Friday, August 26, 2011

Castello di Amorosa: Napa Valley wine from a Tuscan castle

Castello di Amorosa of Napa Valley: California wine in a Tuscan castle

Story and photo essay by Dwight Casimere

Dwight The Wine Doctor with Castello di Amorosa owner Dario Sattui

The torture chamber at Castello di Amorosa

Scenes at Castello di Amorosa by Dwight Casimere

St. Helena, Napa Valley---Driving north of St. Helena on Highway 29, an imposing structure looms on a hill high above the Napa Valley. For a moment, the mind steps back in time to Medieval Italy, when Italian kings and sovereigns ruled over city-states.

Italy did not become a sovereign nation until the unification or Risorgimento of 1861. Castello di Amorosa winery rises above the valley floor as a reminder of those illustrious times. The Castello produces Italian style wines in a unique retrospective setting. While the wines are Italian in concept, they reflect the climate, soil and growing conditions that are unique to California’s Napa Valley.

Castello di Amorosa is a unique experience with one-of-a-kind wines that can only be had at the castle or purchased directly to the consumer from the winery or online at or by calling 707-967-6274. The winery does not distribute to stores or restaurants anywhere, but believe that the wines are best consumed here at the castle. It’s a one-in-a-lifetime experience worthy of a trip to Napa Valley.

Dario Sattui is the visionary behind the creation of Castello di Amorosa. The great grandson of San Francisco pioneer vintner Vittorio Sattui, Sattui cut his teeth early on as a savvy businessman. Partnering with Georg Salzner, President of the Castello since 2008, and Brooks Painter, Winemaker, formerly of Robert Mondavi and Stag’s Leap wineries, he set out to make the Napa Valley a destination for premium Italian-influenced wine, served in a one-of-a-kind setting. With the success of V. Sattui wines already to his credit, Sattui’s success here was all but certain.

The winery’s efforts are ably assisted by Associate Winemaker, Peter Velleno, a fifth generation San Franciscan, and product of UC Davis’s pioneering school of Fermentation Science.

Sattui, always in the company of his dog and Winery Mascot and official Tour Escort, Lupo, is a tall, imposing figure that bears a striking resemblance to the American actor James Cromwell (Babe-Academy Award nominated 1995 and L.A. Confidential, Screen Actors Guild Nominated 1997).

To say that the wines are exemplary is an understatement. What’s surprising is that they are very reasonably priced for the high level of quality. The 2010 Pinot Blanco from the Carneros District, is only $27.00 a bottle. The 2010 Pinot Grigio from Mendocino County is a mere $20. Both have a dry, crisp profile, with the Pinot Bianco possessing a captivating straw-yellow color and distinct aromas of almonds, banana and apricot and the Pinot Grigio possessing a romantic, distinctly Italian aroma of fresh herbs and a hint of Napa Valley soil on the nose.

The 2009 Pinot Nero from Santa Lucia Highlands ($36) is appropriately regally named. The wine is sumptuous with a soft, dry slightly sweet flavor, redolent of ripe red berries and the aroma of freshly roasted herbs and a light wood smoke on the finish. This is a perfect wine for steak, foie gras or a succulent roast duck. The tasting room staff offered an array of fresh cheese, salumi, olives and pates either produced at the winery or sourced from local producers in the area. It was hard to leave the tasting room to go on tour of the massive grounds and castle interiors. The cellars and Great Rooms all seem to have a story of their own to tell. There’s even an authentic torture room in the catacombs. I guess that’s where they toss the folks who ask for Reunite!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Donnafugata wines: Sicilian summer in a glass

Donnafugata wines: Sicilian summer in a glass

Donnafugata wines: Sicilian summer in a glass

Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

1. Old Verona, Italy at Dawn

2. Jose Rallo, owner, Donnafugata wines

3-5 Donnafugata wines at Vinitaly 2011

Marsala, Western Sicily—Summer crush is in full swing at Contessa Entellina, home to Donnafugata wines of Sicily, 75 miles southwest of Palermo. Luscious Chardonnay grapes are being rushed to the crusher in preparation for the new vintage. First pick is the traditional Night Harvest. Known as the Goblet of Stars, it is a festival that celebrates quality wines and the environment.

