Today was a beautiful day as my husband and I traveled to Durham to taste the incredible wines of Centerba Selections. We met up with some of my favorite people in the North Carolina restaurant scene, Vivian Howard and Ben Knight of Chef and the Farmer in Kinston. Our dear friend, Ken Rosati, owner of Centerba, opened up his warehouse and his bottles to give us the tasting of kings.
We started with Clos du Tue Boeuf’s “Brin de Chevre,” made from a grape called Menu Pineau. To call this wine obscure is an understatement, and to taste something this rare is quite an opportunity. Filled with minerals, almond skin and bruised apples, I thought this was an excellent example of what is coming out of the Loire Valley unknown to so many consumers. Cheers to random wine, and let the randomness continue in the next pour.
Ken, in his infinite wisdom and humor, decided to blind me on the next wine that came from Trentino Alto Adige. Smelling intensely like honeysuckle and gardenia with sidenotes of peach, I guessed Tocai (even though I know Tocai grows in Friuli, not Alto Adige). Of course, I was wrong, and when Ken told me the grape was Muller-Thurgau, I had a fleeting thought of hitting him upside the head with the long, slender bottle. How could I have messed up that one? Muller-Thurgau, of course, it’s Muller Thurgau. For those of you reading, I am making a corny wine joke that is probably lost of many readers, mainly because it isn’t funny.
We continued with Thomas Labaille’s Sancerre l’Authentique, Francois Pinon’s sparkling Vouvray with no dosage, De Moor’s Bourgogne Chitry, Georges Descombes Morgon Vieilles Vignes and Bernard Baudry’s Chinon “La Croix Boisees.”
These wines all are part of the Louis Dressner Portfolio, and are absolutely brilliant examples of natural wine making. A whole ‘nother topic, natural wine making basically translates to the practicing biodynamic, organic and sustainable methods both in the vineyard and the cellar. For those of you obsessed with sulfites, minimal sulfites are added to these wine.
We ended our tasting at Pop’s in downtown Durham where the young and talented chef, Curtis, prepared an amazing meal of frittata, a version of penne carbonara with sweet corn, rainbow trout, roasted lamb, braised escarole with garlic and caramelized onions and roasted red potatoes. For dessert, we had an insanely delicious salad that included Hook’s Blue Cheese from Wisconsin and crispy pig.
And this was at lunch. Luckily, Ken brought more wine to drink, and the bottles on the table consisted of Roagna’s Paje 2003 as well as Eric Texier’s Brezeme 2008 and St. Gervais 2008.
It was a fabulous Monday that will inspire me throughout the week, thanks to beautiful conversation about beautiful wines that are meant to be drunk with food and truly highlight the ingredients thanks to their inherent, natural acidity.