Monday, October 25, 2010

Wine Riot Post #2 and Getting Tagged

This is going to be one jam packed post. Wine/cider awards, the final recap from the Boston Wine Riot and getting tagged in the food blogger game of tag.

First off last week was a big week for the Ancient Fire homemade wines and ciders. Margot took a Silver Medal for her Blackberry Cabernet in the Amenti del Vino Competition. I took First Place in the Common Cider category for my hard cider in the New England Regional Homebrew Competition. This was Margot’s first win and the first win for our ciders. Needless to say we are pretty excited with both of these results. With the cider finish we now have medals for wine, mead and cider. Next year I want to slot in a win for beer and hopefully wine a mixology competition. What will that mean? That I know how to drink!

In yesterday’s post we presented the overall Boston Wine Riot session we attended and offered reviews of couple of red and white wines. Our coverage wouldn’t be complete without three additional topics, the food, the crash courses and reviews of bubbly and dessert wines.

We tried food selections from three of vendors, Redbones, KO Catering and The Upper Crust Pizzeria. In our first round (you gotta eat when you are drinking!) Margot had the Pulled Pork Sliders from Redbones and I had the Classic Aussie Meat Pie from KO Catering. Margot loves BBQ so this was a match made for her. I had a bite and agreed that the pork was tender and juicy with excellent, but not overpowering, flavor from the sauce. The Classic Meat Pie from KO Catering contains a filling of ground beef, onions, spices in a tomato based sauce. The flavor was fantastic and the crust was cooked very well. Both selections did the trick after an hour of sampling wines. A bit later we got slices of “The Swellesley” pizza (on thr right) from Upper Crust. I saw chorizo in the ingredient list and had to. I missed the red pepper flakes though and it ended up being spicy. Margot fought through it though. The pizza was thin crusted with the right amount of sauce, chorizo, garlic, basil , red pepper flakes and parm cheese. It definitely hit the spot! Margot was feeling the effects of the wine and went back to KO Catering for the Curried Veggie Pie. The crust was right but the vegetables didn’t have enough curry seasoning and were in need of salt. While it filled the need for food, it didn’t feel like it was what was expected.

During the session there were crash courses being offered every 30 minutes on all sorts of wine related topics. We attended two after a friendly Wine Riot staff member brought them to our attention.

In the first course, “In Vermouth, Truth”, Andrew Quady (shown on the left) of the Quady Winery explained some of the history of vermouth, how it is made and served samples of both the dry and sweet versions they make at Quady. This crash course was of particular interest to me as I plan to make my own vermouth early next year. We already have the wine aging, we just need to decide on the herb blend and source the ingredients. Both of the vermouths were very flavorful and I could see enjoying both on the rocks as they do almost everywhere else in the world (the wine drinking world) outside the US. The 50/50 cocktail with the orange twist was a crowd pleaser and something I could see serving at home to spread the word about vermouth.

The second crash course was about pairing Chinese take-out with three different styles of wine. Each attendee was given a plate with some fried rice, General Gao’s chicken, and bone-in BBQ rib. We paired the food with a sparkling wine, medium-dry Riesling and a Pinot Noir. The sparkler was a great match, but honestly it seems to go well with almost anything, and the Riesling also resonated with me. The Pinot came off as tart and overly tannic which was odd since it was a low tannin (so it was presented) selection. I worked at the Pinot pair with the BBQ rib, but just didn’t find it. At any rate it gave me an opportunity to think about a pairing that I really hadn’t ventured into yet. Ideas for another day.

Our wine reviews wouldn’t be complete without a couple of sparkling and dessert selections, which we very much enjoyed.

Sparkling Wines/Ciders

2008 Farnum Hill Kingston Black – the Kingston Black is a old cider apple with a specific flavor. It makes a dry cider with strong aromas and flavors but very pleasing. Farnum Hill is the gold standard for cider in my experience and the fact that they are a NH business means I’ll wave their flag all day long!

Mionetto NV Moscato – this sparkling Moscato was sweet and bubbly with wonderful fruit flavors and a palette cleansing finish. The Italians definitely know how to make a refreshing bubbly!

Dessert Wines

Quady Winery 2008 Essensia – picking just one of the Quady Winery dessert wines was hard. They make two things, vermouth AND dessert wines, and both are fantastic. Made from Orange Muscat with oak influence and some fortification this is am extremely complex and flavorful wine. I can only say that I could have spent the whole afternoon at this one table slowly sipping and exploring these wines. If you like sweet wines these are not to be missed!

