Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Confessions of a Red-Wine Lover

I have a confession to make:
I have a red wine crush.
I like the deep, dark, rich flavors of it...
...the chocolates, berries, and tannins that roll over one's tongue, pucker your lips, and pique the tastebuds.

No sweet cloying flavors for me - give me the intensity - the vibrant, flavor-soaring glass every time!
That said, on this particular week I set out to discover some new sights, sounds and tastes.
A tip: it would be good to reserve de bonne heure: early. (For both places)

First stop was Fearrington Granary at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro.
They were busy, but I was happy to score a spot on Open Table.
Theresa Chiettini, general manager, was holding down the fort up front - always good to see these folks.
Max Kast, (wine/beverage director) sommelier, was on hand also. Chef Bedford was in and out checking on things. The staff swarmed busily as one would expect. I took a look at cocktails. I'd heard of the Fearrington Fizz earlier and it was delicious and refreshing. The Fearrington Mule was on the list and looked enticing also with Vodka, Ginger Beer and Lime Juice. The Bleu Cheese and Fig Salad was fantastic - a wonderful blend of flavors and textures. It is on the 'small plates and salads' dinner menu.

Having eaten just barely, (atypical :), all day running about, I was ravenous by the time I arrived. It was a very decent portion. The salad was enough to make a meal alone if vegetarian or feeling like something a bit lighter.

Before the main entree, I asked Max Kast what he would suggest with the goat-cheese souffle.
He recommended a Vevi, Rueda appellation from Castilla y Leon, Spain.
Vevi is about 80% Verdejo and 20% Viura. It is not uber expensive, but certainly high on taste.

Rueda is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) for wines located in the Community of Castile and Leon. It comprises 72 municipalities, of which 53 are in the province of Valladolid, 17 are in the north of the province of Segovia, and 2 are in the north of the province of Ávila.[1] It is known primarily for its fine white wines based on the verdejo grape.[2] (source information: Wikipedia)

It was a very dry white with citrus notes, and mouth-puckeringly intense. Every tastebud, (we have at least 2-8,000!) stood at attention. It was notable by itself - but with the richness of the airy souffle, sweet-tart red & golden beets, and ultralight crumbled goat cheese - it was perfect. The balance was unmistakable. Very satisfying dinner afer a tough week!
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Next on my wish list was Vin Rouge Bistro in Durham (pictured here). I have been seeing their tantalizing tweets for so long, I would have found them in a fit of somnambulism, no doubt. It was a warm, drizzling Friday night on Ninth Street. I wanted to get back in touch with my rusty French. But don't worry, you don't have to speak French there!

Michael greeted me and seated me by a small table in a corner with a window showing the side patio. Its sheer curtains were pulled back and it was lovely with the summer rain. Of my 'favorite things': I love raindrops on fresh herbs in a garden!

Since I noted that I was Deaf, they provided me with a small card listing the specials, God bless them.
(I gave it back like a good girl!) Katie was my server, and they gave exceptional service despite a packed house and sharing a room with large parties. I was ready for un bon repas.

The Summer of Riesling is going strong right now, this was a great time to try one again. I haven't really had alot of Riesling experience, I must admit. My first experience of it was not so good... don't even remember the name of that one.They have developed specials especially for the Summer of Riesling (featured wines).

Wanting a meal classically French though, I decided on  the Sweetbreads du Jour, listed on the card for me with frisee, capers, and vinaigrette. The Riesling was Le Domaine Schlumberger, Riesling Les Princes Abbés   from Alsace, France. Balanced is the word I keep hearing, and balanced it was. There had been a running 'to-do' list going through my head. The ticker tape stopped. I sighed, "Ahhhh...", mentally shrugged, 'maybe tomorrow', and sank back into the chair and relaxed. This was going to be good.

I probably should have ordered a tailored item with it to fully appreciate the flavor, but no worries!  The Riesling teetered in perfect harmony on the edge of a wine symphony: dry, slightly fruity, and smooth. Very nice.

Next for the main course, I couldn't resist the Bouillabaisse rouille! A Thomas Labaille Sancerre (Chavignol), from Loire Valley, France was robust and satisfying with this. Littleneck clams, mussels, extremely tender white meat chicken - all of the things one would expect - in a delicious broth with a good, pungent garlic rouille mayonnaise, (saffron-colored) splashed lovingly across a crisp of french bread.

Folks: I giggled afterwards. Really I did. I think it may have scared the server clearing the dishes. I'm a natural giggler. I couldn't help it. I'm a Southerner too and there was all this yummy broth, and an entire pail of crispy, sliced, toasted french bread. There was only one thing to do. Sop!!!! I sopped as daintily as I could manage - to my hearts content and my stomach's limit. The only saving grace was that I had to save some room for the crème brûlée: pure creamy enlightenment with a crisply torched sugar crust that cracked like candy! It was awesome. Period.
I think the red wine is jealous!
Bonne Journée!
 from Deelish!

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