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Posts posted by wnissen

  1. Thanks to the eGullet staff for bringing this back; I hope we'll stay on topic this time.

    For everyone who has been wondering, dinner went great! I decided to serve wine, but after asking them if it would be OK. I swear, it may be just our friends, but they seemed far more uncomfortable that I had to ask than anything else. A good time was had by all. Their daughter did ask what the wine bottle was, and seemed satisfied with the answer of "That's wine. It's a beverage for adults." Then again, she also wanted to know what the olive oil was, and what the sparkling water was. She tried the sparkling water and liked it quite a bit, dubbing it "spicy water!" It was cute.

    jschyun, I agree that a good selection of beverages is important so people don't feel left out. I tend to go overboard in this respect, actually. We had on hand: filtered water, sparkling water, herbal raspberry iced tea, Weinhard's Root Beer (no caffeine), pineapple juice, and 1% and fat free milk. I'm hoping they didn't feel deprived.


  2. Wow, there's a real range of opinions out there. I'm glad I asked. One one hand, we have a not one, but two descriptions of Mormons buying alcohol for non-Mormons, which honestly I would feel odd about accepting. On the other hand, there is the hostly duty (which I take quite seriously) to not make one's guests feel uncomfortable. Certainly, I can imagine some people I know who might be uncomfortable with any consumption of alcohol in their prescence, but I don't think that fits my friends (yes, it will be just the three of them for dinner). He knows about my love for wine, and at work functions has always only asked for caffeine-free beverages, rather than seeming upset that others imbibed. As far as I know, the prohibition against "strong drinks" is not as strong as the Jewish and Muslim prohibitions against unclean foods, no? That might explain why LDS folks are more lenient.

    Ellen, thanks for your views; dinner is at 5:45, if you're in the neighborhood. Just call if you need directions. :biggrin:

    Susan G, thanks for your perspective as well. I think you raise an interesting point about minimizing situations that make our guests aware of differences, especially strongly felt, irreconcilable differences. That's really what the taboo on discussion sex, politics, or religion is about, after all... I'm mostly a live-and-let-live kinda guy, and don't mind differences as long as they aren't forced upon me. However, the obligation of a host to prevent those differences from appearing is a question to ponder.


  3. A similar argument would be made of coffee? Would you refrain from consuming coffee out of a similar fear of offense?

    Coffee! Now that gets to the heart of the argument, doesn't it? I can't imagine they would mind if we had coffee, even in front of their child.

    I think I'll have my wine, then, since it doesn't really seem disrespectful to their beliefs that I believe differently. I'm sure I do a lot of other things that they wouldn't do, anyway.

    Thanks everyone for your input. My meal thanks you!

  4. Some friends who are members of LDS are coming over for dinner tonight, and I plan to serve plenty of healthy, alcohol- and caffeine-free food and drink. However, we typically have wine with meals. I don't want to have wine on the table if it would be offensive, but conversely don't want to conspicuously abstain and make them feel like I'm doing it for them. I don't care what they think of the fact that I consume alcohol and caffeine, but I do care about their comfort, so no flames, please. Oh, and their two year old will be attending. Anyone have any experience with this odd etiquette situation?

  5. Doesn't this imply no more "California Champagne"?

    No, because Champagne is explicitly a semi-generic according to the ATF, which basically means that almost any sparkling wine can be labeled Champagne. Until the U.S. comes to some sort of agreement with the E.U., that isn't going to change.

    Still, the court ruling was a good thing. I actually don't mind if a winery makes some wines not from their namesake area, but the Bronco stuff was just an abuse. I'm sorry that this has been dragged out as long as it has, but the ruling is a step in the right direction.

  6. Domaine Huet is just down the road from you. You have to go. Their wines can require decades to reach their peak, but almost everyone recommends them as one of the finest Loire producers. You can get their stuff in the U.S., but at the cellar door they will be cheaper and the provenance will be perfect. www.huet-echansonne.com Their wines range from light as a feather to massive sweet wines.

    An hour down the road (according to www.maporama.com) is Touraine, home to zingy Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernet Francs. One cult favorite for its value and "transparency" is Clos Roche Blanche. Their main U.S. importer has a brief description available. Definitely check out Baumard's Quarts de Chaume, another long ager (something of a Chenin Blanc hallmark) but also delicious and quite sweet when young. That appellation is near Saumur, 70km to the west.

    But these are the guys who have found importers and actually are pretty well distributed in the states (well, the east coast at least). I highly recommend taking a day or three just to explore any place that has a "dégustation de vins" sign up. That's the real fun, in my book. Speaking for eGullet as a whole, we envy you.


