This Old Wine
You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.
2003 Calabretta Etna Rosso ($26): Many of the wines grown on Sicily's Mount Etna are crazily underpriced, but Calabretta's Etna Rosso is an especially good value because it arrives in stores having spent six to seven years in huge oak barrels and several more in bottle. Though it's made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio grapes, this wine bears resemblance to much more expensive Nebbiolo-based wines from Italy's Piedmont region. It's totally delicious, and it smells like black cherries, violets and peppery spices.
The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: This powerful, bright-tasting wine is becoming earthier and more herbal, making its fruit flavors taste deeper and more complex. The color is also changing: As they age, reds become less vivid, turning to what wine people call garnet (often indicating that an age-worthy wine is in its sweet-spot for drinking) and then darker and darker toward brown (at which point they're not very tasty). This one is still quite bright, but it's definitely becoming a pretty garnet.
Drink it With: Anything that would normally call for Barolo or Barbaresco. Chef Matthew Accarrino's cannelloni with walnuts and fried sage would be spectacular.
Where to Buy: Astor Wines. (Find more stores.)
Related: F&W Visits Mount Etna
Italian Grapes from A to Z
Best Italian Value Wines
Dr. Vino's Verdict
Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.
Don’t you think global warming is going to be disastrous for wine? In the past three decades temperatures have risen and growing seasons have lengthened in many wine regions. Because of that, grapes ripen faster and reach higher sugar levels, which means higher natural levels of alcohol, among other considerations. Climate scientist Greg Jones estimates that by 2049, temperature increases will prevent some early-ripening grapes from being grown in their classic regions (like Pinot Noir in Burgundy)—and some warm regions may become too hot for any grapevines at all.
Related: More from Dr. Vino
Affordable Summer Wines: Chillable Reds
Wine 101: Pinot Noir and Red Burgundy
Seasonal Survival Guide
After an aggressively humid summer, fall couldn’t come faster. We’ve had our fill of refreshing coolers and beach boardwalk hot dogs; it’s time to bring on the apple pie and mulled cider. Here, five new foods and drinks to give fall a little boost.
Francois Payard Bakery, New York: The pastry chef's famed macarons come in two new flavors: green apple honey and raisin pecan. Originally inspired by Rosh Hashannah, the confections are equally good for non-high holy days. payard.com
Einstein Bros. Bagels & Noah’s New York Bagels, Nationwide: Both chains just debuted limited-edition pumpkin bagels and pumpkin cream cheese. Also new: Pumpkin Bagel Clusters, which are lowbrow brilliant pull-apart mini bagel balls that are tossed with pumpkin syrup and cinnamon sugar streusel and drizzled with cream cheese ice cream. einsteinbros.com noahs.com
Tieton Cider Works, Western U.S., Alaska & Texas: This company is making an over-the-top for fall Smoked Pumpkin Cider using Washington State pumpkins and apples. Fittingly, it's flavored with apple wood smoke. tietonciderworks.com
Reese’s & Good Humor, Nationwide: Ideal for those who live in a place that never cools off, Reese’s and Good Humor are joining forces on peanut butter ice cream pumpkins. The chocolate-coated, pumpkin-shaped ice cream bars are filled with peanut butter ice cream swirled with Reese’s peanut butter.
Cathead Distillery, The South & Indiana: Mississippi distillery Cathead recently released the perfect boozy pairing for pie: a pecan-flavored vodka. The vodka is macerated with roasted Mississippi-grown pecans for a nutty, lightly sweet flavor. catheadvodka.com
Related: Fantastic Fall Cocktails
Best Fall Desserts
Recipes for Fall Produce
With fall less than a week away, dark, complex drinks are steadily replacing light and fruity cocktails on bar menus. Recently opened New York restaurant The Musket Room makes a fantastic transitional offering: Fumero’s Gate combines coffee-infused Cynar, rye, Aperol, Cocchi Americano and Fernet Branca. But there's a dramatic twist, literally. Bartenders finish the drink by igniting an orange twist—a touch that provides an intense burst of caramelized citrus flavor along with a brief-but-spectacular pyrotechnics show. Head sommelier Erin Scala showed us how to execute this expert technique.
First, cut a half dollar-sized circle of citrus rind with a generous amount of pith. Gripping the peel around its edges about four inches over the cocktail, very carefully hold a lighter between the cocktail and the citrus skin, warming the skin gently for a few seconds. (“You want to get it nice and shiny,” Scala advises.) Then, pinch the citrus skin so the juices spray through the flame and into the glass. The fire will briefly plume out. Then, wipe the edge of the glass with the citrus. “If your bartender loves you, they'll wipe the base of the glass too,” says Scala, “so your fingers get this lovely citrus smell when you take a drink.” Proceed with caution.
Related: F&W’s Ultimate Cocktail Recipe Guide
Amazing Whiskey Cocktails
Boston chefs are partnering with the city's cultural institutions. Here's where.
Movies: The Reel Chefs series at Theatre 1 in the Revere Hotel, just outside of Back Bay, invites local chefs to create a prix fixe menu to serve during one of their favorite movies. Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa chose 1980s cult classic The Goonies and made Truffle Shuffle (celeriac-truffle soup) and Chester Copperpot Pie (pheasant, mushroom and gnocchi). theatre1boston.com
Galleries: A hub of the wool trade in the early 1900s, Fort Point is now a hub for the city's art scene. At the center is the FPAC Gallery (fortpointarts.org), a mixed-media space that's home to rotating shows. More recently, chefs have moved into the area. Brothers Louis and Michael DiBiccari opened Tavern Road (tavernroad.com), above, a casual New England–inspired spot, around the corner from FPAC earlier this year. To help decorate the restaurant, the DiBiccaris commissioned artists to reinterpret works of their uncle Adio, a sculptor. Louis also founded the Create competition (create-boston.com), in which six chefs make dishes based on the work of local visual artists.
Museum: Near the Institute of Contemporary Art (open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays), chef Jody Adams's Trade features Mediterranean-style flatbreads and small plates until midnight. trade-boston.com
Related: Boston Travel Guide
Recipes from Boston Chefs