Swirl Wine Bar & Market

Monday, February 17, 2014

Andrew Rich, Innovation in the Pacific Northwest

Like most of us in the wine industry, Andrew Rich had a former career. Needing a change from the hectic pace his life had taken on as a successful magazine editor, he decided to follow his passions and learn how to make wine.  Andrew trained in Burgundy, and afterwards his love of Rhone varieties led him to Randall Graham of Bonny Doon where he worked for five vintages.

A connection with another Oregon winemaker brought him north where he decided to start his own label, Andrew Rich Vintner in 1994. He quickly became a noted pioneer at creating Rhone-driven wines with a Northwest spin and works with some of the most respected vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington. With 20 years experience behind him, he has access to choice fruit and his his highly regarded Syrahs and his Coup D'Etat (Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes to Washington!) are a testament to his success.   And with his base in Carlton Oregon, he makes really delicious Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley too!

Dinner w/Andrew @ Cuvee
Andrew produces his wine at the state-of-the-art Carlton Winemaker's Studio, the nation's first "green" cooperative winemaking facility, which is where James Moises currently makes his wine and hence the connection between the two. James introduced us to Andrew when we visited in 2012 and the most recent meeting included a wine dinner that I arranged for our group of New Orleans travelers as part of our Artisan Oregon wine and culinary tour of the Willamette Valley.

We are excited to have him in the shop this week to host our Wednesday Nite Flites where we'll be showing a range of wines from a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and 3 of his Washington State wines!  The tasting is part of our Wednesday Nite Flite Series and is $15.  You can book your spot here:  Andrew Rich

2010 Andrew Rich Wines Pinot Noir The Knife Edge Willamette Valley
Bright ruby-red.  Intense black raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by notes of smoked meat, licorice and dried flowers.  Smooth and succulent on the palate, offering powerful dark berry and bitter chocolate flavors and a touch of candied rose.  Finishes on a smoky note, with slow-building tannins, a jolt of peppery spices and very good length. ST 91pts, RP 91pts, $50

2011 Andrew Rich Wines Roussanne Columbia Valley
Bright, full yellow.  Musky aromas of pear, apple, honey and nuts.  Broad, dry and pliant, with good definition to the flavors of apple, menthol and flowers.  Nicely done, rather suave roussanne with a firm finish. ST 88pts, $22

2009 Andrew Rich Wines Mesalliance Red Wine Columbia Valley
(48% merlot, 24% cabernet franc, 20% syrah and 8% malbec):  Bright medium ruby.  Slightly candied aromas of black cherry liqueur, licorice, bitter chocolate and violet.  Sweet and smooth but a bit youthfully stunted; not a thick wine but densely packed and fine-grained, with firm acidity keeping the dark berry flavors under wraps today.  Finishes with firm, suave tannins and good subtle length.  I'd hold this for two or three years before pulling the cork. ST 90, $24

2010 Andrew Rich Wines Cabernet Franc Red Willow
Its Burgundy-shaped bottle hinting at a possible kinship with Loire exemplars that is borne out in the glass, Andrew Rich’s 2010 Cabernet Franc Red Willow – from two-decade-old vines on this iconic property – leads with scents of dark cherry, beet root, and fennel, which re-merge in the context of an infectiously juicy palate that utterly believes its (per the label, anyway) 14.1% alcohol. Positively herbal, subtly bitter and saline notes of sea oats, dried herbs, walnut, maple syrup and dark chocolate add interest en route to a succulently lingering finish tinged with saliva-liberating salinity. There is a fine diffusion of tannin that, along with the wine’s reservoir of primary juiciness, likely guarantees that its fascinations will persist for at least 3-5 years in bottle. RP 90pts, $27

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pasta for Breakfast...Again!

Way back when, before Cat opened Faubourg Wines, before Neil & Monica launched their Vending Machine Wines label, a small group of us started a pretty amazing dinner club. There were wacky themes, super creative food, great beverages, fun conversation and good times for all involved.  But as things tend to go in this world, lives changed, babies were born, relationships ended, people moved and the DC 10 was no more.

One of our last get togethers with the entire group was a DC10 brunch and really a highlight for all of us; the Saints were in the middle of the playoffs of their historic 2009 season, Mardi Gras was right around the corner and the entire city was on one big collective high.  Our contribution that day was a pretty complicated pasta dish where we made large ravioli stuffed with the usual ricotta and herb filling, but then topped it off with a fresh egg yoke before covering it with the 2nd sheet of pasta. We boiled them, just like you do regular ravioli and then plated them drizzled in melted butter and a little pancetta. Sunnyside up with a side of bacon, Italian style and our first pasta for breakfast!

So after a long bike ride yesterday, I was craving eggs and wanted to make a traditional Italian Frittata.  I searched 4 or 5 of my favorite cookbooks until I can across this one with a little twist in Frances and Edward Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun; Pasta Frittata.  A quick note on the book itself - it's a great compilation of recipes from their friends and neighbors in our favorite little Tuscan town of Cortona.  I've made quite a few of the dishes in the book and find them simple, fresh and really delicious, as traditional Italian food should be.  

