Sunday, April 29, 2012

Virginia Rosé Tasting

2011 Virginia Rosés
Ann and I started off our holiday week with a "blind" tasting of four 2011 local rosés to pick one for the spring wine list at the restaurant. Blind is in quotes because with only four bottles of four vastly different shades of pink, there wasn't much surprise about which wine was which. We limited the tasting to the four local wineries that we do the most business with. I'm sure other wineries made fine wines too, but these are the ones that are already in our supply chain, readily available for purchase.

Joining us were Jen and Dewi and Kenny and Melanie. Mel is the assistant winemaker at Fabbioli Cellars.

The results really surprised me and that's why we do these head-to-head tastings. Here are my tasting notes and the results of our six votes.

Wine 1. Light salmon to copper colored, with a whiff of SO2 and funky strawberry on the nose, light, sweet, a touch effervescent, not wowing me, needs acid. Votes: 1 second, 2 third, 3 fourth. Points: 20. Avg Rank: 3.3.

Wine 2. Strawberry red with a closed nose initially. Opened up after 10 minutes to show some light strawberry and rhubarb notes on the nose also echoed on the palate. There were also some floral notes. A little hot and thus slightly out of balance. Votes: 2 first, 3 second, 1 third. Points: 11. Avg Rank 1.8.

Wine 3. Deep salmon color with big nose of strawberries, big fruit, mostly strawberry with a decided rose petal nuance, bright acid balancing sweet fruit. Votes: 4 first, 2 second. Points: 8. Avg Rank: 1.3.

Wine 4. Bright cherry red with hair perm nose. After 15 minutes a lot of SO2 blew off leaving an oxidized nose. Huge sweet fruit, but sulfur pervades the palate, acid is not balancing, effervescent, flabby. Votes: 2 third, 4 fourth. Points: 22. Avg Rank: 3.7.

After unbagging the wines, the results by rank are:

1.3 Boxwood
1.8 Linden
3.3 Fabbioli
3.7 Glen Manor

We will be serving the Boxwood at the restaurant this summer. I have to say though that if I weren't bent on supporting the home team, I have tasted dozens of French and Spanish rosés from 2011 that I rated much more highly than even the Boxwood.

P.S. Update May 9, 2012: Jeff White from Glen Manor called to say that bottles shipped to the distributor are showing a lot of SO2 while those that remain at the winery are tasting fine and customers are liking them. Go figure. Maybe transporting them shocked them all over again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Friend the Freezer

Yesterday was a comfort food day if there were ever one. Not sure what was wrong with me, but by the time I got home, I didn't even want a glass of the wine I brought home to go with dinner. I didn't even care what was for dinner in the morning, so you know something was off. It might have been the icky cold gloomy gray rainy day; it might have been that I have been running so hard recently; or it might simply be that it's been a full year since I had any time off. Suffice it to say that I was a slug when I got home bearing a kilogram of strozzapreti and a bottle of Margaux.

Strozzapreti al Sugo di Maiale
God bless Ann. I don't know how she puts up with me on a night off when I am too bushed to even have minimal conversation. She suggested pulling our last bag of meat sauce out of the freezer this morning when I couldn't even summon a thought about dinner. And she did and had it warm and waiting when I arrived with the pasta. She even cooked the pasta, sauced it, and brought me a bowl as I sat in my chair by the fire, huddled under a blanket. God bless Ann and the Italian mother in her! She's a good woman!

I have to say that this dinner was just what the doctor ordered. The pasta itself is a fabulous artisanal product from Mercato San Severino in Campania, not too far from Gragnano where the bulk of our pasta is made. And Ann undercooked it slightly so that by the time I was four or five noodles in to my dish, it was perfect. (She can cook pasta too? Bonus!) And the sauce, just awesome! I made it back in November just days before we started this blog from a whole pork shoulder. It was a crappy rainy and cold day just like yesterday. How fitting!

What I remember most about this batch of sugo di maiale is that it was a spur of the moment thing on a Sunday and I hadn't planned for it by getting a pork shoulder from one of my restaurant suppliers. We went to the local grocery store and all they had in the case were some little slices of shoulder, so I asked the guy behind the meat counter for a shoulder. It was clear he didn't want to be troubled to go to the back to get one. "That's an awful lot of meat," he said. "It's OK," I reassured him, knowing that we cook 45-60 pounds at a time at the restaurant on a frequent basis.