  7. That means reluctantly going to the second-most-frustrating cookbook I own, The Wine Lover's Cookbook (sorry, Robin, it was a gift...).

    Why is this book frustrating?

    You can read what I wrote a little while ago when I was more down on it:


    It's frustrating because it does often produce excellent pairings, but sometimes it's very blah. Of course, now that the pinot succeeded it is back in my good graces and I love it and want to make more recipes from it. Very love-hate.


  8. Hee, you crazy guys! Well, I did go with the Willakenzie, which turned out to have a combination of bass, serious cherry notes with lighter underripe strawberry. A very interesting wine. The sauce was not as sweet as I had anticipated (I ended up adding all the orange juice) and was not harsh at all with the 13.8% Willakenzie. The star anise and allspice really showed off the fruit and spice of the wine, and I was completely impressed.

    The only thing that didn't work out 100% was the grilling of the tenderloin, which was about 35F when I started. It took twice as long as specified, and the sugar on the outside got a little burned, which detracted a tiny bit from the flavor. Live and learn. Thanks for your comments.


  9. I'll second the huzzah for the Oregon Brewer's Festival. I was blown away that there was not a bad beer I tried. So many that if I hadn't taken pictures I wouldn't remember any of them. A great selection of styles, served at the correct temperature, friendly folks, and plenty of water, what more can you ask for? Well, actually, I could ask for a smaller "taste" size. $2 got you a seven ounce taste, which is huge! Taste five beers and you've consumed a liter... Still, I realize that a smaller pour would have slowed down the pourers, so I can see why they don't do it. A very well run festival.


  10. Hi DoverCanyon,

    Thanks for the tip, I will wait on the OJ until it's almost all boiled down. Actually, the above recipe is the sauce, I didn't even include the marinade, which was red wine, chopped shallot, ground allspice, crushed star anise, olive oil, salt, and pepper! I like that cookbook, but the recipes with two dozen ingredients are a pain to put together.

    If anyone has a specific recco, please let me know, I'm about to start cooking!

  11. Hello Folks,

    Just back from a trip to Portland, I got a hankering to try a recipe tailor made to match pinot noir. That means reluctantly going to the second-most-frustrating cookbook I own, The Wine Lover's Cookbook (sorry, Robin, it was a gift...). It has a recipe for Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Sauce. Two tenderloins are sauced with 2 T chopped shallot, 1 T olive oil, 1/2 cup each port and pinot noir, 2 T raspberry vinegar, 1/4 tsp peppercorns, 1/4 c. pomegranate concentrate, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1.5 c. stock, 2 star anise pods, 1 tsp. honey (or to taste), and 2 T butter. The book says, "This pomegranate sauce brings out a similar flavor in many pinot noirs - a sweet-tart character that is quite intriguing. The use of star anise in the sauce plays into the exotic Asian spice character that can show itself in both the bouquet and flavor of many pinot noirs."

    So, what would you pair with this somewhat sweet recipe? Here is the selection of pinot noirs in the cellar, courtesy of CellarTracker:

    375ml 1998 Acacia Pinot Noir Carneros (Carneros, Napa Valley, California, USA)

    750ml 1996 Régis Bouvier Côte de Nuits Villages Cuvée Vielles Vignes (Côte de Nuits Villages, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France)

    750ml 2001 Brick House Pinot Noir Cuvee Du Tonnelier (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)

    750ml 2000 Firesteed Cellars Pinot Noir (Oregon, USA)

    750ml 2001 Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir (Mendocino, North Coast, California, USA)

    750ml 2001 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Yamhill Cuvee (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)

    750ml 2001 Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)

    750ml 2001 St. Innocent Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)

    750ml 1997 Tollot-Beaut & Fils Bourgogne (Bourgogne, Burgundy, France)

    750ml 2001 Torii Mor Pinot Noir (Oregon, USA)

    750ml 2000 Van Duzer Pinot Noir "Barrel Select" Estate (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)

    750ml 1999 Van Duzer Pinot Noir "Flagpole Block" Estate (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)

    750ml N.V. Georges Vesselle Coteaux Champenois Grand Cru (Coteaux Champenois, Bouzy, Champagne, France)

    750ml 2001 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir (Oregon, USA)

    Honestly, I don't know whether to go with a riper Pinot or one with more acid. Any thoughts?



  12. Given that in most of the traditional winemaking regions of Europe, it is a struggle to acheive either ripeness or maturity before rains and rot set it, why would anyone expect that the same vines planted in much warmer climactic conditions be as balanced as in Europe? If that were the case, it would be a huge surprise, the effects of rootstock, trellis, irrigation, and hills notwithstanding. The way I see it, you have two choices: 1. Grow in a marginal climate, fighting for both ripeness and maturity and therefore producing in poor years wines that are green and thin, and in great years wines where the acid, sugar, and flavor all come together perfectly. This is the European model. Or 2., Grow in a warm area, where ripeness is nearly a given, and hope that you get maturity before the potential alcohol hits 17%. This is the new world model.

