From last Thurs AlbqJournalNorth column. Mostly for the pig parts.
SWR: Slightly Wine Related
On the several wine boards where I hang out in Cyberspace, any post preceded by the
letters SWR denotes a post that is only "Slightly Wine Related". This is to forewarn any
potential readers of that thread that the subject may be only peripherally related to
the subject of wine. In this month's wine column, I will touch on a variety of subjects,
some of which are only SWR.
Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta
When wine aficionados from around the country converge on Santa Fe Sept.27-Oct.1, it
will mark the 16'th anniversary of this event. I have followed the SFW&CF from the very start,
when it was held in the back parking lot of the Sanbusco Center, pre-Borders days. To say
that it has grown over the years is an understatement.
Wine festivals, of which new ones are cropping up across this Nation at a rate
comparable to that of porcinis in the Sangres, seem to take on a life of their own.
It's hard to keep such an event vibrant and alive year after year, without it falling
into a rut of the same old-same old. Yet Greg O'Bryne always seems to come up with a few
events every year that spark my interest.
Though well over a month away, many of the events will sell out and it's not too early
plan your schedule. In fact, Saturday's Grand Event sold out this year in record time. But
tickets seem to pop up like magic at the last minute, so don't despair. You can contact
) to be put on a waiting list.
The Northern Italian Cheese and Wine Pairing is one of the most exciting seminars to me.
Beyond Parmagiano and Gorgonzola, Italian cheeses seldom get the recognition they deserve.
I recently wrote on last year's seminar by cheese expert Laura Werlin and the difficulty
in matching cheeses and wines. This year's seminar promises to be another learning experience.
Two of the Thursday seminars are also not to be missed. "All About Alsace" will showcase
two of the greatest producers, Kreydenweiss and Weinbach, of that area. California's Petite
Sirah grape will be featured in the purple-tooth-staining "PS I Love You" seminar.
One of my favorite wine growing areas in California is Paso Robles. Friday's seminar "Paso
Robles" will feature some of the best from that area. Jason Haas of Tablas Creek and Stephan
Asseo of l'Aventure wineries are sure to excite with some of their Rhone-style wines.
The SFW&CF week is one of my vinous highlights of the year and this year's event should be
Pig Parts Rule
The explosion of artisanal cheeses across the Nation over the last ten years has been
nothing short of astounding. The quality and variety of US cheeses is challenging, sometimes
surpassing, those from Europe. So what's the next big "artisanal" thing?? I would assert that
it may very well be artisanal salamis.
When my friends travel to Italy, they will occasionally bring back in their luggage (not
altogether legally) a salami or two for me. Sometimes kind of ugly and covered with mold,
they have, without exception, been stunning. Oscar Meyer they ain't.
This last year, for our Santa Fe wine group, I held a tasting of artisanal US salamis;
with wine, of course. It was a resounding success. I've found that salamis seem to have a much
more natural affinity with red wines than most cheeses.
Probably the best and most interesting salamis made in this country are those of Armandino
Batali, produced in Seattle (http://www.SalumiCuredMeats.com
). Armandino is the father of the ubiquitous
US/Italian chef, Mario. In particular, Armandino's Dario and Mole salamis are exceptional. He
also makes a selection of other cured meats, like lomo, culatello, and guanciale. He also has a
small restaurant attached to his salumeria, a "must stop" on my next Seattle trip.
Another of my favorites are the Spanish and Portuguese salamis/chorizos that come from
LaEspanola Meats (http://www.LaEspanolaMeats.com
), located not North of Santa Fe, but out in
Los Angeles. Several are available at The Spanish Table here in Santa Fe.
The newest entry to the salumi sweepstakes is that of famed chef Paul Bertoli, formerly
of Berkeley's Oliveto restaurant. At Oliveto, he perfected his craft of cured meats and salamis,
much of which is described in his exceptional book "Cooking By Hand". His salumeria was over
two years in getting off the ground; the FDA and USDA look very, very askance at any product
made from uncooked pig parts, in their zeal to protect us from these artisanal producers doing
bad things to us. His only salami available thus far (http://www.FraMani.com
) is a Salametto, but others
are in the offing down the line. It's a rather pure expression of cured pig parts.
Edible Santa Fe
As I travel about the country, pursuing my wine, food, and fencing passions, I've
encountered a number of "Edible" magazines....Edible East End, Edible Ojai, Edible
Santa Barbara, Edible East Bay, plus several others, over the last few years. The publications
have a common format and are chock-a-block with interesting and informative articles on the
local food, restaurant, farming, and wine scenes.
I've thought that such a publication would be an ideal fit for Santa Fe. Well...that's
about to happen. Published by Kate Manchester, the first Edible Santa Fe should show up any day
now at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market, and other locations about town where you buy your wine or
pig parts. It promises to be a good read.
The locales covered by the various "Edibles" can be found at http://www.EdibleCommunities.com
Although not so stated, the "Edibles" seem to share much the same philosophy of the Slow Food
Coming Up On Two Years Now
Today's ramblings mark my two year anniversary of writing wine columns for the Albuquerque
Journal North. Most people with passions in their life enjoy sharing these passions with
others. It's been a fun journey. The columns I've enjoyed writing the most are the ones I've
had to research the most, that have expanded my horizons. I hope they've done the same for you.
It's often a fine line in writing a column that interests those casually interested in
wine and one that strays into the lunatic fringe of wine geekdom. If I've failed on that count,
please let me know and we'll fix it.
TomHill, a White Rock rodent, transports neutrons and wields an epee in real life.