Category Archives: wine

Frank and The Whole Roasted Pig

Frank Piazza of the Piazza Brothers Winery approached us with a bottle in his hand. We were there for the Sopressata Making Class, an occasion good as any to showcase the winery’s collection.

“See this guy on the label?” Frank Piazza asked. On the label was a blue photo of a guy posing in a manner that must have been trademarked by James Dean – sitting on a set of steps, one foot resting higher than the other, arms leaning lazily the way only a carefree young man would. 

“That’s me,” said Frank.

Of course it was. The last time we were approached by an older gentleman who claimed it was his younger self on a wine bottle’s label, we were at a wine store in Brooklyn and the man was a goon in one of the older Godfather movies. How appropriate that we’d hear the same line again, but this time, in a non-descript warehouse in Staten Island beside an adult video store. Should we have started looking over our shoulders?

Instead Frank Piazza took it upon himself to sit us down and demonstrate the “proper” way to taste wine. Other than the usual nosing and legs examination, he prompted us to take a bit of wine a keep it for a few seconds in the front of our mouths, pooling around our bottom incisors.

“Okay,” he said, “now slowly move your tongue around it, then swallow.”

As he predicted our tongue split into several parts, the sides tingling from the acid of the wine, the tip from the sweetness, the back from the bitterness. I had never tasted wine like this before, and being no connoisseur, a new way was welcome. (Of course after further reading, apparently the existence of the tongue map is insgnificant, but I still thought it was pretty cool to demarcate the areas of your tongue with a sip of wine.)

After the class a whole roasted pig was served, and he cut it so expertly that I began to doubt the expertise of the  butchers I watched in my homeland.

We explained to the wine and sausage makers that a whole roasted pig was a fixture in Filipino parties. They smiled and said this one was actually from Chinatown. That explained the Five Spice Powder taste it had about it.

Either way we feasted, crunched on the skin, and I was able to scam the head to make some lechon paksiw. Good times!
Thanks, Frankie!

Frank Carves a Whole Roasted Pig

My plate of crispy skin, pasta and salad.
The head I scammed and took home to make Lechon Paksiw (recipe next post).

Piazza Brothers Wine Room & Sopressata Making

It was snowing but not sticking on the morning that we arrived at the Piazza Brothers Wine Room in Staten Island. I was fortunate to get a spot in a company-sponsored Sopressata Making Class and decided to cover the event using my camera.
The wine room itself is hidden on a secluded road deviously beside an adult video store you may or may not ignore, but do not underestimate its humble facade because behind the door awaits the fun task of making wine or sausage, depending on what you’re there for.  A glass of Oregon white wine is what you should prefer when it comes to wine.
I was there for the sausage class, heavily documented in posts to follow tomorrow. But I didn’t pass the chance of looking around and getting to know the brothers John, Freddie and Frank, who taught us about wine and sausage, and even carved a whole roasted pig for us at the end.

Sausages hung to dry alongside oak barrels.
 Each winery needs its own artsy photo of oak barrels.
The winery’s grape/wine selection
Yes indeed.
I liked this barrel’s design.
Freddie on the left and John on the right teach us how to make sausage.
Chef Frank teaching us how to taste wine using a special technique that
uses the different taste areas of the tongue.
A whole roasted pig for lunch.
Frank expertly cuts through the pig.
After lunch, limoncello shots to cap the event.
Come back tomorrow to read about and view the great photos of the Sopressata Making Class!
Piazza Brothers Wine Room

690 Gulf Avenue

Staten Island NY 10314

Contact John @ 718 982 9463

A Tribute to Chateau Montelena

It was great to finally open a bottle we saved from a Napa trip in 2006. The 2003 Chardonnay by Chateau Montelena was the perfect pair to our seafood dinner. It was crisp, smooth and celebratory. Cheers!
Took some photos to commemorate the bottle:
In a tub of ice with the remains of a California urchin.

Posing with the shell of a Maine urchin.

The evening’s spirits.
Happy 2012!
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