umani ronchi

February 2

Groundhog Day

Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 07

For Groundhog Day one year ago, rather than treating myself to leftover wines that were rebottled and stored in the fridge, I made brand new attempts on wines that I had previously opened during recent days and that I thought deserved a second chance to prove themselves (which really means, yes indeed I was treating myself to leftover fridge wine but I was convincing myself it was a fresh first impression I was making, and that this time circumstances would shine more kindly these wines).

It seemed like that sentence would never end.

First up, the Verdicchio - this was a nice cheap (really cheap, as I explained two days ago when I uncorked it) expression of the grape, if sweetened up a tad too much. I only realize that I like the bitter/sharp qualities of this varietal once they are taken out of the mix. So though I don’t really like this wine any more than when I first tasted it, I feel like I better understand it, and might buy it again, perhaps to ease recalcitrant types into this style of wine - the kind of people who might balk at a high-acid bone-dry Verdicchio. I know a few.

Domenico Clerico Visadi Dolcetto Langhe 06

This was the confounding $25 Dolcetto from yesterday, now showing better with a bold and hardy rigatoni, garnished with fried capicola, olives, Parmesan cheese and onion in a lusty red wine and tomato sauce. I had to because this is not the Dolcetto of cold cuts and picnics. This needs amped-up, smokier, saltier and all-around more pungent fare.

The wine itself pretty much drinks the same after 24 hours recorked in half-size wine bottle, and for me - because I am so dependent on Dolcetto drinking well with food - it’s really the accompaniment that makes this bottle sink or swim. But what a thing to say! This is essentially the grounds on which I diss New World monsters. Applying it to Dolcetto is nothing less than a stinging slap in the face. So of course I will not be going after more of this anytime soon.

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March 9

Taking pictures of what I eat

Sometimes I photograph my dinner. This doesn’t make me unique. You see avid food photographers in restaurants all the time these days.

The reason I do it is because cooking is an art, and if I’ve made something nice, I want to document my (very ephemeral) work. (I’m not among those who take pictures of food in restaurants – I guess I am just too narcissistic for that.)

If cooking is an art as I suggest, food photos only capture one aspect of the work. It’s not an art designed to be consumed visually (though it can), but rather is meant to be CONSUMED. Obviously, food photos highlight the presentation rather than the taste or the ingredients (not that I use food photos as recipes to recreate what I’ve cooked).

But beyond the purely visual, I contend food photos record something more. In my case -– that of the writer of a wine journal –- they also capture information about the wine that was drunk, since I make an effort to match food and wine.

Some might associate vegetarian food with white wine, but this hearty plate of sauteed spinach and mushrooms, caramelized fennel, grilled cauliflower and roasted tri-colour bell peppers appeals to an earthy-toned, slightly greenly tannic red Bergerac.

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Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 07

This is the second bottle of this white wine I’ve opened for this journal. It is being retasted. You can read about the first bottle on Groundhog Day. Or long story short, this Verdicchio is still a no. Spend some extra time preparing your dinner than on this. 

Château Haut-Perthus Bergerac 05

This is a yes to me though it expresses a lot more of the Merlot than the Cabernet Franc that I often prefer. Similar to good general appellation Bordeaux like Moueix’s.