Greywacke sounds like something made with Grey Goose vodka, right? Wrong! New Zealand’s most famous soil, greywacke (GRAY wacky) is the mud-gray, hard, fractured, deformed residual rocky material that forms from the decay of sandstone. Greywacke soils have an amazing etiology. They are created as the water from large rivers cascades down the sides of continental shelves, creating turbidity currents and undersea avalanches. The power generated races along the bottom of the ocean for many miles, forming fan-shaped beds of sandy sediments. Over time, these deposits are buried by mud and harden, forming greywacke. The greywacke in New Zealand is largely Mesozoic in age and makes up most of the rock that forms the spine of the Southern Alps. Greywacke is also the principal rock of California’s Sonoma Coast.
And if you are feeling sorry for yourself in the middle of the summer heat and wildfires, consider this: Ten million acres of wildfires are now burning in Sibera, in icy northern Russia—more than the combined number of acres burning in the U.S., Greece, Turkey, and Canada combined, according to the Wall St. Journal. The fires are sending choking smoke to the North Pole and blocking out sunlight. NASA has estimated that smoke from the Siberian wildfires currently covers 2,000 miles from east to west and 2,500 miles from north to south. At this point, denying climate change is pure insanity. Having been to Siberia, I can tell you they can handle the fires better than we can here in California.
From Winespeed: Since so many of you wrote in (thank you!) inquiring about our favorite cheeses with Champagne, we thought we’d share our all-time favorites with you.
Our number one favorite cheese with Champagne is Crémeux des Cîteaux, a triple crème from Burgundy, France. We also asked some friends and colleagues about their favorites. Sommelier/educator Andrea Robinson, M.S., swears by Caserina Camembert di Bufala and Truffled Pecorino both from Italy. Todd Jasmine, the cheese expert at Oakville Grocery in Napa Valley, suggests Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar from California and 30-month Gruyère from Switzerland.
Several of these sound rather expensive. I stick with some basic cheeses from Trader Joe’s, like Brie, Camembert, Fontina, Gouda, and Stilton with dried apricots. Green olives also go well, along with a nice selection of crackers and dried, cured meat. BTW, have you ever made the famous FIVE cheese penne pasta I have mentioned numerous times???
Like many of you, I get tired of the big, oakey chardonnays. But thankfully, Winespeed has read my mind:
In the United States, the popularity of big, oaky California Chardonnays led, in the late 1990s, to a still-thriving counter movement called ABC—Anything But Chardonnay. Today, scores of California winemakers talk about the importance of expressing elegance and balance in Chardonnay. Yet too few “walk the talk.” They may have moved their vineyards to cooler places, but many winemakers seem to have forgotten to move their mindsets and winemaking practices there, too. The audience for gas-pedal-to-the-floor, big, ripe, and oaky California Chardonnay isn’t going away. But if you’re an ABCer, here are a few really cool chardonnays made in a pure, minimalist, not-overripe style:
- Melville “Clone 76-Inox”
- Scribe Estate
- Matthiasson “Linda Vista Vineyard”
- Flowers “Camp Meeting Ridge”
- Massican “Hyde Vineyard”
If you know of a good, lighter chardonnay, please let me know.