This month wine
pro David Borzo had the enviable challenge of pairing wines with
the robust flavors of
the Caesar Steak Salad. Not too big a hill for our steppers... see
International Wine Cellars Opens
Membership to New Registrations
Wine Cellars, an online wine club is taking advantage of
the latest Supreme Court ruling allowing interstate wine shipments. Using
their buying power (membership has grown 10-fold in the last 90 days)
they're bringing quite a broad selection to market, and now feature a
set of bonus gifts for signing up.
Pairs with Forbes in New Wine Club
Morrell & Company's new partnership
with Forbes.com will launch what they intend to become America's
biggest and best Wine Club on the internet at www.ForbesWineClub.com.
Since basic membership is free, your are invited to join
in what will they're billing as "America's most informative,
exciting, and enjoyable online wine community - a virtual home
- on the internet"
Steak Caesar/ July 2010
When I looked over this great recipe for a flavorful steak rub fusion
with an all-time favorite Caesar Salad, I knew that I would need
to look for a substantial wine to hold up to the beef Rub, while
at the same time deal diplomatically with the fresh crispy Romaine
and zesty Caesar dressing.
And yes, this dressing
recipe does have some zest - with a liberal and refreshing level
of Lemon juice. That's
an acidic base that you will need to consider in your wine selection.
(Uncle Howard used to say that “I like my horses tame, but
my dressing with lots of zest”). The primary rule with pairing up
wine with a beef dish is that you need a red that has the
tannins that can cut through the fat level.
So with both
of these considerations, we are looking for a robust red, good
balance and not over the top.
Well, research is the key, and if you want to pair up the best
options with a great recipe, you need to break open a few bottles. We
diligently followed the recipe from Saucy Joes, and diligently followed
through with our wine selections.
This recipe really
is a great fusion of flavors and textures, and finding the balance
with the right
wine presented some challenges. The tangy Caesar dressing was
a delight, and the deep flavor rub on the steak is strong. We determined
the wine also needed to be particularly well balanced to make
it all work.
old adage that there are a number of paths to the mountain top, we
kept an open mind - and as we prepared
we also tasted some options ahead of time. Here was the
game plan -
our initial selections:
Zinfandel, 2003, A Big and Bold California
takes no prisoners- Big forward Fruit and a High alcohol level
2001 Chateanuef-du-Pape, A substantial and a more
sophisticated French Rhone wine, deep and well balanced, this wine is
a meal in itself. (How do they do that?)
• Chateau Souveraine Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
- A medium body
Cabernet from a respected and reasonably priced winery in the the Alexander
Valley, deep in the heart of Sonoma.
• Alamos Malbec, 2003
, from Argentina. With the Malbec Varietals,
little seen in production this century, you get a distinctive
and full body and very different set of fruits, spice and vegetables
in the nose. As Challenging on it's own as it is when standing up to the
fennel in the Steak Rub.
SO…The Optima Zin, while with a mouthful of gorgeous fruit and
firm tannins, was a little over the top for this meal. The higher alcohol
level gave out substantial heat on the palette – this may have
stood up to the Garlic and anchovies in the Caesar dressing, but didn't
work well with the citrus level. This is a great Zin for the right
occasion, (although at around $30, it’s not on my budget
for everyday drinking).
Malbec was definitely a departure from the standard fare - but it
did have a bit of a vegetable nose
from the meal. Not a warm and fuzzy hug with the Beef,
but more of a punch
in the arm. This is definitely a wine worth looking at
though, and at around $18, a very good buy for this very interesting
is becoming more readily available every year, almost exclusively
from South America.
