Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tasting Turkish Wines

I recently did a podcast with Shane Rai owner of Vino Rai, a Seattle based importer of Turkish Wines.  Being that I am (or now was) a Turkish wine virgin, he was kind enough to send me a sample of Gali 2010 Merlot / Cabernet Franc blend.

I was very excited as I am always open to new wine experiences.

The Gali Estate is planted on 104 acres on the Gallipoli peninsula with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

This particular blend is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc.

Upon opening the wine there was a strong aroma of Anise with a hint of black pepper. The palate showed strong licorice with dark berry fruit.  This wine clearly needed to open up.

Given some time this wine turned into a gem.  It opened up nicely to show dark berry fruit, plum with nice acidity and hints of oak.

To learn about Wines of Turkey you can listen to the podcast at http://uncorkyourmind.com/wines-of-turkey/ 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wine Word Wednesday: Fresh


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room: Spring Not Quite Sprung, They’re Grateful for Grapefruit

It’s that blessed sign of spring in the offing—pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training, and ballgames in the sun baked, so called Grapefruit League will soon commence. Perhaps that is why grapefruit flavors are on the brain, and the palate, at Captain Lawrence.

It’s a frigid Saturday, yet another substantial snowfall in the immediate forecast. Fittingly, the Police’s “Invisible Sun” plays in the tasting room. Howie and Kate Eaton of Cortlandt Manor have “snuck out,” in Howie’s words, while his mother watches the kids. He has the Point Proven pilsner, she has the Grapefruit IPA.

“We’re going to fill the growlers before the storm,” Howie says, leaning toward the small batch Grapefruit IPA and another to be determined.

If Grapefruit IPA does not strike you as the most scintillating moniker for the citrusy, 6.2% ABV india pale ale, you’re not the only one. Finalists in the beer naming contest include Rubylicious IPA, Grovestand IPA and Grapefruit Riot. The winner, like Howie’s second growler, is to be determined.

Kate has the right idea. Yes, there’s more snow coming this afternoon, but she’s looking forward to some good “snowman snow” atop that frozen tundra stuff we’ve been stepping over for a month. The Eaton children can’t feel too left out; after all, Mom and Dad brought them to the tasting room the previous week. Kate likes that Captain Lawrence is family friendly: “You never feel like you can’t bring the kids,” she notes.

Across the room, Krista Gambacorta of Hartsdale has brought her kid sister, Amanda Brown of Larchmont. Krista planned to meet up with pal Lauren Sanchez of White Plains, and Amanda is along for the ride—sampling beer and enjoying the tasty cheese plate from Gleason’s. “She’s my older sister—she had to take me,” explains Amanda.

While many go for the funky small-batch beers, this threesome is all for the traditional offerings. Amanda sips the Brown Bird brown ale (“dark, smooth,” she says of the malty concoction), Krista has the Liquid Gold (“not like your average beer”), and Lauren the flagship Freshchester Pale Ale (“Not bitter, great flavor…will take some of that home.”)

The ladies admit to a bit of cabin fever amidst this unforgiving winter. “There’s not much stuff to do when the weather is horrible,” says Amanda, speaking for the whole of the region.

Adds Lauren, “It’s nice to have this so close to home.”

Spring will come, it always does. “Invisible Sun” has given way to “Walking on the Moon” on the speakers. Today’s temp on the moon? Around 253 Fahrenheit, though much colder at night.

Former Captain Lawrence staffer Nick Schwartz of Beacon figured it was a perfect day to pop in and see his old pals, including Dennis and Craig behind the taps, and brought Christina Manolatos of Pleasantville along for the excursion. She too is a former brewery staffer—Christina was a server at the Peekskill Brewery restaurant. Both had a hankering for something grapefruit. “I was looking for it,” says Nick, who has been sipping the citrusy Sculpin from Ballast Point of late.

Christina had waffles for breakfast, and figured the small batch Kirk Lazarus, a dark witte ale brewed with orange peel and chocolate malt, was an ideal extension. “I was looking for a good breakfast beer,” she says. “It’s got good balance and tastes good for the morning.” (For the record, it’s after noon, but not by much.)

