The garden is in a sad state. Spring is a hopeful time, full of anticipation, colorful seed packets, and sprightly young seedlings. Summer continues along optimistically, with endless sunny days and lush green foliage leading to ruffled heads of lettuce, jewel-like Sungolds, and ruby red peppers. Fall is the decline, with only a few choice survivors thriving in the midst of weeds and neglect. My last survivors are brussel sprouts and lacinato kale (and some stray lettuce and carrots). A few of you may have cringed at the mention of b. sprout, but oddly enough, it’s a vegetable that Matt really likes. Maybe because it reminds him of tiny cabbages, and he is a fan of those. Since he can be a little….selective when it comes to green veggies, if I find one he likes I’ll cook it as often as I can get away with. The sprouts are definitely taking their sweet time to be ready to pick—we’ll see if they make the cut for next year.
This past week, I attended my first official wine tasting. I’ve been to other wine and food events, but this was the first that I was only there to try wine…and lots of it. The event I attended was hosted by a company whose portfolio is strong in Italian wines. We started with sparkling and whites from the Alto Adige area. The Pinot Grigios are pure and pristine, full of crisp fresh fruit. They certainly redeemed their Californian cousins, which didn’t prove near as interesting. I had a beautiful Italian Gewürztraminer from the producer Tramin, the 2007 Nussbaumer, from the same region, so pure and exotic with rose petals and spice. (Side note—this very wine is featured as a pairing partner in the current issue of Food and Wine! Who knew I could be that trendy?) The other very pleasant surprise was a grappa made from straight grape varietals from the producer Jacopo Poli. Incredibly refined and distinctive, the muscato had beautiful bright floral notes on the finish. And an aged grappa, rich with caramel and vanilla, full and round and elegant. Two and a half hours and nearly 40 wines later, time flew by with me feeling like we had just gotten started.