Taking a look at some elegant wines

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What a spiffy weekend we had. Weather was perfect and so was the “Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano” exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on display through May 10. This was the most enduring and influential school of painting in Japanese history. Beautifully presented by the jewel in the crown of our region’s museums. Then we had our favorite sandwich on the planet — the freshly carved corned beef on rye at Hershel’s East Side Deli Market in Reading Terminal Market, followed, of course, by rum raisin ice cream at Bassetts Ice Cream, also in Reading Terminal Market, and then, we went to opening night of the superb “Jungle Book” (for kids of all ages) at Arden Theatre in Old City.
People boast about living in New York, well I boast about Philly — best theatres and sandwiches (forget about those wretched cheese steaks) and museums in the country. We won’t discuss sport and spoil this column’s upbeat rhythm. But, given the rise in the temperature and happy white clouds floating across the blue expanse of sky, one’s spirits can’t help but be uplifted. And, thanks to the recent arrival of wine samples I’d say we have a jolly splendid summer of quaffing ahead. So without wasting another column inch I will get right down to the best of the bunch that made my palate purr with delight, beginning with two exquisite reds from Bordeaux.
Château Haut-Logat 2009 (Medoc, France): Approximately $25, is located at the highest point of the village of Cissac, between Saint-Estèphe to the north-east and Pauillac to the south-east. The blend of 45 percent Merlot, 45 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Cabernet Franc spends 15 months of barrel ageing to develop all the features of the traditional characteristics of a great Médoc wine. A very dark and intense wine with gorgeously pronounced ripening fruit which still has a couple of years aging potential to fully reach the peak of it’s maturity. Plummy, and full of rich red berries. A steal at the price.
Château Magnol (Medoc, France) 2012: At approximately $25, this wine is again a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc and imported by the famous French shippers Barton & Guestier (or B&G). The blended wine is aged in oak barrels for 12 months. You can taste the oakiness in the wine. And, the dark fruit flavors are very full but still have a year or two to reach their ripest levels for full taste bud potential. Again, money very well spent.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Sofia Rosé (Monterey County, CA): Approximately $20. Coppola Winery’s Sofia Rosé is one of the sexiest bottles on the market. It’s a shame that the label looks like a doily my grandmother used to put underneath the cookies on the plate. But, let’s go beyond the label and talk about the nectar within. It’s totally delicious. Pleasingly dry, this pink wine is made from Syrah and Pinot Noir grapes so it’s structure is solid and full of class. I’ve tasted the wine before and the strawberry essence is very evident in the flavor.

Robert Bennett, right, formerly of Le Bec-Fin and now of Classic Cake in Voorhees, N.J., is Phillip Silverstone’s guest on this week’s TuneIn Radio show. Photo by Linda Silverstone

Robert Bennett, right, formerly of Le Bec-Fin and now of Classic Cake in Voorhees, N.J., is Phillip Silverstone’s guest on this week’s TuneIn Radio show.
Photo by Linda Silverstone

One more bite
I have plenty more wines to tell you about in the coming weeks but before I sign off I have to bang on a few minutes about my favorite pairing for wine: Good bread, butter and cheese. I happen to love the $1.99 French bread that ACME supermarkets sells, always fresh and light but it’s the butter and cheese which make the meal. Let’s talk about Finlandia Butter, which is made from fresh milk produced on family-owned farms in Finland. I tried both the Finlandia salted and unsalted varieties (available in many supermarkets for around $3.50). Finlandia has a full-on richness that I lust after in butter, and although I tend to prefer salted, either way it’s perfect on morning toast without marmalade or jam which would spoil it’s stunningly fresh, distinctively European, creamy flavor.
And the cheese? Jarlsberg cheese, as most of us cheesy people know, is mild and buttery with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. I don’t cook with it or stick it on top of meat, I eat it neat! The biggest producer of Jarlsberg cheese is Tine SA, the largest Norwegian dairy product cooperative. I recently discovered we can now buy snack sized minis of this cheese, ideal for the kids. Like most cheeses, I don’t want mine sliced, I prefer to buy a wedge and cut off a nice sized chunk to savor with my bread and butter and wine.

Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this newspaper. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining

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