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SAVE THE DATE!

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Cocktail Fodder is back. But a little different. Photo by Hector Garcia.

Cocktail Fodder is back! Save the date! One week from today, on October 11th, your favorite conversation-starting, fun-fact generating, snarktastic blog will be back, producing new content.

Yes, the Fodder has been on hiatus for a little longer than expected. Yes, we’re officially down a founding member. Yes, we’ll have to slim down content for the time being before we find a bright young mind to join the cause. Yes, Captain Adam is still churning out the good ole alcohol related humor. No, we will not waver from our goal or stop rocking your world with brain-stimulating, morally challenging opinions and espresso machine fodder tidbits. No, you won’t get those 30 minutes back each day you spend on Cocktail Fodder. Sorry.

So mark you calendar. Put it in your Blackberry. Throw it in your iCal on your iPad or iPhone. Do what you need to do. Just remember, we’re back and better than ever. Get ready.

Cocktailfodder.com

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

cocktailfodder.com!!!

We are now at cocktailfodder.com! That’s right, we made the jump.

That is all.

Wine for Thought: Our newest guest blogger joins Cocktail Fodder with a value Rosé you can’t miss!

July 21, 2010 1 comment

Spain's wine regions.

In today’s Wine for Thought segment, I would like to introduce Sarah as our first guest wine blogger. I’ve wanted to give Sarah a guest spot on the Fodder since her arrival at the East Village Wine Geek‘s shop a month ago. Sarah splits her time as a wine manager at the shop and as an intern at WineChap; a slick online resource that gives you reviews of restaurant’s wine lists throughout New York City. (Definitely worth a look!) A passionate student of wine with an already enviable palate, (“Sarah, I still don’t get the citrus fruits in this wine!”) Sarah will be helping out on Wednesday’s Wine for Thought segments. Here is her first post about a 10 year old Spanish Rosé that is worth a try for the daring and curious wine drinker. Enjoy!

Wine is not just for drinking. Obviously, wine is great for just drinking, but there comes a time in a drinker’s life when the urge to get something more than intoxication out of a bottle may arise. The desire to taste something new, better and different can overcome even the most apathetic boozer and encourage them to find a new experience.

Enter López de Heredia. One of the oldest bodegas in Rioja, López was founded by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta in the late 1800s during the post-phylloxera exodus from France to Spain. While the bodega is decently large, with three vineyards covering 170 hecatres, the López family continues to make traditional wines with care and attention that are released only when deemed ready.

Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva 2000

The López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva 2000 is love in a bottle. Bottled love is a pretty good experience, and this blend of Garnacho, Tempranillo and Viura is the best lover that you can get at this price point. She has been waiting for years to become exactly what you want and need; to fulfill desires you did not know that you had. Most rosé is made to buy young and drink yesterday, but this is primed to give you all the nutty caramel goodness you could possibly want.

The day-glo orange hue and distinctive oloroso-style nose come from the purposeful oxidation of the wine throughout the ageing process. When oxygen comes in contact with wine, it beats the poor drink into submission. However, in a controlled environment, oxygen can be used to add complex flavors and aromas. While hints of burnt sugar and sweet spice are evident on the nose, the palate is dry and tangy; she is surprisingly fresh for her age. Drink chilled but not cold, with food or without, but definitely in good company.

To be clear, this wine is a bit bizarre. This is especially true if it is your first time with an older one. That said, the López rosé – which is aged for four years in barrel before being tucked away in some dank, dark corner for another six in bottle – offers a chance to taste age at a ridiculously low price. While $26.99 may exceed your normal wine budget, remember that this weird, orange wine has been lying down in the cool dark for ten years waiting for you.

Until next time, keep on sipping and swirling the good juice.

*For those of you in the Tri-State area, September Wines in New York City currently carries the 2000 vintage. Be on the lookout at your local wine shop to see if they carry any of this producer’s wines.

Wine for Thought: An introduction to wine and cheese

July 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Wine and Cheese

In this week’s Cocktail Fodder “Wine for Thought,” I want to talk about pairing wine with cheese. Wine and cheese just makes sense together and have been enjoyed that way since the beginning of time. The Greeks were even known to grate cheese directly into their wine goblets! Blasphemy by today’s standards, but maybe they were onto something like they were with democracy. Anyway, if paired correctly, wine and cheese can enhance your overall food experience and allow you to better appreciate both. Discovering new tasting notes on a wine, by way of cheese, is quite the rewarding gastronomical experience.

A Caves Saint-Pierre Vacqueyras

I came into the shop yesterday and enjoyed an impromptu wine and cheese pairing with my co-worker Sarah. We chose a southern Côtes du Rhône from Vacqueyras that was 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah. After letting the wine aerate for some time, we took a sip and made our initial tasting notes: the nose was earthy and vegetal, while the palate exhibited a prominent yet balanced acidity with hints of ripe berries. Acidity is the chemical property (pH) in wine that makes your taste buds perk up and tickle. After the initial taste, I strolled over to Barnyard to pick up two cheeses to match up with the wine. Since the wine had a bright acidity, I decided that semi-soft cheeses were the order of the day. With pairing, you can either mirror or contrast the wine and cheese. In this instance, I chose to contrast. I went with a delicious French goat cheese called Bucherondin and a triple-crème-style cheese known as Pierre Robert. The Bucherondin was delicious with a crumbling claylike consistency and slight tangy flavor, while the Pierre Robert was creamier with an even more pronounced tanginess.