So here is a much less complicated but really flavorful dish using plain, leftover pasta.  I've changed things just slightly from the original and added comments when I did so.  Kerry and I ate the whole thing with the best bacon we've ever had made by our friend Steve.  And for a pairing?  I had too much to do yesterday to have alcohol with breakfast but a dry, full bodied Italian sparkling like the Berlucchi Brut or Ferrari Brut would have been heavenly. 

Pasta Frittata
1 onion finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup milk
6 eggs (I used 5)
+ 2 cups whole brown beech mushrooms (I added these and used the whole pack from wholefoods)
1 cup leftover cooked pasta (I used farfalle)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1 large tomato sliced
1 handful of parsley chopped

In an oven proof skillet, over medium heat add oil and sauté the onion and mushrooms until onions are translucent about 3 minutes.  
In a bowl beat the milk into the eggs.  Stir the pasta, seasonings and cheese into the eggs and pour into the pan.  Arrange the tomato slices on top of the egg mixture and cook for about 8 minutes over medium low heat until it is semi-set.  (this was not enough time on my stove, we added an extra 3 minutes)
Sprinkle the parsley and put under a preheated broiler for 1 minute.  Make sure it doesn't burn on the top.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Annual Staff Dinner, Wine and Food From our Favorite Places on Earth

We love our staff!  What's not to love about passionate, socially conscious people who adore wine, food and fun people to share it with.  And did I mention that they are unpretentious, interesting, cool and just downright nice people?  So Kerry and I like to show our appreciation for all of their hard work by cooking an annual, multi-coursed and paired dinner for them at our house.  Here's a run down of the menus, recipes and pairings we put together to show them some love for everything they do for us and you!


~Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Fresh Louisiana Mandarin Juice
I love a really good vermouth before dinner and the freshness of the juice with the vanilla, caramel and clove notes of the Cocchi were the perfect start to our Italian dinner.  As part of Cocchi's 120th birthday celebrations a few years ago they restarted production of this, their original recipe Vermouth di Torino, first produced back in 1891. It is delicious and couldn't be easier to make...

Equal parts freshly squeezed mandarin juice and Cocchi, shaken and served over ice with a slice of the peel for garnish.


~Roasted Tomato and Burrata Bruschetta
click here for recipe
Ca'Vittoria Brut Rose 

~Lemon and Garlic Gulf Shrimp Bruschetta
This is normally served on top of the bread, but I had a ton of shrimp so I served it individual small bowls
click here for the recipe
2012 Taburno Greco Benevento

~Bresaola and Arugula w/Fresh Shaved Parmigiano
click here for recipe
2012 Ceretto Arneis Blange

~Shaved Fennel and Blood Orange Salad w/Fresh Pecorino di Toscana
click here for the recipe
2012 Dominio IV Sunrise Setting Viognier/Syrah


~Piemontese Tajarin Pasta w/Fresh Shaved Truffles
click here for the recipe
2008 Einaudi Barolo Terlo


~Bistecca Tagliata with Fried Sage & Rosemary
click here for the recipe
2001 Bertani Amarone delle Valpolicella


~Meyer Lemon & Cardamom Ice Cream
click here for recipe
Giama Limoncello Positano

Tajarin, The Most Decadent Pasta I've Ever Made, Eater or Served!

In doing research for our upcoming trip to Piemonte, it's not surprising that I've come across many recipes that feature their most prized food, the aromatic and highly flavorful white truffle.  And since Barolo is definitely one of our favorite wines on earth, I decided that I needed to cook something from the region for our annual staff dinner and ran across this decadent recipe from Lidia Bastianich.

The problem was in getting a truffle in a very short amount of time that I could use for the dish.  After a few days of  phone calls, texts and internet searches, our friend Jeff Talbot over at Ancora came through with a nice chunk of black truffle.  Although the recipe called for the traditional white truffle from Alba (upwards of $2000 per lb!) I figure the black truffle at half the price would have a similar, although not nearly as flavorful, effect.

Tajarin is different from regular pasta in the amount of egg yolks used that give it a beautiful saffron yellow color.  It is a handcut pasta that takes some time to make, but if you are going to the trouble of fresh truffles, why not?  I used the best ingredients possible - fresh organic egg yolks, Panini organic Parmigiano and the best butter ever made, the Delitia Burro di Parma.  How can you go wrong?

We served the 2008 Einaudi Barolo Terlo that was not nearly ready to drink but was still beautiful with the rich, butter ladden dish!  

