March 6th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

If you love wine as HG/BSK do, a stop at Applejack is mandatory if you are in the Greater Denver area. Applejack is a vast and perfectly organized wine and liquor store in suburban Wheat Ridge. Applejack has wines from every country, every region, every vintage. Hundreds are always on sale and the values are extraordinary. They also have the ultimate big-time wines (lofty prices) and deliver them to the billionaire ski homes in Aspen and plutocrat ranches. Leaving Denver, HG/BSK loaded up on the bargains. HG concentrated on the reds while BSK selected the whites and roses. HG found great Washington and Oregon vintages and some values from France (Languedoc and Cotes du Rhone). BSK assembled many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, Friuli and Veneto pinot grigios and Provence roses. Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe, curiously, has the better bargains for these Provencal winners. BSK, the love of HG’s life, bought HG a gift: A bottle of high-end Tavel, HG (and A.J.Liebling’s) favorite rosé. It has all the sprightliness of rosé but levels of flavor that rival a good red. Pleasant grace note: Applejack has a small corner of Italian food specialties: pasta, rice for risotto, anchovies, etc. HG took advantage. As usual, HG/BSK’s food and wine future looks bright.

Drinking Cheap

July 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

There’s a snake in very Eden. And, in HG and BSK’s personal Eden, Prince Edward Island, the serpent is the heavy Canadian tax placed on alcohol. This means good wine costs over 20 bucks a bottle and for a guzzler like HG this is prohibitive. So, modest (just a shade above plonk) wine has to be the choice. How to make the tipple drinkable? HG drinks red wine with ice cubes and white wine with ice and soda — a spritzer. For some reason, it works. HG’s pal, Peter Hellman, journalist, author and noted wine authority, would not approve. But, Hellman is a fastidious wine sipper while HG believes in overabundance. A sidebar: Many years ago, Hellman stocked his valuable wine collection in HG’s cool Montclair, N.J., cellar. HG got into the habit, when out of wine, to grab a bottle from the Hellman collection. When the time came for Hellman to retrieve his collection, he found it oddly diminished. For some reason, the friendship survived though many excellent bottles did not. (Here’s an HG post listing Hellman’s books. Moving. illuminating. Entertaining).

Cocktail Discoveries

May 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Joy in the HG household. HG has discovered a new pre-dinner cocktail: The Vesper Martini. This has become a favorite in Santa Fe’s hip sipping circles. Here’s how you do it. Fill a shaker with ice. Add one part vodka and one part gin. A modest splash of Lillet (the French, slightly sweet aperitif wine). Pour into a (pre-chilled in the freezer, of course) martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. A lovely, lethal drink with a nice French accent.

HG has also made some good, inexpensive wine discoveries. Italy’s Contadino sparkling Pinot Grigio (BSK’s pre-dinner choice) which is wonderful drunk straight or mixed with Aperol in the classic Venetian “Spriss.” Also, Argentina’s Trivento Reserve Malbec tickles the HG palate with a spicy complexity.


April 22nd, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

Lambrusco is a lightly sparkling wine much identified with the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and the area’s robust cuisine. HG and BSK never drank much of it until son-in-law Profesore/Dottore Massimo R. introduced HG and BSK to it during their recent visit to Bologna. Now they are converts. Lambrusco is a very pleasant warm weather wine. It has a slight sparkle and should be drunk well chilled. Nice as an aperitif and good with spicy food. HG and BSK drink Le Grotte Lambrusco. Available at Trader Joe’s for six bucks a bottle. SJ also recommends the Bianco and Rosse Lambruscos produced by Lini 910 At $15 dollars a bottle they are one of life’s affordable joys.

La Vie En Rose

April 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Daffodils. Tulips. Forsythia. Hyacinths. Greening grass. Budding trees. Green willow fronds. Spring is upon us here in New Mexico and it’s Row-Zay time. Yes, it’s time to sit outdoors beneath brilliant blue skies and drink lots of friendly rose wine. Hey, that’s what they do in Spain and HG enjoys paying homage (if it involves drinking and eating) to New Mexico’s Hispanic heritage. Ancona almonds. Kalamata olives. Piquillo peppers. Anchovies. Thin slices of a ciabatta loaf. These are nice accompaniments. French Tavel is HG’s favorite rose but it has become too pricey for everyday drinking. HG makes out just fine with six bucks-a-bottle La Ferme Julien (French) and Albero (Spanish). California’s despicable White Zinfandel has given rose a bad rep. Ignore it. Buy HG recommended roses and have lots of fun in the sun.

Paris. The Same. Maybe Even Better.

February 12th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Grey, slightly misty Paris day. Unpacking (always an annoying chore only matched by equally annoying packing). While BSK went off to buy a hair dryer, HG perched at an outdoor table at his favorite cafe/wine shop Cave des Abbesses, on lively Rue Abbesses. Ah, Montmartre. Before strolling to Cave, HG listened to a trio (two guitars and a bass) jazzing at Place des Abbesses. Django time! At the Cave, HG had six splendid oysters (a bargain 7 Euros) a pichet of excellent Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, dry with only a hint of fruit. The passing parade of lovers, intellectuals, artists, loafers and working folk was free. Further entertainment was provided by a funky jazz trio of trumpet, clarinet and castanets.

Joined by BSK, a shopping expedition provided a roast chicken, roast potatoes, a head of frisee, six perfectly ripe wedges of cheese (St. Marcellin, Reblochon,etc.); an array of wine (inexpensive in Paris). Dinner at home. Early to bed. Lots of art to see tomorrow. Maybe the Mondrian/ de Stijl show at the Beaubourg. You will be informed.

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