Authors Posts by Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

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By Bob Lipinski

When I remember Father’s Day, visions of barbecuing steaks, hamburgers, sausages and hot dogs over “real charcoal,” bottles of beer, platters of cold macaroni and potato salad, and of course, slices of sour dill pickles come to mind. Well, this Father’s Day I’m barbecuing, with a gas grill, shell steaks with a dry rub, Caesar salad, baked potatoes, a bottle (or two) of cabernet sauvignon, and of course, a pickle!

I like cabernet sauvignon, as do many people, because of its bouquet, body, flavor, and adaptability to most rich, full-bodied foods. Let’s spend some time exploring this globally, universally accepted red grape variety.

Cabernet sauvignon is a thick-skinned, red grape variety acknowledged worldwide as producing some of the finest dry red wines and is often referred to as the noblest of all red grape varieties. In France, it is grown principally in the Bordeaux region, although planted in other regions as well.

In 1997, Carole Meredith, a professor of enology and viticulture at the University of California at Davis, revealed cabernet sauvignon’s parentage through DNA testing. She stated that it is “150 trillion times” more likely that cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc– rather than any other varieties– were responsible for the cross-pollination leading to cabernet sauvignon’s appearance in the late seventeenth century. Cabernet sauvignon berries are quite small, with a high ration of pits and skin to pulp. By the way, around 1860, Almaden Vineyards produced California’s first commercial cabernet sauvignon wine.

Cabernet sauvignon covers a wide spectrum of aromas and flavors—asparagus, bell pepper, berries (blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry), black or green olives, black cherry, black currants, black tea, celery, chocolate, dill, licorice, mint, plum, soy, and various herbs can be detected. Some of the aromas and flavors from oak barrels are cedar, coffee, leather, sandalwood, smoke, and vanilla.

While we’re talking about cabernet and barbecuing, you can’t go wrong with a juicy New York strip or T-bone steak. Don’t forget other delights, such as grilled vegetables, portobello mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, tuna soaked in a teriyaki marinade, rack of lamb with mint chutney, veal chops smothered in rosemary, or a pizza cooked right on the grill!

Be creative this Father’s Day and serve a wedge of room temperature cheese on the plate right next to the steaks or other grilled foods. Which cheese do you ask? Let’s see…one goat (Saint-Maure, France), one cow (Monterey Jack, California), and one sheep (Feta, Greece) milk cheese.

These recommended cabernet sauvignon wines from California are available at most wine shops:
Clos Du Val, Napa
Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz
Hanging Vine, Central Valley
Amapola Creek, Sonoma
Gundlach-Bundschu, Sonoma
Heller Estates, Carmel Valley
Chappellet Vineyards, Napa
Black Stallion, Napa
Noble Vines 337, Lodi
HandCraft, California
Geyser Peak “Alexander Valley,” Sonoma
Artesa Winery, Napa

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written eight books, including “Italian Wine Notes” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine & cheese; sales, time management, and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or at bob@hibs-usa.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

“Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.” — Pearl S. Buck

When we think of Mother’s Day, images of multicolored flowers, greeting cards with heartfelt words and perhaps breakfast in bed come to mind. Platters of cheese, dried fruit and chilled glasses of wine usually are not thought of in the same breath.

Oh by the way, it wasn’t until May 9, 1914, that President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day.

Now, my idea of a Mother’s Day celebration starts several days before, shopping for the many delicacies mom will certainly love. On the shopping list should be balsamic vinegar, dried apricots and cherries (or cranberries), unsalted walnuts, green and black seedless grapes, strawberries dipped in chocolate and wines … rosé and Champagne. We also need a bouquet of multicolored flowers or perhaps several different colored rose bushes for later planting to keep Mother’s Day all summer long.

There is an old saying, “You eat and drink with your eyes” and that’s precisely where we are headed.

Regarding cheese, purchase a wedge of an orange-colored New York State cheddar, a wedge of your favorite blue cheese, a wedge of brie (bree) from France and a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy.

Regarding rosé and sparkling wines, here are my recommendations:

2014 Jaboulet Parallèle “45,” Rhône Valley, France. Blend of Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah grapes; perfumed aroma of a fruit salad, wild berries and candy apples. Light-bodied with a zesty aftertaste.

2014 Hecht & Bannier; Côtes de Provence, France. Blend of Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah grapes. Fruity bouquet of cherries, pomegranate and herbs. Clean, crisp tasting and well balanced, with hints of watermelon. Lovely finish and aftertaste.

Pol Roger Brut Rosé 2006, Champagne, France. Blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Salmon colored with a bouquet bursting of raspberries, pomegranate and oranges. Full in the mouth with citrus, wild cherry and spices. The wine is dry, yet a fruity flavor persists to the end.

N.V. Chandon “Brut”; Napa, California. An abundance of tiny bubbles as well as an aroma and flavor of ripe wheat, toasted bread and a lemon-fresh aftertaste makes this a very enjoyable wine.

Now, let’s assemble the delicacies: On a large, flat satin-white platter, carefully plate the cheese so the various colors and shapes stand out but do not touch. Around the cheeses, arrange some green and black grapes, walnuts and dried apricots or cherries. Carefully, place two chocolate-dipped strawberries in front of each piece of cheese. Ever so lightly, drizzle about 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar over the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Before we invite mom to partake, be sure there are napkins, perhaps some espresso and a camera. That’s it … and say hello to mom for me!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “Italian Wine Notes” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine & cheese, sales, time management and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or at bob@hibs-usa.com.

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By Bob Lipinski

With the cold weather finally leaving and the holidays just a memory, what better way is there to celebrate warmer weather than with a wine and cheese party. Some helpful hints for a successful party include:

Cheese
Choose an interesting variety of cheeses. Different milks, different countries, the cheese-making styles … all play a role in the subtle differences in each cheese’s color, texture and flavor. Your guests will appreciate the unique colors and textures of the cheeses.
Cheese has sufficient beauty to stand by itself. It shows off best on white dinner plates, plain wooden cheese boards, rustic wooden boards, marble slabs, flat wicker baskets or trays, straw mats or other natural materials.
Do not precut cheese for guests. It exposes too much surface to the air and the cheese will dry out. Before serving the cheese, allow it to sit for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature, which will soften the texture, release the aromas and maximize the flavor. Serve three to five different types of cheese. More than this causes confusion and leads to cheeses left untouched. Be certain to include one well-known cheese.
Allow approximately four ounces of cheese per person at cocktail parties, unless lots of other food is being served. For eight to 12 guests, have no less than three-quarters of a pound of each cheese.
Provide each cheese with its own knife or spreading utensil, especially soft cheeses. This is necessary, particularly for all blue cheeses. Use tags or flags to identify each cheese … don’t forget the country of origin.

Wine
Offer wines from the same country as the cheese or even decide on a French, Italian or Spanish theme for the festivities. Put up some decorations, play some ethnic music, and perhaps have some small nibbles in addition to the cheese. Provide your guests with small cards containing information about each cheese and matching wine, next to each being served.
Wine choices may include sparkling, dry white or red, sweet white or red, sherry, port or maybe even a pitcher of sangria, decorated with fresh lemons, oranges and several maraschino cherries.
To determine how much wine to purchase, figure on two (6-ounce) glasses of wine per person or one bottle (750-ml = 25.4 ounces) for every two guests. Always purchase one additional bottle in the event of a “bad” bottle or just so you don’t run out. If you don’t use the extra bottle, you can enjoy it when your guests leave!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “Italian Wine Notes” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine and cheese; sales, time management and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or at bob@hibs-usa.com.

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