Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saveur magazine's demise -- I'm done

I've subscribed to Saveur since 2001.  Its articles always blended traditional regional culture with classic foods, wines, and recipes.

A couple of years ago, however, it began to change, for the worse, going more toward the Bon Appetit model of articles based on "new" recipes created by riffing on standard recipes and adding random or ironic twists or ingredients to it.

Now that transformation to complete irrelevance is complete.  The last three issues have completely sucked.  No culture articles worth mentioning.  Whole articles on nouvelle cuisine-like shit made up by ironically-bearded millennial chefs who are too young to even know that nouvelle cuisine sucked the first time around in the late 70s and early 80s.  When this subscription runs out, I'm done.  If I want random recipes, I'll just hit the Internet.

UPDATE:  I'm going to keep track of how many issues it's been since the last half-way decent issue (Issue 168).  Issues 169, 170, 171, 172, and 173 all sucked.  Each time a new sucky issue comes out, I'll do a quick blog about it (until my subscription runs out -- after that, I'll probably not need to vent anymore).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2012 Tommasi VALPOLICELLA CLASSIC SUPERIORE "Rafael" (Veneto, Italy)

Always a solid example of the type, the 2012 is one of the best I've had in a while.  Flavorful, light-textured, super-soft, and with classic Valpo flavors.

Medium dark ruby with the beginnings of garnet highlights.  Loads of ripe, juicy black cherry fruit, with nice mineral and almond paste overtones.  Just instantly fills the mouth with ripe, soft-textured fruit, which then slowly fades to reveal a bit of tannin and some clean, clingy dark fruit and mineral flavors.  Relatively full-bodied, yet seems light and refreshing.  Nice job.  Great with all kinds of food.  B+/A-.  Was $16.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax, VA.  Imported by Vintus LLC, Pleasantville, NY.

Monday, March 16, 2015

2014 Domaine Chene MACON MILLY LAMARTINE (Southern Burgundy, France)

This vibrant, flavorful, unoaked Chardonnay should be every restaurants' house white.  Just a fantastic value.

Shimmering bright, light gold color.  Almost Riesling-like nose of ripe, juicy yellow peach, mouthwatering crisp apple, honey and wet stones.  Mouthfilling, yet extraordinarily light on its feet.  Peach, pear, and apple fruit mingles and leads to a stony, honeyed finish.  Very nice acids buoy the whole thing up.  Drink over the next year for its liveliness.  (Great value!)  A-.  Was $12.99 from  Imported by MHW, Ltd., Manhasset, NY.

(Sorry, 2013 shown.)

Saturday, March 07, 2015

2010 Garofoli ROSSO CONERO "Piancarda" (Marche, Italy)

Rosso Conero is the Montepulciano-based wine from the region where my grandparents were born.  It's always been somewhat hard to find in this country, but in recent years a few more have made it to the U.S.  Unfortunately, the ones that make it here tend to be of the new, "international" style,  which means harvesting riper than traditionally, blending in some damn Cabernet or Syrah (or something else that isn't from there) sometimes (which actually causes it to lose the authorization to be called Rosso Conero), and using small French oak barrels for ageing instead either large Slavonian oak casks or non-wood tanks.  And as a result, most of the new-fangled ones suck.  (Well, maybe not in a technical sense, but in the sense that they're inauthentic.)

This one is a spot-on, traditional styled Rosso Conero that tastes like it should.  Which means balanced, a tad rustic, and great with food.

Deep, plasma-like ruby (the Montepulciano is a deeply-colored varietal).  Intense nose of rich gravelly soil, smoke notes, and underneath it all, deep dark berries.  Mouthfilling and with a load of soft but noticeable tannin, this wine really packs a lot of rich flavor, mostly of earthy blackberry fruit and smoky minerally notes.  Decent acidity.  Really nicely done.  Not the most complex wine, but that's not what it's supposed to be.  It's supposed to be great with food, like the Pollo alla Romana I'm making tonight.  A-.  Imported by Grappoli Imports, Glenburnie, MD.  My brother gave this to me, and he said it was around $15, which would make it a great buy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

2011 Fattoria del Cerro VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO (Tuscany, Italy)

One of the best Vino Nobiles I've had in years.  Balanced and full-flavored.  Drinking well now but with structure to age for 5 more years.

Pure, deep, dense ruby with purply highlights still.  Deep, ripe nose of dark ripe cherries, dried cherry, and ripe blackberry, all augmented with a prominent gravelly, minerally component that always says "Tuscany" to me.  Low-toned, dark ripe berry fruit and dense, iodine-tinged minerals fill the mouth quickly, and take a long time to leave.  Decent acidity, and loads of soft tannin.  A-.  Imported by Vias Imports, NYC.  Got this for a great price ($15.99) from Last Bottle.