Tempus Two Recommended by Het Parool

tempus two spring rock verdelhoJust read an article in Het Parool in which wine expert Harold Hamersma recommends Tempus Two – one of my favorite white wines.

The article is a write-up of a three day event for wine professionals organized by The Winesite as part of the Horecava 2009.

There are a number of rather standard recommendations for Alsace Riesling or Champs des Murailles Corbières. But Hamersma also recommends a new Tempus Two Moscato – available at wine store Ton Overmars. I can’t wait to try it!

I buy a lot of wine from Ton who personally has made several great recommendations. About a year ago he suggested a Tempus Two Verdelho. I have had several good Verdejo wines from the up and coming Spanish Rueda region and decided to try out their Australian cousin. The Tempus Two Verdelho Spring Rock is amazing. It sort of has it all: a full body and plenty of spicy flavor of the Verdejo grape; fresh fruity acidity; and great balance and finish.

I think it’s definitely worth a trip to Ton to pick up some Tempus Two Moscato alongside some Verdelho and maybe some other suggestion he surely has!

2009 Inauguration at Felix Meritis

On Sunday I gave you some ideas on where to watch Obama’s inauguration in Amsterdam. As planned, we headed to the “Yes, We Watch” party at Felix Meritis on Keizersgracht. And we had great fun!2009 inauguration at felix meritis amsterdam - aretha franklin

We got there at 17:15. 45 minutes before Obama would take his oath and plenty early. Or so we thought! Felix Meritis was packed already. Outside, it was hard to find a space for the bikes. Inside, there was standing room only by the big screen. And it took me a good ten minutes to order beers.

There was much anticipation and the crowd was rather rowdy – at least for such a ceremonial event. There were boos when George W. entered and loud cheers when Obama arrived. An early highlight was Aretha Franklin – legendary also in Amsterdam’s literary circles. Obama raising his hand to take the oath provoked a collective roar by the large crowd, which then attentively followed his speech.

2009 inauguration at felix meritis amsterdam - obama takes oath

More Ripasso at vindict.nl

My overview of Ripasso wines in Amsterdam is missing an interesting lower price Ripasso. For only € 7,75 you can find a bottle of Cantina Valpantena Falasco Ripasso at Dutch online wine retailer Vindict.

cantina valpantena falasco ripassoI discovered the Ripasso – and the online retailer – at a wine tasting last night. The tasting was a private event that Vindict organized for us. Vindict served us nine wines. First four whites and then five reds, ordered from light to full bodied. I was not so impressed with the selection of white wines, a rather average choice of Sancerre, Chardonnay and Chablis.

The red wines were more interesting! We got to taste the Falasco Ripasso alongside the regular Valpolicella from the same producer. The difference is amazing. The Ripasso has so much more body and is much more balanced than the Valpolicella. Then we tried a Lebanese wine. The  Clos St. Thomas – Les Emirs not only looks a lot but also tastes a lot like a Bordeaux. And also the German Spätburgunder from wine maker Salwey was surprisingly good. Unfortunately it was also expensive at more than € 30 and is apparently so special that you will not be able to order it online.

Overall, the wine tasting was fun and informative. The sommelier gave as a lot of technical information about grape varieties, regions and wine making techniques. The same is true for the Vindict web site which presents color, intensity, nose, aroma, smell, flavors, taste, body, alcohol, sweetness, acidity and tannin. The well organized wine product sheets are a good way of discovering new wines that have similar characteristics than your favorites! And although I have not had a chance to try it out, I was pleased to find out that delivery options include evening service.

Vino di Pino Amsterdam

The other day I wrote about different kinds of Ripasso wines that I had found throughout Amsterdam.

I had found one of the better Ripasso at Vino di Pino on Haarlemmermeerstraat near Hoofddorpplein. It was a Monteré Ripasso. Full bodied, balanced and very good overall. But not cheap at € 23,- per bottle. It worked out because Vino di Pino had a special 3 for 2 opening deal in December.

I saw that readers of dutchgrub were particularly interested in Vino di Pino. So I stopped by them again.

Turns out that there will be a similar sale throughout January. Vino di Pino is offering 50% off every second bottle for the entire month.

They are specializing in Italian wines and have a good selection of it. They know their wines and are happy to explain and make recommendations. I also like that they are open until 20:00 from Monday to Saturday – rather unusual for Amsterdam.

I got a bottle of La Guardiense Aglianico and a bottle of Primitivo by Tenuta Viglione that I cannot wait to try.

And Ton Overmars, the best store in Amsterdam for wine, whisky and other liquor is just across the street on Hoofddorpplein. Ton has a great selection of wines and whiskys, top quality and offers great value for your money!

