Tartiflette

Is there any better combination than bacon, cheese, and potatoes?

Tartiflette

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb slab bacon, cut into small dice
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb Reblochon cheese

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Place the potatoes in the large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with the pairing knife. Remove from the heat, drain, and let sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into a small dice and set aside.

  3. In the large saute pan, heat the oil over high heat and add the onion. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, until golden brown, then add the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and place half of it in the round, ovenproof dish. Spread half the Reblochon atop the potato mixture. Cover this with the other half of the potato mixture. Top with the remainder of the cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot.

Small Regions of France

Small Regions of France
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Sunday, January 30, 2011

FLIGHT 1

2006 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape A load of dark chocolate upfront, with hints of tobacco and wet earth. The raspberry liqueur and floral notes in the middle are very good. Rich, dark chocolate on the palate, with lots of candied raspberry and earth. The finish is all spice and tobacco. (93 Points)

2009 Saint-Cosme Condrieu – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu A mineral driven nose, with hints of Asian pear, and lemon zest. The apple in the middle leads nicely into the spicy finish. The palate is much like the nose, with stone and pear flavors, followed by apple and citrus, and nice hint of spice on the finish.

2006 Clos Rougeard (Foucault) Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg – France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur-Champigny Game, leather, and sweaty socks on the nose, with hints of black cherry and raspberry, spice, and tobacco. Sweaty and gamey on the palate, the dark fruit and spicy really come through on the mid-palate, and the tobacco is dominate on the finish. (91 Points)

2007 Domaine de Bellivière Coteaux du Loir L’Effraie – France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Coteaux du Loir Honey and cream infused on the nose, with hints of peach, flowers, and stone in the background. Slightly sweet on the palate, the minerals really shine, and mixes nicely with the peach, honey, and floral aromas.

2005 Château d’Agel Minervois In Extremis – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois Raspberry jam and chocolate on the nose, with hints of espresso and buttered toast. More raspberry jam on the palate, with graphite and mocha at the end. (91 Points)

2006 Les Vins de Vienne Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Sotanum – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Raspberry with floral notes on the nose, with pepper and espresso at the end. Soft and juicy on the palate, with raspberry and lavender, pepper and coffee, and minerals on the finish. (90 Points)

NV Renardat-Fâche Vin du Bugey-Cerdon Méthode Ancestrale Demi-Sec – France, Savoie, Vin du Bugey-Cerdon Lots of cherry and rhubarb on the nose, with hints of tangerine and toast. The yeast at the end is nice. Very sweet on the palate, the cherry and tangerine mix is very good. The toast/yeast flavors are strong on the mid-palate, and the finish is very spicy. (89 Points)

2003 Domaine Gourt de Mautens (Jérôme Bressy) Côtes du Rhône Villages Rasteau – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages Rasteau Cocoa powder and raspberry liqueur on the nose, plus some wet earth and pepper at the end. Both sweet and loamy on the palate, the raspberry liqueur and pepper are really strong on the mid-palate. It’s a little hot on the finish, and the tannins are slightly bitter. (88 Points)

South American Wines

South American Wines
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, January 29, 2011

FLIGHT 1

2007 Finca y Bodega Carlos Pulenta Corte A Vistalba – Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo, Vistalba Lots of spice and floral notes on the nose. Cinnamon, cloves, lavender, and perfume. The palate is more fruity than the nose, but it still had those nice spice and floral flavors. The plum and cherry flavors are really good. (92 Points)

2007 Alvero Espinoza Malbec Cruz Andina – Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo An interesting nose of raisin and milk chocolate mixed with coffee bean and plum. There’s also a little blueberry towards the end. Very sweet tannins on the palate, the grip is pretty strong. Like the nose, it has raisin and chocolate on the front end, coffee in the middle, and plum and blueberry on the finish. (90 Points)

2006 Familia Zuccardi Tempranillo Q – Argentina, Mendoza, Santa Rosa A heavy dose of pepper and blackberry on the nose, with espresso and cherry underneath. Smooth on the palate, the espresso and pepper are really dominate. The dark cherry on the mid-palate is ripe, and the finish is quite mineral driven. (90 Points)

2008 Pascual Toso Malbec Reserva – Argentina, Mendoza Lots of graphite and cedar chips on the nose, surrounded by dark blackberry and roasted coffee beans. Rich and oaky on the palate, with good acid, the dark fruit really shines. The mocha on the mid-palate is nice, and the finish has lots of pencil lead. (90 Points)

2007 Finca Decero Amano Remolinos Vineyard – Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo, Agrelo An explosive nose of grilled meat and graphite, espresso and blackberry, cherry and floral notes. The palate has a huge grip with lots of tannins. Just like the nose, it has lots of meat juice, pencil lead, blackberry, cherry, espresso, and floral notes. (90 Points)

