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Category — wine

The menu

Having my parents over, the in-laws over (maybe), the sister and her unknown guest over, and a long term family friend. Probably my last chance to Cook Big before I leave. Here we go…

All recipes for Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking.

  • Crostini Bianchi p. 52
  • Roasted Peppers and Anchovies p. 53
  • Roasted Eggplant with Peppers and Cucumber p. 55
  • Marinated Carrot Sticks p. 56
  • Focaccia p. 618
  • Chick Pea Soup p. 113
  • Aio e oio p. 170
  • Grilled fish (Sicilian Salmoriglio) p. 289
  • Bistecca fiorentina p. 385
  • Crema con mirtilli p. 596

Wine will be a sparkling brut rosé (sorry) to start, followed by a Sicilian white and a red-to-be-determined (but leaning towards a Nero d’Avola, a recent interest of mine).

So… what am I missing?

July 18, 2009   Comments Off

Never the same memory twice

Moving. The house itself is mostly packed. Large items remain—those will remain until we get a moving truck over there for the final push—and lots of small things, minutiae, detritus, forgettable, losable, unmemorious things. Countless books, here and there, and more toys than you can imagine.

Cleaning in a corner I unearthed a small, cheap rubber toy designed to suggest the Space Shuttle without actually bothering to reproduce any of its distinguishing characteristics. Name? Why, it could be any of’em. Flag? Well, we want it to sell in any country, that just wouldn’t do. Not the Space Shuttle, but an eidolon.

We are struggling to use the opportunity of moving the household to reduce and simplify. We have too much for how often we must move. So I knew it had to go as soon as I saw it; was certain as I put the toy in my hand. In the handling of the thing I nearly—how to put this?—inhaled memory from it, as though contact had rendered me a sensitized conductor to the charge of joy and wonder and glee that excited little fists had invested in it. That cheap little toy was, briefly, the biggest toy in the world; they all are, for a little bit. I remember when it flew about the house on its masters’ missions. I don’t remember when it came, from where, or when it was retired, or if its loss was much lamented.

I wanted to save it, to recapture the times slipped out and see them lived again. Impossible. You cannot taste the young wine once it has aged. Wine is a store not just of grapes but of time, and the wine maker’s life from the time he puts his labor into it until the time it is shared. You drink it and remember when it was made, and note how much it has changed since a tasting anchored to some event or season, while what you are doing at the drinking shapes its flavor in your mouth and your recollection of previous glasses (over dinner? By yourself, with a book? With friends and hot grill?) These little knickknacks and treasured bric-a-brac store captured moments that can be uncorked and enjoyed, yet they change with perspective and time, perhaps maturing when they are put away, perhaps going stale when they are experienced, so that you can savor the memories, but never the same memory twice.

It’s gone now, but safe, here.

July 8, 2009   Comments Off

Grüner Veltliner: Racking for stabilization and fining

I spent a large part of the day cleaning five gallon kegs which previously held beer, in order to rack the Grüner Veltliner. It’s a labor intensive process, so it’s tiring, and it also takes a lot of hot water, so it is energy intensive too.

My technique for cleaning the kegs out is the rinse with cold water and brush to get all of the gross (as in bulk) debris out—mainly trub and yeast sediment—and then to add hot water and Trader Joe’s Oxo Brite solution. This type of oxygen cleaner tends to leave a film of detergent, so after that is complete I fill with hot water again and add the One Step oxygen cleaner, which reacts completely and doesn’t leave any residue. You can tell it is effective by all of the particles that float up to the top, even though visual inspection with a flashlight revealed no obvious debris. Still, that’s a lotta hot water, especially when washing more than one keg.

Once that was done, I used a special line with “out” hook-ups on both sides and a CO2 source on the Grüner Veltliner to push the wine into the freshly cleaned and sanitized 5 gallon keg. I captured about a gallon of young wine in several flip top bottles, these are mature enough to be enjoyable while hinting at the full potential of the wine to come. The wine had a gravity of .990, surprisingly low but I suppose that the residual CO2 may have contributed to a lower density than expected.

Then I cleaned the 10 gallon keg in preparation for racking the Barbera into it, which is currently happily fermenting in the lauter tun (a 10 gallon brew vessel). I’ll have to finish the racking tomorrow before I leave for Ft. Irwin for my seven week tour.

When you make beer at home, it is called “homebrew.” I am not aware of a similar word to describe the activity of making wine at home, so I have coined the category “oikoenopoeia” (Greek, home-wine-making) until a proper Anglo-Saxon alternative suggests itself. This post christens the category; according to Google it is unattested.

April 5, 2009   Comments Off