Thursday, November 20, 2014

the magic is back


a bottle of frank cornelissen's contadino 4 from the 2006 vintage opened in new orleans in 2012 was one of my first conversion wines: a bottle that changed my mind about what we should drink and why we should drink it. ashy, fizzing, the colour of rhubarb stems, the scent of ripe crushed raspberries and cider, the flavour of basalt and cinders. it was a magic bottle, and each case of contadino would have, if you were very fortunate, a single magic bottle. (often it would have no magic bottles but many undrinkably acetic ones.) nonetheless, i lavished hard-earned doubloons on more contadino from various later vintages hoping to replicate that first experience. no luck. with each successive vintage, contadino remained a crazy patchwork long-macerated blend of red and white grapes but slowly became more extracted and stable. reliably tasty; no longer a catalogue of wine flaws with the potential to be confusingly and improbably delicious.

but the magic is back with last night's bottle of cornelissen's susucaru 6 (vintage 2013)—one of a pair which traveled from etna to cambridge ma to london, to be opened on the spur of the moment at the remedy. the other bottle was undrinkable but i drank it anyway. vive la variance.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

a philosophy of practice

the bear pond espresso technique:
  1. Pure water must flow equally through the total espresso bean. 
  2. Like water, coffee beans are natural resources and must not be wasted. 
  3. Like the mind, equipment can be dimmed, so all equipment must be cleaned until like new.
[found at kauffman mercantile; also see no. 8 bear pond]

Thursday, November 13, 2014



faggots, with prunes, turnips, and turnip greens. a very small, crisp-crusted duck and orange pie with a fine tangle of pickled red cabbage. cauliflower and nutmeg croquettes. potato soup with small cubes of eel. buttermilk pudding with a dark gingersnap and poached quince.

while the prospect of winding over to bermondsey is grim on the one hand, on the other i leap at any opportunity to have a meeting at 40 maltby street, one of the early examples of a stream of london retail innovation whose kitchen—run by steve williams—turns out gentle, confident plates of nearly perfect restraint, proportion, and execution.

as you can see, this was not a grouse.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

sous les pavés, la vigne

the remains of the day

started in paris and now has sprouted an offshoot in lyon—which is like a smaller, much less crowded, prettier, cleaner paris, with more cream added. about 40 producers, which is just the right size to explore deeply over the course of two days. many were indifferent, some were good, but only a few were surprising. considering lyon's location, there was an inexplicable and regrettable absence of vignerons from the jura and savoie at this exposition.

sebastien poly's "damianu" (an unsulphured biodynamic old-vine sciaccarellu) was pure, bright, and lively with a hint of earth—it changed my mind about wine from corsica. and massimo coletti's "l'innominato" (an experimental undisgorged metodo classico made not from glera but a blend of manzoni rosso and manzoni bianco) was precise, crisp, and creamy—if more sparkling wine from the veneto tasted like this, i would like more sparkling wine from the veneto.