Swizzling in NOLA

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I wish I had written about this entry sooner.

I made my first ever visit to New Orleans back in June of this year.  And I got to experience so much in such little time, that I almost freaked myself out.  There was so much to see, so much to eat, and yes so much wine to enjoy.  I wanted to space out these posts so I can try to appreciate these moments even more.

For my previous NOLA wine post, you can click here.

On my final night I met up with a friend and per their suggestion we met up at Cafe Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar, which is located inside the luxurious Loews Hotel.

I was grateful that I got to see a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years but our time was limited.  No food was ordered but wine was on the mind.   And I perused the menu and saw quite an extensive list.    Seriously, this list is nuts!  I kept scrolling and scrolling!  This is a wine lovers dream.  I would add to my knowledge base if I hung out here regularly.

No bottles on this day but I did settle on the 2012 LIOCO “Indica”, Old Vine Carignan/Petite Sirah.   Only by mistake (or maybe not) they poured me the 2013.  That’s not even a quibble, but only an observation.  And at the time I was so oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t really matter.  I only recall this when going through my notes.

Speaking of which, sometimes notes are helpful in referencing flavors and the like, but overall I don’t it can come close to telling the whole story.   This wine could have tasted pitiful and I wouldn’t have cared.  Honestly, I was in a wonderful city that I had always wanted to visit.  And perception is key.  I was in such a happy place that nothing was going to bring me down.   I was on vacation and I’m going to find the positives in everything.

The positives for this wine were easy.  This was not the aforementioned Carignan/Petite Sirah from 2012.  But we move ahead one year.  And I can’t pretend otherwise.  I’d never heard of Carignan until that day.  The bartender was helpful in explaining the details of that grape, that have since escaped my memory.  There was no Petite Sirah with this on for 2013. Now I wish I had those notes.

It’s perhaps never been in a wine I had before or had since, but in this instance (or many others) does it really matter?

I’ve never noticed this or any of their bottles sold in stores near me or when I visit, but if you’re interested in purchasing any, here is the link.

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The wine tasted light.  I seem to recall some cherries and it did have that jammy connotation.  There’s a term that has been thrown around many a time but does apply here.   It had some oak, tannins, and all the stuff that makes me love wine.   And how about that color?  We have a purplish and violet look here.  I find that delightful.

But most importantly I love wine because of how it makes me feel and the company I get to share it with.   And I got to enjoy it in one of my favorite cities in the world.

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The staff was great and the bartender was awesome enough to let me take a picture of the bottle in case I ever got to this point!  And yes!

I included a few photos from this fantastic night.  How short and sweet it was.

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I can’t wait to come back to this bar and this city.

Best,

Ideen

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Muffuletta Memories

This post takes us to New Orleans, where I had the honor of visiting over a month ago. Even with all the wonderful foods and cocktails I got to try while I was there, I still had to make time for the inspiring bottles I love so much.

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And I love this city so much too.  I didn’t want to leave.   And as a wanderer, I found myself at the French Market everyday I was there.  It’s a small town feel within one of the greatest places I’ve ever visited.

It was a warm day and we heard some amazing jazz music up the street.  This calls for cigars, relaxing, good food, and a bottle of red.   The latter part may sound like an oxymoron, but this is a vacation!

The night before on a leisurely stroll towards Frenchmen Street I came upon the market as it was about to shut down for the night and saw the stand for Alberto’s Cheese and Wine Bistro.

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And this place looked so quaint, cozy, and charming.  I knew I had to at least come back the next day to see what this place (and the Market as a whole) is all about.

Coming back the next day, the Market was so alive and so vibrant.  I have been to many local markets before with a similar sentiment, but not like this.  This felt like home.  I belonged here.  And everyone was so friendly.  It’s the type of love and comradery I can get used to.

Alberto’s had a very welcoming and small town feel, just like the rest of the French Market.  I felt like something had to be wrong.  The folks behind the counter were so accommodating and answered any questions about the menu that I had.

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New Orleans is known for a lot of amazing things.  I didn’t know the Muffuletta was one of them.  So I ordered one and it was incredible.  So what about a great wine to pair with it?

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I grabbed the Banfi Tuscany Centine Rosso and it paired with my hearty sandwich perfectly.

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The sandwich killed it.  I could have had another.  The meats and cheeses with this amazing sesame bread just made my day. The house made olive salad was a nice complement although I barely had room to finish it.

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And the wine could have tasted like garbage and wouldn’t have mattered.  And it didn’t.  It was fantastic. And regardless, for the moment in time we were in, it was perfection.   The mix of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot gelled perfectly.  A nice mix of light and full-bodied to make it the right wine to pair up with a filling meal such as mine.

No fancy glasses were necessary today.   And we can’t walk around with the streets with those anyways.  But plastic cups will do just fine.

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As a bonus, to make this day even more meaningful in hindsight, I am pulling this directly off their Facebook page : first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility. How amazing is that?  When I looked at the back of the label at the time, All I read was first winery and didn’t think to read further.  I am thrilled that my purchase represents something good and pure.

More information on this wine can be found here.

Everything about this setting was perfect. Great weather, wine, food, company, and people watching.   This city is magical. I felt so at ease.  I feel like I belonged there and after this trip was over, I was left to ponder what took me so long.  That just means I need to come back soon!

There’s going to be pictures all over this post.  Many will revolve around the wine and the meal.  And many as a tourist.

I didn’t expect to write as much as I did. Actions speak louder than words, as do photos. So here you go.

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I am homesick from NOLA, because there I felt like I belonged there and been there for years, not days. Until the next visit…

Best,

Ideen