Archive for the ‘Food-Wine-Love’ Category

The Morning Challenge   4 comments

Image Detail

I started off today feeling pretty good about stuff.  Up at 6:30.  Trundling downstairs to the kitchen to make my morning tea and granola.  Kettle whistles, the eyes flash and hot water poured into a waiting teapot– earthenware of English make.  An antique flea market find from many years ago really.  Reminds me of some very happy times. 

Cereal tumbles into a small bowl joined by a splash of milk.  All of that done, I rested the bowl on my countertop.  I grabbed my plugged in laptop, the cord dragged across the counter where I sat and like a trolled fishing net capturing all in its path.  Including, to my displeasure, the aforementioned milk and granola filled bowl. 

 Breakfast deconstructed.  The bowl ricocheted off of the stool next to me and drenched the cushion in white liquid and acne-like granola bits.  Tumbling to the floor in slow motion and exploding into fragments.  Milk, cereal and shards of white porcelain everywhere in the moment when I expected to have my feet up catching up on my personal email and favorite blogs.  I was too concerned with cleaning up to photograph what was actually a pretty cool scene.

Years back, I remember I accidentally spilt a glass of milk on the kitchen table.  I did not like the taste of milk then, since I preferred a good Pepsi or Coke to that chalky liquid.  But it was an accident– really!  My mother perceived it somewhat differently and being the disciplinarian of the house, gave me my most memorable beating.  I was not scarred for life.  Ok maybe I am, because spilt milk brought me back to that moment.  Never cry over spilled milk?  That day I broke that rule!

I asked my mother about that incident which of course, she did not remember.  Am I the only one?

The mess now cleaned up, I am wondering what else will today bring?  If this is the worst of it, then I am going to have an incredible day.  The beauty of life is the unpredictability of it.  Am I meant to have been delayed this morning by that mundane event which resulted in this unexpected post?

When I start to ask questions such as these, I sometimes will take a look at my daily horoscope.  It’s more information regardless of whether it’s good or bad.  The day will inform me of that.  Here is what it said:

You have only just scratched the surface on a new endeavor. Keep digging today and you could uncover the whole beautiful thing (at any rate, you should make amazing progress). Acting in the moment is important today — spontaneous energy will feed new ideas and encourage everything to keep going in the right direction. If you’ve been waiting for a day to exhale, it’s today. You even have permission to get excited. This is going to happen!

I have got to hop in the shower and get out there!

Posted June 11, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

Livio Voghera Barbera d’Alba Riserva 2009   11 comments

A Summer house in the Hamptons and a cast of interesting people.  For drama, you don’t need much else.

There was the dress designer, Dresser, a childhood friend of my future ex-wife.  There was his boyfriend, Geoffrey, who could not quite make up his mind if he was happy being a man.  If that was not entertainment enough, there was the older woman, who insisted on being recognized as a “Citizen of the World”.  There was Liz, part of the other Hetero couple in the house, who had a business connection to Dresser.   She was obsessed with being the “Coolest Mom in the World” to her 13-year-old son.  (Note to self– “Cool” parents are permissive.)  There was also a collection of Dresser’s friends, who did not pay rent but who managed to position themselves for invitations to the house on many weekends.  Some of these were gay or they were models, sometimes both, and many of them moochers, miscreants and charlatans who showed up to his weekly parties– vodka-fueled antics that were punctuated by the ritualistic slaughter of many unfortunate Maine lobsters.  

And there was the beautiful Argentine.  Not particularly tall, but leggy nonetheless.  My favorite memories of that Summer are the idle moments spent poolside, sunglassed, and entranced by her bathing attire.   Nothing more than “postage stamps held together by dental floss,” as Dresser would say.  Each and every day, those words resonated with me as I reclined in full appreciation of the care she took to tan her rounded buttocks in the mid-day Hampton Sun.  

It was a fantastic Summer till it all fell apart when the Heteros in the household banded together demanding a weekend of Quiet that didn’t happen.  It turns out that a party every weekend with a bunch of strangers was not all that it was cracked up to be.   That was perhaps inevitable.  But for today let us focus on the good things that came out of that summer and especially the scantily clad Argentine Princess.  Believe me, there is plenty of drama in that…

Now this recollection might normally lead to a review of an Argentine wine.  But there are many Argentines of Italian descent and I can live with that intersection of humanity even if it comes via the Hamptons.


When I catch myself unconsciously smacking my lips and clicking my tongue it’s usually cause by particularly striking sunbathing attire on a beautiful woman or merely a very good wine.  In either case, I sit up and take notice.  

Barberas with their natural acidity have always been appealing to me.  But it’s not all about the acid.  They also have the right amount of weight and depth that appeals to me.  

The last two Barberas that I have tasted are from Alba.  Located within Piemonte in northern Italy, Alba is one of two towns fabled for the production of better Barberas.  It seems easier to find Barberas from Asti.  But it does not take that much more of an effort to find the ones from nearby Alba.  Both are good, even if they have different characters.  Personally, I have found the ones from Asti to be a bit more minerally in character, whereas the ones from Alba are earthier.   Both sport appealing red and black fruit flavors.  But these days, at least, the ones from Alba draw my eye like a well-appointed bikini. 

Livio Voghera Barbera d'Alba Riserva 2009Livio Voghera Barbera d’Alba Riserva 2009 ($20).  A lovely if not quite powerful nose: touches of earth and perhaps a hint of tar transmogrify into a mix of stoney black plum and perhaps some violets and a smattering of hyacinth.  These give way to a medley of obdurate berries– red and black– that are insistent on having a fencing contest in my mouth.  En garde!  Thrust!  Parry!  What a nice finish.  My head says this is worth 3 stars.  But my mouth is clamoring for more.  Perhaps that’s the 14.5% alcohol speaking, but today– Mouth wins.  Rated ***1/2

Posted June 10, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

La Commedia è finita!   4 comments

Clueless in Brooklyn.  We began our Year of Living Unwittingly in a time warp.

Two Yuppies beginning life’s adventure together in the mid-1980s in the Big City.  As we shopped around for an apartment, we were told (by some real estate agent) that Carrol Gardens, was the safest neighborhood in New York City.  That’s how we ended up here in this place that at least at that moment, Time seemed to have forgotten.  More likely, Time may have just misplaced it.   

