March 26, 2015 – Tartine-New York, NY
Ladies and gentlemen, if you will please direct your attention to the center of the midway. Here in front of your very eyes you’ll experience a creature seen by few. After years of searching, we found him hidden deep in a remote Moldovian cave…Prince Dragomir, decedent of Vlad Dracula…cut off from contact with the outside world and existing solely by biting the heads off live chickens and drinking their blood. Have no fear, as he has no taste for human blood- Yes, I surmise that I would have made PT Barnum proud.
This early master of the sideshow was known to instill awe and fear with the presentation of these “geeks”. Yes, boys and girls that is today’s history lesson. A geek was originally a circus sideshow performer who engaged in excessive or extreme acts like biting the heads from live chickens. How this morphed into today’s geek, nerd or dork is not clear but a good guess is it involved the common thread of being excessive or out of the main stream….just my theory. Where am I going with all this? Patience my dear readers, we will soon be there…….
Despite being a somewhat chilly, drizzly night I looked forward to the evening’s dinner with anticipation. I was meeting Evan McCormack, Wine Manger of New York City’s PJ Wine. It was a chance for us to sit down and let our inner wine geeks fully emerge. Old wine, unusual wine, there would certainly be ample opportunity for palate exciting vinous beverages. Yes, there was food too. Tartine offers a good range of well-prepared French Bistro dishes without the expense of a liquor license. A Manhattan BYO, certainly not an everyday find.
Broiled Escargot- garlic, parsley and anise butter. Grilled Saucisson -garlic sausage, warm new potatoes, shallots, chive dressing. Louis Rodriguez, Vina de Martin, Os Pasas. This crisp vino blanco was a perfect compliment. Light to medium body, clean lemon-lime nose, strong but not overpowering citrus on the palate ,think lime zest-thank you Evan- with some chalky/licorice overtones and honey finish. A native grape blend of Treixadura, Albariño, Torrontés and Lado from Galicia’s Ribeiro DO in Northwestern Spain.
Thyme Roasted Salmon -English & sugar snap peas, Brussel sprouts fingerling potatoes truffle mushroom dressing. Unionville Vineyards, 2012 Pinot Noir, Clone 5. This single vineyard New Jersey Pinot Noir is a Burgundy-style classic. A slick palate loaded with fresh strawberry, herbs, dark fruits and nice earthiness in the background. A great marriage to the salmon. While New Jersey is known for its produce it certainly isn’t a household name in wine making despite having roots going back to the mid-1760s. A majority of the state’s 48 wineries may not have yet achieved this quality of production but it’s an industry and craft rapidly on the rise.
Beef Mignonette-au poivres & French fries. Mario Perelli Minetti, 1981 100% Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. From a time before California’s current “modern” wine age. Clean with a true mid-heavy body. Soft tannins and fruits but not at all over extracted or jammy. A most enjoyable wine with or without food. There is balance and elegance in this wine and not even a hint of the overpowering style of so many of today’s California Cabs.
Yes, there was some room for desert. Don’t miss Tartine’s outstanding Crème Brulee.
After outlasting all of the other customers and most of the staff, we brought this three hour “gathering” to a close. Good food, great wine and opportunity to get excited when talking about wine aged in cement tanks, the year’s pending arrival of Ameztoi’s Rubentis Txakolina and glory of the King of Pork, Spain’s Jamon Iberico.
……..ok poindexter, gimme’ your lunch money.