    From the standpoint of a multi-million case brand, the choice is obvious. Even the supermarket consumer demands a vintage date, but is not willing to put up with any vintage variation. We just don't allow our wines to be sub-par in sub-par years. So unless the perception of wine as almost a manufactured product changes (not likely, seeing as we insist on year-round tomatoes and cheap chicken no matter the cost), the big producers are going to have to make the easy layup and grow wines in places where ripeness is rarely an issue. Even when we're talking about premium wines, I certainly see a trend that the most sought-after wines are ones that are most consistent from year to year. This just makes sense. I don't fault anyone for desiring a consistent wine, because it sucks to be stuck with inferior wine.

    However, I have a hard time accepting 14.5% alcohol chardonnays and pinot noirs as table wines. I want it all: ripe fruit and acid. Flabby wines taste good (like fruit syrups) on their own, but just taste harsh when placed with food. I'm willing to do some work and taste the wines in order to find the ones that are balanced. My cellar is 45% California, so clearly I'm no hater of the new world.

    P.S. At least in Australia, powdered tannin is OK. And acidification is OK in California.

  13. I have two of the tasting glasses and have never used them. The only real use for them is portion control and also to provide a controlled means of assessing color. Just fill the stem, and tip over onto a piece of paper. Much easier to assess color with a fixed amount of wine in a fixed position. That said, you can't taste color, so I've never tried to measure it rigorously. The glasses are also impossible to swirl in, unless you roll them sideways on the table. Anyone want to buy mine, they are taking up space in the liquor cabinet. :biggrin:


  14. Julia's recipe for Suprêmes de volaille à blanc calls for vermouth, but she says you can also make it with tawny port. Not wanting to waste a real tawny on this, I used a grocery store "tawny" "port" that made the sauce less than white, but tasted great. I've also made a rosemary, dried cherry, and LBV port sauce to go with sautéed pork tenderloin medallions. Again, yum. My only beef is that these become difficult to match with wine due to all the sugar. I usually pour myself a small glass of the sauce wine and sip it with the meal.


  15. I can't believe all the bad vibes towards walking shoes here. Yes, many walking shoes are ugly, but many are not. I've seen Eccos that look nice, but Mephistos are just too insanely comfortable.

    For instance, these shoes are not perfect for formal dress, but they'll work. And walking five miles in them is much easier than in sneakers, which have a too-soft sole and insufficient support.


  16. I've always felt that the supposed comfort of jeans is massively overrated. Rough fabric, large seams, lots of rivets; they were originally designed for miners, guys who were constantly destroying their clothes because they were working around sharp rocks all the time. A pair of dress pants (slacks or trousers, whatever that means) and some sturdy walking shoes are far more comfortable. Plus, it will take an extra 2.5 seconds for the Parisians to identify you as a foreigner.

    With respect to Taillevent, jacket and tie is sadly not required, and you will be stuck in a room with all the other Americans in any case. It's a very nice room with far fewer smokers, but it's the American room nonetheless. We saw a woman in one of those atheletic shirts thats actually not intended for athletic use, and she seemed to get the same perfect service as everyone else. However, the setting clearly demands fancy dress, in my opinion.


  17. The only acceptable flavor of beef jerky for road trips is "Hot" flavor. I hate to stop while driving, so on a 360mi / 580km trip from northern to southern California, I only stop once in the middle. That means my big sheet of jerky has to last at least two hours, and that means something so spicy that you can't eat more than a little bit at a time. If I get pepper flavor, I'll eat the whole thing in five minutes. If I get "teriyaki" flavor, I'll throw up in five minutes. So hot it is. All hail hot beef jerky.


  18. Wow, this is a little embarassing, but I get all my Latin from Disney, so I thought NulloModo was a play on Quasimodo, which according to the fine documetary animated film "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" means half-formed. Thus I thought it meant unformed.

    I'll have to try Old Bay in more dishes; I grew up in outside of D.C. so I can't imagine serving crab without it, but I have to say it doesn't often make an appearance. And hot sauce, for God's sake! I have precisely three bottles: Tabasco regular, "Scorned Woman," and Snake Venom. You must have as many hot sauces as I have wines!


  19. I absolutely love the baked ziti loaded with mozarella where the top noodles are crunchy and almost uncooked. Nothing better than that. Also, even horrible Chinese food tastes good to me. General Tso's chicken looks like fried tripe coated with unidentifiable sauce? Sounds great!

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