Image DetailSince we were just starting out, the apartment had many desirable qualities.  It was magnificent in certain aspects.  It was on the parlor floor of a Brooklyn brownstone with inlaid parquet wood floors, 14 foot tall corniced ceilings, white alabaster fireplace and a floor to ceiling gilded mirror decorated with cherubs and such along the upper part of the frame– that was just the living room.  That grand VERTICAL scale was a jaw dropper for sure.  Horizontally– that is to say square footage wise?  Well, that was a bit more of a challenge.  The 13 foot christmas tree we put up that first year took up nearly one half of the aforementioned living room.  The apartment also had the smallest full bathroom I had ever seen– a room with the scale of an undersized powder room crammed with toilet, shower stall, a sink the size of a dentist’s spit-bowl and about 2 square feet of floor space in which to stand if the shower stall was ignored.  Forget about counter space– it did not exist, so why talk about it?  But for two kids just starting out the apartment had one more really important feature– it was cheap.  And it was complete bliss.   

Stepping out the front door, to the left and a couple of blocks away, there was the NYC Police Department’s 76th precinct.  But that is hardly the reason the neighborhood was safe.   Turning to the right, and a couple of blocks the other way, at the corner of Union and Court streets, was the medical center for the International Longshoremen’s Union, named at that time after the long dead Anthony “Tough Tony” Anastasio.  He was Vice-president of the International Longshoremen’s Association, head of local 1814 of the ILA in Brooklyn during the 1940s and 1950s and he controlled the Brooklyn Waterfront.  Union HQ was back then, as I recall, located just across the Court Street from the Medical Center.  Anthony Anastasio was also younger brother of notorious Mafia figure Albert Anastasia.  

11 Witnesses and nobody saw nuttin’

Although Anthony officially died of a heart attack in 1963, his brother Albert was, um, less fortunate, having been gunned down in Godfather style while he relaxed in a barber chair, hot towel on face, getting ready for nice shave at his favorite barber shop in the Park Sheraton, a midtown Manhattan hotel, on a late October afternoon in 1957.  The story is told that after being shot in the initial fusillade of bullets, Albert had enough fight in him to mount a counter-attack.  He was not going down easy, but disoriented, he instead lunged at his killers’ reflections in the barber shop’s mirrors. 

 Pictures of the towel-draped Albert– who as head of Murder Incorporated was responsible for 700-100 murders– have always fascinated me.  A shattered mirror in the background and in one photo reflections of the investigators trying to piece together Albert’s last moments.  The last act in a morality spectacle that speaks poignantly of the consequences of crossing the wrong people and letting your guard down.   

Yes, it was a very safe NYC neighborhood.  Although located just 30 minutes via subway from Midtown, many of the local residents had not been to Manhattan in 20 or 30 years.  Why bother?

Sandwiched in between the constabulary encampment and the medical facility, you could find a white stone building with red awnings– an unusual feature in that particular stretch of Union Street– a real restaurant, not a pizza place, a REAL restaurant.

Image DetailOne evening, we decided to have dinner there and upon arrival were greeted by a double-wide refrigerator of a man, dressed in tuxedo.   This was a colossal block of a man.  Impenetrable and cut muscle with a thick neck that rose from squared-off shoulders supporting a substantial medicine ball of a head covered with slicked back hair that framed his dark brown unsmiling eyes.  Aside from the tasteful red awnings, the presence of Signore Musculo was the first sign that maybe this was not such a good idea.  

Formal attire in this homey stretch of Brooklyn was not congruent– this, a place where 3 a.m. arguments usually ended an exchange of  a Brooklyn style Fare-Thee-Well:  “F***, you!”  To which the quick-witted reply, “F*** Me?  No, no, no, F*** YOU!”  You get the picture. 

Too late to reverse course, we let the massive maitre d’ usher us to our table– at the front of the restaurant– by the window, of course.  Typically the best seat in any joint.  But this somehow felt different.

Here was an observation post where we could watch the neighborhood stroll by and COINCIDENTALLY, where we could ourselves be simultaneously kept under the watchful eye of Mr. Large Appliance and the old ladies across.  And being in the front, we would also serve as human shields in any potential drive by shooting.  Did I mention we were Clueless?  Maybe I am imagining this, maybe it was just great service?  Nah!

I’m sure we had some nondescript Chianti out of a carafe.  What was more memorable, née, remarkable, was the incredible rollatini which we ate with relish, though speedy dispatch, once it dawned on us that it would be best to skip dessert that night.  Perfectly cooked eggplant rolls containing a succulent combination of italian cheeses and herbs, covered in a blanket of melted mozzarella and adorned with a just the right amount of tangy-sweet marinara.  Finishing that, do we linger over a couple of espressos? 

I’m thinking that I’ll make coffee at home.  “Check please.”

Leaving the restaurant, we knew we would never eat there again.  That was probably best even if I still remember that it was the best damn rollatini I ever ate.

Image DetailWalking the one and one-half block stroll back home that night, I am certain that we were kept under the knowing and curious eyes of the “Neighborhood Watch”– those aging ladies perched on their window sills, including Exhibit A, the gravel-voiced Rose, sister of our landlady, Mary.  Sharing her raspy observations and social commentary with her sister:

“Mare, didja getaloada auwlla dat gauwbage dey was pullin’ outta dat movin’ trook acrauws da’ street?”   

[Translation: Mary, did you take a gander at the substandard furnishings that our new neighbors across the way were having unloaded from the moving van?”]

Her’s was not a subtle patois.  But, it was typical for this venue.

We were aliens.  Just passing through.  They knew it.  We eventually figured that out.  And so, they kept a respectful distance– we were short-timers on a short fuse.  Most of the people there had some connection (blood relation, employment, etc.) to the fellas who though typically unseen, really ran the neighborhood.  And the ones you did see– the sandpaper-throated Rose and her ilk– you would not want to mess with them either.  Yes, it was the safest neighborhood in New York City.

But that eggplant!  Now I’m not saying these rollatini taste like the ones we ate that night in the red awninged establishment– they do not.  But it’s a good start and you should not face any mortal danger as you eat these.

