Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cauca Tierradentro "Advanced Press Pot"

Did you take any "advanced" classes in High School? I didn't. So does that mean I'm not smart? Debatable. So from my perspective, when I hear someone talking about an advanced class or advanced ear wax cleaning, etc. It urks the underdog a bit. Well I stumbled upon this tutorial which is an "Advanced Press Pot" tutorial. It's cool, you should check it out. It's not really advanced, just a different way to do it, but it's a good tutorial. There are a few things which I would tweak a bit, but an interesting Idea that actually made a difference. Like changing the brew time, 4 minutes is a little long for me. But it really did produce a more delicate cup of coffee. So if you like delicate things, you should use this method.

The beans I used were the Cuaca Tierradentro from blue bottle. Not as fresh as I would of liked, but only 6 days within roasting (after 7 days you've lost a lot of your flavor.) I'm gonna revisit this experiment, with some super fresh beans and a new grinder. A great flavorful Colombian coffee.

I like Blue Bottle's description from their site.

"When made well, the coffee has a terrific body, a softly layered mouthfeel, and a range of flavors that if one were to visually depict, might involve a statuette of Dorothy Hamill made of padron pepper infused caramel skating over a frozen lake of white pepper panna cotta. In a good way, of course." Not for the espresso machine, this coffee is lovely as a pour-over and French press, and has the necessary structure to withstand condiments. 
Location: Colombia, Cauca, Tierradentro region Altitude: 1700-2200 meters Varietal: 60% typical/40% caturra Processing method: washed Certifications: organic
PRICE:  $19.75 lb You can order online here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

2007 Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Pinot Noir

When you go to a swanky place for V-day you have to have a great bottle of wine. Thats why when we went to stay at Bacara I had to get some "RESERVE" wine, it might be Trader Joe's reserve, but this isn't any two-buck chuck. In fact this TJ's Pinot would even put ole' chuck in a romantic mood. This wine is priced at $6.99, but that doesn't change the fact that it's really great. To me this wine is the bottle that I'll keep around for the weeknights, sitting by the fire and reading picture books. Or at least I'll imagine I'm by the fire, wearing a Christmas sweater that I didn't get from a thrift store and petting a golden retriever while watching my children run in the yard. That's the magic of this wine, it will take you to place, a comfortable peaceful place that's filled with happiness and yule tide.

On my recent journey searching for fine Pinot purveyors, this TJ's reserve was the first stop and a very attainable one at that. The way Trader Joe's handles their new label is that they are basically getting another winery to make and bottle the wine and then putting their label on the bottle. TJ's controls the quality and makes sure it's up to their standards while keeping it at an appropriate price point. The Hahn family makes this wine, which have traditionally made good wines. And they sell their Hahn estates Monterey Pinot for $12, so your getting a pretty good bargain by letting them put on the Trader Joe's label.

This Pinot has a very smooth, fruity quality that goes down easy. A great drinking wine by itself. Please do your self a favor and pick some up when your at Trader Joe's, it's cheaper than standing in line for the free samples.*

*If someone stole $7 out of your wallet while you were standing in line.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2008 Layer Cake Shiraz

Have you seen the Aaron Burr milk ad? The one where the guy can't answer the trivia question because his mouth is full of peanut butter? That ad sets up a great need for milk. Layer Cake Shiraz sets up a need for some salty chocolate. After one taste of this sultry sweet, borderline port-ish shiraz, I was feening for some dark salty chocolate. I had heard good things of this wine but I never had it described to me so I thought it would be a good time to put it to the test on our V-day weekend trip. It would have been perfect if it didn't create such a desire for chocolate, which sadly could not be found near the 1960's Silver Surf Motel. {WARNING} do not drink this wine in a hot tub, it's the equivalent of drinking warm milk on a hot day.

Overall I would get this wine again for an after dinner drink (on a cool winter night) to go with dessert. If your a port fan (which I'm not) you will dig this wine. It's very smooth and mellow but dense at the same time. You can pick this wine up at BevMo for $16.99. WILFRED WONG gave it 89 points which is usually a good indicator or quality, not necessarily whether you will prefer the taste or not. If a broccoli dish scored a blue ribbon at a state fair, It might be good but if you don't like broccoli you probably won't like the dish. Same goes with Wilfred's suggestions. Grab some kara's sea salt chocolate cupcakes and pick up a bottle and you'll be on your way to a nap real soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Urban Standard Coffee Shop (Primavera Beans)

Have you ever driven a 3 cylinder car? You know the ford escort that your parents keep in the driveway for you to drive when you come home for the holidays. The car that starts go shake at about 75 and just won't peel out even though you drive it like a 911 Porsche carera. Well I've gotta say that urban standard is very similar to four barrel coffee. The beans were roasted only 4 days ago by Primavera Roasters which is only a few miles down the road. They brew the coffee via French press, which is why I think there is the four barrelish resemblance. The coffee had flavor but I feel it might have been left in the press a bit to long, hence the muddiness. Overall the shop was super cool and the strawberry cupcake with frosting was inhaled faster than snoop dogg hot boxing a blunt.

