Scenes from an orange wine dinner

Tracie P and I had a blast at the orange wine dinner last night, at Vino Vino in Austin, where I poured and spoke about the wines. Life could be worse… Here are some “scenes from an orange wine dinner” for your virtual and vicarious enjoyment… Photos by Tracie P…

movia puro

Got it all going with a little bit of 2000 Puro by Movia, disgorged tableside (not really an orange wine, but a great place to start).

paolo bea

The first three wines were all by the hand of Giampiero Bea. Man, the Arboreus was outta sight… and I always love the Santa Chiara. The Coenobium, always a go-to for us.

gary clark jr

Shared a little Lunar by Movia with B3 player Mike Flanigin and Gary Clark Jr., who played later that night. Man, only in Austin: killer orange wine followed by some of the most insane blues musicians I’ve ever heard… I’m not shittin’ you, either…

lewis dickson

I was geeked to taste with Lewis Dickson, arguably the best winemaker in Texas and probably the only one who uses native yeast and a natural approach to winemaking.

seared flounder

Chef Esteban’s cooking was OFF THE CHARTS AMAZING last night. Seared flounder with purée of English peas. For the complete menu, click here.

vodopivec

I had a second glass of the 2005 Vodopivec Vitovska. Man, I dig that wine.

gravner

No, that’s not old man piss. It’s GRAVNER (2003 Ribolla Gialla Anfora)!

Undisgorged Puro and Canyon Lake pulled pork

Above: While we were visiting and singing songs after a great dinner (I ate two of Mrs. B’s pulled pork sandwiches), Tracie B’s nephew Tobey found the cork from the bottle of Puro and brought it to me. He likes to bring you things he thinks you’ve lost (photos by Tracie B).

After Tracie B and I opened and disgorged a bottle of 2000 Puro Rosé by Movia the other day with our friend Josh Loving (over Tracie B’s famous fried chicken), we still had Puro on our minds. So, we decided to take a bottle with us to our visit over the weekend with her family at Canyon Lake in the Texas Hill Country (just south of Austin). But instead of disgorging it (see here), we chose instead to drink it undisgorged — sediment and all.

Above: Mrs. B’s pulled pork was tender and perfectly seasoned. She braised the pork all day in a trusty crock-pot (she must have started cooking about 8 a.m. yesterday morning).

Typically, we would store the Puro upside down in the refrigerator until all of the sediment has settled at the bottom, in the neck of the bottle. Then, as Aleš Kristančič taught me, you simply disgorge the bottle underwater, in a tub or sink (it’s really easy and not messy to do, as daunting as it may seem).

Above: Tracie B made my pulled pork sandwich special, dressing it with melted Colby Jack cheese and topping it with pickle relish. Mac ‘n’ cheese and beans on the side and a garnish of pickled jalapeño.

At the end of the figurative and literal day, I have to say that I like Puro better when undisgorged. I love the meaty mouthfeel of the wine and intense grapefruit flavor. When undisgorged, it almost has a cider-like quality and it reminds me of the homemade, slightly sparkling Malvasia I used to drink back in my dorm days at the Università di Padova.

Above: The wine was muddy, like the shallows of Canyon Lake, which — everyone remarked — was extremely low this year. It sure felt good on my skin to jump in the fresh water.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the wine: its acidity was great paired with the rich flavor of the pork and its bright fruit brought out its tang — and its twang!

Above: After dinner, I brought out the acoustic and we had an impromptu sing-along: mostly Beatles, but also some Merle Haggard highlights. Mrs. B’s and my fav was Merle’s “Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man).” I love the tableau vivant and lyrical arc of that song. Pictured above from left are Tobey’s dad and Tracie B’s brother-in-law Ricky, her cousin Alexis, her aunt Holly and uncle Terry (Mrs. B’s brother). Terry can sing him some Merle pretty good…

Thanks again family B! I had blast, the food was great, and it felt so good to jump in the lake and get some sun…

*****

Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)
—Merle Haggard

Daddy Frank played the guitar and the french harp,
Sister played the ringing tambourine.
Mama couldn’t hear our pretty music,
She read our lips and helped the family sing.

That little band was all a part of living,
And our only means of living at the time;
And it wasn’t like no normal family combo,
Cause Daddy Frank the guitar man was blind.

Frank and mama counted on each other;
Their one and only weakness made them strong.
Mama did the driving for the family,
And Frank made a living with a song.

