For those of you who missed the Portuguese wine tasting at The Empress, there’s still time to play along at home (and Genevelyn will likely have more, maybe at C’est La Vin in Shockoe Bottom). If you’re looking to pick up bottles from that event, The Empress has got’em. But, for big box shoppers, there’s not really a great selection at Total Wine. If you’re a Kroger grocery person, you’re out of luck for Portugal’s wine. The wine guy in Carytown’s store says they only have Vinho Verde, no reds (and that I’m the second person to ask him in seven years). He also added that River City Cellars would surely have Portuguese Reds, and shop owner, Julia, confirms it.
Across the fan, in Strawberry Town, that one block of boutiques Strawberry Street Vineyards are a good source for Portuguese bottles. If you don’t see the right away, check the end of the Spanish section (probably the case with a lot of wine shops). These range from $10-15. Not the bargain basement buys that drew me to Portuguese wines, but well within most casual drinkers’ range.
In the wooden boxes on the ground on the right side of the store, Strawberry Street Vineyard shows off the bottles that they believe are great values. This bottle has a nice looking label and the tasting notes/hype are appealing. They’re almost out. Any of you tried it?
On the $6.99 rack (or 3/$20, I think), SSV carries a few from Portugal. If you’re gambling on bargain bottles, these probably won’t be a complete waste of money. I would have bought one of each, but I need to make room in my wine rack to accommodate them (damn sober January). Any pals wanna help me with this? Come over and distract the kids while I make dinner, and I’ll pour the wine.
While on Strawberry Street, pop into 8.5 and pick up some Caputo’s double-zero flour for your pizza dough, some plum tomatoes for your sauce (yes, they have San Marzano’s too), and a bag of Blanchard’s MammaZu blend coffee. It says “the one and only,” which seems like a backhanded reference to Rostov’s Mamma Zu coffee, which I’m assuming isn’t available anymore, or maybe not Ed Vassaio endorsed? I dunno. This stuff is muy fuerte. Kinda like asking Ed a dumb question when he’s working: Not for the timid.
Back to Kroger… Despite not having any Portugues red wine, they were flush with Chilean stuff, another area known for its quality price ratio. Santa Rita is a brand name I hear a lot, but haven’t tried. Their entry level stuff, 120s, was on sale when I passed through. Though I didn’t pick up any bottles, it was tempting. The reviews online aren’t great or terrible. Any of you tried these?
I didn’t mean to upload this picture to the blog, but here it is. Maybe this unrelated item would actually make a good pairing, and thus it’s a happy accident. On my first trip to the Big Apple Supermercado way out on Jeff Davis Hwy, I spied cans of tomatillos. Immediately, I thought of a green pizza sauce. Next thing you know, I’ve got the can along with Queso de Oaxaca (aka: Mexican mozzarella), and some cilantro for the sauce. Back home, I whipped up a salsa verde, spread it on pizza dough, topped it with way too much of the queso, some Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, some frijoles negros for color contrast and to proclaim “pizza latina,” and lastly a bit of pineapple so I’d be able to call this monster Pizza al Pastor. I thought it was delicious.
Sorry this post is extra sloppy, without hot links, and less than cohesive. Just getting things out of the draft folder before closing up the blog for good.