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July 2010

Successful Share Our Strength and 20/20 Fundraisers

So not to really toot my own horn, but I'm very happy that I pulled off two large fund-raisers in the past week.

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Share Our Strength at Evengeline

First, on Wednesday the 14; Bastille Day, I helped host an open house and wine dinner at Restaurant Evangeline to Benefit Share Our Strength.  The restaurant was sold out, to the point that I had to hurriedly eat my courses standing behind the bar whenever I could catch a moment.  I had a great time talking to all the people who came and the food really paired beautifully with my French wines.  I had taken the opportunity to bring out some less mainstream, rarer French wines.  I want to thank everyone who came out and collectively helped fight childhood hunger.  Thank You!

20/20 Wine Tasting to benefit Ingraham Youth Alternatives Spiral Arts program

Lisa Vaccaro Steve Souza

Steve from Wicked Wines and Lisa from Caiola's

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Scot from Davine didn't believe my Cahors was a bit cinnamony.

On Sunday the 18 I, along with Tabitha from Crush, Scot from Davine, and Steve from Wicked hosted the third 20/20 charity wine tasting on Caiola's back patio.  It was gorgeous weather and holding the tasting outside shaded by a big old maple allowed us to really take advantage of it.  We showcased 20 unusual wines from southern France and also managed to raise over $1100 for Ingraham's Spiral Arts program which focuses on engaging the elderly. 

I had a great time at both these events and will try to do more charities in the near future.  If you haven't already attended one you should consider it; events like this are more in depth and are a better way to experience and learn about wines than the quick free tastings that shops do each month. 


Dinner at El Camino in Brunswick

Last night I found myself in Brunswick around 5 o'clock.  El Camino is one of my favorite restaurants in this state so I take any opportunity to get dinner there.  Twins Eloise and Daphne try to use as much local produce as possible and as a result there is a large specials board that's always changing.  Every time I go there's something new and exciting. 

 
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Bluefish Scalpicon

I started out with a smoked Bluefish scalpicon.  The Bluefish was smoked in house, then ground up with cilantro and served with crostini.  The Bluefish was meaty and really well seasoned with just enough salt balanced by the cilantro and a hint of lemon.  I particularly liked the texture.  It was very smooth and fine, with no graininess. 

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Fresh Lobster and Chanterelle Soft Tacos

Oh Hell Yeah!  These have become kind of legendary and I'm glad I got there while the mushrooms were in season.  Fresh lobster with locally foraged chanterelles, a light cream sauce, and super ripe little quartered local cherry tomatoes.  The lobster was at it's rich meaty best and was a great pair with the earthy chanterelles.  The sauce helped marry them and the tomatoes seemed key in adding just a bit of acidity, but not too much as they were exceptionally ripe.  I polished these off in maybe 5 min. and then had to sit while my friend worked on his Poblano Relleno.

The Poblano Relleno was also delicious.  Spicy local sauted greens with just a hint of bitterness, enriched with local Hahns End queso fresco.  The almonds and raisins balanced each other very well and gave the dish another dimension.  The integration and balance of all these complex flavors was very impressive. 

El Camino is a very impressive example of real dedication to local agriculture and maintaining a farm to table connection.  The pay off is the extremely fresh produce and exciting variation of dishes.  Eloise and Daphne are really talented at subtly combining flavors and I strongly recommend this restaurant!


Vincent Raimbault Vouvray 2007

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Varietal: 100% Chenin Blanc

Background:  Unfortunately I wasn't the only person who loved this wine.  The vintage sold out almost as soon as it came in.  At first I wasn't going to write about it cause I didn't want to just taunt you all, but then I decided I just loved it too much not to write about here. This Domaine has been in the same family since 1904 and consists of just over 30 acres just outside of Tours.  The vineyards are up above the Loire and as a result of natural erosion have less soil and more rock and gravel.  The wines pick up a more nervy racy character as a result.

Aroma:  This wine has white flowers and a hint of ripe pear and pineapple, but what really gets me is this aroma that is exactly the way it smells when you walk outside after an intense summer thunderstorm.  It's that incredibly clean smell of fresh rain evaporating off the hot ground.

Taste:  This is a full wine that really fills your mouth and has a fleshy texture, but balanced by serious mineral and acidity.  Oh give me scallops!  Roast, grilled, in a cream sauce.... all amazing with this.  The Rosemont in Yarmouth has some.  Browne trading has a few bottles.  They're both fish retailers, so go do the natural thing and snag these while you can.  I'll write up the 2008 when it comes in at the end of the month.