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Jean Brislance

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Everything posted by Jean Brislance

  1. Indeed I did. Mmmm...Biella! I really enjoyed Biella. Bruce, I am glad to see you are back. I enjoyed reading some of your past reviews, and look forward to reading about some places in my neck of the woods! Jean
  2. 2002 Nadaria Nero d'Avola Sicilia - A dark purple-ruby in color. Nose is soft and powdery, with aromas of red berries, dark dried fruit, and a little smoke. Flavors include lots of rasiny dried fruit, red berries, tart plum, smoke, and some mineral qualities. Medium-bodied, with a medium length finish that is also pleasantly smoky. A decent, cleansing acidity with soft, fine tannins. Not a really profound or overly complex wine, but it has some interesting flavors, is a nice quaff with food, and is a good bargain at $11. Jean
  3. 2002 Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Garys' Vineyard - Very dark ruby in color. Aromas of black cherry, stewed red berries, plums, dried herbs, and a noticeable trace of alcohol. Bright and juicy, with flavors of black cherry, raspberry, strawberry-rhubarb jam, cola, and a hint of licorice. Quite lively, with a decent acidity. The tannins are very smooth. Big, fun, fruit-driven, and flavorful. A little bit of alcoholic heat on the long finish. Even on day 2, there was some noticeable alcohol. I did not remember that on a previous occasion with the '02 Garys'. Chalk it up to this particular bottle, perhaps? Tasty, but I found the alcohol on the finish a little distracting this time around. Jean
  4. This is fantastic. Jim, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and emotions with all of us. I look forward to more Liquid Literature! All the best, Jean
  5. I have actually been to the Horny Toad, about 10 years ago. If I recall, really good fried chicken. This has been a very entertaining thread! Jean
  6. Andre, in a blind tasting, I swear I could have easily mistaken it for something like a Marquis-Philips Shiraz. It smelled very New World and manufactured. Now, I should clarify that I don't mind a New World manufactured fruit-and-oak bomb wine once in awhile. But when I want that, I'll get myself a Marquis-Philips! I think it was most disappointing because I opened this because it was Spanish, and I thought it would be nice with a Spanish-inspired pasta dish. This wine definitely did not taste Spanish! All the best, Jean
  7. 2001 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Vinas Viejas Garnacha - Very dark purple color. The aroma is a little like a big Aussie Shiraz...blackberry liqueur, vanilla, and oak, and also a little bit "grapey." Big flavors of blackberry, blueberry, cocoa, pepper, and oak. Still pretty tight, with firm tannins that really make their presence known on the long, spicy, and oaky finish. The oak seems to throw it out of balance, in my humble opinion. Extremely "New World" in style. I never would have guessed this was Spanish. Not recommended with food! This absolutely overpowered tonight's dinner of chicken and pasta with a saffron sauce. Definitely one for sipping on its own. Oh well, live and learn... Jean
  8. Wow, excellent notes, Andre! Sounds like it was a fantastic experience. Piedmont is an area of budding interest to me, and I am attempting to learn more about it and try more wines from there. Thank you for your notes, All the best, Jean
  9. I haven't had a Nalle Zin since the '99 vintage, but your remarks are right on as far as the style is concerned. I remember the '99 being a very food-friendly wine, and not at all like the monster Zins. Thanks for the note, Jean
  10. 1999 Tenuta Bibbiano Montornello Chianti Classico - A clear dark red in color. Nose is very pretty and floral, with aromas of cherry, strawberry, rose petal, earth, and herbs. Flavors similar to the nose, with cherry, strawberry, and herbs, but also some earthy spice. Tannins are a bit on the chalky side. A fairly simple and straightforward wine, but there is a really nice, fresh acidity on the finish. A good choice for accompanying food, and a wine for drinking without thinking too much. Not too bad. Jean
  11. I started making homemade pasta last year, and I am having a blast with it. My best effort yet was a herbed pappardelle to go with a venison ragu. The noodles turned out absolutely perfect, silky, and gorgeous. It is definitely a lot of work, but as you discovered, it is a great was to kill a few hours! Good luck to you! Jean
  12. I'm with you on that. I would also add other mayo-based salads, like chicken salad and tuna salad. Also, I have never really liked squash. This started when I was a kid, and I have never gotten over it. However, unlike many folks, I absolutely love beets, and they are perhaps my favorite veggie! Jean
  13. Along these lines, recently someone shared a recipe with me for prosciutto-wrapped scallops on rosemary skewers. This is my take on it: Basically, you need large sea scallops, sliced prosciutto, rosemary sprigs, and a little olive oil (optional: some aged balsamic vinegar). Strip all of the leaves off of the rosemary sprigs, leaving the tip, which makes an attractive presentation. Also, you may wish to take a knife and sharpen the woody end of the rosemary sprig to make for easier skewering. You need to cut the prosciutto into long strips and wrap them around the scallops like a little belt. Depending on the size of the rosemary sprig, skewer two or three scallops like a kabob, threading it through the sides to keep the prosciutto in place. Heat some olive oil in a hot skillet and sear on each side for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side (the original recipe called for butter...I used EVOO instead). Serve immediately. This makes for a nice appetizer. I also like to drizzle a little bit of aged balsamic vinegar on this and around the plate for an added zing! All the best, Jean
  14. 1997 Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino - Dark ruby in color, with a slightly purple hue. Aromas of black cherry, red berry, plum, earth, and a little licorice. Smells quite nice. Flavors of black cherry, minerals, licorice, and some flowers. Tannins are very soft and fine. Very approachable, medium-bodied, with a pleasant floral and mineral finish. This is clearly ready to drink, and I can't imagine it improving with more bottle age. The $39 price tag was still on the bottle, and while it tasted good, it really wasn't any more impressive than a decent Rosso di Montalcino. Not exactly money well spent, in my humble opinion. Jean
  15. 2003 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough - Pale gold in color with almost a greenish tint. Intense nose, with some peach, lemon-lime citrus, and fresh cut grass. Flavors show some similarities to the nose with the citrus, peach, and grass, but also some earthy herbs and an almost cinnamon-like spice. Rich and expansive in the mouth, more full-bodied than other SB's I have tried. A long finish that is very fresh and lively. An absolutely delicious white wine. Jean
  16. Last weekend, I was in the Dinkytown area of Minneapolis and met some friends at the Loring Pasta Bar. They did not have an enormous list, and I am at a loss to remember specifics, but a vast majority of the wines were in the $20 to $30 range per bottle, with a pretty low markup. In fact, one of the most expensive wines on the list was a 2001 Loring Wine Company (no relation to the Loring Pasta Bar) Pinot Noir (the Clos Pepe, I think?) for $55. If I recall, this wine was $40 a bottle on the mailing list from the winery. Jean
  17. 1998 Chateau Montlisse Saint-Emilion Grand Cru - A vibrant and brilliant dark red in color. Extremely aromatic, with some currant, dark dried fruit, licorice, cedar, and spice. Flavors include loads of dark fruit, licorice, minerals, herbs, cedar, and some spice. Very full in the mouth, with velvety tannins. Nice, complex finish. Could have used a little more time to let the tannins soften a bit, but it opened up nicely in the glass with some air time. A pretty interesting wine, and I think it was a relatively decent value in Bordeaux (mid $20 range, I think?). Jean
  18. I think that is the problem. The scallops need to be pretty dry to get a good sear. If they are dry, they will get a nice brown crust on the outside. All the best, Jean
  19. Jean Brislance

