Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Brunier Brothers

The Brunier brothers, Daniel and Frédéric, are the owners of Vieux Télégraphe, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In 1998, with partner Kermit Lynch, they purchased Domaine Les Pallières, in Gigondas, which had been owned by the Roux family since the beginning of the 15th Century, the land passing from generation to generation for almost 600 years. The property was in disrepair when they bought it from the last remaining heir, Pierre, who, in deteriorating health, was left running the estate alone, and they have meticulously revived the vineyards and renovated the winery.

The wines? Gorgeous. Taste and you'll immediately understand the greatness of Grenache. Even though both the Pallières and Vieux Télégraphe reds are made primarily with Grenache Noir (Pallières has a higher percentage in the blend), they are each remarkably different, but each delicious in their own right. Whereas Vieux Télégraphe is chewy, spicy, black cherries, Pallières flirts and seduces with its wild strawberry-raspberry fruit. Drinking them side-by-side is an elegant way to grasp the notion of terroir.

Thirst has the 2005 Pallières Gigondas and their ravishing 2008 Au Petit Bonheur Rosé on hand. In fact, we have virtually all of the Brunier Bros. wines in stock, including 05 and 06 Vieux Télégraphe, as well as their fantastic Le Pigeoulet en Provence red and white Vin de Pays wines (currently 06 and 08 respectively).

Beginning with the 2007 vintage, there will be two cuvées of Pallières: "Les Racines," and "Terrasse du Diable," which we tasted early barrel samples of in January.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Mostly Off Day

On a rare day mostly off from the shop, Emilia suggested I fire up the grill. At first I resisted. Then I relented. As usual, her instincts were spot-on.

It's a primal pleasure starting a fire and cooking over it. I use natural lump charcoal because there's no unnecessary things added to it like with regular charcoal (such as sawdust, Borax, Sodium Nitrate, starch, limestone). Therefore it doesn't yield awful chemical smells but instead imparts a delicious flavor to whatever you grill. It also doesn't need nasty lighter fluid to get it started (I tend to use just a few old pages of a newspaper). Luckily, I had a big bag of natural charcoal around that I bought last summer, but it shouldn't be hard to find this time of year.

We kept it simple. Burgers, using grass-fed ground beef from Albert Wilkow at the Fort Greene Farmers' Market. Blue Cheese from Pt. Reyes. Terrebrune Bandol Rosé 2006. An assortment of Rick's Picks to garnish.

Simply divine to slow down and linger over lunch outside in the sunshine and talk. Of course we brainstormed about Thirst, but it was so relaxing not to be in the thick of things.

After a rather long winter, and all the rain we've had in May, we really savored this SF-like day.