Home > Amarone, Champagne, Food, Sparkling wine > Bread and Amarone

Bread and Amarone

Puzzled by the title? Don’t be. This is simply the post about our last Valentine’s Day experience – yes, somewhat belated, but still worth sharing.

Let’s start with the picture. No pink hearts here, only roses, but take a look – what is that lurking in the fuzzy background?

DSC_0182 Roses and Champagne

Yep, a Champagne glass, the Tulip! Before we get to the bread and Amarone, let’s talk about Champagne Sparkling wine. By the way, this political correctness is very tiring. Champagne is much faster to say and to write, but no-ooo, Champagne only comes from Champagne, and everything else should be called a Sparkling Wine. It is two words versus one, and takes twice as much time to say and read! And the worst part is that the Sparkling wine in very many cases tastes much better than Champagne, and don’t even get me going on the pricing… Okay, sorry, unintentional rant, let’s cut it out and go back to what I actually wanted to talk about.

DSC_0163 Roederer 2003My definite preference is to start a holiday, especially the one like Valentine’s Day, with the glass of Cham, errr, Sparkling Wine. It creates mood. It says (loudly) “Celebrate!”. Lightness and effervesce of the bubbles simply picks you up. So this past Valentine’s day our choice of bubbly (yes, jargon – but  – it is one word! and it means any sparkling wine, Champagne or not) was 2003 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut Anderson Valley California. Perfectly structured, perfectly balanced, with full harmony both on the nose and the palate. Fresh bread, yeast, toasted apple, perfect acidity, long-living bubbles – all in all, one of the best sparkling wines I ever tasted. Drinkability: 8+

Now, to the bread! Let me not be original – I’m simple going to repeat the note (a huge Thank You, rather) of appreciation which is being expressed all over the blogosphere – the useful content, the advice, information, ideas which are shared by the bloggers are simply staggering. About a month ago I read the blog post by one of the fellow bloggers, Kim from She Wines Sometimes (if you are not following her blog – fix this mistake right now). The post was talking about making the bread! At home! In a simple way!

I have to admit – I love bread. When in France, I can survive on just baguette alone (okay, throw in a little cheese, will you?). But baking the bread at home was not anything I would fathom in my wildest dreams. Until I read Kim’s blog post. It sounded so easy – I had no choice, but to say – this is it, I’m making the bread!

When it comes to baking, I dread the precision of the recipes. I consider myself to be an okay cook – I can substitute ingredients, I can come up with my own recipes, where I can measure all the ingredients with very precise “I think this is enough” accuracy. It doesn’t work like that in baking. Replace baking powder with baking soda and you might end up with a complete flap instead of a good tasting product – and the same goes for many other ingredients. This is why I usually think about baking as something better left to the professionals – but then again, all the professionals start somewhere, don’t they?

I’m not going to repeat the recipe here – here is the link to the original. Of course I ended up making some mistakes. The recipe calls specifically for King Arthur bread flour. I didn’t print the recipe before going to the store, and of course I ended up with the regular King Arthur flour. At first I even forgot to buy the yeast – and the second trip to the store was in order. But, you know what? All this doesn’t matter. Because the bread tasted AMAZING!

DSC_0158 Bread

And the smell of the freshly baked bread when you just walk into the house – it is simply something heavenly (and pretty much priceless). The only thing I need to add here – Thank You Kim!

DSC_0185 Amarone CorkAnd now, to the wine. Not just any wine – Amarone! If you followed this blog for some duration of time, you know that I’m always on the lookout for the perfect Amarone, trying to replicate my moment of bliss smelling succulent raisins and tasting perfectly dry and powerful wine (here you can find a collection of my Amarone posts ). That “perfect wine” was 1997 Le Ragose Amarone, which I tasted in 2004, so the wine was 7 years old. And now it was Le Ragose Amarone again.

Looking at the cork, can you try to guess how the wine was? Did you write down your answer? Okay, good.

We opened the bottle of 1990 Le Ragose Amarone Della Valpolicella (so, did you guess correctly?). I have some experience opening old wines, and when you open a bottle of wine which is 23 years old, you expect trouble. I had my double-prong bottle opener ready, but when I removed the foil and looked at the cork, it appeared to be as fresh as it would be on the new bottle. And it actually was – the standard waiter corkscrew worked just fine!