FLIGHT 2

2006 Bodega Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon Nicolas – Argentina, Mendoza Spice and truffle on the nose, plus lots of perfume, cherry and blackberry. It has quite a bit of oak and it’s very rich. This is way to big and oaky. But it had loads of dark fruit. (87 Points)

2004 Viña Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Floresta Apalta – Chile, Central Valley, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley The nose had a sweet, fake candied aspect to it. It was also viscous and spicy. The end had some berry and oak. The palate was quite tannic, but the incense undertones were nice. Slightly sweet, with more of that fake candy flavors. (85 Points)

Double Blind Tasting – 1/23/2011

Double Blind Tasting – 1/23/2011
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Sunday, January 23, 2011

FLIGHT 1

2008 Clawson Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir Angela – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley Dark red in the glass. A nice mix of mushroom and raspberry on the nose, With a little spice and cherry thrown in. Soft and smooth on the palate, the raspberry and cherry fruit was more upfront, with the earth and spice in the background, especially on the finish. (90 Points)

2006 Rusden Grenache Christine’s Vineyard – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley Medium red in the glass. Earthy and fruity on the nose, with lots of sweet spice underneath. The cherry and herbs at the end made for a nice finish. Rich and soft on the palate, it was a bit thin at first, but the earth and sweet spice was very nice. (89 Points)

2006 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley Dark red in the glass. The wine smelled a lot like blueberry pie topped with whipped cream. Spice and tobacco round out the nose. Rich on the palate, The tobacco and blueberry flavors were really well married together. The cigar finish was very appealing. (89 Points)

2005 La Buena Vida Vineyards Pinot Blanc Springtown Reserve – USA, Texas Pale yellow in the glass. Honey infused pear on the nose, with a nice floral background and a mineral tinge around the edges. The apple and citrus on the backend add a nice finish. Beeswax and honeyed pear on the palate, nestled between crushed rock and purple flowers. The acidity really shined on the finish, with lots of apple and citrus. (89 Points)

2008 Windward Pinot Noir Monopole – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles Medium red in the glass. Raspberry and spice on the nose, with a touch of barnyard on top. Slightly sweet towards the middle, the earth aromas come on strong at the end. The tannins are firm and ripe, with nice acid on the palate. The mix of earth and sweet berry flavors on the finish are very good. (88 Points)

2008 Bergström Pinot Noir Cumberland Reserve – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley Dark red in the glass. Starts off with a load of dark, black fruit on the nose – mainly black currant and raspberry. Behind that are aromas of milk chocolate and vanilla, with just a touch of spice and tobacco at the end. Rich on the palate, with firm, slightly bitter tannins. The tobacco and spice are strong on the mid-palate, with dark fruit finally coming around on the finish. (87 Points)

Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter and Hazelnuts

If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, this is a tasty way to cook them. You can use any kind of nut you want. I’ve tried it with pecans and walnuts.

Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter and Hazelnuts

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Put the Brussels sprouts and butter on cookie sheet and cook until the butter browns, about 5 minutes.

  3. Toss the Brussels sprouts, add the nuts and cook about 7 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle with water and cook another 8 or 9 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts are slightly brown.

Roasted Split Chicken with Mustard Crust

Here’s a quick way to cook a juicy chicken. Add a little white wine to the deglaze the pan after cooking the chicken and reduce by half. Then add a cup or two of homemade chicken stock and reduce that by half.

Roasted Split Chicken with Mustard Crust

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)

METHOD:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut alongside the backbone of the chicken to split it open. Spread and press on the chicken with your hands to flatten it. Using a sharp paring knife, cut halfway through both sides of the joints connecting the thighs and drumsticks and cut through the joints of the shoulder under the wings as well. (This will help the heat penetrate these joints and accelerate the cooking process.)

  3. Put the chicken skin side down on a cutting board and spread it with about half the mustard mixture. Place the chicken flat in a large skillet, mustard side down. Spread the remaining mustard on the skin side of the chicken. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, then place the skillet in the oven and cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. It should be well browned and dark on top.

  4. Let the chicken rest in the skillet at room temperature for a few minutes, then cut it into 8 pieces with clean kitchen shears. Defat the cooking juices. Pour some juice on the chicken and serve.