He also didn't know that I planned to freeze the meat sauce for a future rainy day. I didn't know that yesterday would be that day. But I'm glad it was.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Linden Barrel Tasting

We had been looking forward to Sunday's Barrel Tasting at Linden Vineyards for a long time. Last year, we were in the Caribbean during the cellar tasting; this year, the stars aligned and we were able to attend. Karen was planning to join us this year, but work intervened as it sometimes does. Jen and Dewi were waiting for us when we arrived just shy of noon, in the pouring cold rain. Over Ann's shoulder, you can see the gray, dreary day and the wet deck boards from the cold, driving rain. Inside, it was delightful; outside, not so much.

It took 10 tries to get them both to smile simultaneously!
Usually in good weather, we start outside on the unloading floor with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, but the downright awful weather forced us to start in the tasting room in the little room overlooking the cellar. The 2011 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc is delicious, a little leaner than 2010 and less tropical, with more minerality and herbaciousness. I love it and it paired beautifully with a green lip mussel from Tarver King, chef at The Ashby Inn, who provided all the great eats.

Next it was down to the cellar to taste Chardonnays from all three sites. Here you see the "menu" from the tasting. I didn't want to be that obnoxious guy blasting the flash in everyone's eyes—unlike the woman in front of me—so cellar photos are limited to what I could shoot in the dim light.

First up, Shari Avenius, wearing fairy/butterfly wings, was pouring her eponymous Chard, which had a distinct minerality and a surprising petrol note reminiscent of Riesling. Delicious. Next up, the Hardscrabble Chard poured by Jim's dad, Dick. Less nervy and more balanced than the Avenius, this wine is going to fare very well in the future. My favorite of the three. Just behind Dick was a steel rack holding carboys (and even what appears to be a Carlo Rossi bum jug) of wine to top off the barrels. The backlighting was dramatic and playful; somebody (-ies) had a good time gussying up the cellar for the tasting.

Dramatic lighting, no?
After saying goodbye to Dick, we moved on to barrel number three where Richard Boisseau was pouring his 2001 Chard. Honestly, I was expecting a California Chard from his hot, west facing, low elevation site, but the wine was more interesting than that. It's a big crowd pleaser with buckets of upfront fruit, but it has enough lemony acid structure to keep it from being cloying in that California fashion. My least favorite of the three, but judging from other comments, a crowd favorite. It's definitely a Chard for drinking young; age is not going to sit well on this beauty.

Next in line was the 2011 Claret, the only red we tasted in barrel. This seems a clear signal to me that Jim is not happy with the rest of his reds from a shitty, shitty vintage and may still be trying to figure out what to do with the juice. The Claret blend is noticeably lacking Petit Verdot; it must not have done well. But the wine is delicious, unpretentious, and will make a very good food wine. We'll be proud to serve it at the restaurant.

Speaking of things we'd be proud to serve at the restaurant,  how about this salame? Right behind the Claret barrel was Andrew Campbell of Croftburn Market in Culpeper who was tasting his delicious sausages. We tasted a basic sopressata, a finocchiona, and a pepperoni, all quite delicious! I look forward to seeing if these are cost effective to serve at the restaurant.

Beyond the salame station, we came to the head-to-head tasting of 2008 and 2009 reds. I found this highly instructive because Jim changed techniques between the two very similar vintages and the results are dramatic. At each of three stations, we tasted the Boisseau reds against each other, the Hardscrabble reds against each other, and the Avenius reds against each other. In each case, the long cold soak and extended maceration of the 2009s left them with more extraction and firmer, but quite supple, tannins than the 2008s.

Until this point, the 2008 Hardscrabble Red had been my favorite Virginia wine ever. I can now say that it pales in comparison to the 2009 Hardscrabble Red. This is the best red wine I have tasted in the last year or more. Very, very well done; world class. Weaving in and out of these tastes were several appetizers that Tarver was busy preparing out back, including one that had a mushroom cream, a grilled/smoked pâté, and delicious dolmades. At one point, I popped outside in the cold to say hi for a second, but that reminded me that I was happy to be on the eating side of the appetizers. I had my fill of cooking for the Glen Manor barrel tasting this year.

Reluctantly leaving the cellar—after all, it was more like a cellar party than any barrel tasting I've ever been to—we headed upstairs and luckily managed to secure a table where we dug into the newly bottled Avenius and Hardscrabble reds and yacked the afternoon away.

