Moving to Maine has dramatically increased the percentage of seafood in our diets. Most East Coast metropolitan areas have great access to good fresh shellfish and fish, but in Maine the fruits de mer are so abundant you might trip over them. This has caused us to discover some excellent seafood recipes, and perhaps none simpler (or more popular chez nous) than this one.
We always enjoy traveling around Europe. Though united (for the moment at least) by a common currency, each country has its own distinct identity. If the Germans are efficient, the French reserved, and the English polite, the first words that come to mind for Italians are “at ease.”
The seed (or perhaps the rootstock) of Ansonia Wines was planted during a sabbatical in 1998. After practicing law in Philadelphia for 20 years, Mark (père) thought a change of scenery would do the family some good. We settled on farmhouse in a tiny town in the Burgundian countryside, packed our bags, and headed over.
With the weather in New England these days, it’s easy to feel that nothing will ever grow again. Surrounded by icy wind and mountains of snow, we like to let our minds drift to somewhere warmer. And this week, with the help of a rich blended red, our thoughts are in the sun drenched vineyards of the rugged Languedoc.
In the Loire Valley, winemakers use a handful of grape varietals to craft a broad spectrum of wines: sparkling, sweet, dry, red, white, rosé, heavy, light. A single vineyard may produce wines of different character even vintage by vintage. Nearby, Chablis has chosen a simpler path: just Chardonnay, never blended, rarely oaked.
Burgundy today is a study in temporal contrast. Stroll through an outdoor market and you step back centuries. Pay for a speeding ticket on the spot with your Amex card, and you’re suddenly back in the 21st. And visiting the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits -- a collection of vineyards about 10 miles west of Burgundy's Côte d’Or -- is really like transporting back in time.
In the years after the marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152, the wine trade between France and England exploded. Kings from both regions abolished import and export taxes, and by 1225 English imports of French wine totaled 1.9 million cases annually (to a country of just over 2 million people). In 1307 the English King Edward II ordered over a million bottles for his wedding alone.
Some things take some getting used to before you can enjoy them. Coffee may be one of the world’s most popular drinks, but a child’s first sip will be spit right out. At first, many wine drinkers dislike the petrol notes in old German Riesling, or the barnyard in old red Burgundy. But others eventually spend years seeking out those elusive characteristics.
It’s amazing how many subconscious visual cues we pick up from a wine’s appearance. Even without smelling it, you would expect a Burgundy and a Côte Rôtie to taste different based on their opacity in a glass. And though it’s certainly not as important as smell, taste, or texture, a wine’s appearance can unquestionably add to its enjoyment.