Union Street Rollatini


  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 3 Eggplants (no need to peel, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices)
  • 1 Egg
  • 24 oz. of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 lb. Mozzarella Cheese (coarsely grated)
  • 1 cup Parmesano Reggiano (finely grated)
  • 3 Tbsps. of toasted Pignoli (Pine Nuts)
  • 1 cup of Fresh Basil Chiffonade (cut into long, thin strips)
  • Kosher Salt


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 DEGREES F.
  2. Spread the Eggplant slices out on racks or in a colander and generously salt.  Set aside for 15 minutes and let brown liquid (which can add bitterness to eggplant) drain away.  While this is happening, get yourself a nice glass of Italian red wine, put your feet up and enjoy life a bit.
  3. Pat the Eggplant slices dry with a paper towel.  Brush the Eggplant slices with EVOO and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, checking to make sure that the eggplant does not burn. 
  4. While the egg-plant is roasting, beat the Egg and combine with Ricotta, 1/2 of the Mozzarella and 1/2 of the Pecorino (save 1/2 of the latter two cheeses for use in up for Step 8, below).
  5. Mix in the Pignoli.
  6. Gently fold in the Fresh Basil (do not over work the cheese mixture) and set aside.
  7. Once the Eggplant is cool enough to handle, place a healthy dollop of the Cheese mixture at the wider end of the cooked Eggplant and tightly roll, trying not to squeeze out the Cheese mixture.  Place in baking dish so they all touch each other with the end of the roll facing downward.
  8. Season with salt and sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesano (from Step 4, above).
  9. Place in the preheated oven and bake until cheese bubbles into a golden brown– about 20-25 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the Mob Marinara (see recipe below).  You may need to finish for a few minutes under a broiler to get the desired golden brown color on the cheese.
  10. Remove the Cannelloni from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes or so to let the cheese set.  

Mob Marinara


  • 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 medium-sized White Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (crushed and minced)
  • 1 32 oz. Can of San Marzano Tomatoes (crushed in a bowl by hand)
  • 1 cup of Fresh Basil Leaves torn by hand
  • Kosher Salt


  1. Warm up the EVOO and cook the garlic and onion.  Cook over medium heat until softened and translucent.
  2. Add San Marzano Tomatoes bring to mild boil and reduce to simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add Salt to taste.

Simple cuisine calls for a wine that’s understandable, if not simple.  These are not simple wines; yet they bang the drum, Pagliacci style, for cuisine from the motherland– or at least certain parts of Brooklyn.  They will pop with pasta, tomato sauces and Italian cheeses.  They will dance with vitello tonnato and sparkle against prosciutto di Parma.  And with today’s eggplant dish they might inspire you to believe in the magic of memory.

We have come a long way from nondescript Chianti.

Ettore Germano Langhe Nebbiolo 2010 ($21).  Pale in color but not flavor.  Juicy red fruit, suitable acidity and fine tannins.  A great wine to drink while you’re waiting for your Barolos to mature.  Rated ***

Ferrero Rosso de Montalcino 2009 ($21).  Ferrero’s Sangiovese vineyards sit between Banfi’s Poggio all’Oro Riserva vineyard and Argiano in the southwest corner of Montalcino.  Built of 100% Sangiovese, this has energetic cranberry-referenced red fruit that is almost Pinot Noir like.  With bright acidity and soft tannins., this is not meant for aging– it is for today. Rated **1/2


La Commedia è finita!

Posted June 4, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

I Love What Sara Pérez Does For Me   2 comments

Only she doesn’t know it.  Doesn’t know I love what she does and doesn’t even know it’s for me.

Image DetailBefore I dig a hole too deep to climb out of, a clarification is probably in order.  What I really love is the vision and passion she brings to her wines.   

Certain winemakers have it– that ability to put a little extra magic in a bottle.  They know when to let the wine go, as you would let a child go, so that the soil may speak.  The few bottles I have had of the Mas Martinet wines have that special quality. 

Some winemakers also have an ability by sheer power of their personalities to explain in passionate terms what it is that they are trying to draw out of the juice.  I have seen her speak and her passion is irrepressible. 

Of course, she does not make the wines by herself, but her fingerprints are all over the place.  The wines are imbued with a sense of presence, an intangible to be sure, but I don’t know how else to say it.  Even the most humble of the bottles have that.  Concentrated and balanced.  Exhibiting power and finesse– an iron fist velvet glove kind of thing.  But an iron fist that does not lash out– one that provides a reassuring if firm caress. 

A few nights ago, I was looking for a little something to have with some leftover Memorial Day grub.  Tada!  I found a forgotten bottle of 2006 Martinet Menut.  The last time I had this wine a couple of years back, I liked it.  It was a solid effort delivering good value.  But now with almost 6 years of age, I feel like it is just finding its stride.  Those additional two years have made a big difference.  It may not be her greatest wine, but it will let you know that it means business.  Sadly, it was the last bottle I had. 

So what’s in the bottle? 

Martinet Menut 2006 from Priorat ($20-$23).  A concentrated blend of 60% Garnacha, 30% Merlot and 20% Syrah.  Menut is a blend of Martinet’s younger vines, and parcels not used for their five single-vineyard cuvees and some Merlot.  Aged 15 months in 3, 4, 5-year French barriques followed by tank aging.  It has a woodsy almost cedar like nose overlaying damp earth notes; it is all about the black arts– introducing itself to the palate with a calling card of black licorice scented dark fruit.  What emerges next is the minerally, stoney quality that I find so appealing in wines from Priorat.  And finishing with supple tannins and satisfying long finish.  Rated ***

As I started doing some research for this post, and while staring at the label with its watercolor and ink drawing of a bird with a Pompadour and a jaunty little hat, I discovered an interesting little factoid: Martinet Menut is the Catalan name for a bird found in Spain.  Known as the Little Egret, it is a member of the heron family.  But I am no John Audubon and have no aspirations to become a birder.

Still speaking of the study of birds, I am reminded of a story told to me by a long ago acquaintance who attended one of those Ivy League Institutions.  During an ornithology exam in a massive auditorium classroom, the professor flashed images of various beaks, claws, tail feathers and such on a movie screen.  Using only these limited perspectives of birdy bits, the students were required to identify the fowl in question– common name, genus, family, order, species, etc.  Midway through the test, one fellow rises from his desk proclaims so all could hear, “I quit!”  He then turns heel and starts making his way up the aisle toward the exit.  Startled, the professor calls out to him, “You there!  What is your name?”  Almost at the exit, the frustrated student stops.  He turns back, strolls half-way down the aisle and plops down on one of the steps.  He removes a singular shoe to the puzzlement of the class.  Then he peels off his sock.  Triumphantly, with both hands, he holds his naked foot up in the air and calls back, “You tell me!”

