Thursday, May 31, 2012

a glass and a nibble

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2010 Elio Filippino Arneis | DOC Langhe

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I finally have time to watch my beloved basketball, and what great timing, now with the conference finals going strong. I think this is one of the last times we'll see San Antonio's old guard so dominant. Oklahoma City is going to give them some problems with that post defence, but I'd go with a Spurs/Heat Finals.

Italian whites are interesting, but hardly grand wines. But Arneis is special. It has these wonderful floral aromas, with minerality to give it structure. I love the texture on these wines, this elegant, weighty feel on the palate, much like what nebbiolo gives you. Really special, and what it lacks in outright fruit, it more than makes up for in character. And with the right Shanghai street vendor nuts and pumpkin seeds, a great night of NBA playoff action. Go Spurs go!!

DF

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the first wine I bought a case of

M. Lapierre

M. Lapierre

I've bought a fair bit of wine in the 8 years or so that I've been serious about it - of course, in the context of a non-professional with a very, very, very minimal budget. I'm a professional wino, but no one's giving me any bottles. No dusty old bottles from my parents, none of that, but it's been a source of pride that I've built my (tiny) cellar methodically and on my own. I usually buy bottles to put away in threes - at most, the odd 6-pack. But never a full case (12 bottles). Until now.

Lapierre Morgon is one of those wines that only appeal to true winos. And not in a snobby, hipster-ish, let's keep it a secret kind of way. It's one of those truly singular wines that actually stand for something. It's not from a heralded region (one of the Beaujolais villages), nor a varietal (gamay). It's made using non-interventionist, biodynamic techniques that most producers take pains to avoid, because it can all go so wrong. Yet Mr. Lapierre (and now his son) was able to craft a wine that was true to principle. And we all need some of that. If wine can ever be inspiring, this is it.

I had read about it long before, but my first taste of this wine was last year, in a little bistro in a suburb of Paris. It was stunning. And so, the day before I had to take the GMAT, I just about fell off my seat when I got the email that a tiny allotment of the 2010's were being released - the same vintage.

And I brought home my first case of wine.

DF

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

4-28, uncork and swirl

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If I was in a better state of mind, I'd have planned the wines out a bit better, I suppose. More coherence from one to the next. But we had a good time drinking, finishing with a 2001 Les Ormes de Pez, elegant and subtle, at the cusp of maturity. But the most satisfying? Goddamn, if it wasn't the simple, humble muscadet.

DF

4-28, prep and then turn on the gas

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4-28

Shit never gets real until I cut myself.

We start with oysters on the half shell, Kushi and Fanny Bay. Dressed with ribbons of cucumber and lemon juice. Mussels, plank salmon, beef, scallops on glass noodles. Then, squid and celery, asparagus, and a bunch of other greens I don't know the English names to, all in the Shanghainese-style. We ate long and hard, and for one evening at least, all was good and proper.

DF

Monday, May 28, 2012

celebrating 4-28

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Everyone makes a big deal of the whole Say hello to my little friend! bit of Scarface, but they miss the most inspirational words, when Tony says to Alejandro Sosa, I never fucked anybody over in my life didn't have it coming to them. You got that? All I have in this world is my balls and my word and I don't break them for no one.

I'm reminded of that from time to time, because Scarface is a great movie and I've (clearly) got a thing for crude speech. Let's be frank here; we're all getting too old not to be honest with ourselves. I'm fucking shit poor, years from being financially secure, more than just a little stupid, and on top of it all, a drunkard. But I have my honesty and reliability, and, in words only a poor man would say, money don't mean jack shit. But what am I saying. We're all money whores. It's just that some of us (this drunkard here) don't have a goddamn clue how to get it, is all. So we stay true to our principles, and surround ourselves with the people we actually love and want to spend time with, and do the things that make us happy. Anything else, and I'm selling my heart, and no one should ever expect you to sell your heart (Marco, 1989).

A month ago (!), I turned 26. I didn't give a shit. You lose something every year once you hit your mid-twenties . . . just feeling a bit restless now, bored even. And I'm a guy who needs constant stimulation. We were hitting the less than 3 weeks to go mark before GMAT, and taking a whole day off was out of the question, even though my birthday fell on the Saturday (of course it did, when I'm sweating it out for the most important exam in my life). I studied in the morning, completely forgetting about lunch, before heading out for groceries. Long drive all around to my favourite fishmongers, picking up some shellfish and greens. We were going for simple, Shanghainese home cooking. Various bottles to drink - nothing too fancy, but for an 11-year old Ormes de Pez.

All I have in this world is my balls and my word . . .

DF

Saturday, May 26, 2012

its all over

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It's finally all over.