Jose Rallo, owner of Donnafugata, is an avid jazz enthusiast and singer as well as a winemaker. She routinely sings to the grapes in the field and holds concerts in the aging cellars. She is a one-woman celebration of the intertwined worlds of music and the vine. A cork manufacturer, Amorim Cork, and a tour operator, CTS Viaggi, have been Donnafugata’s partners in promoting sustainable environment.

Along with her husband, Vincenzo Favara, Jose cultivates her great love for music, singing and wine. Over the years, Donnafugata has also hosted concerts by jazz greats Pat Metheny, John Scofield. Her explorations in the synergy between wine and music inspired the CD, Journey to Donnafugata, a jazz arrangement of the music from the film, The Leopard. Donnafugata Music & Wine Live was created in collaboration with friends who were passionate about wine and Brazilian jazz. As producer and solo vocalist, Jose Rallo guides the audience through a multi-sensory experience involving wine tasting to accompanying jazz beats that embody the flavor components of the wine. This formula led to memorable concerts at the Blue Note night clubs in Milan, New York and Beijing and Shanghai, China culminating in the recording this year of the Tasting in Jazz videos in the Donnafugata cellars at Marsala, with Jose singing to the accompaniment of a clarinet and cello. The combined expression of music and winemaking expertise has created some amazing wines!

Premiering her newest wines at Vinitaly 2011 in Verona, the world had the opportunity to taste the latest of Jose’s creations for Donnafugata wines. They are exciting, refreshing wines that are fueled by her passion for music and art.

Each of the new releases features a specially commissioned work of art on the label. Anthilia 2010, Polena 2010, Tancredi 2007 and Sedara 2009 are the ultimate expressions of the winery’s all-encompassing vision.

Anthilia 2010 ($14.29) is a delightful example of the true Mediterranean expression in wine. Made primarily from native Catarratto (51%), Ansonica and other Sicilian grapes, the wine is crisp and complex with strong mineral notes and scents of white peaches and a hint of grapefruit. If Ernest Hemingway had drunk this wine, he might never have asked Harry of the eponymous bar that bears the owner’s name in Rome, to create the Bellini!

Polena 2010 ($16.52) is another white blend, this time of native Catarratto and Viognier from Sicily. This is a great summertime party wine, great for the barbecue or the beach. It refreshing with the smell of flowers and tropical fruits. The crisp taste makes it a great match with seafood appetizers, oysters, shrimp and vegetarian dishes such as pasta primavera or linguine with fresh basil, homemade mozzarella (recipe to follow) and heirloom tomatoes.

The wine bears a painting of ship’s figurehead-‘Polena’ in Italian. The name harkens back to the days of the Rallo family’s origins in wine production in Marsala for more than 150 years.

Tancredi 2007 ($36) is a classic Italian red, with 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Cabernet. This is a classy, sophisticated wine that speaks to tradition, but with a bold, new interpretation. Rossini’s opera, of the same name, is the composer’s greatest masterpiece. So it is with Donnafugata. Based on a novel by Voltaire, it tells the story of a betrayed revolutionary who wins the battle, but is mortally wounded, dying in his wife’s arms just as they are being married.

Tancredi, the wine, is a hero’s feast in a glass. With its deep, rich, Ruby-red color, its notes of dark chocolate, black cherries and a dramatic hint of bracing mint, it is the very elixir that heroes in the throes of battle, drank on the Elysian Fields. This is an altogether absorbing wine with a commanding structure and regal presence.

Sedara 2009 ($14.99) is as another blend of primarily Nero d’Avola grapes with Cabernet, Merlot and a touch of Syrah for added depth. It’s well balanced with silky tannins. It’s a pleasant wine to drink throughout one of those long, leisurely meals that the Italians are so famous for. The film director, Federico Fellini (8 ½, La Dolce Vita), was said to have served lengthy, multi-course lunches to the cast and crew of his films, complete with a selection of wines. I’m sure a Nero d’Avola antecedent to Sedara, must have been amongst the retinue.