A parting shot. Every now and again, I take a photo that I really like. This is one. I'll call it "A Good Day."

A Good Day

Friday, April 20, 2012

Backyard Bounty, Part 2

Just out the back door, we have a patio covered by a large pergola under which we dine in clement weather. At each corner, we have planted a vine with the goal of giving us a shaded canopy so that we can eat out more frequently in the summer. Ann planted the first corner, the wisteria that you see here five years ago. Last year in its fourth year, this vine yielded fewer than 10 blooms, but we were so excited after having tended and pruned it for so long. This year, it has dozens and dozens of blooms as you see in the photos. We have a trumpet vine at one corner for the hummingbirds, and two other wisteria that are too young to bloom at the other corners.

Backyard Bounty

I had a tasting at the restaurant last evening and because of lots of other things going on, I wasn't able to focus on the menu in advance. Thursday morning dawned with no plan. But, while I was out walking the dogs, I saw that some of the locust blooms were just starting to open and that gave me the little spark I needed. I walked around the backyard with a bag and collected edibles, both wild and domesticated, for my dinner.

From the lower left clockwise: lemon balm, citrusy in a lemongrass kind of fashion; sheep sorrel, tart and lemony in that oxalic sourgrass way; wild mustard leaves and blooms, sharp and fresh just like domestic mustards; black locust blossoms, tasting divinely like a mix of green pea and honeysuckle; sugar snap tendrils, tasting just like the snap pods themselves; fennel fronds, tasting just like the yet-to-develop bulbs; lovage, like celery with a twist; and cilantro blossoms, gorgeous and tasting like the rest of the plant.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thai-Style Cellophane Noodle Salad with Lamb

It was blazing hot yesterday, just like a day in late July, and we were in the mood for something cool and refreshing. With a leftover roasted leg of lamb in the fridge to use, I set about a variation on the classic Thai beef salad mixed with a cellophane (mung bean) noodle salad.

It's a salad, so there isn't really a recipe, except for the dressing (and then there's only an idea and not really a recipe). I trust you can pick out the bowl of rehydrated cellophane noodles and then below that on the right, the dressing and a half a cup of dry roasted peanuts.

On the plate on the cutting board, clockwise from the julienne of sweet red pepper are yellow tomatoes, red onions, spearmint from the garden, cilantro and cilantro blossoms from the garden, and Thai basil.

On the other plate from the sliced lamb clockwise, there are lime wedges (for garnish), mung bean sprouts, cucumbers, and Thai chile.

The dressing is sugar and rice vinegar in equal portions cooked into a syrup and then flavored with sambal oelek (crushed chile paste), fish sauce, and lime juice.

And finally, I leave you with the food porn version of this salad.


Thanks to Ann there are new pizza stones at the casa. And we have been experimenting with different doughs. We made a bunch of pizzas this weekend, but it was our first off-the-grid weekend in about two months, so no camera, no friends, no travel, nothing but relaxation. Wow, was that needed!

Here is one of Ann's pizzas from some time last week. Aren't you just drooling looking at it and thinking of that glorious mozzarella di bufala? It is sooooo much better than cow's milk mozzarella.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Buona Pasqua!

Easter Sunday started off on a beautiful note with a full bright moon hanging in the sky illuminating the landscape at midnight after a long hard slog of a Saturday night dinner service at the restaurant, a slog that left me both sore and exhausted and sadly unable to sleep. Ma que bella luna!

What precious little sleep I got came well after midnight and was disrupted way too soon at 6am by a lot of racket from out back of the house. Despite 35-degree temperatures and frost on the grass, there was some kind of caterwauling happening out back, not unlike what I imagine a cat sounds like while being strangled.

Tossing and turning and fighting to go back to sleep, it dawned (pun intended) on me that it was Easter morning and the noise was an outside Easter sunrise service at one of the two churches in our little community. Both are within 400 yards of the back of our house.

I'm sure the choir sounded good up close, but it sounded anything but decent coming over the big field behind the house, especially to my sleep-deprived mind. But in the spirit of neighborliness, I was trying to forgive and forget when the preacher kicked in over the PA system, which got both dogs riled and barking.

