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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wines Above $40

Great Unknown Pinot Noir

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Well, I shouldn't really say "unknown," because Woodenhead's wines are known to some people at least—but they ought to be known to more. I've thought this for some time, and the thought came at me again a while back when I was at the annual Pigs & Pinot event in Healdsburg, CA, that Charlie Palmer puts on. I was there as a judge for the Pinot Cup—a blind tasting of fifty Pinot Noirs from all over the world—and when our top choice was revealed to us, I was both pleasantly surprised and not that surprised at all.

© Charlie Gesell
Woodenhead's Winning Wine

The winning wine—against some extremely tough competition—was the 2007 Woodenhead Buena Terra Vineyard Pinot Noir ($60), a silky, seamless combination of sweet cherry and tangy raspberry notes, with a hint of cola and a light gaminess. It's sourced from a vineyard on Eastside Road across from Rochioli (which in Pinot-land is pretty much Park Avenue), and was made, as all the Woodenhead wines are, by Nikolai Stez.

Nick started off as cellarmaster at Williams Selyem during the early days of that winery, and has kept contact with original owner Burt Williams—in fact, buys fruit from Williams' Morning Dew Ranch vineyard for another terrific Pinot. The 2007 Woodenhead Morning Dew Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir lures you in with a fragrant spice note, resolving into graceful spiced berry flavors and a tangy fresh-orange acidity.

Finally, also worth looking into is the 2007 Woodenhead Humboldt County Pinot Noir ($42), about which I seem to have written "like a twisted wire of smoky herbal notes running through sweet raspberry, then crisp at the end." Evidently I was getting alarmingly poetic at that point in my tasting. Regardless, the vines this wine came from were apparently pulled out after this vintage, so this is the last of it to be had.

Woodenhead's wines are not easy to find in stores, since production is small, but they can be ordered directly from the winery (or bought from their tasting room, an extremely pleasant place where you can also chat with Nick and Zina Bower, his partner in both the winery and life). And that Pinot Cup-winning wine is still available, I believe.

 

Restaurants

Fergus Henderson’s Hotel Project

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fergus

© Laurie Fletcher
Chef-hotelier Fergus Henderson



Legendary nose-to-tail genius Fergus Henderson of London’s St. John and St. John Bread and Wine quietly snuck into town last week with his wife, Margot (also a chef and the owner of the fabulous London café Rochelle Canteen. In between cooking lunch at Barbuto with Jonathan Waxman and helping Margot prepare a dinner at the Artist Space on Saturday night, Fergus and his partner Trevor Gulliver sat down with me at the Breslin to share details about their newest project, the St. John Hotel, which will open this September in London’s still-seedy Chinatown neighborhood. Here, a few teasers:

1. Even though there are only 15 rooms, Fergus assures there will be nothing boutiquey about the hotel. “It will be a not-too-shiny inn,” he says, “because really, we don’t do shiny. No piles of cushions or throws on the beds. Nothing too fancy. I’m calling it a miniature, grand urban hut.”
2. The hotel’s 70-cover restaurant will give Fergus his first real chance to experiment with breakfast. “I’m thinking deviled kidneys, blood sausage and cheeky buttery buns,” he says.
3. The restaurant will serve a very special afternoon tea and “elevenses” (the Brits’ midday snack). “I think everyone can use a glass of Madeira and a sweet cake at 11 a.m.” says Fergus.
4. He says that the ceiling of the bar will look like the belly of a blue whale. The bar will be open and serving food until 2 a.m. and will have a great mix of French wines, craft beers from Meantime Brewing and a nice selection of eaux-de-vie and digestifs.

News

Dogfish Head Brewery’s New Syrups

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syrup

© Dogfish Head Brewery
Dogfish Head Brewery's new maple syrups.

Usually when Dogfish Head Brewery’s founder Sam Calagione drops me a note it's to share details about his latest brewing innovation or some radical new beer. But he surprised me (as he usually does) with his newest release, an artisanal, naturally-spiced maple syrup. Calagione has been using maple syrup harvested from his family’s western Massachusetts farm in Dogfish Head’s original might put something in here like "beers like" - wasn't clear to me until i got to IPA that these were beers. Immort Ale, 75 Minute IPA and Life & Limb. He’s now working with Ripley Farm Sugarhouse to make small batches of exotic maple syrups that echo the flavors of some of Dogfish Head’s best brews (the Immort maple syrup has been simmered with organic juniper berries and Madagascar vanilla beans for a sweet and sticky riff on Dogfish Head's Immort Ale. There’s also one modeled after Dogfish Head’s Belgian-style wit beer, flavored with organic orange peel and coriander. The syrups will be sold on Dogfish Head Brewery's website and at the Rehoboth, Delaware, brewery starting May 19. The syrups are lovely on pancakes but even more fantastic drizzled on vanilla ice cream.  

Baking

Reviving Freezer-Burned Ice Cream

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ice cream maker

© Michelle Shih

A few weeks ago, my house lost power for two days. My coffin freezer was pretty packed, so most things made it through okay, but the ice cream developed a granular texture. It was still good for milkshakes, but I wanted to eat regular ice cream. And I had about 10 pints of Ben & Jerry's and Häagen Dazs, so I didn't want to throw them all away (I'd bought them on sale; what can I say, I love a good deal). The Harold McGee in me thought, what if I melted the ice cream, then refroze it in an ice cream maker? Success! The zombie Cherry Garcia (pictured) was slightly denser than the original, but still delicious. Grace Parisi in the F&W test kitchen had another great suggestion: using melted ice cream in bread pudding instead of milk or heavy cream. Recipes after the jump:

[More]

Baking

New Gluten-Free Baking

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Gluten-Free Brownies

© Photo Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

A close friend of mine has celiac disease, which means he shouldn't eat gluten—so usually no pizza, no pasta, no crackers, no beer. He's long been my (very willing) guinea pig for every gluten-free product that floats through our office. Most of these have left me very thankful for my own gluten-tolerance, but a few, like Mary's Gone Crackers seed crackers, have made it into my own pantry. The latest batch of baking mixes to get rave reviews from him is from an unexpected source: King Arthur Flour, the 200-year-old flour company, which has started to roll out its gluten-free line nationwide. According to my guinea pig, the brownies (pictured) rose up to twice the height of the batter and remained gooey and sweet even after cooling down. Most tellingly, his friends came back for seconds. For the cookie mix, he found that he got the elusive chewy texture he craved by freezing the dough into balls before baking. The only caveat: You have to buy your own chocolate chips.

From our recipe archives, here are seven great ideas for gluten-free dinners to accompany these desserts.

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