American Lighthouse Cookbook

Just finished proofreading our new cookbook yesterday — hooray! My mind is swimming (pun intended) with recipes for seafood, stews, pies, cakes…no wonder I’m always hungry?

The American Lighthouse Cookbook on

pub date: September 1

what’s going on in Temecula?

Met some people last night involved in an interesting wine venture in Temecula, near San Diego.  I had followed early wineries like Callaway, who did unexpectedly lovely dessert wines there in the 80s and 90s. Apparently there’s still more good vineyard land there, and investor groups have been planting and making wine.  Tried one experimental Cabernet Sauvignon — 2005, very soft, with surprising cassis fruit —  but need more info to really make a judgement.

The Last Drop — or the first?

Suppose you had a chance to taste a fine scotch that had been blended 30 or 40 years ago, and forgotten in the back of a prime distillery in Scotland?  I jumped at the chance, and found my tiny portion of The Last Drop full of layered nuances from cocoa and leather to smoke, cherry and caramel.

James Esty and his cohorts — all spirits industry veterans in their 60s, 70s and 80s — have created a new brand.  Now, even if I can’t afford the $2,000 for a bottle of The Last Drop right now, I will be very eager to see what he brings to the table — or the glass — next year!

full of nuances and layers: biodynamic wine from Alsace and Rhone

Just back from a dinner at Upstairs on the Square with wines from the oldest biodynamic winery in Alsace.  An aperitif of Kreydenweiiss 2005 Kritt Pinot Blanc “les Charmes” was full of depth and honey, like drinking flowers.  The 2007 Andlau Riesling “Au dessus de la loi” (with nice botrytis) paired surprisingly well with an elegant dungeness crab creation while the 2007 came alive with a dish of locally foraged mushrooms — which was also fine with the 2006 classic rose-scented 2006 Kritt Gewurtztraminer “les Charmes.”

All these wines this evening came from Marc Kreydenweiss, a family that has owned vineyards in Alsace for 300 years.  In 1999, when they wanted to expand, Emmanuelle K. explained, they bought in Costieres de Nimes which is now part of the Rhone but 10 years ago was a tiny obscure appellation.

The two reds from the Rhone were startlingly lush, especially considering their under $20-ish price: 2005 Perrieres, a lovely earthy match to lightly wood-grilled lamb loin.  The 2004 Ansata (80% syrah) had big flavors to go with its big structure and tannins, and still felt like a very young wine at five years old.

Flora Springs Cab with Meatloaf

Flora Springs wines came back on my radar last week, when I had the pleasantly fruity 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with Suky’s meatloaf when we were staying at Suky & Tom’s amazing and tranquil Stonover Farm B+B in the Berkshires Unfortunately, I had poured something else for Tom, not realizing that as a Pinot Noir fan he would probably like this wine with its mouthfilling, fruit-forward dark fruit and a medium body, not too tannic – sorry, Tom.  If you’re looking for it, this vintage of Flora Springs Cabernet carries their new label and logo and it retails for around $36; Stonover Farm is in Lenox MA.

Beer Wars movie LIVE

Watching the engaging national debut of the new movie BEER WARS on Thursday, you get to know the major players in craft beer — the small to XXL companies — as well as the international megalopolis of Miller and A-B, neither of which are US companies any more. Immediately following, the broadcast live discussion with the producer and several craft bewers and experts, nicely moderated by cult favorite Ben Stein, was a cool addition.
It IS fun to watch, with personal stories and lively editing
It ISN”T full of great surprises (though informative).

MISSING: Comparative beer tasting at the end  Guess we’ll have to conduct our own as this is illegal in theaters.