-Homemade Mozzarella

-Dwight The Wine Doctor’s Heirloom tomato pasta with homemade Mozzarella and fresh Basil

Homemade fresh mozzarella cheese has fabulous flavor. The instructions here for making your own at home are detailed but not difficult. Rennet and citric acid can be found in health food stores and specialty markets.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


1/2 rennet tablet

1/4 cup cool, chlorine-free water (most bottled waters are chlorine-free)

1 gallon milk (2%, 1%, or skim)

2 teaspoons citric acid

Salt, optional


Crush the rennet into the water and stir to dissolve. Pour milk into a non-reactive pot (no aluminum or cast iron). Place over medium heat. Sprinkle the citric acid over the milk and stir a few times. Heat milk to 88 degrees F. Milk will begin to curdle.

At 88 degrees F, add the rennet solution and continue stirring slowly every few minutes until the milk reaches 105 degrees F. Turn off the heat. Large curds will appear and begin to separate from the whey (the clear, greenish liquid).

With a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, scoop the curd into a large glass bowl. (If it's still too liquid, let it set for a few more minutes). Press the curds gently with your hand and pour off as much whey as possible. Microwave curds on high for 1 minute, then drain off all the excess whey. With a spoon, press curds into a ball until cool. Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each, and continue to drain the whey and work cheese into a ball. In the meantime, place the whey over medium heat and let it heat to about 175 degrees F.

When cheese is cool enough to touch, knead it like bread dough until smooth. When you can stretch it like taffy, it is done. You can sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons salt into the cheese while kneading and stretching it. The cheese will become stretchy, smooth and shiny. If it is difficult to stretch and breaks easily, dip it into the hot whey for a few seconds to make it warm and pliable. Then pick it up again and stretch it into a long rope. Fold over and stretch again. Dip in hot whey as needed to make the cheese pliable.

When the cheese is smooth and shiny (this takes just a few minutes), it is ready to eat. Shape it into a log or golf-size balls, then store in a solution of 2 teaspoons salt to 1-cup water.

Note: Citric acid and rennet are available through mail order, some pharmacies or health food stores.

Yield: about 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)

Dwight The Wine Doctor’s Heirloom tomato pasta with homemade mozzarella and fresh Basil

What you’ll need:

1 lb angel hair or thin spaghetti whole-wheat pasta

1 lb. homemade mozzarella (see above recipe, or shop your local Italian market or specialty grocer

6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 large bundle of fresh Basil (about 5 ozs)

4 Tbs freshly grated Romano cheese per serving

2 cloves fresh garlic

1 small white onion, cut in slivers

Juice from ½ fresh lemon

Freshly ground white pepper

Several pinches of sea salt, one for boiling pasta, the rest to sprinkle on each completely assembled dish

Serves 4

Boil pasta in salted water, about four minutes, while simultaneously sautéing sliced heirlooms or whole grape tomatoes, diced garlic and sliced onions in the olive oil on low flame. (about 4 ½ mins for each)

On each serving plate, place two heaping scoops from a pasta server of the steaming pasta. Cover each with copious amounts of hand shredded Basil. Top with roughly shredded pieces of the homemade mozzarella and the Romano cheese. Sprinkle on hand grated white pepper, sea salt to taste. Douse with dashes of fresh lemon juice and serve with Donnafugata wine of your choice. Play your favorite jazz CD on your iPod, home stereo system, cable provider or mobile device. Abondanza!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Perfect Barbeque wines from Dry Creek of Sonoma

Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

Scenes from the Taste of Sonoma 2010

Perfect Barbeque wines from Dry Creek of Sonoma

SONOMA—Deep in the heart of Sonoma County, California’s fertile wine growing region, is Dry Creek Vineyard, a family-owned winery with 38 years of grape growing and winemaking experience. A sampling of their latest summer releases reveals wines that are perfect for the barbeque.

Founded by David Stare in 1972, his original plan was to move to France to build his own chateaux, after several trips to the Loire Valley. After hearing about the burgeoning wine industry in California, he began taking classes at FUC Davis, the nation’s most prestigious oenology school, and spent his weekends surveying vineyard land. It was during one of those weekend forays that he was drawn to Dry Creek Valley. He stumbled upon his dream location, an old prune orchard across from the Dry Creek General Store. Ripping out the old fruit trees, he began planting grapes, Sauvignon Blanc, to be exact. Against the advice of more experienced vineyards managers, Dave stuck to his guns and continued planting Sauvignon Blanc. “It tuned out to be one of my best decisions,” he later recalled. Now the winery, run by his son in law, Dave Wallace, President and his daughter, Kim Stare Wallace, Vice President, the winery has become celebrated for a whole palette of exquisite wines that reflect the unique soil and climate of Dry Creek Valley.