And so I threw in the metaphorical towel and rather grumpily set about my day, taking the dogs outside at just about the time that the Baptist preacher from the closer of the two churches pushed his "big pitch"—as my former neighbor and Lutheran minister friend used to call his most important sermon of the year—as he pushed his big pitch to a nasally Southern Baptist crescendo.

Their business complete, the dogs and I headed back inside, they to eat breakfast like it was their last meal ever and I to start prepping for Easter dinner and wishing for some strozzapreti to cook and take next door as a neighborly gesture. You might have to be Italian to get that joke.

Easter is a time for flowers, no doubt. Our daffodils have been done for weeks, but here are some beautiful specimens that I brought to Ann from the farmers market and the phenomenal clematis we have growing out front. My aunt Susan also brought us a bunch of double daffodils and yellow tulips from her garden. How come everyone has daffodils but us?

At 7am, after getting the animals settled down, Ann was still asleep when I started prepping my part of the menu that Ann had worried over for weeks: grilled butterflied leg of lamb, grilled roulade of shiitake-stuffed pork tenderloin, roasted asparagus, and a green salad with tomato vinaigrette.

Ann's part was a shiitake and fingerling potato tart that she learned from Jen and a gorgeous layer cake, more about which later. And naturally Ann took care of the table, which was beautiful with its crown of hyacinths. It was a good division of labor, even if I drove her nuts not being able to nail down exactly what vegetables we were serving weeks in advance! She's a planner, Ann is, and it is taking some getting used to that I am a wing-it kind of cook. How do I know weeks in advance if we are going have asparagus for Easter? She's thinking, "How can he not know?"

Ann is crazy for cocktail napkins!

Our guests were Ann's parents Bob and Mary, my uncle and aunt Marshall and Susan, their daughter and my youngest first cousin Melissa, and our good friends Jen and Dewi. Isn't this the greatest photo of lovebirds Bob and Mary? And again you see them at the table with my uncle Marshall.

Here are Dewi, Marshall, and Susan and then my cousin Melissa.

Jen, Ann, and a shot of the two of us—I never realized how tiny Ann is beside me. I have no recollection of who shot this picture. Too much wine?

After everyone arrived, we poured around a couple bottles of our house sparkling wine, Bailly-Lapierre Crémant de Bourgogne, and then we attacked the hors d'oeuvres, a tray of things we had rustled from the fridge and a shiitake and fingerling potato tart that Ann made. Yes, there is always cheese and salame in our fridge, and yes, we did rip off this tart: it is the very same one that Jen has made for us a couple of times; thanks to her for the recipe! [That dough is crazy sticky!] Everyone wanted to know what was up with the artichoke hearts. Really, I found some leftover canned chokes in the fridge and just poured some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on them, with a sprinkle of salt, peppers, and dried herbs.

For the main course of our Easter dinner, we had long planned to have local lamb. I had a nice saddle that I was going to bone out and stuff when we had four guests. Then I switched to a leg at six guests. And a ten, I said the heck with it and stuffed a couple of pork tenderloins. The leg I butterflied and rubbed with a mint-rosemary pesto made from our garden. The pork tenders I butterflied and stuffed with a shiitake mushroom duxelles flavored with balsamic vinegar, then rolled and tied into a roulade. Both grilled at medium heat outside. The lamb, especially the charred pesto, was really good; the pork tenderloins fell apart (at the restaurant I would have wrapped them in caul fat to hold them together). Good, but unsightly and bad form for a professional chef.

To go with the meats, Ann made a delicious orzo salad and I scored some outstanding baby greens at the market.

And score! First asparagus of the year, roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper!

With dinner, we had a lot of wine. Ann requested Syrah with the lamb, so we opened a Castello di Poppiano Syrah di Toscana. And I like Petit Verdot with lamb, so we opened some 2006 Linden PV. Ann also cracked one of her beloved Barrel 27 Right Hand Man Syrahs from Paso Robles, but I never saw or tasted it! And Dewi brought a Chinon, a 2009 Clos de la Niverdière, which has a bit of a barnyardy but otherwise typical Cab Franc nose and is especially pleasant for having seen no oak. I really love wines from Chinon and from just across the river in Bourgeuil.

