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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal

Ihsan and Valerie own and run the Formaggio Kitchen family of stores. As is true of any folks passionate about their jobs, work intertwines throughout all aspects of their lives. Their travels – frequent and far-flung – are largely dictated by the food producers they want to meet or to revisit, by rumors of new and exciting foodstuffs and/or food conferences such as “Cheese,” the biennial Slow Food festival held in Bra, Italy. Their larder and wine cellar are stocked with favorite items they have imported or new items they are testing out. Even when on holiday, they are in direct communication with all three stores, coordinating deliveries from Europe and generally checking to make sure everything is on track. (more…)

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Thanksgiving Wine and CheeseAs tradition goes, Pinot Noir or Beaujolais are typically served with turkey and its many accompaniments. That said, it’s not always so easy to predict what will appear at the Thanksgiving feast, whether it’s Aunt Liz’s sweet potatoes with marshmallows, Uncle Mike’s maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, or Zia Della’s baked ziti. Such varied cuisine calls for Zelig-like wines. They must accommodate the potential for sweet, salty, savory, and bitter all in the same bite and therefore require plenty of freshness and acidity with the ability to cleanse the palate. However, they must also show enough ripeness to work with sweetness.

The following are a few selections that meet the above criteria and will drink well alongside your Thanksgiving dinner. A discount of 10% will be offered on six or twelve bottles of these featured wines. (more…)

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This week we’re highlighting one of our favorite French liqueurs, the inky black currant flavored Crème de Cassis de Dijon. These sweet little bottles of crème de cassis are made in Burgundy by Briottet, a company run by the Briottet family in the town of Dijon since 1836.

Briottet Crème de CassisBriottet makes their crème de cassis with only “Noir de Bourgogne” black currants. The word “crème” signifies that the liqueur is made from macerated, real fruit rather than flavorings and, the addition of the name Dijon means that the currants (“cassis”) used were grown only in the commune of Dijon. These currants are picked quickly at their peak ripeness and are immediately immersed in alcohol where they macerate for 3 months. Sugar is then added to balance out the tart flavor of the currants – it also makes the liqueur syrupy. Upon completion, crème de cassis has about the same alcohol content as port. (more…)

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Giovanna Tiezzi of Pacina (left) + Gemma

With Giovanna Tiezzi of Pacina

As Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge’s wine buyer, the long-awaited arrival of spring means traveling to Verona for Italy’s most significant wine expo, VinItaly. The enormity and intensity of the show are both invigorating and challenging as it offers an expansive view of Italy’s wine scene, not only with thousands of indigenous grape varietals, but also with a genuine diversity of both terroirs and winemaking styles. Feeling overwhelmed is unavoidable. (more…)

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Domaine de Montbourgeau Macvin du JuraTime out from cheese for a brief note about one of our new favorite wines, a curious liquid called Macvin du Jura. Ours is made by Nicole Deriaux, the 3rd generation winemaker at Domaine de Montbourgeau, a wonderful little winery whose L’Etoile we have stocked in the past.

The lovely elixir that is Macvin du Jura is made from the juice of a combination of red and white grapes to which the local Marc (“mac”) or grape brandy is added. This addition fortifies the sweet juice with alcohol and stops fermentation. The “wine” is then aged in oak casks for several years to develop and integrate the flavors. (more…)

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A Matter of Taste

I recently read a blog post titled “What’s the Point?”. I was directed to it via the New York Times Diner’s Journal Blog.

It’s worth a read but the opening paragraph gives you the gist:

I didn’t start this blog as an outlet for my rants but I have to complain a little bit. I’m over winemakers who have any agenda other than taste; those who want to make ‘natural wines’ or who set out to make wines which embrace some sort of philosophy. I know that we are all Children of the Earth, that we have only one planet and that we should treat the soil and groundwater (and each other) with respect. …but the next time I meet with a winemaker who claims to be driven by the will to be a ‘Steward of the Land’ and to ‘Express the soil’ I may just have to excuse myself. Call me ‘old fashioned’ but isn’t taste the point?

While I empathize with the frustration of being marketed to, doesn’t everyone who makes something have an agenda or a philosophy that drives what they do? Would you really want it any other way? Most producers I know set out to make the best tasting product they can, but they also consider the means they employ to get there. In my mind, it is imperative that retailers and consumers alike evaluate products on the basis of both taste and philosophy. (more…)

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Fattoria La Striscia ’09 Chianti Colli Aretini and I Clivi ’10 Friulano San Pietro

Wondering what to serve with your Easter feast? Gemma, wine buyer at our Cambridge location, is recommending a light, crisp white for appetizers and a fuller-bodied, flavorful red to pair with a traditional lamb dish. Both are from sustainable producers that we know and trust – below are descriptions of the two selected wines. (more…)

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Millesime BioDuring a short stint from January 23rd to 25th, I had the opportunity to once again attend Millésime Bio, an annual organic wine exposition in Montpellier, France. It not only proved to be an exciting and challenging experience with my struggling French but offered me a closer view into the diverse world of wine. A wide range of regions, traditions, styles and levels of quality were represented at the show. My goal this year was to further develop an appreciation for these differences and find language to capture them for my colleagues and our customers. For example, organic, biodynamic, and even no-sulfur added wines can be made quite conventionally through machine harvesting and high yields, with poor terroir, additives and invasive cellar techniques. For me, it is an ongoing effort to understand and be able to explain the differences between industrial, conventional, artisanal, natural, and heirloom even within the categories of organic, biodynamic and no-sulfur added wine. It takes tasting, re-tasting, traveling, and speaking directly with producers to be able to speak to these qualitative differences and really comprehend who is doing the work to make great wines. With this mission in mind, I reconnected with many of my favorite growers – and discovered new ones too. Here are some of the highlights! (more…)

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A Glass of Bubbly

South End wine buyer, Julie Cappellano, and Cambridge wine buyer, Gemma Iannoni, offer their top picks for bubbly to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year! Their selections subscribe to our philosophy of selecting authentic, terroir-driven wines from producers using organic, sustainable, or biodynamic viticultural practices. (more…)

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Formaggio Kitchen Wine ShelvesWondering what to serve with your Thanksgiving meal? Leave it to Formaggio Kitchen’s wine buyers to handle those details for you! South End Wine Buyer, Julie Cappellano, and Cambridge Wine Buyer, Gemma Iannoni, have chosen three delicious wines that will save you the time and effort:

Molière ’11 Beaujolas Nouveau (Burgundy, France)

There aren’t many producers out there that go to the lengths that Bruno and Isabelle of Domaine des Côtes de la Molière do – they make biodynamic Beaujolais Nouveau without added sulfites! (more…)

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