Their 2007 The Mariner ($40), a red blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Cabernet France and 4% Petit Verdot is a classic example of the rich, structured wines typical of the Dry Creek Valley. The wine is well put together, with a core flavor of rich, dark fruit with an overlay of chocolate and black plums. I had a couple of glasses with a bone-in the Gumbo Shop in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Adding a hunk of hickory wood to the ashen-white coals gave the steak a layer of smoke flavor that blended perfectly with the wine. Both the steak and the wine had an underlying mineral character that added to the flavor adventure. I’d put Dry Creek The Mariner high on my list for an outdoor cookout featuring marinated steak or ribs!

One of the first wines I tasted when I moved to California in the early ‘70s was a dry Chenin Blanc. I had it with a bowl of Cioppino, a hearty Italian-inspired seafood stew, unique to San Francisco’s North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf, which features jumbo Shrimp (called Prawns, by the locals) and copious chunks of Dungeness Crab meat and claws. My first experience with this wine and seafood combination was a heady one. I found myself reliving those moments, ducking in from the evening fog on Green Street into the North Beach restaurant, when I opening a bottle of 2010 Dry Creek Chenin Blanc ($12).

Dry Creek is considered the North American expert in creating great Chenin Blanc, and this vintage is no exception. It’s the perfect summertime wine. I made my own version of New Orleans-style Barbecue Shrimp. I do mine on the grill, Australian ‘shrimp-on-the-barbie” style, whereas the traditional New Orleans version involves searing the shrimp, marinated in Creole spices, in a cast iron skillet on the stove. There’s no ‘barbecuing’, per se, involved. Go figger! Anyway, since Chefs Prudhomme and Emeril weren’t staring over my shoulder, I proceeded to cook the shrimp (which I had trucked in from the Gulf, near New Orleans, just a few days before) over the open flame. Marinating them first in the aforementioned Gumbo Shop spices, I cooked them quickly, turning them after just a minute or so, being careful not to overcook.

I could barely wait long enough for the shrimp to cool off before I began biting into them and taking a healthy swig of the Chenin Blanc. It was like Mardi Gras in my mouth!

Dry Creek’s wine is 100% Chenin Blanc from the fertile Clarksburg, Sacramento Delta region, California’s version of the Nile. Fermented in stainless steel tanks for just over a month, the wine is bursting with zesty lemon, apple and pineapple flavors mingled with cantaloupe, white peaches with an undertone of chalky mineral. It’s simply delicious. I’m thinking about ordering a case of this one, because it’s quickly become my summertime favorite.

Zinfandel is always a sure bet for summertime drinking, especially casual food such as pizza, burgers, ribs and other types of barbeque. Dry Creek 2009 Heritage Zinfandel (a surprising $19) is one of the best Zinfandels I’ve ever had. It’s really lively and just brimming with jammy flavors that are characteristic of great Sonoma Zin. Just swirl it around in the glass and you get a face full of raspberries and blackberries. The smell practically jumps out of the glass! When you take the first sip, you get a mouthful of dense blackberry and anise flavors with a healthy dose of pepper. Ah-choo!!

This is truly an Old World Zinfandel (87% Zinfandel, 13% Petit Sirah, 198 months stainless steel, 10 months American and French oak) with the kind of snappy flavor that makes it an easy companion to the types of flavorful, ‘comfort’ foods that are staples of the summertime family cookout. I’ll be sure to have plenty of this wine on hand when I plan my Labor Day cookout.

Dry Creek wines are easily recognized by their distinctive label with the picture of a sailboat dominating. David Stare combines a passion for winemaking with his love of sailing. “Since the mid 1980s, when we first put a sailboat on our wine labels, Dry Creek Vineyard wines have become known as the wine for sailors,” said Stare. “The origins of our nautical themed labels are purely personal. We have enjoyed a long love affair with the sport of sailing and have a profound appreciation of America’s nautical heritage. “ 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Welcome to the Organic and Sustainably-farmed Wines of Chile

Welcome to the organic and sustainably-farmed wines of Chile

Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

Photos 1-3

Organic and sustainable-farmed wines of Chile at their London ExCel Pavilion

Photo #4 colas Montero-Export Manager, Carolina Wine Brands, Santiago, Chile

Photo #5 Dwight The Wine Doctor on Kensington High Street, London

LONDON—Chile is making aggressive moves to promote its organic and sustainable-farmed wines. In the past few months, new arrivals have been flooding the shelves of the major U.S. wine stores and some 90 countries around the world with new wines developed with eco-friendly practices. The results are wines that are not only high in quality, but benefit the environment.