We ended our delicious feast with one of the very best cakes that I have ever eaten. Ann baked a phenomenal lemon layer cake with lemon buttercream frosting! She keeps saying that she doesn't know how to bake, but I think she is sandbagging us! She presented the cake with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday for Melissa's birthday coming up early next week. Dewi and I rousted a 1989 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes out of the cellar to go with the cake. It has a slightly oxidized nose with hints of cream sherry and toasted hazelnuts, and a pure lemony crème brûlée flavor with waves of acid and candied papaya. Delicious, but not as delicious as that cake! Ann, as I told you earlier, I have never had a professionally made cake as good as yours! Amazing, just amazing!

I cannot imagine a better Easter celebration with friends and family, memorable not only for the company, but for starting off with a full moon and noisy neighbors, and punctuated by fierce winds that ripped the siding off the south side of the house—a day we will never forget!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Singapore Noodles

Yesterday was such a beautiful spring day and I had finished all my Monday paperwork and errands and was home by the civilized hour of 4pm. By 5, it had cooled off enough to move outside and enjoy some Garnacha on the patio. What you see below is a classic Ann-pour. Our glasses are marked with a pour line so that the servers pour a consistent amount for each glass. The bottom of the W logo represents a 5-1/2 ounce pour or a fifth of a bottle. When Ann pours for herself, note how far up on the W logo it comes! Also note last year's parsley bolting to the right of the water bottle in our little garden.
I very rarely get in the mood for any kind of food. I'm a classical omnivore; if it's for dinner, I'm all about it. But yesterday I had Singapore noodles on the brain. By the way, Singapore refers to a style of noodle flavored with Madras curry powder, not a noodle dish that you might find in Singapore. While it's not a dish from Singapore, it's also not an American one either, being more of a pan-Asian fusion dish that is common in Hong Kong. Moreover, it is one of my favorite of favorite noodle dishes.

Below you see the mise for this dish, absent the bean sprouts, thin egg noodles, Madras curry powder, and fish sauce. From the chorizo clockwise you see ginger, garlic, preserved vegetable, green onions, edamame, and cilantro.

Before you go getting all technical on me, I'm going to state that I have had Singapore noodles hundreds of times and I know that they are traditionally made with very thin rice noodles. I also know that the best I ever ate in a crazy good hole in the wall Chinese place was made with wheat noodles like I used here. And chorizo? Yes, chorizo because it was what was in the fridge. Traditionally the dish is made with char siu, Chinese roasted pork. Well, damn it, I didn't feel like making my own char siu, which is the only way to get it around these parts. And, consider the role of the char siu in the dish. It is there for its bright reddish color and for a little punch of flavor. And that's exactly the role of the chorizo in the dish. A thrifty Chinese cook would approve.

The edamame are definitely not traditional either, but you'll find every kind of vegetable garnish known to man in some version somewhere. I was just looking for bright green color and there were edamame in the freezer. Typically, I make the dish with slivered yellow onions, because Madras curry and onions is a match made in heaven, but I had these gorgeous green onions that needed to be used.

In other words, it's my dish and I'll fry if I want to, fry if I want to! All I am saying is relax: noodles, like soup, are a great vehicle for whatever ingredients are at hand.

Below you see the finished dish, a result of sautéeing all the ingredients while the noodles were cooking, adding the drained noodles to the toppings, and finishing to taste with copious amounts of curry powder and fish sauce.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Glen Manor Vineyards Barrel Tasting

Sunday morning April 1st came way too soon and not soon enough. Way too soon in the sense that I wanted to sleep a lot longer than I did after being crushed at work the week before. And not soon enough in the sense that I couldn't wait for the crush to be over and behind me.

What crushed Tony and me at work was two catering jobs on top of two different tastings, a workload from hell. I feel bad for Ann who had to deal with me all week, half zombie, something less than half human. She's a good woman for putting up with me and my job, my other wife. The thing that most crushed us: providing tasting pairings for 250 people at the Glen Manor Vineyards barrel tasting, plus a bunch of cheeses, salume, and terrines.

But how awesome was it Sunday morning trying to get going and smelling this fantastic loaf of roasted garlic bread that Ann was baking? What a beautiful loaf of bread!
Here is the lovely lady responsible for that tasty loaf. She's just learning how to make bread, but is doing quite the amazing job at it already. Here she is out back of the Glen Manor tasting room: when she smiles, she lights up the entire room!

After a couple of errands including dropping by the restaurant to pick up some things, we finally got on the road to Glen Manor. Our foray to the restaurant netted a couple of cheeses, some olives, a few grapes, a big hunk of veal terrine, and a chorizo.