I will give you more than a beak to stare at.  If you see that blue-winged Martinet Menut on a label in a wine shop, do not hesitate to buy.  If it is from the 2006 vintage all the better.

For tomorrow’s test, here is a little history of the relatively ancient yet radically new Priorat appellation that I pulled from

The first recorded evidence of grape growing and wine production dates from the 12th century, when the monks from the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei, founded in 1163, introduced the art of viticulture in the area. The prior of Scala Dei ruled as a feudal lord over seven villages in the area, which gave rise to the name Priorat. The monks tended the vineyards for centuries until 1835 when they were expropriated by the state, and distributed to small holders.

At the end of the 19th century, the phylloxera pest devastated the vineyards causing economic ruin and large-scale emigration of the population. Before the phylloxera struck, Priorat is supposed to have had around 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) of vineyards. It was not until the 1950s that replanting was undertaken. The DO Priorat was formally created in 1954. The seat of the DO’s regulatory body was initially Reus, some 30km to the east of the wine-region, rather than in Priorat itself.

In the decade from 1985, the production of bulk wine was phased out and bottling of quality wine phased in.

Early on, winemaking cooperatives dominated. Much of the development of Priorat wines to top class is credited to René Barbier and Álvaro Palacios. Winemaker Barbier, then active at a winery in Rioja owned by the Palacios family, bought his first land for Priorat vineyards in 1979, convinced of the region’s potential. At this stage, there were 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of Priorat vineyards. In the 1980s, he convinced others, including Palacios, to follow suit and plant new vineyards in suitable locations, all named Clos. For the first three vintages, 1989-1991, the group of five wineries pooled their grapes, shared a winery in Gratallops, and made one wine sold under five labels: Clos Mogador (Barbier), Clos Dofi (Palacios, later renamed to Finca Dofi), Clos Erasmus, Clos Martinet and Clos de l’Obac. From 1992, these wines were made separately. In 1993, Palacios produced a wine called L’Ermita sourced from very old Priorat vines, which led to an increased interest in using the region’s existing vineyards to produce wines in a new style.

The Catalan authorities approved of Priorat’s elevation from DO to DOQ status in 2000, but national level confirmation from the Spanish Government in Madrid only came on July 6, 2009. In the period from 2000 to 2009, when it was approved as DOQ but not yet as DOCa, despite the fact that these designations were exactly the same but in Catalan and Spanish, respectively, the situation was somewhat confused. A new set of DOQ rules were approved by the Catalan government in 2006. The regulatory body moved from Reus to Torroja del Priorat in 1999.

The vineyard surface of Priorat has been continuously expanding since the Clos-led quality revolution in the 1990s. At the turn of the millennium there was 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of vineyards, with an equal amount of planting rights secured. As of 2009, there are close to 1,800 hectares (4,400 acres).

Posted June 1, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

Chac-Mool and Me   14 comments

 Maya Chac Mool

“How much do you want for your brother?”, asked the short dark-haired douche-bag, hoping to have my ready assent and a few intimate moments with my traveling companion.

After a day of climbing pyramids and exploring altars built for human sacrifice at Chichen Itza, we headed for the nearest pueblito (little village) to catch some local culture.  I did not think I would have to sacrifice my companion in this little placita.  I know there are perverts the world over, but still, these words caught me unexpectedly.  First off, I was with a female friend, Barbara, short-haired and Lesbian.  Second, I don’t have a brother.  

[How did I end up travelling with a Lesbian to Mexico?  Long story, for another time.]

And though we were on holiday, this was their real world– not Disney’s vision of the Yucatan– with an ancient history and traditions to match. 

Covered in blue paint  and forced to lie on his back across a polished black altar. He would be held tightly at wrists and ankles.  The pounding of deerskin covered drums filled the smokey air as the priest raised the black, obsidian knife over him. Plunging the glassy ebony-colored knife into the his chest, blood explodes from the open wound spattering across the grey stone blocks on which the altar rested.  The priest’s hand quickly follows the expertly carved path of the blade and in moments extracts a still pounding heart from a gaping  crimson hole, in the thrashing upper torso.  Behold!  A gift for Chac.

Arriving late one afternoon at the placita (town square) there were a number of families all hanging out including some of the prettiest village girls in traditional Mexican weekend dresses.  It was a moment of blissful innocence.  Kind of like Epcot only legit.  And we were caught up in the halo of that moment.

Image Detail

As the sun set, the pretty girls disappeared quietly, and without our realizing it, creatures of the dark emerged from the shadows.  These were the descendants of the children of Chac-Mool.  The swiftness of the transition took us by surprise.  But still, for some reason, we decided to hang on a bit longer.  Perhaps it was the goings on– or the lack thereof– back at Hotel Ennui that kept us there.  Perhaps we just revel in being in a different place, a new adventure beginning.  Maybe because our guard was down in the afterglow of the scene we had embedded ourselves into while there was daylight, we felt unthreatened.  

Image Detail

One fellow came up to me and asked for a light for his cig.  “No tengo fosforos,” I said–  I don’t have any matches.  We were being tested and it felt like it.  “He speaks spanish”, I could almost hear them say.  We were being sized up.  A few moments later, came the contractual offer from another for a few private moments with my “brother”.  

OK… Time for us to leave.  

Emptying of life as the blood drained away, the eyes resigned themselves to the ignoble end.  Agape, the mouth’s silenced scream echoed the hollowed eyes.  Acceptance.  And then the body’s convulsions were quieted.  Discarded– it tumbled down the steep blood-soaked steps that were too narrow to climb except by walking sideways.  Limbs flailing akimbo, bones snapping, the torso thudded its way to the base of the stone structure like so many a discarded rag doll before it. 

We were hoping to make a more nonchalant exit than that.  Nonchalance.  Nonchalance.  Nonchalance.  A prayer, mantra, plea, supplication, that word seemed to be repeating itself in my head.