Asked how they’re coping with this harsh winter, Nick—now working in green pharmaceutical marketing--raises his cup of IPA. Christina has been double fisting—beer in one hand, book in the other. “It’s too cold to go out,” she says. “I’ve been drinking and reading a lot.”

Talk about walking on the moon—her current book is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky. The grapefruit beer will have to hold them over until they can actually check out the night sky. “I’m excited Captain Lawrence came out with a Grapefruit IPA,” says Nick. “It reminds me of summer—which we desperately need.”

—Michael Malone (malone5a@yahoo.com)


Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Wednesday through Friday (4-8 p.m.), Saturday (12-6 p.m.) and Sunday (12-5). The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in India Pale Ale. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Come Walk With Me April 19

 
Some of you might know that I lost my mom in August to Pancreatic Cancer.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would be taken so early at the age of 74.

Three years ago I lost my dad to Diabetes. Truthfully, I believe it could have been avoided if my dad changed his habits, but tell that to a 77 year old, it isn't happening.

Mom and Mrs. Steinman October 2013
My mom was young and in good health. The picture above taken October 2013.  There was no reason to think we would lose her so soon.  Her mom lived until 96 and her grandparents lived to rip old ages as well.  Cancer was never in the picture.  Heart issues on her side of the family, yes, but cancer no.

Pancreatic Cancer is silent. There are no warning signs until it's to late.  Mom was told in April her blood/sugar was to high and it was suggested she lose some weight.  Then she told me she was having problems sleeping and issues with her bowel movements.  She hid her weight loss well.
Michael's graduation May 2014


You can see the picture taken in May of 2014. I noticed in June that she had lost weight.  I saw it in her face but didn't say anything.  She had been to the doctor, but he dismissed her as being depressed and sent her home with Imodium.  It wasn't until the week before July 4 that she found a mass in her abdomen and went back to the doctor.  He suggest she go to a Gastroenterologist.  The next day she walked into her appointment with the Gastroenterologist and he took one look at her and said "you're jaundice."

Three days later she had a procedure to open her bile duck that was closed due to the tumor.  Six weeks later she passed. Although I know I am not an orphan, I sure feel that way.

There is so much we don't know about Pancreatic Cancer and I am joining in the fight so one day there will be an early detection and it might save you or a loved one. Better yet a cure.

Please join me Sunday April 19, 2015 at Rye Playland for the Westchester Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk.  You can join my team - Team Hudson Valley Wine Goddess (http://2015WestchesterWalk.kintera.org/hudsonvalleywinegoddess) or make a small donation to help in the research. If you would like to walk with us, dogs are welcomed, but need to be on a leash.

Thank you for reading taking in a personal part of my life. There isn't enough wine in the world that can bring my mother back, but I do know that she was proud of me.

If I can help someone else detect this deadly cancer early so they won't have to go through what my family has, I know my efforts have made a difference.




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Meatloaf and Mardi Gras


It's been 5 years since I attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans and let me tell you what a blast it was! Except for an allergic reaction to oysters (and they were sooooo good!) I had a blast!  But you know what they say, "What happens at Mardi Gras stays in New Orleans."

This year on Fat Tuesday I wasn't in New Orleans but I was celebrating Fat Tuesday. Not with your typical Gumbo or Jambalaya but with Meatloaf.  Meatloaf is not a big dish in our house, however this adapted recipe from Paul Prudhomme happens to be.

I've altered the recipe a few times with the beef mixture, but the alteration that stays constant is I added wine to the mix.  When I began the process of preparing the meatloaf I needed a 1/2 cup of wine.  When I reached for the wine we had opened - a 2005 Chappellet Cabernet Franc, Paul had a cow.  He wouldn't let me use an expensive wine to put in the meatloaf.

Guess where he went...to the wine shop and came back with Apothic Red.  I can't say I traded my glass of Cab Franc for the Aptothic Red, but the Aptohic Red did go well in the meatloaf.

The Cabernet Franc did go well with the meatloaf, however  I think a cooler climate Cab Franc or a Syrah would have paired better.  The meatloaf is killer!

I've made this a few times. Some with 100% ground beef, this evening I used 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 ground hot sausage.  You choose your combo and here is the rest of the recipe.  For this recipe I halved it, as there were only two of us and I didn't want to eat meatloaf for a week.

