Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wrongo Dongo, 2007

Wrongo Dongo, 2007

We continue to enjoy our journey into value priced Spanish wines with the latest vintage of Wrongo Dongo, a 100% Monastrell wine from the Jumilla region. This wine has a bright red/purple color with a filtered appearance. Aromas of dark berry are accented by baking spices and roasted nuts. This wine is medium bodied with straightforward blackberry and cherry flavors along with some minerality and black pepper on the finish. There are silky tannins and gentle acidity that add to the overall package. The finish is smooth and lingering. This is another great value from importer Jorge Ordonez that is available in the Seattle area for about $8.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Olive Oil Cake

Radio Milano Olive Oil Cake

Radio Milano is another successful restaurant by LGO Hospitality, the people who created La Grande Orange, Postino and Chelsea's Kitchen in Phoenix. While dining at Radio Milano this weekend, Kate ordered the Olive Oil Cake. She first read about this cake in Phoenix Magazine, back in late 2007, when the restaurant was newly opened. So finally, after being on her 'to-try list" ever since, we ordered this dessert, while celebrating her birthday. The cake did not disappoint! This cake is dense, moist and flavorful and was served with lemon gelato and fresh berry sauce.

1 large baking pan for a water bath
1 large loaf pan
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups milk
1 orange, zest removed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon anise seeds
Cooking spray
fresh whipped cream or gelato (topping)
quality fruit jam, berries or sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking pan, half filled with hot water, on the bottom shelf. (The water bath prevents the cake from drying out while baking.) In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar. Add oil, milk and zest. In a larger bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and anise seeds. Use a rubber spatula to create a well, or indentation, in the dry ingredients. Pour about 1/3 of liquid mixture into well. Use a rubber spatula to begin mixing wet and dry ingredients. When almost completely mixed, add 1/3 more liquid and mix; repeat with final 1/3 of liquid. Mix until the batter comes together evenly. It may be slightly lumpy. Spray the sides of the loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour cake batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 15 to 25 minutes, or until cake sets in the center. Allow to cool to room temperature. Run a knife along the sides of the pan and gently place cake top-side down on a plate. Remove pan and parchment paper. Place another plate on top and flip the cake back over. Cut into thick slices and serve with your choice of toppings and fruit sauce.
Makes 6 to 9 servings.

(recipe courtesy of Radio Milano)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dow Vale do Bomfim, 2006

Dow Vale do Bomfim, 2006

This dry red wine from Portugal is produced by from the house of Dow. Their reputation lies in the production of high quality Ports during the past 350 years. The Vale do Bomfim is produced from Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, & Tinta Barroca. This is an example of modern wine making from established vineyards with traditional grape varieties from the upper Douro Valley. This is the latest vintage available in the Seattle area and we were excited to try it. The 2005 vintage was superb. This is another elegant wine with a dark red color and delightful aromas of black fruit, raspberry, oak and violets. This is a light/medium bodied wine with lovely flavors of blackberry, plum, chocolate covered marshmallow and a hint of oak. The tannins are present, but well submerged. There is ample acidity to make this wine pair well with any hearty meal. Overall, this wine from Portugal is very smooth and quite delicious. This is another example of the high quality modern wines starting to come to us from the Douro DOC. We found this “over-achiever”, from Portugal, at Esquin Wine Shop, in Seattle, for about $10.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Palestra, 2006

Palestra, 2006

This Encostas do Douro Palestra is a blend of Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz, all grapes that are indigenous to the Douro Region of Portugal. This wine has a dark ruby color and a rich nose of black cherry, cedar and espresso. This is a medium bodied wine with dark berry and strawberry flavors with a hint of black pepper and some toasted marshmallow. This wine has prominent acidity that is well integrated and balanced with creamy oak and smooth tannins. The finish is soft and elegant. This is another example of a great table wine, from Portugal, that can be found in the Seattle area for about $9. Seek out this easy drinking red, from Portugal, for your next barbecue.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Domini Douro D.O.C., 2005

Domini, 2005

DOMINI is a joint venture between Domingos Soares Franco, head of winemaking at Jose Maria da Fonseca, one of Portugal’s best known wine producers, and winemaker Cristiano Van Zeller. Back in 1999, these two men started purchasing land in Douro Superior and establishing long-term leases with growers in the Cima Corgo district of the Douro Valley, forming a combined total of 77 acres of prime Douro Valley vineyards, source of the Domini wines. Vineyards are all planted in traditional Douro Valley grape varieties, such as Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz, and comprise a mix of old vines as well as younger vines (10 to 15 years). The 2005 Domini is a DOC wine is a blend of these three grape varieties. The color is dark ruby with a purple hue. There is a pleasant nose of fresh berries with hints of flowers and vanilla. This is a graceful, medium bodied wine with flavors of blackberry, blueberry, plum, coffee, earth and vanilla. There is a backdrop of soft tannins and nice acidity that contribute to the overall elegance. We enjoyed this wine with some home-made Carne Adovada and an fresh avocado and corn salad. This wine is another example of the high quality wines coming from the Douro Valley of Portugal. We bought this lovely Douro Red wine at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $15.