Show no fear.  But get the hell out!  I declined the kind fellow’s offer.  Leaning over to Barbara, I explained the situation, and suggested that she and I might stroll around the placita and then make as graceful an exit as possible drawing as little attention as we could to our not-so-hasty retreat.  The fact that they thought she was a he, may have worked to our advantage.  Apparently, they did not expect a woman to be present in the plaza after dusk.  But they also could not figure out if Barbara was brother or sister– and so the phrasing of the question itself was a way to get more information about gender.

Chac, God of Rain & Lightning in Mayan Religion, MythologyIn the dim light, Barbara appeared more “Victor” than “Victoria” and she put on her best “butch-walk” as we exited the plaza.  Our rental car was parked about 500 feet from the square and we were outnumbered and vulnerable. 

Where had all those little girls gone? 

With lascivious perverts, beggars and village idiots buzzing about, we quickly learned that this was not a place for little girls, big girls or norteamericanos.  Was anyone pursuing us?  As we neared the car, hearts pounding in an adrenaline flow, and with eyes glancing behind to ensure that no one had accompanied us, there was the obligatory fumbling with the keys, and once safely in the vehicle we peeled away and headed back to the Hotel Ennui.

Image Detail

Anticlimactic?  Perhaps for you, but not for us.  Perhaps he was serious in his offer.  Perhaps he just wanted us to leave.  No matter to us– we were happy to see those Bad Boys in the rear view as the town square faded from sight.  Chac would have to wait for another day.

Today, I recommend this Bordeaux Bad Boy which can come and party in our crib any day.  Garagiste, JL Thunevin, has done it again.

Mauvais Garcon (Bad Boy) 2009 ($21).  More forward with the fruit.  Hints of dark cocoa and red licorice on the nose.  Dark berries.  Kirsch.  Perfect concentration.  Dark chocolate on the finish.  Sweet tannins with woodsy notes and underbrush.  Those tannins may be dulcet, but don’t be fooled, this is not a girly Bordeaux.  Rated ***

This needs some serious meat. And when I think serious meat, only braised short ribs will do.  This recipe which has been adapted from Sundays Suppers at Lucques is worth the effort and the long wait while they cook.

Bad Ass Braised Beef Short Ribs


  • 6 Beef short ribs, 14-16 oz each (ask for 3 bone center cut)
  • 1 TBSP + 1 TSP thyme leaves
  • 4 whole sprigs thyme
  • 1 TBSP freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 Doz small pearl onions
  • ½ Cup EVOO
  • 1 Cup diced onion
  • 1/3 Cup diced carrot
  • 1/3 Cup diced celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ Cups port
  • 2 ½ Cups hearty red wine
  • 6 Cups veal or beef stock
  • 4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt


  1. Season short ribs with PEPPER and 1 TBSP of THYME.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
  2. Take the ribs out of fridge 60 minutes before cooking.  Preheat oven to 425F.
  3. Toss PEARL ONIONS with 2 TBSP EVOO, 1 TSP of thyme, ¾ TSP of SALT and pinch of PEPPER.  Spread on baking sheet and roast 15 minutes till tender.  When cooled, slip off the skins.  TURN DOWN oven to 325F.
  4. Season RIBS generously on all sides with SALT after 30 minutes.
  5. Heat Large sauté pan over high heat for 3 minutes.  Pour in 3 TBSP of EVOO till almost smoking.  Sear RIBS on three meaty sides.  DO NOT CROWD THE MEAT.  When RIBS are nicely browned, transfer to Dutch oven.  They should lie flat with the bones standing up in one layer.
  6. Turn heat DOWN to medium and add 4 whole sprigs thyme, 1 Cup diced onion, 1/3 Cup diced carrot, 1/3 Cup diced celery, 2 bay leaves.  Stir with wooden spoon, scraping crusty bits.  Cook 6-8 minutes until veggies start to caramelize.
  7. Add 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar, 1 ½ Cups port, 2 ½ Cups hearty red wine.  Turn heat UP to HIGH and reduce liquid by ½.
  8. Add 6 Cups veal or beef stock and bring to a boil.  Pour the liquid over the short ribs scraping any veggies off the meat.  The stock should almost cover the meat.  Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat.
  9. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.  Braise in the oven for 3 hours.  To check the meat for doneness, pierce with paring knife.  It should yield easily to the knife. 
  10. Let ribs rest for 10 minutes in their juices and then transfer to baking sheet.  Turn oven up to 400F.  Place the ribs in the oven to brown for 10-15 minutes
  11. Strain the broth into a saucepan pressing down on veggies to extract juices.  Skim fat from the juice and if broth seems thin, reduce over medium-high heat.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Serve with sautéed kale or Swiss chard, potato puree and horseradish cream. 

Or complement with a simple Baked Macaronade with elbow macaroni cooked al dente, juices from the braise and grated Gruyère or Parmesan.

Posted May 19, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

A Gift For Mother on Her Day: “Mas Arroz, Por Favor!”   10 comments

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I stopped eating rice when I was a preadolescent.

The truth is that I never really enjoyed it and it was such a big staple in my family that it naturally created certain tensions.  My Abuelita made rice (or arroz) several times a week and my mother did as well.  Arroz con fill-in-the-blank:  Pollo, Gandules, Salchichas, Camarones, Habichuelas– I hated them all.  The worst was Arroz Blanco– plain white rice that made me gag.  And because of their association with rice, I hated beans too.  Today I will eat them, but never many.

The tipping point for me, came at the hands of one of my least favorite uncles.  On my mother’s side there were four brothers– Juan, Angel, Manuel and Reynaldo.  My Abuelita had made a saffron-colored rice dish.  I refused to eat it.  Haughtily refused.  No way. 

Enter Manuel.  He sits across from me. 

“You’re gonna eat that rice.”


“You’re gonna eat that rice, or else.”

“I am not.”

“You don’t want to eat that rice?”

Electric dialogue, huh?  (Don’t blame me, I was only 10 or so.)


Image DetailWith that he picked up the now cold plate of rice and in Cagneyesque fashion shoved it into my face.  Thank you, Tio Manuel.  Actually, that day he stopped being my Tio (uncle)– he became just Manuel to me and remains that way to this day. 

My reaction surprised even him.  After my initial shock, I stood up and yelled out “Thank you– now I will never eat rice again!”  (“You friggin’ idiot”, I thought to myself.)  My mother, who was trying to keep the peace in the family, sat there shocked as I was and said nothing.  It is one of those regrets that she has in her life. 

