Tue 11 Aug 2009
… but blueberries and cherries are good for warding off the accumulation of uric acid that can lead to a gout episode (sorry to be clinical) and yogurt, well, yogurt is good for something, in fact, LL asserts that “yogurt is totally good for everything!” so in the interest of good health — I also despite that term “wellness” — I’m trying to eat more fruit and berries (pineapple is also a top-rated gout preventative), so a couple of days ago I cleaned some Rainier cherries, blueberries and raspberries and put them in a bowl, and I scooped out a spoonful of the no-fat Greek yogurt that LL buys, and I thought, “Ugh, yuck, gack, no, I can’t do this.” BUT, I had a brilliant idea! I put the yogurt in a little bowl, stirred in a dollop of honey and then very carefully, drop by drop, added some aged balsamic vinegar and stirred that in too. I bought this tiny bottle for LL for her birthday, oh, maybe 15 years ago. We were having lunch at the old 61 restaurant in the basement of the Barney’s on Madison at 61st Street and before leaving we wandered around the food shop. There was a display of long-aged and rare balsamic vinegars, and we were particularly fascinated by this one, from the firm of Cavalli cav. Ferdinando that cost $100 for 100 milliliters; friends, that’s 3.4 fluid ounces. Only 333 bottles were produced. When we were back in Memphis, I called a friend in New York and sent him the money to go to Barney’s and buy one of those precious bottles. And fresh mint from the Farmers Market, as you can see in these images.
Anyway, I’ll tell you that that was some yogurt I could get my tongue and taste-buds around!
So, the next time (today) I wanted to eat some fruit and berries and doctored yogurt — maybe there’s a market for this — we had peaches from the Farmers Market and strawberries that some friends had brought over. I washed and and peeled and sliced (not necessarily for everything) and jazzed up the yogurt and was about to take a bite when I had ANOTHER BRILLIANT IDEA!! I was really missing an opportunity to try a dessert wine. I mean, the fruit and yogurt concoction was for lunch today, but what the hell, that’s what being a professional is all about.
Actually, I have 10 or so dessert wines that I have been meaning to try, so here was a chance to knock one off, so to speak. I poked around in the wine fridge and pulled out a bottom of Mendelson Muscat Canelli 2002, Napa Valley. This is a fairly unusual wine for California in that it’s made in the French vin doux natural style, that is lightly fortified with grape spirits (to 14.2 percent alcohol), and then after fermentation it’s aged two years in French oak. The result is pungent and potent, a wine bursting with notes of peach and apricot, banana and ripe mango; it’s spicy, honeyed and roasted, and exhibits profound earthiness and minerality. The texture is thick, almost viscous, and after a few minutes in the glass the wine begins to exhibit signs of spicy, blond wood, as well as touches of bananas Foster, baked apples and macerated peaches. The finish brings in candied ginger and orange peel. Yes, this is quite an effort, best enjoyed with a few sips on its own or with a shortbread cookie, not, I have to say, with fruit, berries and pumped up yogurt. 250 cases of half-bottles were produced. Excellent. About $33 for a half-bottle.
So, I’m thinking, though the Mendelson Muscat Canelli ’02 was terrific — it inspires silence and contemplation — what would go better with my yogurt and berry lunch? Back to the wine fridge I went and pulled out a bottle of the Vino dei Fratelli Moscato d’Asti 2007 from Piedmont. The alcohol on this wine is only 5.5 percent. It’s incredible freshness and appeal results from the winemaking process; the must (that is the mass of crushed grapes) is kept just above zero, and when wine is needed for bottling, the must is fermented and the wine is bottled immediately. The color is pale straw; the bouquet offers a beguiling wreathing of lemon-lime, almond and almond blossom, a hint of apple, a touch of jasmine. The wine is sweet, lightly spritzy, delicately fruity in a citrusy-apple sense and though basically simple and direct, it’s also tasty and charming and was delightful with the yogurt, fruit and berries. That’s the twins, Castor and Pollux, on the label. Very Good. About $15.