Peter Brum Eiswein – anytime I get the chance to try a real German Eiswein (ice wine) I do. We saved this for our last wine of the day and we were rewarded for our patience. The honey, dried fruits and mouth coating sweetness was all there. It had that right balance of acidity and sweetness that you would expect. Can I have some more please?

Update after posting: Check out The Passionate Foodie's coverage of the Wine Riot. You'll see some common themes!

Kim at the Liv Life blog tagged me last week. The way this works is that you get tagged and have to answer eight questions from the person who tagged you. In addition you have to tag eight others and pose eight new questions to them. Got all that? Here I go with the eight questions I have to answer.

1. What is your favorite restaurant? This is a tough one for me because we don’t eat out but maybe once per month. I love eating in my home kitchen but that is a boring answer so I’ll share a memorable experience we had years ago. For a time Ming Tsai had a very popular show ion Food TV called East Meets West. We lived in MA at the time where his restaurant The Blue Ginger is located. For our anniversary we booked a reservation and anticipated a great meal. At the time Ming was a big celebrity and I didn’t figure he’d be at the restaurant on the random night we chose to be there. Sure enough he was and sure enough our server asked him if he would come out to talk to us. Well, he did and I couldn’t get a word out. Margot still makes fun of me for being so star struck that couldn’t talk. That is so not me, you can’t normally shut me up!

2. When dining out do you prefer a fancy, dress up affair or casual with flip flops? Somewhere in between. Not super black tie fancy, but getting dressed up a bit does help frame an occasion. Khakis, button-up shirt and my dress shoes offers class and comfort all in one.

3. Do you do fast food? If so, what is your favorite? Only when we are travelling. We use it for the convenience that it offers, but try to stay away otherwise. McDonalds always does the trick when we are flying.

4. Do you remember one of the first recipes that you ever made? If so, do you still make it? Oatmeal raisin cookies. I learned how to make these in junior high Home Economics class. I am sure I made stuff before this but I can’t recall them specifically. I haven’t made them in a long time. I should.

5. The world is open to you. A personal private jet with pilot is waiting for your direction... Where will you go? Australia & New Zealand. So much food, wine and adventure in the same place.

6. How close do you now live to where you were born? About two hours. I moved back there right after college and we have been moving back towards where my wife was born since. We have gotten as far as the next town over. I think that is close enough!

7. Wine... red, white or bubbly? All of them! Depends on what and where I am eating. They all have a role in a multi-course meal.

8. Why did you start blogging? Because I thought it would help me ferment (a little beer, wine and cider-maker joke) my food and wine pairing education. Little did I know it would explode!

OK, with my answers out of the way I now need to tag eight bloggers and pose eight questions to them.

My Tag Questions

1. Desert island dish. You are on a desert island, what dish will you take to survive?
2. What kitchen utensil explains your food personality the best?
3. When you were younger, you pick how long ago, how hard would you have laughed if someone told you this is what you would be doing right now?
4. What is the nastiest, grossest, most detestable food you have ever had?
5. What is your favorite food you don’t make and how far would you travel for it?
6. Who is the best person to have in the kitchen with you, and why?
7. First alcoholic beverage you ever had.
8. What is your biggest food blog challenge and how are you working to overcome it?

The bloggers I am tagging are:

Kim at Lighter & Local
Brian at A Thought For Food
Jessie at the Messie Kitchen
Janis at Bite Me New England
The Baking Barrister
Don at The Manly Housewife
Evan at SwEETs by E
Belinda at Zomppa

Whew! This took longer than I expected.




Evan @swEEts said...

Ha! I came to see when I could get a bottle of one of your award winning wines and then saw I got tagged! too fun :) I'm goin to have to think about all these questions now!

Kim - Liv Life said...

I was waiting for the wine riot review! What a fun even, oh how I wish I could have attended.
Congrats on your cab and cider wins as well!
I truly enjoyed your "tag" answers. I'm envious that you met Ming! I loved his show and have made a few of his recipes. My husband and I watched the show frequently.
Excellent post Jason!

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

Congrats on your wins, sounds like a lot of fun! I love these tagging posts. Funny you met him and couldn't speak, that would probably happen to me too!

Kate said...

Congrats on the awards!!! Great answers on the "tags" and great questions to the next crew :-) Sounds like you're feeling better!! Kate @ kateiscooking

She's Cookin' said...

Congrats on your award winning wine and ciders! Ancient Fire Wine is a rising star!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Sounds like you had a great time at the Wine Riot! I am dying to try those Farnum Hill Ciders and somehow always miss tastings when they are going on. Great recap!

Carolyn Jung said...

Quady wines are fabulous. You're so lucky to have been able to taste so many of them.