Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Unleash Your Inner Devil", a Wine Adventure by Philip S. Kampe

                                           Mardi Gras 2015 in Hoboken, New Jersey

Mardi Gras takes place each year in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. When you are a bit misplaced from your original hometown, you try to celebrate 'Fat Tuesday' in a different way. Fortunately, the Tulane Alumni Association of New Jersey through a small Mardi Gras get-together at City Bistro on 14th Street in Hoboken. In he photo above, local Chairman Michael L. Cohn represents the colors of Mardi Gras. Did you know that the colors of Mardi Gras each has a meaning. Purple is for justice, Green is for faith and Gold is for Power.

City Bistro served Abita beer and Maria,my wife, and I munched on Shrimp Po' Boys, followed by several pieces of King Cake, a New Orleans tradition.

The next Mardi Gras stop was a Champagne Tasting and Fashion Show, hosted by IPO Wines and David Bowler Selections. This stop was both business and pleasure, as it was an industry event that happened to fall on Mardi Gras. Nothing wrong with working on Mardi Gras. Besides writing about events, I am a scout for retailers, finding quality/value wine selections for wine merchants and various restaurants.

Twenty Champagnes and one Franciacorta were poured.

Franciacorta is the true Italian version of Champagne, made in the same process as Champagne. It is not Prosecco and I mean that in a good way.

My favorite Champagnes from IPO Wines and David Bowler were:
J. Lassalle Brut Reserve Preference NV ($48)
J. Lasalle Cuvee Angeline Brut 1er Cru  2007  ($69)
Paul Bara Brut Grand Cru  2004   ($67)
Playez-Jacquemart Extra Quality Brut NV  ($45)
Tarlant 'Zero' Brut Nature NV (2007 base)  ($60)
Lilbert-Fils Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV  ($73)

As you can see from the photos above, lots of Champagne was poured while the fashion show was going on. One of my wine friends who is in the wine business and his band played music during the entire event.

As the hours passed, I knew it was time to return home and entertain a couple of friends who have the Mardi Gras spirit.. Upon arriving home, I took out a couple of CD's, Dr. John and Professor Longhair. As the music warmed the house, I turned on the stove, peeled a mound of shrimp and opened a couple bottles of Chilean wine.

Since it was Mardi Gras and only hours away from Ash Wednesday, the obvious wine choices were the  newly released 2013 'Devil's Collection' of wines from Concha y Toro..

Their tag line is "Unleash Your Inner Devil".

And that, I did!

                                                   2013 Casillero del Diablo (red)
                                                  2013 Casillero del Diablo (white)

Dinner consisted of BBQ shrimp, Mosca's style, with lots of oregano and garlic. Jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, mussels and sausage followed.Both wines brought the best out of the food.

The Devil's Collection white wine paired with both courses. The wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and, yes, Gewurztraminer, all from Chile's Casablanca Valley. It is a very fresh, well-balanced wine with citrus aromas that focus on fruit, spcifically pineapple, honey, lime and apricot. The  flavors coat your palate just enough to balance out with the food.

The Castillo del Diablo Red is made with 60% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Carmenere. The wine is very impressive, dark fruit forward, well-balance and mature. It was a hit with the jambalaya, as the chicken and andouille sausage met its match. It is also a sophisticated wine that could be served on its own.

Both wines retail for under $15 and are true crowd pleasers. I bought a mixed case in no alcohol tax Massachusetts and paid 20% less for the case price.  Each bottle cost less than $12.

If you really want to enjoy Mardi  Gras, New Orleans style, why not visit the 'Big Easy' and take a case of the 'Devil's Collection' with you.

These are future dates for Mardi Gras. You should have enough time to prepare.
2016  February 9th
2017  February 28th
2018  February 13th
2019  March 5th

Like me, if you can't make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, make the best of the day, wherever you are.

Philip S. Kampe

1 comment:

Henrik G. said...

What a fun article...

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