One other unpleasant memory I have of Manuel is that he is the brute who accidentally shut a car door on my ring finger when I was about 3 years of age.  This was so painful that it may be my earliest memory.  And in fact, to this day, the tip of that finger is a little bit flatter than the others and the fingernail does not grow quite the same the others.  Thank you, Pendejo.

He must be punished.  But being a kid, what could I do?

Opportunity knocked and I (along with my cousin, the ever mischievous, Papo, who is 4 months older than me) engineered a comeuppance for my miscreant uncle.  I did not think of it that way at the time, but in retrospect, it all makes sense.

Enter Element of Opportunity Numero Uno:  When I was growing up, girls had dolls and boys had guns.  That’s just the way it was.  One of my favorites was an air powered pop gun that made a horrific, and for a boy, deliciously loud noise.  No projectiles– just an obnoxiously magical bang.

Enter Element of Opportunity Numero Dos:  Edwin– my cousin and Manuel’s son.  Edwin, several years junior to Papo and me, wanted to play with this rifle in the worst way.  Who could blame him?

Enter Element of Opportunity Numero Tres:  Manuel, fresh off of the night shift, sleeping on his back in the second bedroom.

It was the Perfect Storm a confluence of factors that can never be repeated.

Says Papo to Edwin: “You wanna play with this gun?”

Excitedly Edwin replies, “Yes!  Yes!”

“OK, here’s the deal.  You have to go into the bedroom and point the gun at your father’s head and shoot him, OK?”

“Yeah! Yeah!” 

We pumped the air rifle and handed it to the now giddy Edwin.  Like a commando, Edwin made his way, Air Rifle in hand, into enemy territory.  Step by tentative step, he approached his dad, who was soundly snoring on his back.  Papo and I were standing just outside the door witnessing the unfolding of the events that we had gleefully set in motion.  Like a big game hunter, Edwin stalked and approached his prey on tiptoe, lest he spook him from his restful slumber.  The rifle raised and now aimed squarely at Manuel’s ear, his hands shaking ever so slightly with excitement, but determinedly, he squeezed the trigger and

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From a prostrate position– Manuel’s body, defying all known laws of physics, literally did a vertical lift straight up in the air as if he had been spring loaded.  I am not making it up when I say that for an instant there was nothing but air between Manuel and the mattress that had to that instant provided him with restful repose.

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Papo and I turned heel and sought refuge under one of the other beds in the three bedroom apartment as the following words chased after us:  “What the ….!!!!  Where are you, I’m going to kill both of you!”  We must have stayed under that bed crapping in our pants for over an hour.

The only thing that saved us, I think, is that Edwin realizing that he had been duped and had perhaps not thought too clearly about the events that would unfold after he pulled the trigger must have broken down, crapped his own pants and cried like a little girl. 

I do not believe that I am Edwin’s favorite cousin– and I can’t say that I blame him. 

I suppose I should feel bad about the events that unfolded that day, but truth be told, it’s pretty much the exact opposite.  Ah sweet, sweet revenge.  A dish best served cold– just like the rice that was pushed into my face. 

Do I still avoid arroz?

Over ten years later, in my junior year in college, I befriended a classmate, an older woman  (she was about 40 and divorced) who introduced me to two cuisines that I had never tasted before and that would impact my future, though I knew that not at that time: Kosher food and Chinese food.

“You have never had Chinese food?”, she queried incredulously.

“My parents never took me– they thought all of the Chinese restaurants were unsanitary.”  (We were also piss poor in the early years and had gotten into the habit of taking every meal at home.)

That’s all the encouragement this classmate needed.  She took me out to dinner at a local Chinese place.  We, I should say she, ordered moo shu pork– loved that, veggies, plum sauce and pancakes.  Then came the chicken with garlic sauce– with a side of gag-reflex inducing WHITE RICE

I thought to myself– How the heck am I going to eat this?  How can I not?

“I don’t eat rice.”

“Try just a little bit,” she implored.

Tentatively I lifted the white pearly grains to my mouth which was already burning from the spiciness of the garlic sauce. 

Holy s**t!  This is good! 

“Can I get another bowl?”

The rest is history with one epilogue– when I went home for Thanksgiving later that year, and asked my mother for a helping of rice.  She fell off her chair.  OK, at the very least, she must have dropped her silverware.  She must have thought I was kidding because she cautiously only gave me one helping.

I do not believe that she has gotten over the regrets resulting from her inaction that day so very long ago, but when I told her the story of Manuel’s comeuppance, I think it made her laugh and lightened her burden.  But I know that each time I eat her rice, it brings her back to that day.  And I usually try to remind her of the moment when the universe was put back in balance with a single shot from an air rifle and a single spoonful of her delicious rice.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Posted May 13, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

And Never Cease Gushing   12 comments

The year Virginia died, a part of me went with her.

This is about neither Wine nor Food.  This moment is about the things that really sustain us– Love and Remembrance. 

I guess being here in Manila brought her to mind.  A Philippina– she was beautiful in the way that her eyes spilled out waterfalls of laughter.  Married with a daughter the same age as my own, she was a supportive voice in some of my dark hours at the Cosmodemonic Fortune 500 company.  And she mercilessly teased me after I met Ms. R and had decided to end the tangled relationship I had with another woman.  

In his Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy, Henry Miller explores three different types of love in each of the three books– Sexus, Nexus & Plexus– Erotic, Platonic & Spiritual, respectively.  I had Nexus Love for Ginny, and then she was gone, consumed by cancer at the age of 40.  I had incorrectly assumed that she would beat this thing the way other people I know had done.

After she got ill, I visited her at her home.  We sat together and talked about nothing I remember, except that she asked me to make her a cake plate in my ceramics studio.  A project I never managed to get off the ground.  And then she was gone. 

That was almost 12 years ago and I still think of that trifle of a shortcoming. 

Certainly she and her family wanted privacy in those last days of her life.  But still I feel I could have done more for her in her final days and once she left us, on Thanksgiving Day in 2001, the universe shifted for those of us who were connected to her.  A voice that had filled our lives was gone and with that our own sense of Mortality became very real. 

How can we speak about a premature death and make sense of it?  

