Ask Sid: What is jerepiko?

May 22nd, 2019
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 I was served after dinner an an interesting sweet Jerepiko. What is that?

Question: I was served after dinner an an interesting sweet Jerepiko. What is that?

Answer: Must have been a South African Cape connection there! An interesting wine (red or white) that is produced without any fermentation. Red uses skin contact. Grape juice is fortified with spirits (that gives the alcohol level) resulting in a different rather unique alcoholic “grape juice” wine – sort of port-like. Sometimes see it spelled Jerepigo or Jerepiga (in Portugal). Fun use as an aperitif or digestif.

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Robert M Parker Delightful in Baltimore!

May 20th, 2019

Sid Cross Robert Parker

Some of us really miss those scholarly wine reviews by Bob Parker. He set a pretty high bar for many decades for those now taking up this difficult challenge in a much expanded world wine market. He is officially retiring from Robert Parker Wine Advocate as announced by Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, the publication’s editor-in-chief on their website this month. Articles are coming forth saluting him including Jamie Goode at plus one by Felicity Carter in Meininger’s Wine Business International here. A few us just enjoyed two dinners with him and his charming smart wife Pat in Baltimore with wines picked by them from their own personal cellar served at two top restaurants all with a charitable focus for The US Navy Seals. What a treat to see them both again. Bob received a most deserving Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Bacchus for his many contributions. He was most delightful during both dinners and truly moved by it all while deflecting a lot of the inspiration and credit to Pat. They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this July. He modestly stated that he was in the right place at the right time starting out in 1978 with no social media to jump on him for his mistakes. He strongly felt you had to believe in what you were doing with constant perseverance always with a vision of the long range view of things. What a success story!

Interesting choice of restaurants where the Parker’s knew the owners, chefs, and especially their long serving sommeliers so very well. Boy were we ever treated like royalty. Vito in Cockeysville in the outskirts with Owner Vito Petronelli, Chef Luca Pesci, and sommelier Nezam Mojarrad were brilliant as were co-owners Chef Cindy Wolf & Wine Director Tony Foreman and brigade at Charleston established in 1997. The menus show the food courses and wine matchings. Wonderful large unique format (12-15 litres) 1990 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto with a special label dedicated to Parker that had developed a rich full smooth texture at 30 years but so fresh and classic too was a star. Surprised also at how vibrant the hot vintage 1997 Barolo Le Vigne from Sandrone showed on a perfect plateau of enjoyment in double magnum. Your scribe poked fun at Bob serving 1990 Grand Puy Lacoste a mutual fav chateau of us both. Reminded him how his first book gave the 1970 only 74 points but the next edition (after prodding by me) moved it as bottle variable but to a score of 90. That vintage was made by gourmand Raymond Dupin but of course even better since taken over by Jean-Eugene Borie & son Xavier starting with the 1978 vintage. The mags of 1988 Climens were magnificent combining balanced acidity with richness. Interesting Bordeaux impressed the second night with 2003 Montrose displaying good potential though still young but 2011 Sine Qua Non both the Grenache & Syrah received more split decisions with that stronger jammy 15.5 alcohol when paired with the lamb course. Bottle variation on rich 1989 La Tour Blanche with one fresh lighter colour more complex while another darker and tiring more advanced.

A rousing cheer of thanks to Bob & Pat for their contributions over so many years and pleased to report to all fans around the world that they both are well and thriving in Baltimore!


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Ask Sid: Any fish market finds in New York?

May 15th, 2019
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fish market new york city

Question: Any fish market finds this month in New York?

Answer: The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point in The Bronx has an interesting wide selection. However the one that made the biggest impression on me this trip was The Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market on Ninth Avenue (between 15 & 16th streets). So popular around lunch and dinner time for quick service at their Cull & Pistol raw bar for oysters, fresh sushi,  steamed lobster plus more selections. Lots of East Coast oysters from cheapest ($2.30) Oyster Ponds (Orient Bay NY) plus John’s River from Damariscotta River from Maine & Nonesuch from Scarborough River in Maine but also West Coast more expensive ($3.70) Kumamoto from Humboldt Bay California – and even Fanny Bay from Baynes Sound in British Columbia Canada. Amazing fish filets to take away and cook yourself too. Fresh Wild Cod from Iceland $19.95 per pound, Wild Halibut from Nova Scotia $26.95, and frozen Chilean Sea Bass from the Falkland Islands $37.95. Most eye opening was the farmed choices for Dover Sole from Spain $19.95, and from Turkey for Dorade $7.95 & Bronzini $8.50. Definitely a place to check out!