Chile is located in the most southern part of the Americas. It has the perfect combination of climate, soil type, natural barriers, tradition, and, especially, a passion for producing fine wine from the New World.

Cono Sur’s winemaking team, headed by Chief Winemaker & General Manager Adolfo Hurtado, made an impressive display of the brand’s new wines at this summer’s London International Wine Fair. Ensconced in an impressively designed pavilion in the very center of London’s ExCel convention center, Cono Sur made a strong case for the viability of eco-friendly wines.

Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery was founded in 1993, with the vision of producing premium innovative wines that conveyed the spirit of the New World. The name refers to the geographic location of the company and its vineyards. Representing wines from South America’s southern Cone, Cono Sur applies new ideas and technologies to traditional winemaking methods to produce wines of distinctive character. The bicycle on the label represents the spirit of their workers, who pedal their way to and from the vineyards, a symbol of both their commitment to not leave a negative ‘footprint’ on the environment and to preserve the rule of nature’s cycles.

Cono Sur’s organic vineyards are certifiably farmed without the aid of any chemical or synthetic products. Fertilization and the prevention and control of disease is accomplished through the use of natural techniques and resources such as flowers, grasses, geese and the introduction of beneficial insects.

All of the major varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99), Chardonnay ($10.99), Pinot Noir ($15.98) and Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere ($15.99) blend are produced under Cono Sur’s organic umbrella. The wines all sell in the very comfortable $10-$20 range, with even their spectacular sustainable Agriculture Pinot Noir selling at a comfortable $12.99. Cono Sur ‘Vision’ Pinot Noir Central Valley also goes for a reasonable $13.99).

Cono Sur is becoming known for its Pinot Noir, which is fabulous!

“Our Pinot Noir started in 1999, with the goal of making the best Pinot Noir in all of Chile!” proclaimed Chief Winemaker Hurtado as he poured me a glass of his latest vintage at his ExCel pavilion. “We have some of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in Chile and we were the first to produce Premium Pinot Noir.” Hurtado enlisted the aid of renowned French winemaker Martin Prieur of the Burgundy region to advise his team on terroir selection and vineyard management.

Across the aisle Export Manager Nicolas Montero of Carolina Wine Brands was holding court with his wide section of wines that span the entirety of Chile’s fertile growing regions and into Argentina.

“CWB has more than a century of fine-wine making experience,” Montero said while pouring a glass of his exceptional Vistana Cabernet-Merlot blend from the Central Valley, Chile ($9.99). “Today our exports reach more than 80 countries. Our U.S. turnover is over 50 million cases in sales.” Currently, CWB has four winemaking facilities located in the Maipo, Colchagua, Curico and Mendoza regions of Chile.

Santa Carolina is the company’s flagship brand. Founded in 1875, it is now 130 in existence. As the foundation of Carolina Wine Brands, it is the standard-bearer as the wine continues in the 21st century. “When you look at the 20th century, Santa Carolina was the #1producer of the wines of Chile. We are looking forward to positioning the brand in the 21st Century as a fine wine brand. We see it as a fantastic opportunity to work with one of Chile’s most prestigious brands and to make it a success,” Montero said. “I’m proud of them, because the wines reflect our heritage and our personality. The wines are expressive and come from very rich soil.”

I was surprised how supple and elegant the wine was at such a reasonable price. I think I kept saying over and over..”And this is only $9??!!”

Montero responded with a knowing smile.

“There’s nothing quite like Chilean wine,” he continued. “You can really see in them the unbreakable chain between the soil, the climate and our winemaking techniques. There is a passion that we have about winemaking that is expressed in the bottle!”

