One last note on Produttori del Barbaresco current release (and Tracie P’s fried green tomatoes)

On Friday, Tracie P brought home an open bottle of Produttori del Barbaresco 2008 Langhe Nebbiolo that she had been showing to her accounts that day. The wine had been open for the better part of the afternoon in her wine bag.

As much I have enjoyed drinking this vintage (2008, not nearly as great as 07 for this wine) since its release, I think the wine has entered a period of particular grace.

When we drank it at our wedding in January, it was light and bright, with happy black and red berry fruit.

But I got a taste of what was to come when I drank a glass at Jaynes Gastropub in San Diego last month (where they serve it by the glass): on Friday, the gentle savory notes I enjoyed in July had evolved into rich, earthy, muddy flavors, balancing the bright fruit in a lover’s embrace. I think that in the arc of its evolution, this wine has reached its moment of plenary expression (read: complete and utter yummyness).

In other news…

I just had to share this photo of Tracie P’s fried green tomatoes (from Sunday night), which she makes in her grandmother’s cast iron skillet. They were like savory candy: salty on the outside and sweet, tart and gelatinous on the inside. Paired resplendently with a bottle of Laurent Tribut 2008 Chablis (12.5% alcohol! yes!) and the 2010 vintage of True Blood.

Ain’t you glad we ain’t all California girls
Ain’t you glad there’s still a few of us left,
who know how to rock your world
Ain’t afraid to eat fried chicken and dirty dance to Merle
Ain’t you glad we ain’t all California girls

In other other news…

Seems I’m not the only one with Langhe Nebbiolo and summer tomatoes on the brain: Gary, watch out for that cucuzz’!

Zombies and 1988 Quintarelli Bianco Amabile

From the department of “unabashed umami blogging”…

Tracie B and I stopped by the Highball last night for an aperitif before the zombies closed up the bowling alley/bar/restaurant/karaoke club for their zombie party. 2009 seems to be the year of the zombie, doesn’t it?

Our friends Juliet and Michael Housewright had invited us to tag along to a Halloween party in the home of some collector friends of theirs. A lot of great wine was opened, some lovely older Gigondas and vintage Gimonnet in magnum, but the wine that blew me away was a Quintarelli 1988 Bianco Amabile.

Tracie B and I have become somewhat obsessed with the show True Blood (Juliet came dressed as Sookie, complete with a Merlotte’s t-shirt!). Between all this talk of zombies and vampires, I’ve been thinking a lot about the living dead and how we talk about the “life” of a wine and how we say a wine “has life” or “is dead” in the glass.

I’ve had the good fortune to taste a lot of Quintarelli over the years, in Italy and here in the U.S., but I’d never tasted his Bianco Amabile. This wine is a trace, a clue to the past, an almost forgotten oxidative style of winemaking that was intended to give the fruit of the vine remarkable longevity. I couldn’t help but think of the Romans’s love of dried-grape wine and their high regard for grapes that could stand up to long-term aging. Valpolicella, where this wine was made, and Soave were known for their production of fine dried-grape wine, acinatius, in antiquity. The wine was very much alive in the glass, a marriage of nutty overtones and apricot and caramel flavors.

I was certainly feeling very much alive last night with the lovely Tracie B on my arm: I revived my deceased character from my faux French rock days, Cal d’Hommage, pencil-thin mustache and all. And Tracie B was my number one groupie!

Thanks for reading, ya’ll. I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! Tracie B and I are off to pick out some dishware… :-)