For the Pasta
The black truffle from Jeff at Ancora
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working
9 large egg yolks, (about 2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons water, plus more as needed

For cooking and dressing the pasta
1 tablespoon Coarse sea salt, or kosher salt
½ pound butter, (2 sticks)
1 ounce white truffle butter, or more, brushed cleans
1 cup Grana Padano, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
Pasta-Rolling Machine;

To mix the tajarin dough, put the 2 cups flour in the food processor, fitted with the metal blade, and process for a few seconds to aerate. Mix together the egg yolks, olive oil and 3 tablespoons water in a measuring cup or other spouted container. Start the food processor running and pour in the liquids through the feed tube (scrape in all the drippings). Process for 30 to 40 seconds until a dough forms and gathers on the blade. If the dough does not gather on the blade or process easily, it is too wet or too dry. Feel the dough, then work in either more flour or ice water, in small amounts, using the machine or kneading by hand. 

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a minute until it's smooth, soft and stretchy. Press it into a disk, wrap well in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for a half hour. (Refrigerate the dough for up to a day or freeze it for a month or more. Defrost in the refrigerator and return to room temperature before rolling.) 

Cut the dough in 4 equal pieces. Keeping the dough lightly floured, roll each piece through a pasta machine at progressively narrower settings into sheets that are 5-inches wide (or as wide as your machine allows) and 20-inches or longer. Cut each strip crosswise in three shorter rectangles, each about 7-inches long. 

Flour each of these rectangles and roll them up the long way, into a loose cylinder, like a fat cigar. With a sharp knife, cut cleanly through the rolled dough crosswise at 1/8 to 1/4-inch intervals. Shake and unroll the cut pieces, opening them into tajarin ribbons, each about 7-inches long and 1/4-inch wide. Dust them liberally with flour and set them on a floured towel or tray. 

To cook the tajarin, bring to the boil 6 quarts of water with the tablespoon salt. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the large skillet and dilute it with 1/3 cup of the hot pasta water. Heat until barely simmering. 

When the water is at a rolling boil, shake the tajarin in a colander to remove excess flour and drop them all at once into the pot. Stir well to separate the ribbons and bring back to the boil. Cook for only a minute or until the pasta is just al dente, then lift it from the water with a spider, drain briefly, and drop it into the skillet. 

Over low heat toss the tajarin until well coated with butter. Turn off the heat and toss in half the grated cheese. Shave coin-sized flakes of truffle-using half the piece-over the pasta and toss in. 

Heap individual portions of pasta into warm bowls. Quickly shave the remaining truffle, in equal shares, on top of each mound of tajarin and serve immediately.

Shaved Fennel Salad

Sicilia is where the wine and travel bug started for us.  In 2009 we worked together with the our friends Cynthia and Elisabetta of the Farmhouse Table to take a group of New Orleanians on our first wine and culinary tour of the island.  The food was exquisite, truly some of the best we've ever eaten, combined with a diverse, distinct wine culture that is unlike anywhere else in the world.  This dish is a traditional Sicilian style insalata with a few added twists like pomegranate and Kerry's microgreens.  It is quick and simple except for the segmenting of the citrus (instructions below).And the pairing?  We brought back a really cool bottle from our Oregon (another of our favorite places featured in our annual staff dinner) tour last year that I knew would be perfect, a 2012 Dominio IV Viognier/Syrah blend Rose' and it was amazing with the dish!

2 large round fennel bulbs, trimmed, and several fennel fronds set aside
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large blood oranges, peeled and segmented
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
microgreens for garnish
An 8-ounce chunk hard pecorino, such as sardo or toscano, for shaving

Using a mandolin or other vegetable slicer, shave the fennel crosswise into thin slices. Place in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil. Add the blood orange segments, pomegranate seeds, and fennel fronds and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Arrange the fennel salad on four individual plates. Shave the pecorino in long shards over each plate, and serve.


Using a paring knife, cut off the top and bottom of the fruit to expose the flesh. Stand the fruit upright on the work surface and, with your knife, carefully remove the skin and bitter white pith, working vertically from top to bottom and following the natural round shape of the fruit, turning it as you go. Carefully trim away any remaining pith.

To segment, hold the fruit over a bowl to catch the juices, and cut down along either side of the membrane to free each section of fruit. Then, if the recipe also calls for the juices, squeeze the membranes over the bowl to extract the remaining juices.

Gulf Shrimp da Zaccaria

Positano, definitely one of our favorite places on earth!
The theme for our annual staff dinner this year was "Food and Wine from Our Favorite Places on Earth" so you know that the Amalfi Coast had to be represented.  I found this great recipe from Mario Batali that he took from a restaurant in Atrani that overlooks the sea called "da Zaccaria".  However, I had a lot of shrimp so I served it in individual bowls with toasted bread instead of as bruschetta.  And of course we paired it with a local wine and the 2012 Taburno Greco Benveneto was truly fantastic!
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 ounces Limoncello
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 slices of Italian bread
1 bunch chives, chopped
Salt and pepper

Pour the oil into a large saute pan over high heat. When just starting to smoke, toss in the garlic. Cook until it turns light brown.  Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, flip, and cook for 1 minute. Remove the shrimp.

Pour in the the limoncello, lemon juice, and wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Toast the bread. When sauce is done, turn off the heat, sprinkle in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Place a few shrimp atop each piece of bread, and top with the sauce and lemon zest.


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