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chicago Chef Rick Tramonto a "Tru" original sparks a "R'evolution" in New Orleans

Chicago chef Rick Tramonto: A “Tru” original brings culinary gifts to New Orleans

Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

1. Chicago Chef Rick Tramonto, co-founder, R’evolution, New Orleans

2. The dining room of R’evolution under construction at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, French Quarter

3. Chefs Rick Tramonto(r) and John Folse(l) preside over R’evolutionary Thinking seminar at NOWFE with Sommelier Molly Wismeier

4. Hogs Head Cheese & Daube Glace served at R’evolutionary Thinking seminar with Dr. Loosen Kabinett Riesling

5. Chef Tramonto prepares Alligator Picante Sauce

6. Chefs Tramonto and Folse in action at the R’evolutionary Thinking seminar

7. Sunrise on the Mississippi River near the French Quarter

8. A carriage ride on Royal Street near the Royal Sonesta, site of R’evolution restaurant

9. A denizen of the French Quarter

10.Dwight The Wine Doctor and Chef Rick Tramonto at the Lifetime Achievement dinner honoring Chef Paul Prudhomme

New Orleans— Foodies who plan a trek to America's culinary capitol, New Orleans, will have a new reason to take their craving for imaginative creole cuisine to the French Quarter. Early next year, famed Chicago chef Rick Tramonto,founder of Chicago's Tru restaurant,off the Magnificent Mile, and owner of Tramonto's Steak&Seafood in Wheeling, Illinois in the Westin Chicago North Shore, is expanding his culinary empire to the French Quarter. In partnership with renowned New Orleans Chef and cookbook author John Folse, the pair will open R'evolution in the historic Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.

Tramonto hopes to bring a brand of culinary excitement to this storied location with signature dishes that reflect his unique culinary artistry, while reflecting the rich "sea floor pantry," of New Orleans' bayous, rivers and waterways, as described so eloquently by his partner, Folse.

During last spring's New Orleans Food&Wine Experience, Tremonto and Folse showcased a preview of their menu of transformed traditional Creole cuisine paired with a dazzling array of wines from across the globe and palette spectrum, chosen by their Sommelier, Milly Wismeier.

The seminar, entitled R’evolutionary Thinking, paired wines with unique interpretations of Creole cuisine.

Alligator is plentiful in the Bayou, and it appears as a staple on the menus of most Creole and Cajun restaurants. I encountered it most often as an appetizer, served marinated on skewers or in stews. Most often, it is served nugget style as an appetizer with a spicy sauce. Hence, the first item on the tasting menu, Alligator Sauce Picante, served with King Estate Pinot Gris ($15) from Oregon. All of King Estate’s wines are produced from organically grown grapes. The highly rated Pint Gris vibrant with citrus flavors and luscious aromas of tangerines and peaches. It was just the right flavor counterpoint to the spicy alligator. In its unadulterated state, alligator meat can be quite tough, that’s why it is most often marinated. Although people often say it tastes like chicken, I find that not to be the case, it has a slightly gamey, but subdued flavor all its own. Its best served with a spicy sauce to bring out the flavors. A wine like a bright, exuberant Pinot Gris is just the sort of thing to bring out the ‘wild side’ of the dish.

Dr. Loosen Kabinett Riesling ($19) was the wine served with Hogs Head Cheese & Daube Glace. Hogs Head Cheese is truly a southern delicacy. I recall my grandmother getting it from her brother’s farm In Indiana. She always served it with spicy, stone ground mustard. Its one of those peasant-type dishes that uses everything on the hog from the snout to the tail, making the term hog’s ‘head’ somewhat of a misnomer. I’m sure it’s not an item on anyone’s short list of dietary foods, but it sure is a guilty pleasure!

Dr. Loosen’s Kabinett is a clean, crisp, elegant white wine from one of Germany’s most celebrated producers. Its fresh, crisp notes of apple and grapefruit with a hint of orange make it juicy and balanced, it has a racy, mineral-driven core that cuts right through spicy Creole foods. This is one of the most elegant white wines to be had anywhere. Its delicate and refined, yet it has a subtle underlying power. Most people like beer with Creole food. I think this wine will change their minds.

Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX from Montilla-Moriles, Spain ($26.99), rounded out the afternoon with Chef Folce’s Turbo Dog Chocolate Doberge Cake. The wine is one of the most celebrated Spanish white varietals from the Andalusia region. A late luncheon date at the Gumbo Shop prevented me from indulging in this delicacy. I’ll have to make it to R’evolution for the opening in 2012 to enjoy this one!