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Five “Foodie” Suggestions for New York

May 13th, 2019

Really kept busy moving around on a return visit to New York & Brooklyn this early May with always so many things to see and do. Culinary adventures were at the top of the list but also enjoyed art (our fav The Frick Collection on East 70th with anticipated expansion in 2020 including a second floor) and theatre (the inspiring new musical Come From Away is highly recommended). Enjoyed two special expensive menu dinners at the upscale Le Bernardin & Per Se that are both deservedly lauded but some of the best values are truly worthwhile checking out as well. Impossible to make a list that doesn’t go on forever but here is your scribe’s Top 5 to include in a forthcoming trip:

1. HUDSON YARDS: What a an architectural wonder and fun place to tour. Truly spectacular. Be sure to include a walk along the nearby elevated greenway park The High Line either before or after. Our fav from Las Vegas Milos has opened on the 5th floor of Hudson Yards. Recommend the weekend prix fixe lunch special of 4 superb courses for $57 including sensational starter of grilled octopus with yellow split pea fava and main of the whole grilled sea bream. Many shops to visit in the centre but note the new essential oils at MUJI. Good lesson to practise your wine smelling skills with their pure plant materials of flowers, leaves & fruit misted into therapeutic aromas. Interesting range of many from citrus ones (orange & yuzu), herbal (eucalyptus & rosemary) and floral (geranium & lavender).

2. WORLD TRADE CENTRE: A must but so many things to see. Amazing to walk through it all with the wide open spaces and experience the overall feel. So many classy shops in the Brookfield & Westfield Centres. Also like the food opportunities and happy hour specials (5-7pm) especially at extremely popular Eataly. Their Vino E Grano restaurant inside has wonderful Italian food (yummy home made tagliatelle with fresh porcini mushrooms) plus most drinkable wine special choices at only $30 a bottle for an early dinner before the theatre.

3. AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT – L’Artusi: So many fantastic Italian choices. Can’t really go wrong. Our fav is L’Artusi at 228 west 10th where all the dishes and the service sings – a delicious Ricotta Tortelloni with morels, peas, favas, and pecorino. Sensible wine prices by the glass like $16

4. LUNCH OF A TRENDY MIX YOUR OWN BIG HEALTHY BOWL: Boy are these places ever crowded. So many to choose from but Cava on 42nd is always jammed with a patient fast moving line-up. Tasty menu of ingredients starting with a base of grains or greens with your picks from there. Look at the attached menu. Two other chains your scribe also recommends with a similar concept are SweetGreen & Nanoosh. Excellent healthy value trendy lunch for sure around only $10+.

5. STARBUCKS RESERVE ROASTERY: You may or may not downgrade the quality of Starbucks coffee since it opened in 1971 at the Pike Place Market Seattle. But you will be impressed to see their showcase that is both a workshop and a stage at 61 Ninth Avenue in New York. WOW. Coffee roasted on site, artisanal breads, pastries, and even pizzas traditionally baked at Princi Bakery, and even cocktails at Arriviamo Bar. Locals take home a bag of better Starbucks Reserve coffee straight from the roaster Scooping Bar. What a necessary tourist tour for the foodie to see.

Find your own unique New York food experience. Please post it.


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Ask Sid: best one or two vintages in the last 6 decades for Red Burgundy?

May 9th, 2019
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Question: Would like your knowledgeable opinion on the best one or two vintages in each of the last 6 decades for us Red Burgundy collectors?

Answer: Wow that is quite a Burgundy collection you must have over a 60 year span. Yes the current decade is having a super run with all their quality years though some have been short crop challenged by the weather. Riper 2015 showing impressively (as are so fresh 2016) and I have admiration for those surprising 2010. The first decade has those balanced reluctant long aging 2005, rich softer 2009 and less consistent 2002. Last century finished with those fantastic never disappointing 1999 but those 1991 are underrated but often outperform some more hyped 1993 & 1990. In the eighties I believe 1985 is clearly best as is 1978 though some bottles of 1971 can challenge. Some sixties are now drinking marvellously especially the 1962 vintage but 1966, 1964, and well stored 1961 can also excite with their older style complexity. Enjoy your journey!

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