Open That Bottle Night, #3
July 22, 2014

Every two or three months, R and I get together with our friends and we all bring a couple of "those bottles" -- you know, the kind that you're saving for a special occasion, only when that special occasion comes, you decide that your Uncle Albert would be just as happy with that Yellowtail as he would your Ridge Monte Bello, so back in the closet it goes.

Why not bring your great wine to folks who will appreciate it?  And why taste one great wine when you can taste six?  That's the motivation behind Open That Bottle Night.

We use the following format:

  • One bottle per person. 
  • The bottle should be a special bottle -- a wine or style that you're really geeking out about right now, or maybe something that's one of your longtime favorites.
  • Each bottle should be wrapped completely in foil.  We'll pour each wine once blind, talk about it, write our notes, make our guesses, then reveal it, with the opportunity to re-pour. 
  • No tricks.  Since this is a partially blind tasting format, varietals that are incredibly uncommon or renditions that are completely atypical are actually less fun than wines that allow you to explore and expand your knowledge.

Here's the result of our most recent round:

OTBN3 - VouvrayGlass

Wine #1

Tasting Notes: 

This wine is unreal.  It’s bright gold, with a neon-green undertone.  If you’d presented me with this in a glass, I would have assumed it wasn’t wine at all, but a liqueur or possibly some kind of sports drink.  The nose is equally confusing.  Anise, and several other herby smells.  Almost like Galliano without the sugar!  (R maintains that it’s only visually suggestive of that Italian liqueur, but I think there’s more of a connection than that.)

On the palate, it’s low-acid, smooth and slightly viscous, like a sweet wine might be, but I’m not getting a lot of sugar from it, if any.  Any fruit that was in here has dropped away, leaving beguiling but difficult to classify secondary flavors.  


Obviously an old-world white wine.  Pinning down the age was difficult.  On the one hand, there were no signs of oxidation in the color or on the palate.  On the other hand, it must be old enough to allow the fruit to have dropped away or evolved into secondary flavors.  What kept the wine youthful during all this time, given that it is not a sweet wine?   I guessed that it was made in the 70’s. 

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July 22, 2014 by orion in wine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Corn and Fennel Chowder with Crawfish Salad
July 02, 2009

CornFennelChowder Asked to bring a soup dish to a dinner party, I decided to take a play from an old playbook and give it a new twist.  Seven years ago this week I made my first corn chowder right here on this blog.  I was so proud!  It was a good recipe: a cold, pureed corn chowder with sun-dried tomatoes.  It went through a lot of incarnations over the next couple of years, becoming a cold lemon-driven soup, then a spicy unpureed crab chowder with whole kernels.  Then I dropped it altogether.  I haven't made it in nearly five years.

Lately, though, I've been obsessed with the flavors of corn and fennel.  I've been using fennel as a bulbiferous replacement for onions, since Rebecca is mildly allergic to the latter.  And although a lot of people don't like licorice per se, anise is a fantastic accent flavor and can be the X factor in many great foods (for example, my beloved Sazerac).  

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July 2, 2009 by orion | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Yellow Mustard, Orange Carrots and Red Communism
May 03, 2009

MustardCarrot1 Before getting in to this latest carrot exploration, I need to explain that my personal history with mustard is short.  I was a mayonnaise girl in my youth. And I did think you had to be one or the other. For some reason, my childhood was filled with these imagined food dichotomies: you either liked mayonnaise or mustard, but not both. Chocolate or vanilla is another good example. The sensible among us spread mayonnaise on our sandwiches and ended a meal with vanilla ice cream. In the cold war era, I felt like these choices were akin to being a loyal patriot for democracy versus becoming a communist. Imagine my concern when I noticed my father spreading mayonnaise and mustard on his sandwich and that my mother added vanilla extract to chocolate cookie dough. What are they, anarchists? My aversion to mustard continued well past the point I'd overcome the majority of my other pickiness, which was of course also long after the cold war ended. These days, I don't go so far as to special order my Croque Madam without mustard, but I also don't actively spread mustard on sandwiches of my own making.

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May 3, 2009 by rebecca in side_dishes, vegetables | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A Big Bag of Carrots and a Dream
April 21, 2009

Carrots2 Unfortunately, I decided to learn to cook vegetables in the late fall. With the winter vegetable season trudging along, I've begun to feel like a one-trick pony with quite seriously only three recipes in my repertoire that can make use of the meager offerings in the produce section these days. Though I suppose that makes me more accurately a three-trick pony, I still strive toward that elusive carrot on a stick that is the ability to eat veggies every night of the week without repeating and without feeling the need to compare myself to a diminutive ungulate.

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April 21, 2009 by rebecca in side_dishes, vegetables | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)