Notes from the Cellar: As I was saying …

by Jeff Cox, Beer and Wine Merchandiser

This article was originally published in February 2010

Now we’re cookin’. As our side of the big blue ball wakes up and turns its face to the light, the waning days of last year and the annual fade-to-black already feel like … well, a decade ago. But I have unfinished business from way back then.

A good friend in the wine business reminded me that in December, I began and left unfinished a litany of Stuff Worth Carrying Forward — this correspondent’s “best of,” as it were.

I was just reaching a fever of exuberant verbosity over the Gorge and the Languedoc when I reached my word count and Ms. Editor gave me the hook. Then, I forgot what I was doing. Ahem. Herewith then, a continuation of My Favorite Things (with apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein).

It’s been said that the French are great cooks — but that the Italians taught them how. Though I’m frankly as Francophile as one can get (and this observation is made almost always by an Italian), I admit there’s some credence to it.

Since I’ve already exposed myself to a thousand curses, I’ll up the ante and venture that among Italian regional cuisines (and wines), Piemontese is especially artful and delectable. But don’t take my word for it, get ye forthwith to Spinasse and try the tajarin with butter and sage, all the more amazing with a bottle of Marchesi di Gresy sauvignon blanc.

That said, my “go to” for soul-warming comfort food remains French — not the haute cuisine of Paris or Lyon but the amazingly sensual flavors of bistros and traditional recipes. Locally, the closest thing to being there is Boat Street Café and Renée Erickson’s enticing menu and tantalizing, well-chosen wine list.

For my 51st trip through the calendar, I’ve resolved to follow my friend Carrie’s example and make a habit of visiting the Boat Street bar for the rib eye with beets, potatoes and black olive tapenade. That, and a glass or two of something from the southern Rhône or the Languedoc, and we’re living large, baby.

Finally, as I was telling Throckmorton the other day, I resolve to drink more Champagne — specifically, more artisan, “grower” Champagne. Who can argue with better quality for the same price — or less — than the big-name “brand” stuff?

Like a sweet spring day, we often forget how fine it can be until we open a bottle, close our eyes, and let that exquisite, effervescent je ne sais quoi fill the corners of our soul.


Also in this issue

USDA: organic consumers don't care

If ever there was a time for you as an organic consumer to stand up and be counted, it is now. I've never issued such a strong call to action in these pages in all my 10 years as editor. But we are at a pivotal moment in the organic movement.

News bites, February 2010

Mark Kastel named a visionary, AMA advocates better food, Bayer liable for GE contamination, and more

Let food be your green medicine

Did you know oatmeal lowers cholesterol as well as statin drugs and without the side effects? Or that four ounces of legumes a week reduces cancer rates 22 percent — better than any drug? Unfortunately, these and other facts about nutrition are not part of the health care debate."