The Bucherondin succeeded in softening the wine’s acidity on the palate while allowing the fruit to come through. (Success!) The Pierre Robert was an interesting pairing with the Vacqueyras in that it seemed to prop up the acidity on the palate. I honestly think I came up short with the Pierre Robert pairing. Sarah and I were both craving soft cheeses — goat cheese in particular — so both cheeses allowed us to discover what worked and what didn’t. To add a wrinkle to the story, Sarah preferred the Pierre Robert over the Bucherondin with the wine. The moral of the story: to enjoy wine, there are no rules just guidelines.

Here is an informative website with general guidelines for pairing wine with cheese.

Sip on!

Wine for Thought: Gamay from the Beaujolais!

July 7, 2010 2 comments

Beaujolais Nouveau: Good to chill

In this week’s Wine for Thought, I am going to touch upon a red wine that you can put on ice and chill. I mentioned Gamay in last week’s recipe of the week. It still stands as a perfect compliment to that Pesto Shrimp Penne recipe. Today, though, I’ll give you a bit more on the grape’s history and current state in the wine market.

Joseph Drouhin's Beaujolais Villages.

Gamay is grown all over the place but its ancestral homeland is in Beaujolais, located in the southernmost part of Burgundy, France. Although technically a part of “Greater Burgundy”, its soil, topography, and climate are distinct from the noble area to the north. The red wines produced in Beaujolais are predominately made from the Gamay grape. The Gamay grown in Beaujolais produces a wine that is light and fruity with a bright acidity on the palate. All three of these characteristics make it a great wine to have chilled at a picnic, at the beach, or at a barbecue in the park or rooftop.

Some people will recognize Beaujolais Nouveau as a wine that is released on the market in September/October; right after the harvest. Georges Duboeuf, the large French negociant, is synonymous with Beaujolais Nouveau. His wines, festooned with flowers, are the quintessential quaffing wines. So if you want to try one, you can’t go wrong with a Georges Dubeoef. Beaujolais Nouveau is the most predominant example of Beaujolais on the U.S. market and is your best bet to find and throw in that waiting bucket of ice.

There are other, more serious Gamay Beaujolais wines that are also great on ice. Instead of serving them between 55-65 degrees (the preferred red wine serving temperature), serve them between 45-55 degrees and enjoy the juicy fruit and spice. So ask your local wine merchant for an affordable Gamay from Beaujolais, pop it into the fridge, wake up in the morning, prepare your snacks, get outside, and enjoy the goodness offered from the region of Beaujolais.

In the future, I’ll make sure to throw out some more examples of wines that can and/or should be chilled this Summer. Until then, keep sipping the good stuff.

Wine for Thought: A crowd-pleasing wine from Austria — Grüner Veltliner!

June 30, 2010 1 comment

A 2007 Berger Grüner Veltliner

In last week’s inaugural Cocktail Fodder wine discussion, I talked about the Italian wine Pecorino. I hope all of you have had the opportunity to try this remarkable juice and share it with your friends.

This week I am going to introduce you to a wine that is readily available on the U.S. market and is currently selling like hot cakes here at the shop in the East Village. As the most widely harvested grape in Austria, accounting for over one-third of the vineyard plantings in the country, Grüner Veltliner (GROO-ner, VEHLT-ly-ner) is an Austrian classic that is perfect for the spring and summer months.  Once known as Grüner Muskateller, Grüner Veltliner only became noteworthy post-WWII when more advanced viticulture allowed for the full potential of the grape to be realized. While there are some nice examples of aged Grüner Veltliners, it is better known for being a young wine. If your local wine shop carries it, they should have the most recent vintages of ’07, ’08, and ’09. These wines will typically be dry, light to medium-bodied, with a lively food-friendly acidity. That makes this wine great to beat back the heat and enjoy with a wide range of summer foods.  For pairings think tofu and vegetables, cold soups, Asian-influenced dishes, and lighter meat fare (veal, pork, and poultry).

"The Luncheon of the Boating Party"

Renoir's "The Luncheon of the Boating Party." That party is missing some Grüner, don't you think?

The Grüner that ABC Wine Company currently carries is the 2009 Berger Grüner Veltliner. It’s a 1L bottle in a crown cap (the same type of cap used to bottle beer).  At 11 dollars a pop, with flavorful notes of green apple and citrus and the capability of serving 6 people, this is a win-win situation for every recent graduate, cost conscious shopper and wine lover out there.

Let’s say it all together now: GROO-ner, VEHLT-ly-ner!

Wine for Thought: Pecorino from Italy

June 23, 2010 6 comments

To start off the Cocktail Fodder’s wine section I’d like to introduce our readers to an obscure, off-the-beaten-path wine varietal known as Pecorino. In this particular case the wine and grape are one and the same: Pecorino wine is made from the Pecorino grape. Grown predominately in the east-central Italian regions of Abruzzo and the neighboring Marches (see map of Italy below) this wine is a pleasant surprise for the uninitiated. With summer in full swing we all want to drink wines that are light, clean, and crisp to beat back the heat. Most people think immediately of the go-to whites of recent memory: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, etc. While these are all great varietals for the summer months, wouldn’t it be nice to find some indigenous grapes from remote places in the world that you’ve never heard of before that might satisfy your white wine craving? You might also impress your friends while you’re at it.

The official appellation of the Pecorino grape in the Marches is known as Offida Pecorino. Once cast off as being a grape that produced too astringent wines, a group of devoted young wine makers entered the region and decided to have a go at making it into a wine with a nice mixture of fruit, crispness, and minerality. The Pecorino that I recently tried was medium-bodied, appropriately acidic and exhibited a nice depth of fruit with prominent notes of white peach and pear on both the nose and palate. In terms of food pairings for this wine think rich salads, Asian-inspired cuisine, and chicken dishes. For instance, the round fruit on the palate would act as a great counter to the spiciness of a Thai dish. Enjoy!

Until next time, keep swirling and sipping.