As soon as we arrived at Glen Manor, we met up with friends Donald and Terry. I believe Donald is saluting the chef who is probably harassing him about being a pastry queen:

Donald needn't worry about a little friendly teasing when he puts out product like this! Tiny chocolate cupcakes filled with raspberry jelly, precious little jewels they were!
And soon after, we saw Cristophe and Michelle Perini relaxing in the sun out back while waiting for our turn for the cellar tour. We collected Cristophe and Michelle at Linden once upon a time and reconnected with them just recently. We have a habit of collecting interesting people who like to eat and drink, our favorite sport.

After an introductory sip of 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, already bottled some weeks ago and already selling in my restaurant at a brisk pace, we headed down into the cool, dark cellar to taste the new wines and a couple of 2010s for contrast. Unfortunately, there are no photos from the cellar: it was too dark and I didn't want to be that obnoxious guy blowing everybody's eyes out with the flash.

We tasted the 2011 Cabernet Franc with a piece of pork belly topped with a dried cherry and red grape olivada on a tortilla chip. The Franc has a nose that seems to be consistent from vintage to vintage, one that I would call beefy. The Franc is pleasant enough and the pairing was pleasant enough as well.

From there, on to the 2011 Vin Rouge, which is very soft and supple this year, but with more acid structure than the Franc, no doubt due to the Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. I paired rabbit and pork rillettes with the Vin Rouge. We used a lot of bacon fat in the rillettes, trying to amplify the smoky aspects of the wine's nose. I thought the pairing was pleasant enough as well. For contrast, we tasted the 2010 Vin Rouge, which had more of everything, just like the vintage. 2011 sucked; 2010 was really hot and produced huge wines.

Next up was the 2011 Petit Verdot, the grape that Jeff says did the best of all in 2011. This is a really big fruit bomb with not too much in the way of structure. It nees to be drunk sooner rather than later. I did a chocolate, ancho, blueberry, and pecan pain d'épices to pair with it. Our friend Jorge (Randall was at choir until just about the time we left) was pouring the Petit Verdot and he had already come up to me earlier saying how good he thought the pairing was. Jorge is a little prone to hyperbole so I reserved judgement, but I did know that the cake was pretty amazing. After tasting though, I gotta say that I hit this one out of the park. It is very difficult to imagine a better pairing with this wine.

Then on to the 2010 Petit Manseng, which is about as delicious a big dessert wine as I have had in years. Big alcohol, 15% plus, big dried and tropical fruit, and big acid, plus some herbaceous and petrol complexity thrown in. Next came the monster 2011 Petit Manseng made from juice that averaged 45 Brix. 45? You have got to be kidding! It is huge in every sense and not a wine that I can take more than a few sips of. And because it is so sweet, I wanted to pair it with something very savory and salty: gorgonzola cheese and apricot-mango-ginger-chipotle chutney on a thyme-pecan-pecorino romano shortbread.

The final tasting stop had moved out of the cellar and onto the crush pad, where we could see what a gorgeous day it had turned out to be, despite starting off threatening rain in the morning. We headed around back and comandeered six adirondack chairs and three small tables on which we spread our feast. There was so much food that we could have fed a small army. I am pretty sure that I only got photographs of part of it.

Donald and Terry brought this amazing fig jam to go on a creamy fig-flavored cheese and on a rum-raisin cheese. Wow, what fun!

Here are some of the things that we liberated from the restaurant: a 4-year old farmhouse Gouda (boerenkaas), a really stinky Valfino cheese from Wisconsin, a veal terrine, and a hard Spanish chorizo.
Dolmades and olives from Donald and Terry. I love dolmades!

And finally Terry shows off his tart skills once again with this sun-dried tomato and artichoke tart. Despite his so-called "difficulty" with the crust, it was an amazing creation!
As the sun was getting too hot (especially for my hair-challenged pate), we moved up under the awning off the tasting room where we were joined by good friend and wine sales rep Bill McKenney and Bill's big boss Peg Downey of Downey Selections, which distributes the Glen Manor wines. Stay tuned for our annual adventures with the Downeys at their portfolio tasting in a few weeks!

Finally, here's a picture of Kelly and her nieces, horsing around on the berm just outside the tasting room.

Linguini with Clam Sauce

It felt good to get back in the kitchen yesterday, if only for a few minutes to make a late afternoon lunch of linguini with white clam sauc...