Puck-sized Pepperoni & Short Sips
Oh, oh, oh…the summertime rolls
This is my understanding of Perry Farrell: The man is fond of wine. The very thought turned over in my head as I clocked the summer’s progress – its runaway pace – to date. Mine was a summertime cannonball, thunderously rolling across the plain. This is primarily due to me being a first-time dad to a mad lad entering his third August. I drink more than I write and, yeah, I realize my semi-obscure reference to Eighties-era rock hedonism could isolate two-thirds of the readership but please accept it as a self-conscious admission. I acknowledge my sporadic production. C’mon, Ted – uh, Jeff – just admit it. You should write more.
Let’s get current with some short sips from July.
Up the Creek Tablas Creek is a producer I’m a fan of, and I’d enjoyed several of their bottles before recognizing that the winery was co-founded by the Perrin family, owners of the famed Château de Beaucastel. Light bulb moment aside, I found this white blend, the 2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc, at the Ardmore LCB station. Unsurprisingly, wines in the Rhône style flow from Tablas Creek, and their Patelin de Tablas line sources grapes from Paso Robles growers outside of the estate. The result is a reasonably-priced ($17.99 here), high quality table wine. With the Blanc, the emphasis is on Grenache Blanc and Viognier with Roussanne and a drop of Marsanne rounding it out. It’s a radiant and lean acidic beauty, full of peachy playfulness and a creamy-pear mouthfeel that’s not worth resisting. It’s a little Cali hot at 13.5% alcohol but it couldn’t miss alongside my wife’s grilled chicken and peaches with green beans and orzo dish. Available at some local stores.
Dad, lad, glad Having spent the day in the soupy air watching bands at the XPN festival in Camden, the mad lad in tow, my wife and I wearily discussed dinner options during the drive back. Drained of energy and ideas by Conshohocken, we steered off the Schuylkill toward the easy answer: Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting. After trolling the salad bar for our little family, we made our scrambled way into the Cold Point Pub. I ducked away to buy a couple glasses of wine and a slice of pizza for myself. It was then, within this ridiculously suburban setting, that I had my moment. The slice, with its enormous discs of pepperoni, was a love match for my half glass of Chilean wine, a 2010 MontGras Reserva Carmenere. The vino’s wide body, spice and fresh fruitiness leaned in to the food without a flinch. It’s a pairing to pursue.
For those who don’t sync their grocery runs with happy hour, the MontGras is available in very limited quantities at some local stores.
Let’s talk meat Finally, I want to call out the beloved Lancaster County Farmer’s Market in Wayne, a centerpiece of the community – at least on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It’s the aw-shucks, neighborhoody vibe that keeps me coming back – the swarming energy of a flea market or, better, a county fair. We simply don’t find that much in our lives. Certainly not in supermarkets.
Honestly, the Ultimate Bake Shoppe’s scones typically get me to return but that’s another story.
On a recent Friday, I stopped at Heebner Meats and chatted with a very helpful and friendly man behind the counter. He steered me toward their selection of lamb loin chops and I took away three wrapped in white paper. Let me tell you: It was the most flavorful grilled meat in memory. And simple! My wife sprinkled pepper and salt with a douse of olive oil on the chops, then laid them on the Char Broil for about three and a half minutes per side. On a plate with couscous and sautéed summer vegetables, it was perfect.
Here’s the other thing. Lamb is an adroit partner for big reds – a July/August clearance as it were. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring out that Shiraz, Cab or Zinfandel you’ve been saving. I selected a Bordeaux, the 2006 Château Quinault L’Enclos La Réserve.
Thanks for sipping along with me, and remember: Whatever the roll of your summer, slow it down to enjoy your food and especially your wine – with your own Jane or Sergio, family or friends.