Home was just a camp along the highway;
A pick-up bed was where we bedded down.
Don’t ever once remember going hungry,
But I remember mama cooking on the ground.

Don’t remember how they got acquainted;
I can’t recall just how it came to be.
There had to be some special help from someone,
And blessed be the one that let it be.

Fever caused my mama’s loss of hearing.
Daddy Frank was born without his sight.
And mama needed someone she could lean on,
And I believe the guitar man was right.

Daddy Frank played the guitar and the french harp,
Sister played the ringing tambourine.
Mama couldn’t hear our pretty music,
She read our lips and helped the family sing.

You can take foxes outta the country but…

From the “just for fun” department…

Johnny OtisLife’s been a little stressful lately and there’s so much negativity going around right now in the world of wine that I thought it was time for some “just for fun.”

It had been a while since Tracie B and me popped any Movia. So Sunday night, we invited our friend and fellow natural wine freak Josh Loving over for Tracie B’s famous fried chicken and mashed potatoes and a bottle of Puro, which Josh — the consummate wine professional — ably disgorged (check out the video I shot below).

Dinner was served accompanied by one of my favorite records: Cold Shot! by the Johnny Otis Show. I love every track on that disk and “The Signifyin’ Monkey” is probably the most famous. But my favorite favorite track is “Country Girl.” Toward the end of the song, Johnny Otis doubles the following aphoristic chiasmus with his guitar: You can take foxes outta the country, but you can’t get the country outta foxes. It’s one of the mysteries of life but that line just kills me every time. Check it out, as Josh disgorges the wine:

You’ve probably seen Puro disgorged at Do Bianchi before but in case you haven’t, it’s really easy to do (as in the vid above). Winemaker Aleš Kristančič makes the wine using the méthode champenoise but he leaves the lees and sediment in the wine (i.e., he doesn’t disgorge before release). You store the wine upside down in your fridge (using a cardboard cylinder that comes with the wine) and then you disgorge it upside down in a basin of water. The wine will be totally clear (as in the photo below).

Although Bollinger remains the indisputable official wine of my band Nous Non Plus, we have been known to disgorge a bottle of Puro… or two.

Life could be worse…

In other news…

Today, “the absolutely fabulous Alice Feiring,” as Tracie B likes to call her, is up to bat at 31 Days of Natural Wine. Alice is a dear friend, a great lady, a mentor, and one of the few things — besides Katz’s pastrami and Barney Greengrass whitefish salad — that we miss about New York City. I love the wine she talks about and I can confirm what Cory writes in his intro, that “very Alice Feiring” has become a canonical wine descriptor. How cool is that?

Q&A: Disgorging Movia Puro

This morning, one of my favorite wine bloggers, Brooklynguy, stopped by Do Bianchi and inquired about Movia’s Puro (yesterday, I posted a photo of Jon Erickson of Jaynes Gastropub disgorging a bottle of the traditional method sparkling wine).

The unusual thing about this wine is that Aleš Kristančič of Movia does not disgorge the wine before release. If handled properly, the wine is stored upside down so that the sediment settles in the neck of the bottle. In order to disgorge it, you place the bottle upside down in a vessel filled with water (ideally a clear punch bowl or similar), you hold the cork in one hand as you gently twist the bottle with the other, and when the sediment is released into the water, you turn the bottle right side up. As long as the sediment has settled entirely in the neck before disgorging, the wine will be clear (not cloudy).

Earlier this year, I found this YouTube video of an Italian sommelier disgorging a bottle (note that he has another bottle positioned upside down in a black cardboard tube that Movia now ships with the wine):

It looks like it’s hard to do and the first time you do it, your instinct is that the bottle is going to “backfire” toward you. But it’s actually really easy and while Nous Non Plus was staying at Movia in April, Aleš had each of us disgorge a bottle (even the girls and the drummer). I know that at least one NYC retailer of Italian wines sends out erroneous instructions about disgorging the wine: despite what the so-called “Italian wine experts” claim, you DO NOT NEED TO FREEZE THE SEDIMENT IN THE NECK of the bottle. You simply need to store the bottle upside down at your preferred serving temperature (I like my Puro at “cellar” temperature, not overly chilled).

He makes it look easy (and it is): Jean-Luc Retard (vox, bass) aka Dan Crane aka Björn Türoque disgorges a bottle of Movia Puro Rosé during a break from our recording session in May. We didn’t have a punch bowl so we used the sink in the studio’s kitchen. Björn is a veteran Air Guitar champ: check out his website.