In these quiet moments before I leave Manila, I am pondering the physical and psychic space that I take up in the universe.  Not so much what is to come, but more where have I been.  This is not about the meaning of life or destiny.  I am not so prescient as to know what ultimately my real role is in the world.  Plus, I have a deep suspicion of people who tell me they know why they are here.  Usually it’s the religious types, those who are ferried along by faith who are the quickest to make such claims.  Because they have a PURPOSE.  And by religious, I don’t mean spiritual.  But that is a topic for another time. 

So, what do I make of the space I have taken up here till now?  In my best moments, I have made people laugh.  But I have also made them cry.  Not because I intended to hurt– it just sort of happened because of my own inattentiveness, selfishness or stupidity.  And seeing this I resolve to avoid those situations– but sometimes things do just happen and situations overtake us resulting in hurt.

In the end, Virginia taught us that we must move on with the Living that lies before us no matter how much time remains. 

Love comes in so many forms as Mssr. Miller so aptly captured in Nexus:

“What I really hoped for, no doubt, was to come upon one of those lives which begin nowhere, which lead us through marshes and salt flats, trickling away, seemingly without plan, purpose or goal, and suddenly emerge, gushing like geysers, and never cease gushing, even in death.”


I came across that gushing quality in her.  And here, in the country of her birth, I feel that she is gushing still.  And me, I continue to aspire to be a gusher.  If there is a PURPOSE to aspire to– then that must be it.

Posted May 4, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

And a Good Time Was Had by All?   3 comments

Like the all-afternoon aftertaste of one of those dirty-water hot dogs you get back home on the streets of New York, my first wine experience on this trip to Bangkok kept repeating on me.  

Arriving by 20 minute cab ride at SIP Wine Bar last Sunday I discovered that they were, um, closed.  Not permanently, mind you, simply a delayed opening.  It’s a shame, I had been looking forward to going to this place since I read about it in the NY Times.  I could have sat outside waiting for the place to open.  But there didn’t seem to be much sense in that as there didn’t seem to be that much to do in the immediate vicinity.  And, seriously, I was not that desperate for a glass of wine.  Also, since I had made plans to meet up with a good friend and colleague who was flying in from Australia later that evening, I decided to simply return to the hotel.  “STRIKE ONE!”

Having now provided my cabbie with a chuckle at my expense, he attempted to be helpful.  On route, he tried to dump me off at one of those large tourist bars I hate.  Kind of like a charmed-starved Applebee’s, but without the charm.  (BTW, who the hell is Applebee and why would he do this to his family name?)

Um, no thanks, Mr. Cabbie.  Nearing the hotel we spotted another wine bar, with a promising name, Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant.  Ahhhhh, Bacchus.  Roman god of wine.  Inspiration for Bacchanalian Festivals.  What could be so bad?  OK, maybe that whole human sacrifice thing and getting torn to shreds by Roman chicks in a wine inspired frenzy may not be everyone’s idea of a good time.  But, I’m thinking of the pleasures of the heterosexual version of the Bacchanalia. 

So shall we give the place a whirl?  Grab a glass, perhaps two, some nibbles, make some conversation with whoever is there and get back to Home Base, to catch up with me mate.  Although Bacchus’ ample wine list contained some of my favorites, those had to be purchased by the bottle.  Now, drinking an entire bottle is something that I have, on occasion, been known to do.  However, that typically happens at home when there is food and company.  Or at least food…  And, frankly, there is something odd and vaguely creepy about ordering a bottle to drink by oneself in a deserted bar. 

So I thought I would at least try the wines by the glass which Bacchus offered– two reds, and only two reds.  And in a new twist on vin marketing, Bacchus offered a terrific deal on these two wines by the glass.  Wines that– how shall I say this?–


But what a deal, buy one sucky glass of wine and get another sucky one for… wait for it… FREE!  Suggestion to Bacchus– a  wine bar should offer decent wines by the glass.  And more than just two choices would have been a bonus.  All together now: “STRIKE TWO!”

Bottom of the ninth inning and I am down to my last strike.  You have to protect the plate in these circumstances. 

To cut to the quick, I ended up in the Exec Lounge at my hotel, The Conrad Bangkok.  It’s not looking so well, is it? 

The Conrad is a nice Hotel with well-trained staff.  And if you’re fortunate enough to be placed on an Exec floor, you gain access to the lounge.  It was there that I deboarded the Local Train to the Wine Underworld.  Perhaps anything would have tasted good to me at that point.  But, maybe, just maybe, I found a little gem worth exploring. 

Père Anselme La Reserve de l’Aube Vin de Pays d’Oc Syrah-Merlot 2010.  What a nice little surprise.   Opening with a promise of spice.  Done in a more international style, but still maintaining an identity of self, this is a self-assured wine that whispers, “I may have humble beginnings, but I am an overachiever.”  Rated **1/2

My petit wine pilgrimage had paid off and it turns out that Bacchus allowed me to have the delectable SIP I was looking for after all even though I found it in the last place I would have looked for it.  And so I give thanks to the god of wine, as they say in Thailand, “khob-kun-Krab.”

So it ended up being a good night– just not this good:

Posted April 28, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love, Wine Etiquette

Bangkok by Way of Argentina   Leave a comment

ThailandIt’s just another Saturday night– in Bangkok.

How did I end up here?  I am here on business.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun, eh?

Now, the worst part of business travel is that you travel alone.  Of course you meet up with your business contacts when you get there, but there is always down time when you are completely on your own and you wish you had someone to share certain experiences with.  The best part of business travel is that you travel alone because those moments of solitude that you have in a foreign land are a luxury of introspection– navel gazing.  Still, towards the end of my trips, I definitely look forward to returning home.   

Which brings me to the difficulties I experienced this past week, as I was preparing for this longish work trip to Asia, away from loved ones, home and cellar.  I am told that Jake, the wonder-dog, goes into a depression when I am away on these trips.  Usually, he knows that I am leaving because of all the unusual packing activity that goes on.  Having memorized my daily routine and, being a creature of habit, he knows that something is up when the big suitcase emerges from the closet.  This time, we thought to spare the poor S.O.B. the trauma and made sure that he was not present at home when packing commenced.  We’ll see if he catches on after I have been away for a few days.  He’s a smart boy– so I expect after a week or so, it will dawn on him… “Hey, where is Alpha Dog?”

