Enth Degree October 2006

News and notes from the world of wine.



Published:

The Enth Degree - October 2006

Wine Meets Design Near NY's South Street Seaport 

 
The air around Manhattan's recently vacated Fulton Fish Market still carries a whiff of seafood, but inside Pasanella & Son, a fledgling wine shop on historic South Street, one breathes in only the sweet smell of wine-that, and maybe a hint of leather emanating from the 1967 Ferrari parked in the middle of this smartly designed store.

Pasanella & Son is the brainchild of designer and author Marco Pasanella and his wife, Rebecca, an editor for Martha Stewart. Their cute but functional store is just a few months into its first year. Housed on the ground floor of a classic brick building the Pasanellas bought in 2002, it features an eclectic selection of wines from around the world, with everything presented in eye-catching fashion. Displays, artwork and the overall look of the store's interior are not at all typical, and neither are the wines that Pasanella and wine buyer Mary Taylor are stocking. Here, somewhat obscure French appellations like Rasteau and Faugères trump the tried-and-true standards, while Italy, highlighted by several excellent Brunellos di Montalcino, ranks as the volume leader.

In total, Pasanella & Son (the "son" in question is 1-year-old Luca) offers about 400 wines, and the concept of the store is to have "no concept at all," says Marco Pasanella. "We aren't into gimmicks. We only want to express our passion for wine."

And certainly there is a history of passion in this 19th-century building, which began as a sail-making factory and later was a brothel before falling into total disrepair. "No doubt it was a dump when we bought it," says Pasanella, who lives upstairs with his family. But that's all in the past. Now, the store prominently features built-in cabinetry, a rustic enoteca in the back that's perfect for tastings and special events (of which the store conducts many), and French windows offering views of a small garden.

It's not your average wine shop; but they're not your average wine store owners, either.

Pasanella & Son, Vintners, 115 South Street, New York, NY; tel. 212.233.8383.

—Michael Schachner

Where the Chocolate Flows Like Wine

Aromas of raspberry, nuances of coffee, and maybe even a touch of mint. Belly up to the newest tasting bar in Glen Ellen, California, and an intense array of flavors awaits your palate. But you won't sip this complexity out of a glass, and indeed, there aren't any dump buckets or corkscrews in sight.

As California's first chocolate tasting bar, Wine Country Chocolates offers samples of a different sort. "When you come into our shop, the truffles you see were just made," says owner and chocolatier Betty Kelly. "We want people to taste chocolate as it's meant to be."

That means the chocolates—from the big Cab-infused ganache truffles to the wine bottle-shaped, molded treats—have no preservatives, additives or waxes. The store's vintner's blend "tasting" features their famous wine truffles. Visitors can also dip fresh fruit into a Willy Wonka-esque chocolate fountain. "We want people to see that there's just so much in chocolate, just like there's so much in wine," Kelly says. "After they come here, they should taste more in chocolate than they did before."

Wine Country Chocolates, Jack London Village, 14301 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, California. Tel: 707.996.1010. —Jeanette Hurt

 
Super Strength Brew

 
Double White Ale, a double-strength (7.2% alcohol by volume) Belgian-style white beer, will keep you warm as the weather cools. Brewed with Curaçao, orange peel and ground coriander seed, the beer is currently sold in 22-ounce bottles ($5) as a seasonal ale, but will soon be released in 6-packs. See www.publick.com for more details. —Michael Duffy

Q&A with Jacob Wetherington

 
Billings, Montana native Jacob Wetherington is executive chef at Paws Up Resort in Greenough, Montana. At this Western-luxe resort, guests indulge in fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking and cross-country skiing.

The 28-year-old chef doles out seriously upscale
sustenance to fuel these activities: Think prime rib with truffled popovers, followed by hot chocolate made with star anise-infused ganache. And Wetherington doesn't just cook for these outdoorsy types—he is one, too. Want to know what he drinks in the wild (and on wild dates)? Read on.

Wine Enthusiast: Do you forage?

Jacob Wetherington: I love getting my hands in the dirt. I think foraging is an integral part of being in this business; being a chef means knowing your ingredients.

WE: What about hunting?

JW: When I hunted as a kid, we weren't really a sporting family; hunting was about
spending time with my dad—and filling up the freezer! I do go out occasionally with friends and go bird hunting.

WE: What kind of food do you bring with you when you're camping?

JW: Sausages! Then I'll also take onions and
peppers and braise them. I'll also take along some bread and some cheese.

WE: What would you drink with the sausages and peppers?

JW: A Paul Hobbs El Salino Malbec and a K Viognier. I'd chill the white in the creek.

WE: What do you like to cook for a special date?

JW: I'll sear some tuna, then serve it over rice
noodles tossed with a Vietnamese-style dressing. The dressing is spicy but sweet, and a little salty.

WE: "Spicy, sweet and a little salty"—interesting adjectives to use for a date dinner. What would you pour with a meal like that?

JW: Some sort of beer, or a Trevor Jones unoaked Chardonnay. The winemaker calls it a "virgin Chardonnay."

WE: Interesting that you'd pour a "virgin Chardonnay" for a date! What wines do you keep on hand in the fridge?

JW: Champagne, and Sokol Blosser Evolution White—it's a great all-purpose white wine.

WE: What reds to you usually have on hand?

JW: I really like Argentinean Malbecs.

WE: I had some fantastic mac and cheese at Paws Up. How do you make it?

JW: Velveeta is a great melting cheese. We mix Velveeta with Pecorino Romano, Fontina, and two other cheeses.

WE: What are some of your favorite things to eat?

JW: I absolutely love pizza and ice cream. If I ever move on and open my own place, it may be a pizza and ice cream restaurant.

WE: Maybe you could serve pizza-flavored ice cream?

JW: Yes! But it would be garnished with aromatic, candied basil. —Sarah Belk King

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