Stone Cellar Chardonnay – Year Unknown

You know how watching a romantic comedy on a plane somehow makes it seem way better than it really is? Well it’s not that good. But it’s all about availability right? My point is that this wine is nothing to write home about, unless you still write letters home and well, that’s a different story. It’s an off-shoot of Beringer, which like a lot of California wineries encompass a very large gamut as far as quality goes. They produce a lot of wine and have some really great middle of the road wines, and they also supply the US Airways not-so-friendly staff with their hooch. Definitely not the best white I’ve had on a plane, but since I didn’t have a choice this 60 point becomes a 90 point cruising at 35,000 feet. Now only if they’d start that movie.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blue Bottle Koratie Natural

Were you ever lucky enough to get the last of something? It's always sweeter. Kinda like when I got the last piece of Pecan Pie at thanksgiving or the last tickle-me-elmo in the United States (not sure why I wanted it, but I got the last one.) Even getting someone's last piece of gum is good, after the awarkward "are you sure you don't mind" banter goes on for a bit. Well I can add to that glorious list, with the Koratie Natural! I got the last bag of the last batch that Blue Bottle's ever going to roast. I didn't get the scoop on why they're discontinuing the brew, but I'm glad I got to taste it before it was gone. This brew is very manly. It's like a man with a beard and a nice flannel, that's actually a teddy-bear on the inside. It puts up a good front with it's strong deep smell, but it's really tasty and easy to drink when you open it up. I do have to say as far as flavors go, it's not my favorite but this is definately a great coffee. It's not to crazy with flavor so I see how it could be a good house brew for a hip little breakfast joint.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2007 Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay

With the first rain of the season in Peurto Vallarta comes tons of moths. Also what comes with the first rain ( If your staying at Villa Los Arcos ) is a Hand-Rolled Mexican Cigar paired with the Diablo Chilean Chardonnay. This wine paired very nicely with the Cigar, not to buttery and the fruit stood up to the cigar and complimented it nicely. Puffin on a fatty cigar helps the street cred of this wine... A great "drinking" Chardonnay, not the best, but I wasn't disappointed. Have it on a hot day and enjoy your life. Not sure how many pesos Alfonso dropped to pick up this bottle, but in the States it looks like you can pick up a bottle for under $10.

mute moth. a very short film.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2002 Kendall Jackson Zinfandel

Its a tough choice when trying to tell the cooks what kind of wine to get if you haven't been to the store to know the selection. So for this dinner I said get me some Zinfandel from another country. Alfonso brought back the 2002 Kendal Jackson Zinfandel, from California. If your in Mexico I guess the US is technically another country.... I have to say it paired perfectly with the Chicken Mole (molee, molee, molee......mole), which is a sauce made of chocolate and peppers. Chewy made the perfect meal and this Zinfandel proved to be the perfect wine and the whole group was really pleased with how well it went, I started a slow clap and then everyone applauded (Insert loud obnoxious laughing).

I've discovered it's hard to drink wine in Mexico. Well, red wine at least. It's not like the Bay Area where the temperature is moderate and pretty much caters to any type of drinking. There's a reason people drink gallons of Tecate and pitchers of Margaritas. Because it's hot!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Aero Mexicana

One sip wonder.
It's either amazing and it's love at first sip or it's a small espresso from that quirky cafe on your European cafe, or it sucks. And it's a wonder why they serve such horrible coffee on Aero Mexico. They serve dos equis, tequila shots and even a meal, so why does the brew taste like an el gato en los pantalones? I guess it makes some sense, airlines are cutting back and they only send the good stuff to the states. I couldn't get any info on the type of coffee but it could be appropriately named as meurtes de perro . Hopefully I'll find some dankness on our Mexican extravaganza vacation for two.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

2006 Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel

Have you ever heard the term Jammy? I know it's dumb and sounds like a name you'd call your Maw Maw, but I gotta say this Sonoma County is a Jammy friend of mine. It's a really solid Zin that paired well with a spicy Lentil soup. A mostly simple wine with some nice spiciness on the back end. Retailing for $14.99 at BevMo, it's a little steep for an everyday type wine (which is how I'd classify this wine) My suggestion would be to definitely pick this up if it's a 5 cent sale, If not, I'd say pick up something a little cheaper for the everyday.