Monday, July 7, 2008

Brooklynguy Cooks

WARNING: This is a happy post. Read with caution, as it may engender good feelings.

One of the most beautiful aspects of my recent sojourn to New York was the opportunity it provided to meet up with some of my fellows in the New York wine and food community. It’s unfair to pick highlights, but I’m hard pressed not to reflect upon the invitation to sup Chez Brooklynguy as a wonderful occasion. Such hospitality, extended to a stranger outside of the kinship we’d developed in the blogosphere, was heartwarming – and bellywarming. I knew Brooklynguy (aka, Neil) loves wine; it turns out that he also loves to cook. And he cooks damn well, with far more heart and soul than I’d experienced in the food at Del Posto the night before.

The floral and savory intensity of his pasta tossed with marjoram, ricotta and sautéed zucchini captured the essence of a summer garden. Kebabs of grilled pork, marinated in green garlic and Brooklynguy’s secret spice rub, provided the pièce de résistance.

While we were at it – surprise, surprise – we managed to taste a few wines. We opened with a bottle of Champagne I’d brought along from the home cellar just for the occasion, knowing of the predilection that both Brooklynguy and Brooklynlady share for the bubbly stuff. For details on that, though, you’ll need to wait, as I’ve been invited to guest blog this week’s edition of Friday Night Bubbles. Stay tuned for it over at Brooklynguy’s blog. For the rest of the evening, Neil made a point of trying to select wines I might not drink regularly. He succeeded.

Anjou Blanc “La Lune,” La Ferme de la Sansonnière (Mark Angéli) 2005
This was my first exposure to any of the wines from Mark Angéli’s estate, La Ferme de la Sansonnière, and I hope it won’t be my last. Angéli’s 2005 Anjou Blanc “La Lune” is totally Rubenesque, displaying feminine delicacy of aromas and fruit while feeling entirely voluptuous in the mouth. Sec-tendre, meaning just slightly off-dry in style, it shows both the concentration and underlying structure, via its very grippy texture, of the 2005 vintage. Initially very closed on the nose, it gave up only hints of honeysuckle and white grapiness. Painfully young Chenin. Delicious stuff to drink, though. With air, greater mineral intensity and layered complexity emerged. A producer I’ll have to watch.

As a note of interest, if you take a close look at the photo of the bottle, you’ll see that Angéli has joined the ranks of artisanal, natural producers choosing to provide detailed info on their labels – “Composition: Fermented grape juice and 42 milligrams per liter of volcanic sulfur dioxide.” It’s also certified biodynamic via Demeter. Price unknown (~$25). 14% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Louis/Dressner, New York, NY.

Yamhill-Carlton District Pinot Noir “Belle Pente Vineyard,” Belle Pente Wine Cellars 2005
Smarts the likes of Brooklynguys’s weren’t necessary to figure this one out. In the history of MFWT, I’ve never before written up an Oregon wine. I do taste Oregonian juice in the line of duty from time to time but I rarely if ever buy any. Be that as it may, I could see a bit of disappointment come across BG’s visage when he first tasted the wine, as I think he was keeping his fingers crossed for something more compelling. He need not have feared. I liked the wine.

Belle Pente ferments their wines using indigenous yeasts and that telltale wild, earthy aroma was plain as soon as I put my nose in the glass. Simple it may have been, dominated by typically black cherry cola fruit, but the wine was balanced, bright, forthright and not at all domineering. It was even a reasonably good match with my host’s wonderful pork kebabs. I’m not sure I’ll rush right out to buy more but I can say that it delivers greater pleasure than most other $30ish Oregon Pinot Noirs I’ve tried in recent years. Price unknown (~$30). 13.3% alcohol. Cork.

I’d love to coax Neil and some of the other pals I had a chance to visit down to Philly, as I’d love to return the favor and share in more good food and wine. But I’ll be hard pressed to live up to the generosity I was shown in New York. It was a great time, plain and simple.


Brooklynguy said...

I'm blushing. All pink in the cheeks. and honestly, the pleasure was ours, pal.

Nancy Deprez said...

Wow, what a fun evening that sounds like!

The food looks spectacular, like you said the pasta looks so simple yet so fresh and delightful. It's nice when a night of great food, great wine, and great people come together!

Joe said...

he just rubbed some bananas and yogurt on the rim of my wine glass, you must be special...

David McDuff said...

Thanks again, Neil. It really was a great time.

Fun indeed, Nancy. There should be more evenings like it.

Are you sure you weren't stealing sips from Brooklynbaby's glass???

Anonymous said...

Wondering what you guys paired with the pasta. I guess the Anjou would be a good match?

David McDuff said...

Welcome, Javier. Indeed, the Anjou worked quite nicely, its floral/herbal elements echoing the perfume of the marjoram in Neil's pasta dish.

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