Posted by: tomciocco | May 30, 2010


Just a small plea to anyone reading to send your wishes, prayers, thoughts, etc. to the quickest and most complete cessation of the Gulf oil leak, and to consider the real and indeed profound change this must bring to this planet and all of our lives. Do what you can.


On the count of some family visiting on this holiday weekend, I didn’t have time for a proper cook, so I hit the icebox. Actually before leaving the house this afternoon, I began defrosting a batch of bordatino – a polenta soup from Livorno, and a tub of daube provencal that I eventually sloshed over half a bag of Polish egg noodles I had in the pantry. And all that set aside a Moroccan Syrah made by a Frenchman – how’s that for multikulti?!

Before the visitin’ we stopped at Berkeley Wine Company, a little shop in Berkeley Heights, NJ run by an old colleague of mine, David. The juice in the cellar had been getting a bit low, so we stopped for a shop, and one of the bottles Dave threw my way was called “Syrocco”,  a 100% Syrah made by the esteemed northern Rhone winemaker Alain Graillot at, and with the fruit grown at Domaine des Ouleb Thaleb in Ben Slimane, Morocco. Jen and I don’t drink very much straight up Syrah, let alone ones from Morocco, so maybe there was a bit more novelty power at work here than usual, but I thought this wine was a stunner…

Domaine des Ouleb Thaleb/Alain Graillot “Syrocco” Zenata, Morocco

Very deep purple with a bright crimson edge. Ever-evolving nose of smoky jelly donut, cucumber pickles, gamy meat, black olives, and baked fruit. A formidable acid/tannic grip, supported by subtly and well-integrated fine oak  elegantly eases into a velvety-textured pop of blackberry, prune, black licorice and cigar flavors that go on and on.

Tom Ciocco




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