After 1 and 1/2 years of french study, I think I reached a major milestone……Last week, I went to Alliance de Francaise uptown and borrowed Le Comte de Monte-Cristo from their library. And to my surprise , I tore through the book without much difficulty or need to pull out the dictionary. This feels good. So to celebrate the achievement, a good bottle of Loire wine will be opened with dinner. Stay tuned.
As I mentioned in my previous post, last night a few of us from the store went to Socarrat Paella Bar in Chelsea. I have been wanting to try this new spot out for a few weeks, and glad I pulled the trigger. It was absolutely fantastic. There is one long table which runs down the center of the small, cozy restaurant which seats around 35 people…so expect a wait whenever you go. We arrived around 9:30 and didn’t get seated until 10pm . No worries though, because your patience will be rewarded with friendly, attentive service and delicious, flavorful tapas and paella. The menu offers around 10 small plates and four to five different types of paella to choose from. For me, pork is as natural and necessary as breathing; so if you feel the same then this place will certainly be up your alley. We sampled a wide variety of tapas; there wasn’t a dog in the bunch. The three of us shared one paella, which was fully satisfying and plenty enough after the small plates. Socarrat is just around the corner from where I live; a return visit is certainly in the works. At this time, they have a BYOB policy until they secure a liquor license…..so take advantage of it while you can. Now on to the wines…….
First up was a bottle of the 2006 Alice et Olivier DeSauvignon de St. Bris
This wine is no friggin’ joke. It changed dramatically throughout the meal……..though I am not surprised as their hyper natural wines are polite and shy upon opening; then they gently bring you into their world of nuance,complexity and grace. Savory, mineral laden, and long. It manages to balance the heat of 2006 quite well. Yes, the palate is more ample and the fruit riper than in past vintages–but this wine is harmonious and full of class. Alice et Olivier have been on fire the past several vintages and I am never–never left disappointed after pulling their corks. They are non interventionist vignerons with a sincere faith in Mother Earth and unyielding devotion for vins de terroirs. I see the beauty of life, humanity and nature with every compelling tip of the glass. Please I beg of you, drink their wines in the proper context–with food. They deserve more than a perfunctory, cold evaluation in a sterile environment away from the dinner table and good conversation.Help preserve traditional, artisan, living vins by buying the De Moor wines. NO FARMS NO WINE !!!
Batting next was a bottle of the 2006 Annie et PhilppeBornard“Le Ginglet“ ArboisPupillon(Biodynamic) Made with 100% Trusseauand hailing from the largest AOC in Jura. All of the grapes are sourced from the Cru of Pupillon. We poured the wine and a beautiful pale ruby color soared from the glass making the mouth water and the eye smile . More and more I am struck by the power color can have on the whole wine experience. It is certainly an essential aspect of the pleasure derived from wine, and particularly beautiful and moving when that color is natural and not forced by the hand of man’s ego. Have you seen those inky, Shiraz looking Pinot Noirs out there? Ya me too, and I am tired of that blatant dishonesty. Excuse the outburst….back to the wine.It took half an hour or so, but the aroma poked its head out with an inviting flowery, and savory Mother Earth quality. Its connection to its neighbor, Burgundy, is undeniable. In fact, the nose reminded me of a few of my favorite 2004 Burgs( I love that vintage, by the way; what perfume and head spinning femininity!!). My recommendation, serve the 2006 Annie et Phillipe Bornard “Le Ginglet“ ArboisPupillon cool, with a butter and ham baguette sandwich. Eating well isn’t only for the rich. This is what wine probably tasted like when Rabelais was partying his way through the caves of Chinon. Trinch !!!
Jaime Brockway Warning: Drinking Less Than One Bottle Of Wine Per Week Is Detrimental To Your Health. Approved By Me.
I pinned this post on top because I think this is the best and easiest recipe I have ever tried. Plus, it goes super well with my favorite wine! Hope you will enjoy this pairing too!
The wine I’m going to mention here this week is the Muscadet wine which I tried a few days back and trust me when I say that is terrific. With a smooth, golden and marrowy soft texture, the liquid tastes so heavenly that you can’t help the moan of delight once it goes down your throat. It smells like pine and herbs and rocks. And the mineral taste with a slight touch of grapes and citrus fruits. That makes it all the more intoxicating and fabulous.
The dish I recommend to perfectly complement this wine with is delicious deep fried shrimps. The crispy and crunchy shrimps taste so good especially when their taste is highlighted by the wine.
I think it will be good to share my easy-to-cook recipe for deep fried shrimps which is not only saving me time but also provides delicious food without putting much of an effort.
Take these ingredients:
- Milk: 1 Cup
- Butter Milk: 1 Cup
- Hot Sauce: 1 Cup
- Flour (Self-Rising): 2 Cups
- Cornmeal (Self-Rising): ¼ Cup
- Black Pepper (Coarsely Ground): 2 tablespoons
- Salt: 3 Tablespoons
- Peeled and deveined medium-sized shrimps with the tails left intact: 2 pounds
- Peanut Oil (For Frying)
Here is how I cook it.
