IN THIS ISSUE
By Edward R. Brivio
NEW YORK CORNER
NANA RESTAURANT AND BAR
By John Mariani
NOTES FROM THE WINE CELLAR
By Geoff Kalish
By Edward Brivio
Photos by Robert Pirillo
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
in snow during the winter months, Vieux Quebec,
founded in1608 by Samuel de Champlain, is not
only one of the oldest European settlements in
North America but also the most charming. Joined
by a steep funicular, its upper and lower town
are each a warren of cobble-stone streets filled
mansard-roofed stone townhouses from the 17th
and 18th centuries, giving it a pleasing
architectural harmony. Add to this the original
fortified ramparts that still surround the Old
Town, and it’s easy to see why it was declared a
World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. In the
evening, the view of the lower town --festively
lit for Quebec’s annual Winter Carnival--from
the upper town's Promenade was enchanting.
Appetizers $11-$22, main courses
$25-$36, desserts $11-$12. (All prices are in
Dining outside the hotel,
one could do no better than to choose L'Initiale (55 rue St.-Pierre, 418-694-1818), located in a former bank
building with a rather mercantile, yet monumental
exterior. The main dining room (above) at
this member of the Relais and Château collection
is a chic, understated, contemporary space, and
its muted palette and pared-down, elegant décor
allow the artfully arrange colorful dishes to
stand out in all their glory.
Jean-Luc Boulay has been delighting guests since
1978 at his signature restaurant Le Saint
Rue Sainte-Ursule; 418-694-0067) located in an historic 18th
century townhouse in the upper-town. In late
January the façade and its window-boxes, still in
their holiday finery, were adorned with a
profusion of fresh evergreen boughs powdered with
snow. We dined in the front, a rather nondescript
dining room. If only someone had thought to seat
us in the gorgeous backroom, which is part red
Belle Epoque salon and part Victorian
Soups and starters: $14-$28, mains $36-$40, desserts $12.
we searched out a wine called Italus, the first
Nebbiolo- based wine to come out of Quebec
Wines, founded by Pietro Carone and since
his passing, run by his son Anthony, pioneered the
cultivation of vinifera grapes in Quebec in the
early 1990’s, and he is now considered an expert
in cold-climate grape growing. The 2015, just
recently released, is the first vintage of Italus,
following on the success of the winery’s cabernet
sauvignon and its pinot noir.
NEW YORK CORNER
By John Mariani
330 Malcolm X Boulevard (off
of Malcolm X Boulevard in Brooklyn’s quickly
gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood is
becoming something of a Restaurant Row, with
more than a dozen spots well worth knowing
about, from coffee shops to Italian
restaurants, from soul food eateries to
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
NOTES FROM THE WINE CELLAR
By Geoff Kalish
It’s said about California wines
that the only reason to know the vintage date of
a bottle is to figure out who made the wine at a
particular winery, since the California weather
is more stable than the position of winemaker,
who are often “drafted and signed” by facilities
like prized sports figures.
Fuissé Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Clos” Propriatire
from Chardonnay grapes grown on a vineyard with
vines dating to 1929, this wine had a bouquet and
rich taste of apples and honey with notes of
almonds and hints of apricots and orange in its
long finish. It’s an ideal white to mate with
risotto or roasted chicken.
& Fils Chevalier Montrachet 1er Cru ‘La
bit much for most pocketbooks, this memorable wine
is aesthetically a cut or two above many of the
2015 white Burgundies. It has a distinctive
bouquet and taste of pears with hints of marzipan
and a touch of lime in its vibrant finish. Expect
it to drink well with the likes of lobster,
scallops, or tuna tartare for the next 5-10 years.
William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros “Côte Bouguerots” ($98)—This full-bodied wine, with a bouquet and taste of peaches and citrus, has a crisp, fruity finish perfect to pair with seafare, especially grilled dorade or branzino.
Drouhin, Chassagne Montrachet, 1er Cru “Les
this wine hailed from vineyards noted for a
complex soil of limestone and clay. Following
harvest this wine was fermented using natural
yeast and aged for 12 months in French oak
barrels. It has a bouquet and taste of apples with
undertones of honeysuckle and hazelnuts and should
drink well over the next 10 years with ripe
cheeses and grilled seafare, particularly
swordfish or tuna.
Domaine Laroche 1er Cru Les Vaillons Vielles Vignes Chablis ($41)—Very well priced for a Premier Cru Chablis, this wine is made from grapes grown in a vineyard composed of fossilized oyster shells. It shows a bouquet and taste of apples and peaches with notes of apricots and zesty lemon in its finish. Unlike many 2015 Chablis, this wine contains enough acidity to age well and pairs perfectly with bivalves or shellfish.
Bouchard Père &
Fils Nuits-St-George 1er Cru ‘Les Cailles’
shows a fragrant bouquet and taste of ripe
berries, with hints of
oak and earthy spices. And, while lighter in taste
than many other Nuit-St-George reds, it
harmoniously matches with lamb or veal and is
expected to gain complexity with a few years of
Bellene, Beaune 1er Cru Cuvée Cinquantenaire
of grapes from five different premier cru Beaune
vineyards shows a bouquet and taste of plums with
notes of ripe cherries and toasty oak. A bit young
to drink now (although it marries well with
grilled lamb or beef), expect this wine to become
more complex and elegant with 5-10 years of bottle
from hand-picked Pinot Noir grown on 30-year-old
vines in vineyards noted for chalk and limestone
soil, this wine was aged for a year in oak barrels
following fermentation. It has a distinct bouquet
and taste of black currants with notes of anise
and a smooth finish that mates well with grilled
chicken or ripe cheeses.