Enjoying Ripasso in Amsterdam

Ripasso is one of my favorite wines and I have been enjoying plenty of it recently in Amsterdam.

Ripasso is an intense yet smooth red wine from Valpolicella, a well-known wine region in the Italian Veneto province.

Valpolicella wines are made from Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella grapes. In general, the wines are considered light and fruity. The exception is the precious Amarone – Italian for ‘the big bitter’ – an expensive wine classic. Amarone can be found on many a wine list and is known for its extreme, almost raisiny dryness and big, often daunting body. Grapes are dried for several weeks before pressing to make Amarone wines. The drying process causes them to lose over 50% of their water, resulting in wines that are intense and rich in tannins.

Ripasso wines are made by an additional pressing – or re-passing – of fresh Valpolicella grapes over the pomace of dried grapes that were used to make Amarone. The re-passing causes an additional fermentation that gives Ripasso wines a lot more body and tannins than regular Valpolicellas without making them as dry or bitter as Amarone. If you’re like me and enjoy complex and flavorful wines that are not too dry, you will love Ripasso!

A good Ripasso will have a deep ruby color and a nose of raspberry and cherry that is incredibly persistent. Ripasso wine is full bodied with a warm, balanced, almost velvety taste. It’s great with red meat, poultry, cheese and, if you ask me, almost anything else.

Several shops in Amsterdam sell Ripasso and a number of restaurants have it on their wine list. My recent Ripasso cravings were quenched by the Montresor Capitel della Crosara, Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco, Tommasi, Tinnazi Ca de Rocchi Monteré and Salvalai Monile.

Ripasso Bottles from Amsterdam

I found both the Tommasi and the Montresor at liquor store Ton Overmars on Hoofddorpplein. The Tommasi, the best of the selection in my opinion, goes for € 18. Well worth it for an incredibly smooth yet strong wine. And at € 9,- the Montresor is the best value Ripasso. Not quite as accomplished and balanced but still pleasant and harmonious. Ton also has a Tenuta Sant’ Antonio Ripasso Monti Garbi that he imports directly and sells for € 11.

Just around the corner on Haarlemmerstraat, newly opened Vino di Pino sold me a few bottles of Monteré Ripasso for € 23,- each. Expensive, since the Monteré does not have the quality of Tommasi. They did have a three-for-two deal for the opening of their shop, which made it good value after all. Mr Alaimo, the owner of Vino di Pino, also stocks the Masi Campofiorin Supervenetian, which claims to be the first Ripasso ever made when Amarone pomace was forgotten in a barrel…

The Salvalai is on the wine list of Vooges one of my favorite eetcafes, which is located on Utrechtsestraat. And finally Frenzi Cucina has the Tedeschi Ripasso in both their restaurant on Zwanenburgwal and for sale in their shop on Overtoom.

Cafe de Curtis – Simple but Good

Cafe de Curtis is a small Italian restaurant in the Jordaan. It’s simple but good.

Some reviewers complain that the food is too simple and that the service is arrogant. I disagree. The food is no frills – focused on just the right ingredients and perfect preparation. And while the service might seem blunt, it’s correct and knowledgeable. My impression is that the people who run de Curtis take pride in what they serve.

cafe de curtis amsterdam - chalkboard menuThe building is typical Jordaan. The restaurant floor long and narrow, laid out around the open kitchen. Cafe de Curtis is really small with less than ten tables. There is one large table by the entrance, which is great for larger groups and also fun when shared by several guests and some of the regulars. Then there are a few tables for 2 or 4 people along the side wall, opposite the kitchen.

cafe de curtis amsterdam - dolcettoThe walls are decorated with posters of classic Italian movies, mostly featuring Napolitanean actor Totò, known in real life as Antonio de Curtis. We were sitting at a table below Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg bathing in the Trevi Fountain in Rome…

The menu is small and written on a chalkboard. The dishes are simple classics like Bresaola, Caprese salad, Spaghetti Vongole or Saltimbocca. When we went last Friday, the waiter was very helpful. That night he set us up with a delicious Dolcetto wine (Famiglia Marrone) that was not on the main wine list. We loved it. It was unusually strong for a Dolcetto, but still had its typical smooth and distict flavor.

cafe de curtis amsterdam - filetto with rucola and parmesanThe pasta – penne with pumpkin and taleggio – was only average. The penne were slightly overcooked and the sauce was a little too thick. The rest of the dinner was fantastic. The Filetto with rucola and parmesan was close to perfection. The meat was tasty, tender and cooked just right – without even having to ask for medium / rare. The home made panna cotta was equally good and. It had just the right consistency and was the perfect finish of the dinner.

You can find de Curtis on 2e Anjeliersdwarsstraat 6hs.