Preheat the oil to about 375° F in a deep fryer – mine is Presto one. Get a baking tray, line it with paper towels. Now pour milk, buttermilk and hot sauce into a shallow baking dish and whisk them together until they’re fully mixed. Once you’re done with that, take another shallow baking dish and whisk the dry ingredients i.e. flour, cornmeal, pepper and salt. Before you dip the shrimps in the flour and cornmeal mixture, make sure they are dry and there’s not even a single drop of water on them. Bury the shrimps in the dry mixture for just a fraction of a second, then take them out and dip them in the liquid mixture of hot sauce, milk and buttermilk. After that dip them again in the flour and cornmeal mixture and put them in the fryer to fry. Don’t forget to shake it a bit in order to remove the excess mixture from the shrimps.
Fry for two minutes or until the shrimps turn golden. Fry the shrimps in groups but try not overload the fryer by attempting to fry them all at once. Once golden, remove the shrimps from the oil with the help of a slotted spoon and place them on the baking tray lined with paper towels.
Advice: When I bought my deep fryer, I did a lot of research to find the best one. After reading my articles , I stumbled upon this website and my search was finished. Highly recommend!
Jaime Brockway Warning: Eat Well. Be Good.
Finally, I am back in form to write and taste. Relief. This week we dive into a serious bottle of Muscadet from Claude Branger. Several weeks ago I blogged on their entry level cuvee, the 2006 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine “Le fils de Gras Mouton”(Vintage 59 Imports)
While the wine above is a delicious example of a mineral laden, crispy vin de soif(thirst quencher), the 2004 Claude Branger Muscadet de Sevre et Maine “Terroir Les Gras Moutons“ screams like a true vin de garde(wine for aging). The “Terroir Les Gras” bottling is the top tier wine of the estate and rightly so. The grapes come from a 10 acre parcel in St. Fiacre, the smallest commune in the Sevre et Maine and noted for its unique terroir; and in some cases some very age worthy wines. The vines age in range from 40-70 years, yields are kept low,harvested by hand, fermented with natural yeasts, and age sur lie for about 12-14 months. This year alone, I have had the opportunity to taste the 2002,2004,2005, and 2006 and without question the 2004 has spoken more clearly than the rest. The 2002 was still young, but in a reticent, rebellious stage. 2005 and 2006 were baby monsters and I would recommend tucking them away and re-visiting in three or four years(in the meantime drink the entry level “Le Fils” while you are waiting for the others to shine). The 2004 is showing a beautiful, golden/yellow hue and worth a good look before imbibing. Don’t forget the power color can have on the wine drinking experience. The nose is demur upon opening, but after a good hour decant, it was singing notes of pine,herbs, and wet rocks. Shockingly, there is a wonderful tension on the palate between richness and powerful delineation which compelled, and left us all shaking our heads in disbelief and high praise. Truly, I have never tasted a Muscadet with such a graceful, marrowy soft texture–something of a legend, this wine.
Jaime Brockway Warning: Dream Big.
NV Cousin-Leduc Saumur Brut (Jenny and Francois $26.)- Easy to drink.
Domaine de Fenouillet VDP Vaucluse(Rosenthal $9.)- Easy to drink.
For me, drink ability in a wine is of great importance. It determines whether or not I like the wine; and can envision it accompanying a meal. I want a wine to flow at the dinner table. Wine is meant to be drunk, not just sniffed, slurped and analyzed. Sure, there are many blockbuster wines which receive grand marks and obnoxious prices. But many are just tough to drink. So therefore, not very practical.Both wines above are practical, natural and so damn delicious to drink.
The first installment of Muscdet Monday commences with a soilful bottle of the 2006 Domaine Cluade Branger Le fils des Gras Moutons Muscadet Sevre et Maine(Vintage 59 Imports $15.00). The Branger family domaine, and all its vineyards are located in the Muscadet Sevre et Maine–the most well known of the four appellations in all of Muscadet. Lead by father Claude and son Sebastien, the estate consists of 57 acres of vineyards, all of which are farmed sustainably. The Le fils des Gras Moutons hails from 25 acres of their earlier maturing parcels scattered throughout the appellation; and with vine age averaging around thirty some years. The work done in the vineyard is thorough: all grapes are picked by hand(a rarity in a region full of machine harvesters) and yields are kept low to ensure balance,ripeness, and quality. In the cellar, the wine ferments only with native yeasts in order to express the “placeness” and originality of their terroir. Domaine Claude Branger makes honest, living wines replete with mineral stuffing and class.
Typically, Muscadet is a wine reserved only for warmer months. However, the bright acidity infused in the wine through lees aging and CO2(Melon de Bourgogne, the grape used to make all Muscadet is naturally low in acidity), make it a charming aperitif or focus with many hearty meals of fall and winter. Take for the example the other night, when I prepared a delightful mixture of roasted root veggies sprinkled with fresh herbs; and served next to it a shimmering glass of the 2006 Domaine Claude Branger Le Fils des Gras Moutons. Swirling first and dipping the nose, I was struck by the precision and definition of aroma–stuffed with minerality and soaring citrus daggers. One swig; and the sea saw texture of silk combined with bright acidity was breathtaking and made me dream of the languid Loire River. The fresh herbs from the root veggies echoed nicely the subtle, dried thyme nuances I found hiding in the wine. The marriage was delightful and re-affirmed my opinion on the flexibility of Muscadet at the dinner table.
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