Red Blends

Red Blends
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, January 22, 2011

FLIGHT 1

2005 DiStefano Meritage – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley A nose of raspberry and barnyard lead to subtle spice and floral notes. The tannins are ripe, and the floral, spice, and earth flavors are really good. The finish has a sweet berry flavor that last a long time. (89 Points)

2006 Keith Tulloch Per Diem Quantum – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley, Pokolbin A nice touch of eucalyptus and floral notes on the nose, with raspberry and cherry fruit surrounded by Indian spices. Soft and minty on the palate, the raspberry and cherry fruit had a nice tartness. The finish was spicy and long. (89 Points)

2005 Christian Moueix Médoc – France, Bordeaux, Médoc Heavy notes of tobacco mixed with ripe plum on the nose. Behind that was berries covered in syrup. Firm tannins and strong acidity give a nice frame to the berry fruit and cigar leaf flavors. The finish was good and had a stewed plum taste. (88 Points)

2008 Chappellet Vineyard Mountain Cuvée – USA, California, Napa Valley Stewed plums and toasted oak greet the nose. There was also some coffee bean and spice, cherry and vanilla. Soft on the palate, it was rich and oaky. There was some cherry and plum, and a little spice, but the oak was over-powering. (86 Points)

2008 Robert Foley The Griffin – USA, California, Napa Valley A fruit bomb on the nose, it has loads of blueberry and raspberry with a peppery back-drop. The vanilla is also prominent. More restrained on the palate, the fruit takes a back seat to the pepper and spice flavors. It is a little over-oaked for my taste. (86 Points)

FLIGHT 2

2006 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT A heavy dose of black licorice and tar on the nose, with blackberry and oak at the end. Rich and thick on the palate, the licorice and tar flavors were strong, with the fruit in the background. (91 Points)

2005 Domaine Gilles Troullier Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes L’esprit du temps – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes A bunch of tar and olive juice on the nose, plus some stone and blueberry. The end had a little raspberry and some toasted vanilla. The palate had great acidity and nice firm tannins. The berry and earth flavors were nicely balanced, and the pencil lead on the finish was tasty. (90 Points)

Simple Winter Squash Mash

This is such a simple recipe, but the end result is very tasty.

Simple Winter Squash Mash

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 winter squash, or sugar pumpkin
  • 2-3 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, grass-fed
  • salt

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place face down on a cookie sheet. Cook about an hour, until it is soft.

  3. Mash the squash and mix with butter, sage, and salt.

Cote De Porc a La Charcutiere

I’ve never been a big pork chop fan. Probably because I’ve never had a good pork chop dish. This one makes me feel like I’ve been missing out. And once again, it’s all about the sauce. I know I harp on this, but having a good stock makes all the difference. If you don’t like pork chops, try this recipe. You’ll love it.

Cote De Porc a La Charcutiere

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 rib chops of pork
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Wondra flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup dark, strong chicken or veal stock
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 10 cornichons, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig flat parsley, chopped

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In the oven-safe saute pan, heat the oil, then the butter. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then sear in the hot pan for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the chops. Set them aside on the platter, loosely covered with foil, while you make the sauce.

  2. Return the saute pan to the heat, and add the onion. Cook until golden brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and reduce by half, scraping, scraping, of course. Add the stock (and you really do need a good, dark, strong stock for this). Reduce the liquid by half. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mustard. Add the cornichons, the parsley, and any juice that has run off the cooked pork chops. Adjust the seasoning. Arrange the chops on the platter and pour over the sauce. Eat.

Italy

Italy
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, January 15, 2011

FLIGHT 1

2005 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino – Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino The nose was very earthy, with lots of dried cherry and tobacco. Perfume and spice round out everything. The palate is extremely dusty, with loads of black cherry and spice. The mid-palate adds some spice, and it has a very tasty tobacco finish. (91 Points)

2007 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbera d’Alba Campolive – Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d’Alba A load of tobacco leaf and musty earth on the nose. That is followed by dark berry fruit and a touch of spice at the end. Fairly good acidity and dusty tannins on the palate. Here the dark fruit is more primar, with the earth and tobacco playing a supporting role. (90 Points)

2005 Corte alla Flora Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano A heavily perfumed and fruity nose. The fruit is mainly dark berries. There is also a little spice and some dusty earth. The palate is more earthy than the nose. The tannins are firm and supported nicely by the black currant and raspberry fruit. The finish was long and spicy. (90 Points)

2008 Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino – Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino Somewhat tight on the nose, there are some dusty earth and dark berry aromas. The palate was much better than the nose. It had nice tobacco and earth flavors, supported by raspberry and black currant. The tannins were tame and the acidity was good, especially on the finish. (89 Points)

2006 Elio Grasso Barbera d’Alba Vigna Martina – Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d’Alba A nose of meat with chocolate sauce, with hints of raspberry jam and vanilla. Smooth on the palate, the flavors are the same as the nose, but turned a notch. (88 Points)

FLIGHT 2

2001 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Campolongo di Torbe – Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico The complexity on the nose is lovely. Figs and leather, stewed plums and roasted coffee beans, and a hint of spice at the end. Soft and juicy on the palate, the acidity really shines. The stewed plums stands out, but the leather, figs, and coffee beans are there as well. The spice on the finish is a nice ending. (92 Points)

2004 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbaresco Vecchie Vigne Sorì Paitin – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco A smoke covered nose of black currant and raspberry. The floral and earth notes are very interesting. The palate is very rich and dusty. Here the earth flavors are more prominent, but the berry flavors are very sour. I find this appealing. (90 Points)

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