André Tchelistcheff is Alive and Well!

It is quite rare that we are offered the opportunity to taste a wine from our birth year. Tonight I had that privilege, and what an honor it was!

The 1968 Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Estate Bottled ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir from Napa Valley.
For those of you who are new to wine or new to tasting older vintages, wines are truly like people…The great ones really do get better with age!

First of all, this wine is a very rare bottle of BV Pinot Noir from the time when the Latour family still owned the winery and the great André Tchelistcheff still had his hand in the wine-making process; a man whom Robert Mondavi referred to as…”a fascinating man, brilliant, stimulating, creative – a catalyst for the world of wine.”…“I know of no one who has been more helpful to the industry.  His teachings and consultations internationally, without doubt, improved the quality of winemaking in our country. 

When we first opened the wine, I thought…”it’s dead…it’s done…past peak…what a shame”. But we decided to leave it in the glass to see what would happen. Well…she opened up and began to express herself in all her glory!

A truly elegant wine with notes of truffles, dark cherries and licorice. The sweet nose was addictive and the fruit showed surprisingly well for a wine this old. It had all the qualities that you would find in a great Barolo but without the tannic grip.

We enjoyed it with herb-roasted chicken, which always pairs well with older red wines.

               

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MENU
Champagne Lallier Premier Cru Rosé Brut NV
Spicy Grilled Shrimp, White Beans & Smoked Bacon
Involtini of Eggplant, Ricotta & Pomodoro
Baked Clams

2004 Bouchard, Meursault Perriers
Fresh Linguine with Seafood, Garlic, Wine & Butter
Seafood Risotto


1968 Beaulieu Vineyard, ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir
1999 Luigi Einaudi, ‘Nei Cannubi’ Barolo

1998 Clinet, Pomerol
Herb Roasted Chicken, Rosemary Yukon Gold Potatoes

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Making Wine at Home: Getting Started

Making your own wine at home might seem daunting at first, but once you have purchased all the equipment and have gained a firm understanding of the wine-making process you will quickly begin to embrace something that began almost 8000 years ago.

I will separate the process into 8 stages, today being the first.

 
The first critical step is to find a reputable supplier for all your wine-making needs. In Westchester County, New York, there’s a family run institution where everyone goes to for all their wine-making supplies…Prospero Winery!


Here’s a list of all the equipment you will need:

                
Above:
1. Table Top De-Stemmer
2. Fermentation Vat with Lid
 
I opted to NOT use the de-stemmer and chose to de-stem the grapes by hand. I will give a detailed explanation about that when we get there.
 
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Below:
4. Stainless Steel Puncher
5. Press
  
  
         
  
  
Here are the nutrients, chemicals & additives you will need:

                                  
Citric Acid and Sodium Carbonate are used for sanitizing EVERYTHING!

                                                 
 
You MUST use yeast…never rely on natural yeast!
Metabisulfate is used to:
1. Create sulfur dioxide gas
2. Inhibit bacteria and wild yeasts
3. Increase the aging
4. Protect color and flavor
5. Sterilize equipment
                                      
DAP (Dimaonium Phosphate) and Fermaid are foods which the yeast will feed on…It helps the wine to ferment.
                        
 
                                                 
MicrosEssentials Oenos and Viniflora are nutrients which contain a mixture of organic proteins that help induce Malolactic Fermentation.
 
 
This is a hydrometer. It’s used to measure the amount of sugar in the wine and it will tell you when you should press the grapes into juice.
 
                                       
 
 
You will need Demijohns (carboys) to store the wine while it ferments.
They come in different shapes and sizes but I recommend the standard 5 gallon water-cooler type…just make sure you use glass and not plastic.

 

You will also need additional bottle sizes for later in the wine-making process when you will have odd amounts of wine.

                     

You will need rubber corks (bungs) and airlocks for each bottle.

                                          

Get yourself a syphon kit for transferring wine from jar to jar.

                                      

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Other items:

     Pails / Buckets

Measuring Cups and Spoons


Strainer


Clear Packing Tape

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And of course…
Grapes!

 

Check back soon for the next stage in Wine-Making when we’ll discuss the grapes and how to choose the right one for you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Gio

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© Giovanni Cucullo 2010

Jack, Jill and a Pail Full of Memories

 

Every year on the East Coast, summer comes to an end and everyone breaks out their soft blanket of sadness in preparation for colder weather. It’s a strange numbing feeling that I can never get used to, and by early September summer feels like a distant cousin we tearfully escorted to the airport, perhaps to never see again. 

There is one thing though, that I love about those last days in August…
Jack and Jill’s End of Summer Pool Party. 

Jack and Jill live on a hill (yes, they really do), not far from Bill and Hillary, (yes, that Bill and Hillary), and every summer they invite a dozen of their closest friends to their home to share in a relaxed afternoon of food and wine. 

Jack and Jill (like the Murphy’s) are another couple who understand the importance of a shared experience, and very few people can throw it down with the palpable passion and generosity as they do.  

  

Our first half of the day always begins with Jack shuttling guests from the train station to his home while Jill does some finishing touches around the house. The swimming pool is just the right temperature and as guests arrive, the white Burgundies and German Rieslings begin to make their way poolside. The usual hugs, kisses and smiles are punctuated by the anticipation of the wonderful food and extraordinary wines we expect to taste and imbibe. 

