venerdì 10 ottobre 2008

Red, white & drunk all over; by Natalie MacLean

There are thousands of books about wine out there. Some are very informative, such as Clive Coates' The wines of Bordeaux or Nicholas Faith's The winemasters of Bordeaux, but not many are, how can I say? Fun to read as well as interesting and informative. Natalie MacLean's "Red, White & Drunk all over" falls exactly in that category. It's really fun to read, while at the same time it gives enough "insider stuff" that even the most accomplished wine enthusiast will learn a thing or two.

Drinking and enjoying wine should be a pleasure no matter what the person's knowledge or experience is. It should never be a daunting experience, one should never feel intimidated when buying or choosing a wine.

Ms. Maclean's book is about this simple albeit sometimes forgotten concept. Her book is not for those wine freaks who know everything about a winemaker's family, nor it is a technical book in the strict sense. Like I said, it will probably teach even the most accomplished wine experts a few things, but it's never ostentatious nor boring, rather quite the opposite. "Red, White and Drunk All Over" is simply an ode to the most incredible beverage ever invented and through a series of anectodes Ms. Maclean brings the matter back to earth from the heavens where, it seems it usually resides by reading other accomplished writers.

Not only Natalie Maclean is witty and resourceful, but her self deprecating humor is a breath of fresh air and her book will be dear to all those who want to enjoy a good bottle without being too serious and pedantic about it.

martedì 23 settembre 2008

Enrico and Stefano in Viterbo

top left: Stefano Giavarini ( and I; top right: Enrico Tenerani and I; middle left: Enrico and I in Montefiascone, overlooking beautiful Bolsena Lake; middle right: my wine cellar; bottom left: Enrico and I in the medieval quarter of Viterbo.


Pappardelle al ragout di faraona: battere la polpa di faraona al coltello e condire con olio, sale, pepe, aglio e rosmarino. Lasciar riposare almeno 24 ore. Saltare la carne in padella con del vino bianco. Unire un pomodoro fresco e una zucchina a julienne. Cuocere per circa 15 minuti e aggiungere le pappardelle al dente.

lunedì 22 settembre 2008


Here you have some pictures taken during the two nights of the prevoius post.

More photos are coming in the next few days.

Top left: Pane Cunzatu (Favignana style); top right: Barolo Bosca Riserva Speciale 1961 and Champagne Egly Ouriet; bottom left: Barbaresco Pio Cesare 1989

domenica 21 settembre 2008

Late birthday party

Last Friday and Saturday, 9/19-20 I had a nice two days long late birthday party at my house.
A couple of friends from Verona, Enrico and Stefano came to visit me in Viterbo and enjoy some of my culinary specialties. Oh yeah, they came for the wine too.I'll post a few pictures in the next few days, for now I just wanted to tell you what we ate and drank:
Friday; participants: Enrico Tenerani, Stefano Giavarini ( and myself.
appetizer - chicory rolls filled with gorgonzola cheese;

first dish – pasta with borlotti beans cream;

second dish – veal and turkey meatballs with pinot noir sauce;

side dish – home made french fries;

dessert: coffee cream;

Champagne Egly Ouriet brut rosè, degorgement Sep 2004;

Chateau Lanessan 1986;

Barolo Bosca riserva speciale 1961;

then since we were still a little thirsty we opened a Nero della Greca from Cardeto, 2003, which was pretty good and then a 2001 Sagrantino di Montefalco from Spoletoducale, which we agreed was too “green” and almost undrinkable.

On Saturday Chiara joined us for dinner and this is what I cooked;
appetizer – Pane Cunzatu (Favignana recipe);

first dish 1) Spaghetti with basil pesto, green beans and potatoes;

first dish 2) Pappardelle with guineafowl ragout;

second dish - veal meatballs with zucchini in white wine sauce;

side dish – Caponata (Trapani style);

dessert – (Chiara made this one) dark chocolate and apple cake.

Wines: Casa Caterina franciacorta brut, vintage 1997, degorgement Sep 2006;

Chateau Sociando Mallet 1999;

Barbaresco Pio Cesare 1989;

Zeni Cruino 2004;

Everything was pretty good, but I'll let Enrico, Stefano and Chiara say more about the food, since I was the cook. As far as the wines are concerned, we all agreed that Chateau Lanessan was head and shoulders above everything else. Second came the Barolo Bosca 61, then for Enrico and Stefano there was the 89 Barbaresco, while for me the 99 Sociando Mallet was a real beauty. However, overall, except for the Sagrantino, they were all pretty good to awesome bottles.

This is my rating: Chateau Lanessan 96; Barolo Bosca 92; Chateau Sociando Mallet 90; Barbaresco Pio Cesare 88; Champagne Egly Ouriet 84; Zeni Cruino 84; Nero della Greca and Casa Caterina 80.

Today we went for lunch in one of my usual hangouts here (Hotel Ristorante Biscetti) where we had a nondescript Cab from Sella e Mosca (Villamarina 2000) and a 2003 Argentinian Malbec which was a bit corked.

Overall a pretty good week end I should say.

Check the pictures in the next few days, especially those of you who want to see what Mr. Tenerani looks like after all these years...