Posts Tagged ‘Never Ending Story’

This changes everything!

July 28, 2011

Remember The NeverEnding Story?

Remember when Bastian first starts reading?

There’s this troll-looking dude that flies around on a bat, and he’s hanging out with a guy in a top hat who rides a racing snail.  So they’re chillin’ in the woods, when they hear a rumbling in the distance.  It gets louder and louder and LOUDER.

Eventually, out from the trees comes a giant dude made of rocks riding a tricycle.

See? I told you!

They called him the Rock Biter, since his diet consisted of rocks.  I guess you are what you eat.

Anyway…

The Rock Biter starts hanging out with the other dudes, and they get to talking about this thing called The Nothing (an entity that is threatening to destroy their world of Fantasia).  The dude on the racing snail and the troll begin to tell of the things they had heard second-hand, but the Rock Biter had an actual run-in with The Nothing.

He told them about this beautiful lake that was in the center of his home town.  It was loaded with plenty of delicious lime stone rocks (which would be important to a rock biter).  But one day… One day The Nothing came, and then the lake was gone.

“What do you mean it was gone?  Did it dry up?” the racing snail dude asked.

“No.  It was just not there anymore.” the Rock Biter responded.

“What?  Like there was a hole instead of a lake?” the troll dude asked.

“No.  A hole would have been something.  There was NOTHING there!” the Rock Biter explained.

I totally understand what the Rock Biter was saying.  You can talk about The Nothing as much as you want, but there is no way you could ever understand it unless you experienced it.  In the movie, the Rock Biter moves with just a little more urgency because he knows what The Nothing is all about.  He wants everyone to understand what The Nothing is.

I started thinking about The NeverEnding Story last night while tasting some wine.

I started to think about The Nothing.

I’ve always been a fan of Riesling.  I’ve especially been into the Rieslings of Washington state.  I’ve never been afraid to bring a 6 dollar Riesling to a dinner party, because they are always crowd-pleasing.  They always have a nice balance of acidity and a little residual sugar.  Perfect with food.

Recently, I’ve been reading through Kevin Zraly’s wine book, and he spends quite a bit of time talking about the wines of Alsace (specifically Riesling).  While reading it, I was all like, “I know about Riesling.  I know that the stuff from France is gonna be a bit more dry.  I know it’s gonna have nice mineral notes.  I know it’s gonna have some good acid.  I know it all.”

Apparently, I had no clue.

It turns out that Alsatian Riesling is my Nothing.

Here’s what went down…

Alsace (France) vs Washington State

I picked up two completely different Rieslings from two different stores for two different reasons, and decided to taste them side-by-side…

F.E. Trimbach 2008 Riesling from Alsace, France

I picked up the Trimbach 2008 Riesling at BevMo for $21.99.  Easily, the most I’ve ever paid for a Riesling, but this is the first wine that Zraly suggests you taste in his book.  If I am to know about the Rieslings of Alsace, I’ve got to taste them.

I figured that if I really wanted to get to know this wine, I had to compare it with something I was familiar with.  So yesterday I picked up this…

Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington

The Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Riesling will set you back $5.99 at Trader Joe’s.  This is my go to Riesling.  This is the one that I bring to parties.  This is the one that is just delicious.

And now…

The tasting.

Sing along with me! "Feelin' so fine. Tasting some wine... Side-by-side!"

Color: The Trimbach was a straw yellow.  It was considerably darker than the Chateau Ste Michelle’s pale yellow hue.

Nose: The Trimbach was hella complex on the nose.  Tons of small, not quite ripe, green apples.  White raisins.  There’s this crushed vitamin C characteristic that is really cool.  There’s also a little lime, fig, and motor oil.  The Rock Biter would also appreciate the lime stone minerality of it.

The Chateau Ste Michelle smells EXTREMELY sweet, in comparison.  There’s lots of fruit on the nose.  Pear.  Apple pie.  Peaches.

Taste: This is where it gets fun.  The Trimbach is RAZOR SHARP in its acidity.  I never understood the whole “Razor blades on the tongue” description that Gary Vaynerchuk talks about until I tasted this Riesling.  This is intense!  There’s a ton of lime and grapefruit on the palate.  There are also hints of green apple skin and walnut.  But really… the star of this wine is the dry, sharp, mouth-watering acidity.

The Chateau Ste Michelle, in comparison, is almost dessert-like in its approach.  I never felt that way about it before.  This thing is SWEET.  It has light peach and mango fruit on the palate.  There is a nice, clean acidity to this wine, but the fruit wins out.

Score: By all accounts, the Trimbach was everything I’ve read about Alsatian Rieslings, but nothing I could have ever expected.  This wine is a game changer for me.  I could write about this wine until my fingers fall off, and you still wouldn’t understand it.  Much like The Nothing, I need you to know how great this is.  Give it a 91.  Buy it.  Save it as an aperitif to a fancy seafood dinner at home.

The Chateau Ste Michelle is a good Riesling.  It is a respectable 87, and a real value.  I have no problem with popping this open with some Tuesday night Tai food.

But that Trimbach…

That Trimbach was something.

