Nicolas Quinones’ Woodfire Grill in Atlanta really impressed me on Tuesday night, the last night of the Design Bloggers Conference where I gave a talk on social media.
The food was beautiful and thoughtful. I loved how Chef Tyler Williams added artistic flair to each dish, as in the macarons above. And I loved the wholesomeness of his farm-to-table cooking. Georgia is, after all, a farming state, and the quality of the young chef’s materia prima was superb, as was his execution.
But what I loved the most was Nicolas’ 400-lot list and its aggressive pricing.
From the biodynamically farmed growers Champagne, Marie-Courtin Résonance, that he poured me when I first arrived at the good-bye dinner to the Produttori del Barbaresco 09 Barbaresco (classic) that he served with the main course, his wine list “spoke” my language.
It’s incredible to think about how I can travel to nearly any major urban area in the country and find like-minded wine professionals with whom I share vinous kinship.
Nicolas and I fell seamlessly into conversation about some of our favorite Italian and Spanish wines and it was if we communicated telepathically after I told him that I was craving a glass of something sparkling. (The Marie-Courtin was yeasty and biscuity, with wonderful white fruit notes; fantastic wine.)
My taste of the 09 Barbaresco was a first kiss.
The 2009 vintage was a challenging one throughout Italy, perhaps less so in northwestern Italy than in other spots, but difficult nonetheless thanks to abundant summer rain and then a heat spike at the end of August.
It’s too early to tell where this wine is going to go. It was very good in the glass but it seemed like it was still working its way up to that initial brightness that Produttori del Barbaresco almost always shows in early years before shutting down for a while.
The raucous party of 40 or so interior designers — the conference “inner ciricle” — loved it.
It’s destined to be a great wine, no doubt, but I don’t think it will have the elegance and finesse of the 08 (one of the great vintages for the first decade of this century, imho). It probably won’t have the 08’s longevity.
But it’s still way too early to tell and I’m going to look forward to collecting and cellaring it, as I do with every Produttori del Barbaresco vintage.
There are so many great wines on Nicolas’ list (including a 99 Valpolicella by Quintarelli for a great price) and the pricing leans toward the lower end when compared to markets like Texas, New York, or California.
I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Thanks for tagging along on the adventure this week on the blog. Buon weekend, yall!
P.S. readers caught a few typos in my newly launched “challenging Italian wine terms” project and being the geekizoid that I am, I couldn’t help but add a few more since I first posted it yesterday. Here’s the updated glossary.