Ribolla and guacamole, Nebbiolo and chili dogs with the Uomo Armadillo

chili dogs

Above: Italians and I are fascinated by hotdogs. Last night Tracie P and I shared a meal at Man Bites Dog and Torchy’s (south Austin) Trailer Park and Eatery with the “Uomo Armadillo” (Armadillo man, above left) and his daughter Marta.

Supreme Italian wine blogger Mr. Franco Ziliani will probably defriend me on Facebook for this: last night I paired 2006 Barbaresco by Produttori del Barbaresco with a lipsmackingly delicious chili dog by Man Bites Dog at the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery.


And that’s not all: we also paired a gorgeous Ribolla from the new “Adriatico” label by Bastianich with chips, guacamole, and salsa. (The fruit for this transnational project by the Bastianich empire comes from Simčič vineyards.)


I know that it’s a sin but what were we to do when the Uomo Armadillo showed up with the 06 Barbaresco and the 07 Morgon by Lapierre in tow?

chili dogs

The 07 Lapierre Morgon was brilliant with the dogs, btw. The 06 Barbaresco was tight but opened up nicely… (Uomo Armadillo and his buddy Massimo, who was also there last night, have visited Lapierre for his annual blowout party and we all raised a glass to remember the iconic winemaker who left this world for another last month.)

This was certainly an extreme and decadent pairing but I also believe wholeheartedly that the folks who make these wines intend them to be served at the dinner table and with people you care about. In the U.S. we tend to fetishize our wines and are overly selective IMHO in how we “apply” them. Rest assured, they were applied very well last night!

And on the subject of chili dogs, here’s a less pretentious dog that I bit into a week ago Sunday at Ginny’s Little Longhorn when Alice Feiring was in town and we took her to play Chicken Shit Bingo at Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon.


And in case you’re wondering about the Uomo Armadillo: we actually met thanks to Mr. Ziliani, whose blog we both follow. Uomo Armadillo (Alessandro) comes to Austin from Milan every year in the fall to get his honkytonk on. His happy obsession with the Groover’s Paradise even earned him a song…

Thanks for reading! More on Friuli tomorrow… And in the meantime, check out Tracie P on Fiano d’Avellino.

Angelo Gaja’s rosy glasses and apocalyptic vision and blogs I (can’t) read

Neither Franco nor I can decipher the cryptic post published by the bishop of Barbaresco, Angelo Gaja (photo by Alfonso Cevola), at I numeri del vino (one of the most important resources in the enoblogosphere for hard data on Italian wine). Gaja seems to want his cake and eat it too, riding both sides of the fence in the Brunello controversy, warning producers that “nothing can be the same” while painting a rosy picture of a world of Italian wine free of commercial fraud. Read our faithful translation at VinoWire and let me know what you think.

Blogs I (can’t) read…

I haven’t been doing much blog-surfing lately because I am slammed with work right now and just finished my move to my new apartment in Austin. But there are some new feeds in my Google reader.

In the world of corporate blogging (clogging), I’ve really been enjoying Italian Wine Guy’s newest creation, The Blend. His insights into the current state of our industry should be required reading for any and all wine professionals (old and young).

An old comrade from the early days of the Italian wine and food revolution (think 1998-1999) in New York, Wayne Young, has taken up blogging from the far eastern front of the now Napoleonic empire (it’s funny how the revolution always becomes an empire, isn’t it?). Wayne’s winemaking knowledge is impressive and his “tell it like it is” anecdotes from the world of wine and wine writing are always thought-provoking.

When in the mood for some Lacanian musings (contemplating the signifier over the signified), I often find myself gazing mindlessly at two blogs I can’t read.

FinareVinare in Sweden often links to me and to Eric le Rouge. I have no idea what FinareVinare is saying but I know its author likes some of the same wines I do.

Billigt Vin, also in Sweden, is another one. When I “read” it, I’m like a young Petrarch with his cherished manuscript of Cicero: I can’t understand what the words mean but I know they mean something important (well, I don’t mean to compare myself to Petrarch — he was kind of a big deal, after all).

Lastly, I cannot omit a blog that I can read, Armadillo Bar by Alessandro, a long lost brother in wine and roots music and the greatest Austinophile on the planet. Sometimes, instead of checking the Austin Chronicle for what show Tracie B and I should go to, I just email Alessandro, who always responds with incredible celerity and pinpoint precision. Every time I see an armadillo on the road, I think of Alessandro and his blog.

Even if you can’t read it, Armadillo Bar is always worth the visit for the tracks Alessandro spins.