While this voyage will take me to several countries, that’s not to say that I will do without wine.  Thailand has not traditionally been known for wine, but that seems to have changed in the past 3 years or so as more Thais have gained affluence and as the wine world shrinks as it becomes more globalised and as Asians, including Thais, have acquired a taste for the good stuff.  In fact, it seems that there are some vineyards here in Thailand, as reported in the Weekend FT, by Jancis R (“old hat” she calls them– hah!).  A number of wine bars have opened up in Thailand in the past few years and I have identified a few places that I know will ensure me of a refreshing libation or two.   Earlier in the week as I was preparing for this trip, in a bon voyage of sorts, we had a little gathering at the house.  I decided to serve a humble Malbec from a great producer.  We had some soft duck tacos that I served with a mixed berry pasilla chile sauce.  I’m a sucker for the hot and sweet flavors that I manage to draw out of this sauce and it paired gorgeously with the duck and the Malbec. 

The Malbec, from Achaval Ferrer, is not one of their more expensive single vineyard designates.  But no matter.  It spoke with a clear voice that night– “Come back soon!”. 

Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2010 ($16).  Very approachable Malbec from one of Mendoza Argentina’s premier producers.  Cherry essence on the palate wraps its legs around an herbal nose.  Balanced by satisfying tannins and discrete acidity on the ample finish.  Drink this now or wait 2-3 years– your choice– it’s all good.  Rated **1/2

Business travel is not like being on vacation.  There are objectives to be met.  Tasks to be started, accomplished, advanced and completed.  And the time is limited.  And there is the jet lag thing– which is why I’m here on Saturday.  We wouldn’t want to be dozing off during a meeting with the Regional Vice President of Operations on Monday morning, would we?  So having just arrived after an almost 20 hour trip, I am opting for a workout in the hotel gym followed by the refreshing calming, quiet of my hotel room. 

I will have Sunday to play.

Posted April 21, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

2009 Bordeaux Tasting: Plutocrats vs. Troglodytes   2 comments

We are not plutocrats, my buddy Sam and I.  Though we would like to drink like as if we were.  But there are college tuition installments and mortgage payments to be made after all.   

Sam is a lover of all things Bordeaux and especially that little thing named Margaux.    

With premium Bordeaux prices going through the roof for the 2009 vintage, we will not be drinking Chateau Margaux any time soon.  At $900 to $1,400 for a singular bottle of the 2009 vintage from this legendary producer, the First Growth Masters of the Universe have effectively barred many people from ever being able to bring even a sip to their lips.  (The 2008 vintage, BTW, can be had for about $500 a bottle if you are so inclined– such a deal.)  Whether you go for 2009 or even the more relatively “humble” 2008, that’s still a lot of coin.  But humility is not in strong supply these days in Bordeaux.  Greed, avarice and the mechanics of Keynesian economic principles– those are different currencies that are carrying the day.

Still in a good vintage, as 2009 no doubt is, you can find some great values at the lower end of the spectrum.  I spent a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago tasting through a some 2009 Bordeaux at a tasting sponsored by the boys at Suburban Wines in Yorktown, NY.  No, these were not Chateau Margaux.  And not all the wines we tasted were from the 2009 vintage– though that is the focus of the tasting notes below.  At any rate, while not exactly inexpensive, many of the wines were in the $25 range, I had change left over from my $100 after I left the store– all right, maybe change leftover from 3 Benjamins.  

Do I detect a whiff of irony in this posting?  Neither a Troglodyte nor Plutocrat be.  Just call me Citizen Sybarite.

Here are some of the 2009s we tasted and purchased.  A note on the prices: all of these wines were being offered at a 20% discount to the normal prices in the store and the prices are rounded to the nearest dollar.  Also, if my notes seem a little um, shorter than usual, blame it on the venue– it’s difficult to take detailed notes while standing with wine glass and pencil in one hand and tasting sheet in the other.

Chateau Picampeau Lussac-St Emilion 2009 ($16).  Although this had a good nose, it seemed to lack presence on the palate which fell short of the aromas I was getting.  Rated *1/2

Chateau Lanessan Haut-Medoc 2009 ($23).  Good fruit, but seemed a little too soft on the back-end, lacking structure.  But that’s just an initial impression.  Rated **

Chateau Lalande Listrac-Medoc 2009 ($14).   A good serviceable “everyday” Bordeaux.  Rated **

Chateau Moulin de la Lagune Haut-Medoc 2009 ($28).  Twenty-eight dollars, two stars, why didn’t I buy this?  See Petit Courret, below.  Rated **

Chateau Taillefer Pomerol 2009 ($26).   Impressive concentration and fruit at a very attractive price point.  And, hell, it’s a Pomerol.  Rated ***

Chateau de France Pessac-Leognan 2009 ($26).  Had this right after the Pomerol.  It went mano-a-mano with its predecessor, without blinking.  Rated ***

Chateau Petit Courret Bordeaux ($7) The day’s best buy and a subject to be further addressed in NGW.  Rated **

Chateau L’Argilius du Roi Saint-Estephe ($24).  This is my enigma wine.  Why?  Although it made a very favorable impression, somehow, I never purchased any.  My wallet, already screaming from my buying binges, gave a me a hearty “Thank You!” for that.  Rated ***

Chateau du Glana Saint-Julien ($30).  A bit of a disappointment here with a somewhat metallic finish.  Rated **

Chateau Siaurac Lalande-de-Pomerol ($22) This one will require some patience as the tannins are simply too strong at the moment.  However, the fruit and some pipe tobacco notes have shown through and once those tannins subside, this will be a lovely wine that I suspect, I will regret not having purchased more of.  Rated ***

Roc Castillon 2009 ($22) More a approachable but still a big wine.  **1/2

Chateau Saint-Andre Corbin St-Georges St-Emilion 2009 ($18).  A little bit heavy-handed with the oak treatment.  **

Chateau Picque Caillou 2009 ($26).  Decent, but better values in this tasting at that price point.  Rated **1/2

Chateau du Seuil Cerons 2009 (500 ml $20).  A dessert wine with ample acidity and beautiful and approachable fruit.  It did not have the viscosity of the Sauternes reviewed below, but it was much more to my liking.  Call me a troglodyte.  Rated ***

Chateau Roumieu-Lacoste 2009 (375 ml $20).  Perhaps, I’m just not a Sauternes guy.  All right, I can own that.  Too viscous and too sweet for me.  But there will be people out there who will love this.  Rated **

Posted April 15, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love