I heart Barbera (and some vintage Thelonious Monk)

Barbera Asti

Today finds me “in the market” in Dallas… in other words, meeting with buyers, sommeliers, and a winemaker (you will not believe who! but I’ll reveal that later… let’s just say that I’ll be tasting a 100-point Parker wine today…).

Posting hastily but wanted to share the good news that I’ve been asked to be the official blogger for Barbera Meeting 2010 in Asti (Piedmont): four days of tasting and meeting with Barbera producers, March 8-11.

But the really super cool thing is that the PR firm who’s organized the tastings has asked me to bring some of my best blogging buddies and friends along for a veritable Barbera blogfest!

Not that I needed ANOTHER blog but here’s the blog I’ve created just for the event. The whole affair is pretty darn blogicious, if I do say so myself! And I am completely geeked to taste through scores and scores of wines with some of my favorite bloggers in the English-speaking world…

In other news…

I can’t reveal the super-secret identities of the folks who had me over for dinner last night but suffice to say she’s a nationally renowned food writer and he’s a famous music writer.

Steamed giant asparagus and vinaigrette (with home-baked white and brown bread) and roast herbed chicken and potatoes were fantastic but the coolest thing was that he let all of the guests call out requests from his music library.

Mine was: “Thelonious Monk, 1957, New York City.” Famous French music writer then turned me on to a super cool recording I’d never heard before, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall in 1957. I know the Monk canon well and to hear different (new-to-me) versions of some of his classic was a real treat… and it paired nicely with the 1999 Tertre Roteboeuf.

I think Right Bank always goes better with Monk, don’t you? Miles? Definitely, Left Bank… ;-)

Thanks for reading!

A post dedicated to mama Judy

From the di mamma ce n’è una sola department…

judy parzen

Above: That’s mama Judy visiting Christo’s Gates in Central Park in 2005.

Today is my mom’s birthday and so this post is dedicated to her. Last year, we held a special party for her in the La Jolla Cove Park but now that I’m living in Texas I can’t be there on her actual birthday and so I wrote a special arrangement of Happy Birthday and recorded it on my Mac using GarageBand and made a little slide show movie, with all of her children and grandchildren, including the newest arrival, little Oscar.

Mama Judy likes to drink wine when she throws her famous dinner parties. Like BrooklynGuy does for his parents, I keep her cellar (well, her closet actually) well stocked with good wine. Most recently, she’s been liking the Lini Lambrusco (the rosé in particular), Borgogno Barbera 2007, and her all-time favorite is probably the Chablisienne village Chablis.

Happy birthday, mom!

Giacosa responds to Ziliani

Giacosa 2006

Above: Tracie B and I tasted the 2006 Nebbiolo d’Alba and 2006 Barbera d’Alba by Bruno Giacosa the other night with our friend and top Austin sommelier Mark Sayre. We all agreed that the wines showed beautifully. (photo by Tracie B).

Today, on his blog, Franco has posted a message he received from the Giacosa winery, signed by Bruno and Bruna Giacosa. My translation of the letter follows. The message was sent in response to Franco’s recent post on “the events surrounding Dante Scaglione” (see below).

    Dear Mr. Franco Ziliani,

    A few months ago, when it was decided (and certainly not without a heavy heart but after many tastings) that our 2006 vintage of Barolo and Barbaresco would not be bottled, no one thought that such a decision could give rise to so much controversy on behalf of certain persons.

    We believe that it is the full right of a winery to choose its own strategy with complete autonomy and serenity, especially when with the aim of maintaining the high level of quality of the winery’s products.

    In doing so, we had absolutely no intention to denigrate or demonize the 2006 vintage in general. We are sure that many wineries will put excellent products on the market. But in our opinion, the Giacosa winery’s 2006 wines — even though good in quality and entirely respectable — do not reach the excellence in quality to which our clients are accustomed.

    In regard to events surrounding Dante Scaglione, no one has ever dared to question his technical abilities. We all admire him and recognize what he has done as our able collaborator.

    We hope that we have definitively clarified any doubts in this regard because much has been said and much has been written — perhaps too much — often without deep-reaching knowledge of all of the details, especially with regard to the relationship between the winery and its collaborators. It is best for certain details to remain within the confines of “domestic walls.”

    Looking forward to the future, we hope to receive you soon as our guest at the winery to taste the new vintages of Barolo and Barbaresco together. It would be our pleasure.

    Best wishes, Bruno and Bruna Giacosa

Tasted: 2006 Giacosa Nebbiolo d’Alba

bruno giacosa

Above: Tracie B has a deft and steady hand with my little Sony Cyber-Shot camera. She snapped this pic last night as we tasted 06 Barbera and 06 Nebbiolo d’Alba by Bruno Giacosa with Mark Sayre — aka the Houston Coalminer, one of Austin’s top palates — at Trio in Austin.

“Giacosa’s 2006 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Falletto was the best he’s ever made,” friend and collector David Schachter told me when I called him yesterday, asking him to refresh my memory on the wine we had tasted together last year. He and I tasted a lot of Giacosa from his impressive collection last year and he knows the wines intimately.

giacosa

Above: Ex-winemaker and Giacosa protégé Dante Scaglione with daughter Bruna Giacosa and winemaker Bruno Giacosa in 2004. In March 2008, Dante left the winery.

Last night, Tracie B and I tasted the 2006 Barbera d’Alba (the blended Barbera, not the single-vineyard Falletto) and the 2006 Nebbiolo d’Alba by Giacosa with top Austin sommelier Mark Sayre: we agreed that, while the vintage may not have been the best for everyone, Giacosa’s 2006 was outstanding.

bruno giacosa

So, why did Giacosa decide not to bottle his 2006 Barolo and Barbaresco? The plot thickens: read Franco’s editorial at VinoWire.

On deck for tomorrow: the second of 31 Days of Natural Wine at Saignée.