    Summer Whites

    Several friends of mine buy the Sokol Blosser Evolution 9 regularly to have on hand for their summer sippers. I believe it is a blend of 9 different white grapes, hence the name. If I recall from a tasting last year, it is very fruit-driven and would be a definite crowd-pleaser. Jean
  20. Jean Brislance

    Summer Whites

    Elissa, Albarino is a recent discovery for me as well. You may want to look for the 2002 Nora Albarino Rias Baixas. I had this recently, and bought some more to consume as one of my "summer whites." Nice fruit and minerals, and a lively acidity. Perfect for summer, and I believe priced somewhere in the $11-$13 range. Jean
  21. I won't eat anything where you take meat or fish and turn it into a mayonnaise-based salad (tuna salad, chicken salad). Not my cup of tea at all! Jean
  22. My favorite gadget is my stick blender. It is so handy, and I din't have to dirty my real blender if I ever need to puree some soup, make a small batch of salsa, etc. I love it! All the best, Jean
  23. 2000 Marziano E Enrico Abbona Nebbiolo d'Alba - Dark ruby-purple in color, with some dark orange at the rim. Very aromatic, with blackberry, tar, flowers, vanilla, and a hint of fennel. Flavors are a dark berry medley, with some cherry, herbs, flowers, licorice, and vanilla. Tastes very fresh and floral, with some nice fruit. Tannins are fine, and the texture is medium-bodied. Finishes with almost and herbal, mineral, and licorice quality, with some additional peppery spice. A tasty wine with some character, and an attractive price at $17. Jean
  24. Squeat, thank you very much for the kind welcome, and for the detailed explanation of the risotto. I appreciate you taking the time to explain further. It sounds wonderful, and I will absolutely give this a try. As for the ravioli I made, you did something with your risotto recipe that I had wish I had done with the ravioli...that is adding balsamic vinegar. The ravioli were very pretty, but the richness and sweetness of the beet/goat cheese mixture needed a little acidity, I thought. I will do that next time, though. Thanks again! All the best, Jean
  25. Greetings, I am a little late to the party here, but beets are my favorite veggie, and I am always looking for new things to try with them. I generally like them simply roasted, but I enjoy pickled beets, and have even gone so far as to try making roasted beet and goat cheese ravioli. I would love to know more about the roasted beet risotto. I guess I am curious at what point you add the beets to the risotto? Are they added towards the end after the rice is nearly al dente, or do you add them earlier? Thanks very much, Jean
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