Debbie's Cajun Meatloaf

Seasoning Mix
2 bay leaves
1 tbs salt
1tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
---------------------------
4 tbs unsalted butter
3/4 finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
2 minced garlic cloves
1tbs Tabasco sauce
1tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup catsup
2 lbs ground beef or a mix of beef and ground pork
2 egs
1 cup panko


Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Melt butter in a 1 quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions, peppers, garlic and seasoning mix.  Saute until mixture begins to stick excessively to pan.  Stir in wine and Catsup.  Continue cooking for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Place ground beef mixture in a bowl and add eggs, cooked veggie mixture but remove the bay leaf, and panko.  Mix by hand and then turn onto a cookie sheet. Shape into a loaf.  I like it crispy so I made my loaf thin and wide.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400 and continue to cook for 35 minutes.

Enjoy.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room: The Captain’s Log: ‘Brand’ New Approach

The Captain is finally putting serious thought into its branding, including new names for some beloved beers, and a new logo as well. The tasting room favorite Imperial IPA is now the Palate Shifter, while the India Pale Ale—heretofore known simply as the IPA—is the Hop Commander. Several of the hoppier creations, including those two, will be marketed in the “Captain’s Reserve” series.

“We’re rebranding everything,” says owner Scott Vaccaro. “We’re looking to better represent our beers with better branding.”

Since its early days, Captain Lawrence was all about the beer, with marketing more of an after-thought. Now, Scott is working with the Long Island marketing outfit EGC Group on better dressing up the product. “There was very little energy spent on this before,” admits Scott, “and certainly not much collective thought.”

Scott returned from Keystone Paper and Box in South Windsor, Connecticut late last week, eyeballing the new packaging at the printing plant. Every beer in the CL lineup will get scrutinized with an eye on a rebranding, he says, whether it’s the name or the label.

Also in the new department—a session IPA called Effortless IPA. The Effortless is a result of fine tuning some popular pilot-system brews, such as the Hop Chug, and will be in six-packs and drafts in a month or so. A lunch-friendly 4.5% ABV, Effortless IPA is at one end of the hoppiness scale, while the Palate Shifter is toward the opposite end. Palate Shifter describes the craft beer industry in general—having consumed the good stuff for a number of years now, people are seeking more flavorful beers. Their palates have, in fact, shifted, their tolerance for hop flavors harder to satisfy.

Scott mentions “lupulin threshold shift;” stick with us for a moment here, you might learn something. Lupulin is the component of hops that gives it its distinct flavor. The more hoppy beers one consumes, the less likely that one’s palate will find them hoppy. And so one craves hoppier brews. “It’s what’s driving the craft beer revolution, and evolution,” says Scott.

And that new logo. While many love the flaming barrel that’s adorned Captain Lawrence beers for years, the fire has been extinguished—the new logo features the brewery’s name, now a recognizable beer brand, in bigger, bolder letters. The flaming keg, Scott says, was initially the design for the hearty porter Smoke From the Oak, and simply stuck around for eight years or so. “We’ve put a lot of thought into the feeling you get when you look at the beers—how it looks from the shelf and how that translates to the packaging,” he says.

Very much in growth mode, Captain Lawrence has knocked “a gigantic hole in the wall,” says Scott, to take over nearly 5,000 square feet of space next door for sour ale barrel aging. Cuvee de Castleton, Rosso e Marrone and Hops and Roses are among those spending quality time in the oak. “It’s almost like a whole other brewing facility,” he says.

The Captain will mark its ninth anniversary, and show off all this new stuff, with the Tap & Pour party May 16—tickets are on sale now. “I can’t believe it’s been nine years,” says Scott. “It’s mind boggling to remember when I was driving kegs around in the back of a Jetta.”

And Scott gives a special shout-out to Matt Levy, who learned the ropes as an intern at Captain Lawrence, and now succeeds Jeff O’Neil as the brewer a little further up the Hudson at Peekskill Brewery. “We’re proud that Matt started his career here,” says Scott. “We wish him well and look forward to trying his beer.”

—Michael Malone (malone5a@yahoo.com)

Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Wednesday through Friday, with weekend brewery tours on the hour, starting at 1. The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in Freshchester Pale Ale.