Santenay, Terre d’Enfance ($34)—A
good bargain, this hand-harvested Pinot Noir grown
in limestone-rich soil has a bouquet and taste of
fresh strawberries and plums with hints of almonds
in its smooth finish. It makes a good wine to
match with summertime barbecue, especially grilled
ribs, chicken or hamburgers.
Domaine Antonin Guyon, Savigny-Les-Beaunes ‘Les Goudelettes’ ($40)—This well-priced wine was made from hand-harvested Pinot Noir fermented over 15 days in open vats and aged in oak barrels (15% new) over 15 months. It shows a fruity bouquet and taste of ripe plums and blueberries with a long, smooth finish that matches well with duck or grilled pork.
Column Sponsored by Banfi Vintners
Wine is a joy year-round but
in cooler weather one
grape varietal has really taken center stage in
my daily activities – that most Italian of
grapes, Sangiovese, and its ultimate expression
– Brunello di Montalcino.
Recommendations for Celebrating Sangiovese
BelnerO Proprietor’s Reserve Sangiovese – A refined cuvée of noble red grapes perfected by our pioneering clonal research. This dark beauty, BelnerO, is produced at our innovative winery, chosen 11 consecutive years as Italy’s Premier Vineyard Estate. Fermented in our patented temperature controlled French oak and aged approximately 2 additional years. Unfiltered, and Nitrogen bottled to minimize sulfites.
Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino – Rich, round, velvety and intensely aromatic, with flavor hints of licorice, cherry, and spices. Brunello di Montalcino possesses an intense ruby-red color, and a depth, complexity and opulence that is softened by an elegant, lingering aftertaste. Unfiltered after 1998 vintage.
Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino – Brunello's "younger brother," produced from select Sangiovese grapes and aged in barrique for 10 to 12 months. Deep ruby-red, elegant, vibrant, well-balanced and stylish with a dry velvety finish.
Poggio all’Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – A single vineyard selection of our most historically outstanding Sangiovese, aged five years before release, the additional year more than that required of Brunello including 6 months in barrel and 6 months more in bottle to grant its “Riserva” designation. Incredible elegance and harmony. Intense with lots of fruit and subtle wood influence. Round, complete, well balanced with hints of chocolate and berries. Unfiltered after 1998.
Poggio alle Mura – The first tangible result of years of intensive clonal research on Montalcino’s native Sangiovese grape. Estate bottled from the splendidly sun drenched vineyards surrounding the medieval Castello from which it takes its name. The Brunello di Montalcino is seductive, silky and smoky. Deep ruby in color with an expressive bouquet of violets, fruits and berries as well as cigar box, cedar and exotic spices. The Rosso di Montalcino is also intense ruby red. The bouquet is fresh and fruity with typical varietal notes of cherry and blackberry, enriched by more complex hints of licorice, tobacco and hazelnut. It is full bodied, yet with a soft structure, and a surprisingly long finish. The Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is deep ruby red with garnet reflections and a rich, ample bouquet that hints of prune jam, coffee, cacao and a light balsamic note. It is full and powerful, with ripe and gentle tannins that make it velvety and harmonious; this wine is supported by a pleasing minerality that to me speaks soundly of that special hillside in southern Montalcino.
SummuS – A wine of towering elegance, SummuS is an extraordinary blend of Sangiovese which contributes body; Cabernet Sauvignon for fruit and structure; and Syrah for elegance, character and a fruity bouquet. An elegant, complex and harmonious red wine.
Cum Laude – A complex and elegant red which graduated “With Honors,” characterized by aromas of juicy berries and fresh spices.
Centine – A Cuvee that is more than half Sangiovese, the balanced consisting of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Vinified in a firm, round style that easily accompanies a wide range of dishes, this is a smooth and fragrantly satisfying wine with international character, and a perennial favorite at my own dinner table.
Banfi Chianti Superiore – The “Superiore” designation signifies stricter government regulations regarding production and aging requirements, as compared to regular Chianti. An intense ruby red wine with fruit forward aromas and floral notes. This is a round wine with well-balanced acidity and fruit.
Banfi Chianti Classico – An enduring classic: alluring bouquet of black fruit and violets; rich flavors of cherry and leather; supple tannins and good acidity for dining.
Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva – Produced from select grapes grown in the "Classico" region of Chianti, this dry, fruity and well-balanced red has a full bouquet reminiscent of violets.
Fonte alla Selva Chianti Classico – This is our newest entry into the Chianti arena, coming from a 99 acre estate in Castellina, the heart of the Chianti Classico region. The wine is a captivating mauve red that smells of cherry, plum and blackberry with hints of spice. It is round, full and balanced with very good acidity.
Col di Sasso – Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Luscious, complex and soft with persistent notes of fruit and great Italian style structure.
Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from amazon.com.
The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) is a novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured favorite. The story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring his master back from the edge of despair.
WATCH THE VIDEO!
“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw
“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.
“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.
“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.
“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.
❖❖❖FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to report that the Virtual Gourmet is linked to four excellent travel sites:
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, ForbesTraveler.com and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star places as five-star experiences." THIS WEEK:
Eating Las Vegas
JOHN CURTAS has been covering the Las Vegas
food and restaurant scene since 1995. He is
the co-author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50
Essential Restaurants (as well as
the author of the Eating Las Vegas web site: www.eatinglasvegas.
He can also be seen every Friday morning as
the “resident foodie” for Wake Up With the
Wagners on KSNV TV (NBC) Channel 3 in
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET
NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John
Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani,
Robert Mariani, Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Geoff Kalish, and Brian Freedman. Contributing
Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical
If you wish to subscribe to this newsletter, please click here: http://www.johnmariani.com/subscribe/index.html
© copyright John Mariani 2017