I did the GMAT on Wednesday, at 1:30. And I fucking wasted it. Exceeded all expectations, and I can finally relax, because I've been working my ass off for the past 4 months. It was stressful, it was brutal, but I did it. Nervous as shit, barely sleeping the night before, still doing practice exams to the moment I left for the exam centre in Pickering, shaking a bit as I sat down in front of the computer . . . and then I was oddly calm through the whole thing. You stress yourself the fuck out when you're at home practicing, so it becomes a stroll in the motherfucking park when you do the actual exam - at least that's what apparently worked for me. Stayed level-headed through the quantatitive section, even though I was blindly guessing at least a handful of questions. Essays were a good confidence booster to start, and then verbal, as difficult (to me) as the math. Focused hard, got a bit bored towards the end (as I always do for these long exams), but it turns out, I scored in the 97th percentile. I still don't know what really happened, how I really did it. But I do know that I worked so fucking hard to get here, and I have the pencil calluses on my right index finger (no joke, I swear) to prove it. And now . . . I get to chill and have fun because I'm over the fucking moon.

Have to get rid of some books now. And that huge stack of paper. Good charcoal chimney lighting material. I finished the exam early, in about 3 1/2 hours. Got home around 5:30, still shaking. I swear I haven't been this happy in months. We went out for dinner that night, for a well-deserved celebration. Fabricca, to have some beers and fritti. I couldn't wait for the weekend to have my first drop of wine in 25 days. My goodness, I was forgetting the taste of wine. Completely all sprawled out satisfaction with a beautifully aromatic, bone dry rosé from the Costières De Nîmes, from one of my favourite producers in the region.

It tasted like sweet, sweet victory.

DF

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

seven days left!

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Almost there, almost there . . . thank God I'm almost there. Seven days until I take the GMAT, seven days until we see whether all this work was worth it.

Sorry I've disappeared from here these past few weeks. Had relatives over for a week in late April/early May. Then got sick with a cold, although I recovered quickly because I'm the shit. Had a nice evening with some close friends for my birthday (4/28), a final night of relaxing, where I was able to cook and drink a lot. These past few months have been an exercise in depriving myself of all pleasure or other distractions to focus on this one single thing. No wine, quick meals, no exercise, no nothing before the 23rd. All this pent up stress and frustration is seriously unhealthy and it's starting to affect my mood, man.

I've tried hard, I mean really worked for this exam. Whatever happens, I'll be satisfied with the result, because I sure as fuck will not be writing it again. Back to being fun again, goddammit . . . starting on the 24th, I swear I want to fucking drown in wine. I want to eat shellfish and beef and asparagus until I puke. I want to finally be able to go out with my friends again at night. It seems so long since I've drunk I think I'm starting to forget the taste of wine.

Right until I have to actually start thinking about applications, and schools I want to go to, versus schools I'm actually good enough for.

DF

Thursday, May 3, 2012

steaming soft-shell crab

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Need some stuff to cheer me up, what with the selling out and shit, doing anything to make some extra money. Anyways . . . I love crab so much. Really the essence of what Chinese cuisine is. Not only important to cook for flavour and texture, but to make sure it achieves balance in the body as well. Crabs are thought of as having a cooling energy - therefore we eat them with rice vinegar and finely chopped ginger, which has a warming energy to balance it all out. And, if we're lucky - we have bottles of the most amazing Shaoxing rice wines to pair alongside.

If we're lucky.

DF

we talk about new trends in wine

The Newest Trends in Wine

As with just about everything else in the world, the world of wine is rapidly changing. This is either a good thing or bad thing, depending on your own perspective. New wineries are opening, new grape varieties are becoming popular, the rules of what wines to pair with certain foods are increasingly being discarded. One the biggest influencing factors on the changes in the wine industry is something that you are experiencing right now – the Internet. The marketing and ability of consumers to learn about and purchase wines has expanded greatly with the rise of the Internet.

So are you interested in staying abreast of the newest trends in wine? Maybe you are interested in enhancing your personal experience of drinking wine. Perhaps you are a student at one of the online universities hoping to become a sommelier. Or maybe you desire to be the toast of your next wine party. For all of these reasons, you will find the following list of some of the newest trends in wine quite helpful.

  • Screw Cap Wines Originally wines using screw caps were associated with a lower quality product. Not so anymore. Producers in many countries such as the United States and France are increasing the use of screw caps as way to reduce cork taint. With advanced screw cap designs, bottles can be closed while preventing taint and oxidation.

  • Wine Made From Organic and Sustainably Grown Grapes As protection of the environment has increasing entered the collective consciousness of society, so it has grown in importance in the wine producing industry as well. New issues likely to come to the forefront in upcoming years are reducing water usage and reducing the materials that make up the bottle itself, not only from using plastic bottles, but by using lighter and less glass.

  • Low-Carb WinesWhile the low-carb diet movement may not be as prevalent as it was several years ago, there is still a great demand for low-carb wines. However, almost all dry table wines would meet the requirements for a low-carb wine.

  • Pro-Am ReviewingWith the rise of social media, anyone can give their input and critiques of wine. While in the past professional wine reviewers had enormous influence on the market, the amateur realm of social media increasingly has more sway.

For those wishing to pursue a career in the wine industry or existing professionals wanting to further develop their wine making skills and getting a leg up on the newest trends in wine, check out the online educational resources at Online Cooking Schools for more information.

Sources

“San Francisco Chronicle” (2010)

AskMen (2012)

DF