When passionate people come together greatness happens, this makes us especially happy when that greatness is in our own neighborhood. Fine chefs and artists, Christina Buenano Salierno and John David Salierno, opened this fabulous little café and market on Walnut Street in Montclair in the spring a year ago and it keeps getting better.
The wine was a Monastrell from Jumilla a lovely town and wine region and very old vineyard in southeastern Spain. It was quite happy here, don’t you love the delicate flowery crystal wine glasses, they are an expression of Christina and John’s attention to every artistic detail.
The Wine: Bodegas Olivares Monastrell, Altos de la Hoya $
The Food: Inspired salads, meats and desserts, Salierno creations.
The Place: Café La Salbuen Montclair, an artists and epicurean’s wonderland.
To call the great Italian wine, Barbera, a great pizza wine, does not really give adequate honor to this wine’s many qualities. On the other hand when your talking about, not just any pizza, but fabulously authentic and well made pizza like what you find at Porta in Asbury Park or Bivio in Little Falls, well that is another story.
Porta and Bivio, are worlds apart in style and size, and an ocean away from their roots in Naples, Italy, yet both places, their pizza, and this wine are worthy partners.
The Wine: Two Barberas, one from Cantina Casteggio, Oltrepo Pavese, Lombardy, the other Pico Maccario, D’Asti, Piedmont. $$
The Food: Fabulous Napolitano Pizza, and other delights.
The Places: Porta Pizzareia, Asbury Park, NJ and Bivio, Pizzaria Napoletana, Little Falls, NJ.
What wine do you drink with Thai or South East Asian cuisine? My go to wines for this food are sweet Rieslings, Chenin Blanc, or if a red a Pinot Noir. But, I had none of these in my cellar so I chose a dry Muscat from Spain. It was perfect.
The Wine: Bodegas Juan Gil - Dry Muscat - Jumilla, Spain $
The Food: A delicious and interesting Thai Filipino dinnerby a fulfilled dreamer chef Rodgee Cao
The Place: Spice Thai Cuisine, Bloomfield NJ, an adorably cozy restaurant with excellent Thai and Filipino cuisine.
In all a wonderful taste trip to Thailand, the Philippines, and Jumilla Spain.
Malbec is such a versatile grape, happily reflecting the diverse terroirs where it is grown. It is a wine of many personalities and pairs well with many foods. Then a Malbec like this comes along that expands the wine’s dimensions. It paired very nicely with the inspired Middle Eastern recipes we made this night.
The Wine: Curioso, Sparkling Rose of Malbec, Mendoza Argentina
The Food: Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Turnips, Freekeh with Mushrooms, Salad of Greens, Dates, and Cheese.
The Places: Home,Mendoza Argentina, the Middle East
Wondering what the punch line is going to be? Yea me too. I always encourage people to drink what they like. But seafood and Cabernet Sauvignon is not a pairing I am likely to suggest. Yet, these are three very different wines of Cabernet, a California, a French and an Italian. How did they enhance a fabulous dinner?
The Wine: Three made with Cabernet Sauvignon $$-$$$
One evening in New York, some years ago, I asked for a wine recommendation at La Locanda a great Italian restaurant on 9th Avenue. Vincenzo, the Sommelier, asked “do you trust me?” Yes, of course I said.
It was then that my love of Aglianico began. One of the three “Noble Grapes” of Italy along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, called the wine of Poets and Kings, it is grown in the wild terrain and climate around the volcano Monte Vulture in the Basilicata region of Italy. La Loconda is gone, but my love of Aglianico remains.
It was a perfect accompaniment to a hardy Italian soup.
The Wine: Serra del Prete Aglianico del Vulture Azienda Agricola Musto Carmelitano $$
The Food: Mushroom Barley Soup, Gray and Rogers Italian Two Easy
Burgers have lots of possible wine pairings. That is if you’re not drinking beer. But when the chef is getting fancy with the burger preparation then you want to be more discriminating in the wine you choose.
The sweet berry fruitiness of Zinfandel works well with burgers because it compliments sauces like ketchup or barbeque and goes well with a lot of cheeses. The bright smooth fruit of this wine contrasts nicely with the smoky meat flavors.
The Wine: Zinfandel, Plungerhead Lodi California Old Vine
The Food: Kobe (black wagyu) & wild boar burger with...
The Place: Nicole’s 10, Creative Comfort Food, Randolph, NJ