And since we had plenty of the bottle left after the tasting, Kara and I had the rest with dinner…

Meatless Mediterranean cabbage wraps and romaine salad of cucumber and dill by KaraIsRad. Entertainment by Dish Network.

The Nothing teaching me about Riesling?

Ain’t that something!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

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Burgers, Beer, the Bachelorette, and Wine: L’Authentique Barbecue

June 14, 2011

Inspiration abounds when ground beef and Tecate Light are in the mix.

KaraIsRad, my wife, was to be back from the gym in about 15 minutes.  The clock inside my brain told me it was time to start prepping.

80/20 ground beef?  Check!

Veggie Patties (For her, dude!)?  Check!

Grill on?  Fa’ sho!

Tecate Light?  No doubt!

Let it be said that I do love hoppy craft beers.  Love ’em!  Make them so hoppy it tastes like I just bit a rose bud off of a 5 year old bush.  Flowers for days.  Love me some micro-brew!

But…

When a grill is involved, you have to bring out the canned lager.  The macro-brew, if you will.  Something cold with a tinny (aluminum) kick.

I’m a Coors Lite fan.  Not that I think it is any better than Bud or Pabst or Modelo.  It’s not even different.  I like the Coors Lite because of the can.  There’s only one can that can tell you it’s cold using blue mountains.  One!  That’s the Silver Bullet, baby.

I had some Tecate Light on hand, because I’ve been on a taco kick lately.  Again… there is no (okay… a little) difference in taste here.  If you’re making tacos on the grill, however, your canned lager MUST be Mexican.  I don’t make the rules, holmes.  I just stick to ’em.

Now…

I was deep in it.  Getting my mise en place for the ultimate Blue Cheese Burger w/ Garlic Dijon Aioli, when I thought to myself,

“You know what would go great with this burger?  WINE!”

I dropped my Tecate Light like it was cold, and grabbed me this sucker…

The L'Authentique la Caumette NV and my dope ass Nokia (Phone Book) leaning against a turtle lamp.

When I picked up this $4.99 bottle of L’Authentique la Caumette NV Red Table Wine at Trader Joe’s, I swear the elderly stock clerk gave me the same look that Bastian got from that dude at the book store in Never Ending Story.  His eyes said to me, “You can’t handle this!”  I started to shake just before he ripped the bottle out of my hands…

I was shocked to hear him speak in such a calming tone  “Nice.  This is an EXCELLENT bottle of wine,” he told me in a gentle French accent.  “This wine has good fruit, nice acidity, and for the price… it cannot be beat.”

This Non-Vintage French table wine does not list the grape varietals being used, but the word on the street is that it’s a blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre and carignan.  The back label, showing a map of France with a little dot near the Southern Rhone, leads me to believe that the aforementioned blend is entirely possible.

I poured two glasses.  One for me and one for KaraIsRad.  Then, it was back to the barbecue…

Pre-Heat to Hell Fire... ALWAYS!

80/20 ground beef w/ egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and dill. Shape like a deformed heart, and lay it down!

Always oil up the grates to get sear marks. Only flip it once. Man Code!

Time to eat… I mean… taste the wine.

Blue Cheese Burger w/ Garlic Dijon Aioli, Arugula Salad w/ Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta (by KaraIsRad), and L'Authentique in a big glass. Not L'Fake!

Color:  This wine is as red as red can get without being black.  I’m talking BLACK!  It’s what I would envision the back alley of Fangtasia from True Blood to look like.

Nose:  My fist thought is of orange zest.  Very ripe, but acidic in nature.  There is a chalky feel to this nose.  I love chalk.  Throughout it all, there is a red raspberry fruit that balances everything out.

Hey…

The Bachelorette is on!

Told you!

Look… I’m not a huge fan of the show, but it is a great conversation starter:

“Who names their kid Constantine?  Or West?  Or Ames?”

“What’s up with that guy’s face?”

“Why does she wear so many belly shirts?”

“How come that dude is always squinting?”

“Is that dude missing his lower set of teeth?”

“That dude runs like a girl.  What’s his problem?”

Oh yeah…

Back to the wine!

Taste:  On the initial attack, there are these extremely dry, mouth-filling tannins.  They are lasting 30+ seconds, easily.  Dee-lish!

There is that same orange zest component that I smelled earlier, but it is rounded out with hints of lemon and lime.  There is this not-so-ripe strawberry flavor that is really nice.  Great acidity!

I just took my first bite of the burger…

"These burgers are crazy!" - The Moldy Peaches

It is F-ing Amazing!

The beefiness of the burger, paired with the lactic notes of the blue cheese and tanginess of the aioli bring out some chocolaty tones from the wine.  It gives my entire mouth a rich milky feel.

KaraIsRad made a fresh arugula salad with sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and a red wine vinaigrette.  This highlights the flavors of orange blossoms and chalk.

You have to respect this wine for what it is.  A red table wine.  What do we put on our tables?

Food.

By itself, the wine is a solid 88.  With food?  Give it a 90.  This is the perfect wine for a weeknight meal with the wife.  And a steal at 5 bucks.

Pair it with Pizza, Pasta, Burgers, the Bachelorette, and possibly the Bad Girls Club.  This wine is THAT versatile!

Have you ever seen a wine bottle this full?

Stay Rad,
Jeff

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