DSC_0167 Le Ragose Amarone

And the wine was outstanding. No, it didn’t replicate my experience with 1997 – this was a lot more mature wine. But it had a perfect nose of dried fruit – not only raisins, but probably some dried cherries, fig, prunes. The palate showed mature beauty, with the fruit which is tamed, but still has perfect acidity to make it all work together – there was more dried fruit on the palate, more cherries, more prunes, leather and earthiness. Definitely was a great wine, and as an added bonus – it was only 14% ABV! All the modern Amarone are trying to exceed 16% by now, and one of the geniuses of the winemaking recently even told me that you need high alcohol to preserve the wine… ok, stop. Sorry. One rant per post. This one will have to wait for another time. All in all this 1990 Le Ragose was a great experience, so let’s live it at that. Drinkability: 9-.

That’s all I have for you for today folks. It is too late to ask about your Valentine’s day experiences by now, but did you drink any amazing wines lately? Or made bread : ) ? Cheers!

  1. Jayne
    March 5, 2013 at 9:15 am

    My husband LOVES Amarone! And he LOVES bread! My too, on both counts. A new bakery just opened right down from where we live in Haddam, Farm to Hearth, and when the “Fresh Bread” sign is waving we can now pick up a still warm loaf to go with our tasty Amarone 😉

    • talkavino
      March 5, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Glad to be able to post on two of your favorite subjects : ) And you should try making that bread – it is easy and the result is very tasty!

  2. Kim
    March 5, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for the shout out! I am so glad that you liked the bread. Making it has become a part of my weekend routine already, and we look forward to eating it with everything! So glad the wine worked out for you, too! I’ve never had an Amarone, but it sounds like something I would enjoy.

    • talkavino
      March 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

      My pleasure and thank you! Just a thought of that bread makes me happy : ) And I can’t wait to try it actually with the bread flour, as soon as I’m done with the regular one : )

  3. March 5, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Bread in a Dutch oven? I’m beyond curious!! Must try that immediately. I don’t have much experience with Amarone, but you make it sound so irresistible. It’s going on the “continuing education” list immediately! I wonder how this bread would be with Champ, er Sparkling Vino?? Salud!!

    • talkavino
      March 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Thanks for the comment! Definitely make the bread – it will be perfect with anything, and just by itself too : ) Amarone is worth trying, but I have to honestly admit that many of them lately became over-extracted high alcohol fruit bombs. See if you can find Masi Amarone at a reasonable price, or Righetti Capitel de Roari Amarone – it is usually well priced and very decent.

      • March 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

        Making the bread tonight or tomorrow. Or as soon as I find King Arthur flour. Masi Amarone and Righetti Capitel de Roari Amarone are officially on my “Wines to Acquire” list . . . thanks for the recommendation! Salud!!

        • talkavino
          March 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

          Great! Hopefully will read about it in your blog!

  4. March 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Makes me want to bake my favourite olive bread…The wine looks seriously delicious. One day…..

    • talkavino
      March 5, 2013 at 11:19 am

      This is my next step – I want to play with different additions – olives, seeds, nuts and so on.

      You should definitely try Amarone, but if I understand correctly, you are in Bordeaux, so you got an access to some tasty wine in any case : )

  5. March 6, 2013 at 7:26 am

    What a wonderful bottle you popped, Anatoli! I am sure it made your Valentine’s Day a special one!
    As to your final question, due to some unexpected coincidence, I recently did have two pretty special wines: one is the Kurni that I just reviewed in today’s post and the other one (which I will review in a future post) was an awesome Sassicaia 1995! Let me just say – wow 🙂
    Take care

    • talkavino
      March 6, 2013 at 7:32 am

      Thanks, Stefano, that was a great bottle of Amarone – as we both noticed, not an easy find nowadays : ). And I’m actually reading your review of Kurni right now : ) . 1995 Sassicaia – that must be special!

  6. March 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Wow that bottle of Amarone looks so nice! 1990 🙂
    Nice tasting notes. Amarone is simply the best!

    • talkavino
      March 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you! Yes, Amarone is definitely one of my most favorite wines.

  1. March 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

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