  

     

It’s no coincidence that I have many male friends who easily navigate their way through a kitchen, and Jack is no exception. His great taste is evident in his home, but also with regards to fine wine and culinary exploration. Once everyone settles in, Jack appears poolside with platters of shellfish and house-made dips and salsa which pair perfectly with the white wines. The whole lobsters with truffle mayo were a huge hit and never had a chance with this decadent crowd. 

Everyone made their way in and out of the pool while discussing the years past events as my camera snapped away, but it’s always the children who seem to capture so much. 

 

After a refreshing few hours by the pool we make our way up the hill to the house, leaving our pails of water poolside; excited about the rib eye steaks we traditionally eat each year. The second half of the day is underway. 

Despite my many years of culinary experience, each year I am merely a sous-chef to Jack. This is his show, and knowing all-too-well the amount of effort which goes into hosting such an event, I gladly try to make his day a little smoother by helping him make farm-fresh salads, cutting vegetables and by helping Jill set the table, allowing Jack time to focus on grilling to perfection the gargantuan rib-eye steaks which his butcher double cut just for him.  

The wine aficionados begin to gather around the wine table to survey the prizes of the evening. The showing of wines each year is always astonishing; four decades of classic wines, predominantly Bordeaux. I’m certain I caught a few of the “geeks” grunting and banging their chests in approval. 

  

The salads are made, the corn has been steamed and the steaks have rested their allotted time. Nothing left to do but enjoy the fruits of Jack and Jill’s labor. 

 

      

We cap off the day by polishing off any remaining wine with some artisanal cheese and fresh picked figs. After tasting a few wines from the 197o’s, Jack decides to sneak down to his wine cellar and surprise us by pulling a bottle of 1970 d’Yquem from his collection. Wow! 

  

 

I always talk about the importance of sharing the experience, but every year, somehow, Jack and Jill manage to teach me how to fill that pail with cherished memories. 

Grazie Mille!

Giovanni Cucullo has Dinner with the Murphy’s

When we pulled onto the long driveway I could see them on the grand front porch awaiting our arrival. The lady of the house was gently rocking in a chair sipping pomegranate iced tea and catching up on some reading, while the man of the house selected his best vinyl to set down on his 40-year-old phonograph. I knew this would be a special day.
We shared greetings and embraces and started off our day with some fine English ale and catch up chatter.

I always look forward to a dinner at the Murphy residence.
They are both wonderful conversationalists, consummate hosts, great cooks,  and all-around lovers of life.

We headed to the back patio where the table was elegantly set. The women lingered and chatted in the sun while the men tended to the kitchen to discuss food and all things manly.

The Menu

Quick Roasted Shrimp, Garden Greens, Tarragon & Beurre Blanc
Filet of Beef au Poivre, Smashed Potatoes & Just Picked Chives
Pot de Creme au Chocolate
Irish Cheese Selection

Wine is always part of any proper dinner party.

  

I did not take many pictures on this day because I was often in the moment. Sometimes we bloggers get so caught up trying to capture an event or afternoon through photos and notes, that we lose track of the reason we are there in the first place.

Dinner with the Murphy’s is truly a shared experience !

Red Wine Descriptions

 

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOST COMMON RED WINES

  

Cabernet Sauvignon
{CAB-er-nay SO-vin-nyon}
Medium-bodied: Ruby colored wine with berry aromas and a round finish.
Full-bodied: Dark, rich garnet color with jam & oak aromas & full, dry finish.
Also look for these flavors: blackberry, currant (cassis), bell pepper, eucalyptus, mint, black olive, green olive, earth, mushroom, chocolate, cocoa, smoke, plum, cedar, tobacco, licorice, graphite (pencil).

  

Merlot
{mer-LOW}
Black cherry aromas & flavors; medium-body & soft tannins on the finish.
A softer version of Cabernet.  

 

Pinot Noir
{PEA-know-nwahr}
(It’s the grape used for all red French Burgundies)
Medium-bodied with a hint of earthy aromas balanced by fruit flavors and a silky finish.
Also look for: Raspberry, strawberry, cherry, prune, plum, pomegranate, coffee, spice, coriander, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, earth, smoke, mushroom, “barnyard”, caramel, allspice, violets, lavendar, jasmine, cocoa, sausage, citrus, soy, teriyaki.

  

Zinfandel
{ZIN-fan-del}
Bright ruby color; spicy aromas & flavors; it’s dry & medium to full-bodied.
Also look for: Blackberry, raspberry, jam, cherry, port, plum, chocolate, olive, bell pepper, cloves, black pepper, spice.

  

Beaujolais
{BO-zho-lay}
(or Beaujolais-Villages, Gamay Beaujolais}
Purplish color with grapey aromas and flavors; light to medium-bodied.
Also look for: Raspberry, strawberry, cinnamon, clovbes, rose petal, jasmine, violets, cranberry, mineral.

  

Chianti
{key-ON-tea}
Dry, full-bodied, hint of spice and oak on the nose, velvety finish.
Also look for: cherry, cinnamon, herbs, dried flowers, pepper, coffee.

  

Sangiovese
{san-gee-oh-VAY-see}
Superb Italian red wine, medium to full-bodied with spice, raspberry, cherry and anise flavors.
Also look for: cinnamon, vanilla, herbs, tar, dried flowers, truffle, smoke, pepper, coffee, chamomile, rose petal.

  

Syrah
{sir-RAH}
Smooth, supple texture with pepper, spice and black cherry flavors.
Also look for: dark fruit, pepper, cinnamon, anise, prune, oak, soy, chocolate, smoke, toast, violets.