fermentation (thanks for the shout out, Peter!). For those of you not familiar with Tom’s Bloggerview feature, it’s a somewhat regularly updated collection of profiles of the many bloggers posting in the eno blogosphere. I’ve found many a distraction here, and I’m sure you will too.