The perfect pairing
quest was nearly achieved; both the Rhone Valley and Sonoma Valley
wines won accolades at this
And so I am
forced to offer two selections for you - If
you want a
very good and serious
Cabernet with some backbone, the Chateau
Souveraine 2002 has the tannins along with nicely balanced fruit, with
It is able
to stand up to the citrus in the dressing as well as
the substantial seasoning for the steak rub. And at a little
over $21, it is
a pretty good deal for a good California Cabernet. (Now,
wine would have cost you $6.00 more than it's current
pricing, but with the wine production levels as high as they are
all over the
world these last several years, many excellent and many
very good wines have
come down in their pricing. Good news for us consumers.
for those who can pay a little more, at under $40 the
Guigal 2001 Chateanuef-du-Pape
is heaven sent,
with rich dark fruit and spices, along with firm but
E. Guigal is an excellent value from the Rhone Valley,
where you can easily spend more. There is real sophistication
it took all the elements of the Spicy Steak-Rubbed
Caesar to new levels. This is a wine that will
age well, (I wouldn't be surprised for over 20 years),
but it's beautifully balanced
and ready to enjoy
now. Sublime really. It's the perfect, if unexpected
partner for this more casual fusion of Steak and Caesar.
to Life -
Saucy Joes Wine Pro
is geared to the younger wine buyers and connoisseur wannabees.
They have numerous events, tastings, ratings and a
lot of refreshing attitude -- not the oh-so-stuffy snobbery normally
found in wine-dom.
If you could preserve each bottle
you opened -- but didn't finish -- and have the vino taste just
as good as the first sip, what would you pay? Surprisingly little,
and with so little effort, this system is how the pros keep unfinished
bottles fresh, and it's our favorite.
The Winery Web Site Report
Note: This is
a top-notch wine industry guide, but it also has a comprehensive listing
of winery websites. Mike Duffy is one smart cookie, and he's helping
numerous wineries be better marketeers.
Well, what can we say. This
has long been regarded as one of the best in the wine industry... lots
of helpful info, but it comes with a price, i.e. subscription required
and pretentions abound.
OH MY GAWD,
is this good stuff. Sea Bear offers such a rich array of smoked and
prepared seafood -- try their chowders and thank us later.
100 wines rated 90 pts plus.
All under $20
Good selections, very
conveinent and fun to shop, the folks at Wine.com get it. We do not always
find what we're looking for, but that's no different than our local shops.
If you are not close to a good wine shop, save some time and click to get
what you crave.
50 States of Cheese
nothing on the fine folks at iGourmet. We always order when we visit
and we always want more. Good selections, great service and shipping.
Go there, now. Come on, you know you want to, go ahead. Go.
Openings? I think not...
is indeed the
So, I was looking
through several offers on online bottle openers, foil cutters and the
like, and I couldn't help but think that the engineers have taken over.
Seems as though the process of extracting a cork has become increasingly
complicated. From the "easy" machinations of the Rabbit-type
contraptions to the gas powered extraction needles, there's a definite
pecking order to the wine snob's device of choice.
Maybe some of it
goes back to the two-pronged "waiters pull," that evil tuning
fork we'd buy, knowing we too could pluck the cork with flair and aplomb,
only to mangle then push the cork into the bottle followed
by a string of expletives."Screw you waiter boy."
And, in light of
the fact that every time I pull a cork, I'm reminded of just how little
upper body strength I possess, I'm going looking for either a fancy estate
the kind you see mounted in older bars and restaurants or a
Bottle in, cork out, boom, done.
One of the finest winery sites we've ever viewed belongs to Jordan
Winery in Sonoma. We were compelled to visit online after recently touring
(by appointment, thanks to David Borzo) the Jordan Estate -- kudos to PR
maven Luba Rusyn, our guide. We figured if the site was half as impressive
as the architecture, views and hospitality of its real-world counterpart
we'd be tickled.
It is, and we were.
From the Flash-generated
opening scenes to the meticulous details shown in recipes, historical
tour, wine and food descriptions, as well as their events
calendar, we found this to be a shining example of how
to communicate online.
And, thanks to recent
changes in the states allowing shipments of wine into their revered
turf, you may now also shop
online in their store. Note: Their Jordan
available online elsewhere too.
The Jordans employ
the fabulous Chef
Udo Nechutnys, whose work delights the palates of visitors and
estate guests daily,as well as the workers during the crush.Recipes
for many of the home-grown dishes are found here too, although we suspect
there's a secret something held back from us mere mortals.
We will be featuring
several of the Jordan recipes in the coming months,
as well as reviews of their 2003
Russian Valley Charonnay and 2001
Cabernet Sauvignon. Stay tuned and visit
the site meanwhile.