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.

FrenchMarket

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.

AlbertosSignAlbertosCheese&Wine

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.

Muffaletta

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?

Muffaletta&Wine

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

Muffatella&Wine2

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.

CentineBackLabel

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.

FrenchMarketInside2FrenchMarketInsideFrenchMarketFun3FrenchMarketFunCreoleTomatoFest

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

Sister Gertrude

piggie

I gotta admit, I purchased this bottle, only for the label itself.  And nothing more.   And I was pleasantly surprised.   This is a fun smelling and tasting wine.   But the most important question of all, how cool is that pig?

The 2012 La Maialina Gertrude from Tuscany is a steal at only $11.99.  This is a wonderful trio of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the inspiring Sangiovese.

I must make mention that this was purchased at Lighthouse Liquors in the Canton part of Baltimore.   They have one heck of a selection, and I find myself going in there at least once a week.    In a subsequent post, I will get into the further details and expound about the fun things of this shoppe.

When I uncorked the bottle, I detected some cherry and mint flavors off the top.  I initially thought this would be an amateur move, buying this wine because of how pretty the design was.  But I was pleasantly surprised on the taste.   Just as good as it smells.

It’s not that I had low expectations.  I’m just not sure what my expectations were.  But that’s the fun of trying a new wine or trying a new anything.  Not knowing what you’re getting into an leaving your comfort zone is part of the fun

But this is a wine that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.  And it can be eaten with anything within reason.    Within reason is entirely up to us.

top

So what about the pig?  Very charming, I know.  What you see is the wrapping on top of the cork, and this looked too brilliant to pop open.

class

And see, that Gertrude cannot be stopped.   You know I’ll be saving that cork, and heck, the bottle too.

Not much is on the web about this wine, aside from several reviews.

The origins of the La Maialina are listed on the back of the label and can also be found here.   The description of the back says Gertrude is unique she does not have the cinta (belt) markings but rather is all.  I’m honored to be a part of something unique.  I love Gertrude.

Finally, the synopsis reads that this awesome Tuscan wine is ready to be enjoyed now or in the next few years.   I look forward to doing both.  This is definitely a purchase I am happy about.   With Italian wines, I usually enjoy them with pizza and this is no exception.

I am happy to have met Gertrude and sometimes is does help judging by wine by it’s cover.  But not too much.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen