saltwater sommelier

Posts Tagged ‘Albe Galotta’

“Summer in Sonoma” Wine Dinner

In Sommelier Corner on April 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

BR Cohn Winery

One of the most amazing things about wine country in California is its diverse landscape, ever changing as you go from county to county. Traveling through counties like Mendocino, Lake County, and Napa make any wine lover long for a life on the vineyard. Each area, one more beautiful than the last, has plenty to offer from its valleys to its rivers, and its mountains to its coastlines. Having spent much time enjoying much of California’s wine country I am always compelled to return to that one place that feels so comfortable. Anything north of San Francisco is God’s country to me, but most of all I have grown to love Sonoma and I really love it in the summer time. Sonoma County is the home of many wonderful little towns like Healdsburg, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and Sebastopol all just a little more than 1 hour north of San Francisco. Directly in the center of Sonoma Valley, are the beautiful B.R. Cohn Winery, and their Olive Hill Vineyard. Protected on the west by the Sonoma Mountains, which is its buffer to coastal fog, the valley floor is about 7-10 degrees warmer in the daytime. Less fog plus warmer daytime temperatures  along with its natural underground hot springs, creates a naturally frost free environment, and a longer growing season than other areas. B.R. Cohn was started in the early 1970’s by owner Bruce Cohn who sold his grapes to many other big name vineyards in Napa and Sonoma until 1984 when he started to produce his own wine with his own label. Now 25 plus years later the B.R. Cohn Estate has become one of the area’s largest Vineyards, producing many of Sonoma’s most sought after wines. Still the original owner, Mr. Cohn has a love for both wine and music, and at his vineyard he gets to enjoy both. Before getting involved with wine Bruce was the Manager of the very popular 70,s band, The Doobie Brothers. Every year Bruce hosts a fall charity music Festival at his Vineyard with numerous legendary bands and performers raising lots of money for The Valley of The Moon Children’s Foundation. If you get to visit the estate someday, I am sure you will enjoy seeing the lush vineyard of Picholine olive trees that were imported from France, and are used in the bottling of B.R.Cohn’s gourmet food, vinegar and Olive Oil Company.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is pleased to announce that on Sunday June 5th 2011 at 3:30 pm we will be hosting our first B.R.Cohn wine dinner in 3 years. It is planned to be held on both our newly redecorated outdoor patio, and in our main dining room. The afternoon will include a “Sonoma Summer Welcome Table” of fresh cheeses, flatbreads and California crostinis upon arrival to be paired with B.R.Cohns new release of their single vineyard Chardonnay, 2009 Sanglacomo.

Being as famous as the SWG is for its seafood we had to include an “East Coast/West Coast” Raw Bar as the second course, with lots of specialty shellfish and seafood delights from both sides of the USA. B.R.Cohn’s Russian River Pinot Noir is just the right taste to pair with this fresh and fun seafood selection. Both these wines will be available to enjoy with the first two courses.

Now that were settled into our seats for the afternoon our salad course of Heirloom Yellow and Red Tomatoes with California fresh fried Artichoke Hearts will go perfect with the Sonoma Zinfandel that B.R.Cohn produces. It compliments Chef Albert’s Famous “White Balsamic Herbal Vinaigrette” wonderfully,which is available retail at the SWG.  Main Course choices will be a either a wonderful Crab Crusted Filet of Sole, fresh citrus sauce and Grilled Zephyr Squash or a Wood Fired, Dry Rubbed Sliced Filet Mignon with Rich Raspberry Merlot Glaze and Vella Cheese Company Dry Aged Monterey Jack.   Our pastry chef never wants to be left out so all the stops have been pulled for us to enjoy a selection of homemade treats that would make any cellar worker happy. Lemon Panna Cotta with Pepita Brittle and homemade Wine Country Cookies will start the list. Topping off our wonderful evening we are pleased to be able to offer a rare gem on the east coast, a special tasting of B.R.Cohn’s Olive Hill Port.

Seats for this very rare event can be obtained by speaking with Brett Clugston at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, 860-567-4900. There are a limited amount of seats so please reserve early. The price is $78.00 per person plus tax and service Charge. All food and unlimited wine is included.

I have enjoyed visiting the B.R. Cohn vineyard in Sonoma many times.  This is the best way for us at the Saltwater Grille to bring to you the pleasures we have enjoyed here in Litchfield.

Cellar Master, Chef, Blog Writer, Albe Galotta


Sommeliers Brett Clugson and Albe Galotta of The Litchfield Saltwater Grille will be featured sommeliers at a very special dinner on Thursday, May 19th.

In Sommelier Corner on April 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Maria…The Restaurant at Stamford is a concept location by Dominick Caiati that is the seed of what will be one of Stamford’s if not all Connecticut’s most cutting edge major culinary destinations.  Located on Stamford’s harbor, “203 Studios” (112 Southfield Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902) is currently home to a TV & Film production studio and on Thursday, May 19th the space will be transformed into what is being said will be the gastronomic celebration of Spring 2011.  Mr. Caiati is bringing together an impressive lineup of culinary and wine professionals for this debut event including celebrity Chef Dave Martin, runner up on season one of Bravos hit series Top Chef. Three sommeliers: Brett Clugston and Albe Galotta of The Litchfield Saltwater Grille and multi media wine professional Sandra Muller.  Tickets are limited and can be purchased for $197.00 per person. Or $1,576.00 the special price for a table of eight.

Dominick Caiati is spearheading a project to create a series of “pop-up” restaurants that will operate on the west side of Stamford Harbor./PHOTO BY RICHARD LEE Photo: Contributed Photo, Richard Lee / Stamford Advocate Staff


More about the menu: Chef Martin, a big draw for the event, has created a seasonal four course menu featuring dishes such as Dave’s Sage & Apple Wood Bacon Mac & Cheese.  “I think the most surprising pairing will be the Coca Cola Braised Boneless Lamb Shoulder with a 2007 Summers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Andrian’s Cuvee, Napa Valley” says Brett Clugston.  Guest will have the opportunity to taste the lemon panna cotta made famous in the finale of Top Chef season one paired by sommelier Albe Galotta with a LBV Presidential Port. The complete menu and wine pairings can be viewed here…

Event Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011

Location: “203 Studios”, 112 Southfield Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902


Stamford Advocate 04/05/11

You Tube Video

The Daily Stamford 03/28/11

2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon “Hit’s the Mark”

In Sommelier Corner on March 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Everything seemed to go right that year, just enough rain, the growing season was just the right length, and the yield was just perfect. All over California, throughout every region, growing grapes and making wine turned out great that year. As for Cabernet Sauvignon it looks like 2007 has turned out one of the best vintages in the last 15 to 20 years. And what’s great about this year, 2011 is that all the 2007 Cabernets are being released and now available in the local stores.

The 2007 California Cabernets have all the flavors, tastes and smells associated with the great Cabernets of the past. Rich Plum and Cherry fruit, Vanilla, Mocha and leather, and just enough spice of currants and earth. Best of all these still young Cabernets are perfect to enjoy right now or lay them down for their exceptional aging potential.

Top wine producers in the Napa Valley scored very high points with all the big wine critics and wine magazines. Vineyards like Schrader, Colgin, Hundred Acre and Joseph Phelps all scored between 97 and 100 points with their 2007 Cabernets.

While looking through your local wine shop shelves you might want to keep an eye out for some of these wonderful selections. My first recommendation is the Summers Estate Andriana’s Cuvee, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2007. Revealing a bouquet of sweet black cherries, plum, earth and spice, this medium-bodied, seductive red is ready for drinking now or great to enjoy over the next decade. If you’re looking for a highly aromatic Cabernet, seek out the 2007 Beaulieu Vineyard, Maestro Series, from Napa Valley. This wine is full of violets, cassis and blackberries with a hint of licorice to finish. With all this flavor and taste this gem is perfect for that special dinner keeping the $65.00 price tag in mind. Both Hall Vineyard and Far Niente in Napa have released their 2007 Cabernets to rave reviews both scoring 93 points and more from the top critics. Another special occasion wine from the 2007 vintage is the Anderson’s Conn Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, a full bodied deep red that evokes the quality and finesse of this great vintage  My value pick for this category goes to the Chateau Souverain vineyard for their Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. This lush wine drinks like a much more pricy Cabernet with a more than fair retail price of about $14.00.

When great vintages like the  2007 hit the stores many savvy buyers stock up on their favorites planning to enjoy some now and over the next year or so, but also to put a few cases away so they can age them and enjoy the fine wine they become. If you have the luxury of being able to cellar some now you will have the pleasure of drinking them when they are no longer available in the market. Great vintages like this are what wine lovers are looking for. Take advantage of the market while you can and enjoy yourself all the way to the cellar. Oh yah I also just heard the 2008 vintage from California is going to be amazing. Who knows, but I can’t wait to find out.

Albe Galotta… Wine cellar Master, Chef

Many of these wineries and vintages can be found on the wine list at The Litchfield Saltwater Grille

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire…

In The Kitchen on December 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Holiday dinners are always fun, filled with lots of joyous memories of family, friends, and food. Enjoying the traditional home cooked dishes that people bring every year adds to the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season.  Making the time to relax and spend with your family, makes all the extra rushing around worthwhile. I have always enjoyed the types of foods that get everyone at the table working, talking, eating and enjoying together. Never has there been an Italian Feast worth its weight in Mozzarella, that didn’t near its end with a large pan of hot oven Roasted Chestnuts.  This abundant Italian nut can be roasted on open coals, cooked in a wood stoked fire, or simply roasted in a heavy pan in a gas oven. Chestnuts are the perfect treat that get the whole family involved while enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Most local produce markets carry fresh Chestnuts; buy about 8 to 10 per person a few days before you are going to serve them. First step is to wash the chestnuts then with a sharp knife put an X style cut in each chestnut shell. Roast the chestnuts in their shell on a small cookie sheet or a more traditional black iron skillet in a preheated oven of 425degrees. Twenty to twenty five minutes should make them tender on the inside along with a crisp “very” hot shell on the outside. Directly after they come out of the oven they should be served to the family at the dinner table. Many families like to serve them in a clean towel as to keep them warm as possible.  Have your espresso, and Sambuca ready if you like because it’s time for everyone to start shelling while their hot. Using your two thumbs, working from the cut in the middle of the shell, push the hot shell backwards to expose the warm nut. The shell should come off easily making them ready for the enjoying. A large batch of hot Chestnuts always gets everyone at the table interacting, laughing, eating, and truly enjoying the holidays together.

Albe Galotta , Chef and Cellar Master SWG

Marinades and Glazes for Seafood and Fowl

In The Kitchen on November 24, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Keeping with the theme of always trying to be prepared ahead of time during the hectic holiday season, I like to have on hand a few great marinades and glazes that will go well with both seafood and chicken.  When last minute meal planning arise, either for a small family or a large group, they will save you plenty of time and you will look like you were in the kitchen all day.

Honey Soy Marinade…

¼ cup good honey

¼ cup soy sauce

1 crushed garlic clove

3 tablespoons Saki

½ teaspoon Chinese five spice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Whip by hand all ingredients, keeps under refrigeration for up to 3 weeks.  For chicken, marinate 2 to 3 hours covered, before putting on the grill. Seafood goes great with this marinade also, baking or pan searing after a 30 minute marinating really brings out the oriental flavors.

Roast Garlic, Honey Mustard and Lemon Glaze

2 large garlic bulbs

Juice of 2 lemons

Zest of 1 large lemon

6 tablespoons of olive oil

6 tablespoons good honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

6 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons low fat yogurt

S&P to taste

Roast the garlic bulbs for 25 to 30 minutes @ 400degrees until golden brown.

Blend all ingredients together till liquidized, season with S&P to taste.  This glaze will last refrigerated for more than 2 weeks. Chicken wings work well with this glaze, just put wings in a bowl pour glaze over, toss well in bowl then roast in oven on sheet pan till brown. Also any chicken on the bone left to marinate 2 to 3 hours before putting on grill will work out nicely.

Red Currant Glaze

12 oz. Red Currant jelly

3 tablespoons Brandy

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme

¼ teaspoon white pepper

Put all ingredients in a shallow pan and simmer over low heat, continually stirring with a whisk. Let simmer approximately 8 to 10 minutes till liquid is fully incorporated together. This can be brushed on any fowl, chicken or even fresh seafood before roasting in oven or cooking on the grill. Use for basting your fowl, chicken or seafood as it is cooking.

Keeping any of these on hand will come in handy with all the rushing around during the holidays.  Great family meals are a breeze when you’re prepared a little ahead. The rest is up to you, I hope this helps and from all of us at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Albe Galotta SWG chef and Cellar Master

Everyone Loves Seafood on the Holidays…

In The Kitchen on November 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Every year around this time the thought of planning your holiday menus starts to take shape. Fresh seafood dishes have always been the focal point of many of our family’s wonderful holiday meals. As far back as I can remember fresh seafood of every type and every preparation has set the stage for a gala gourmet holiday menu. Christmas Eve dinner with its traditional menu based on the Feast of The Seven Fishes was always my favorite. Getting the chance to enjoy so many of the ocean’s offerings at one seating seemed to be a treat that I waited for all year long. Fresh Steamed Littleneck Clams, Jumbo Shrimp Scampi, Black Mussels in spicy red sauce, Fried Smelts with Anchovy Garlic dip, Calamari salad, Baked Oysters with Spinach, Pasta with Shrimp and olive oil, Fresh Lobsters, Grilled Sea Bass, and Lemon Sole were always on the menu. Other great seafood items were also served depending on the available fresh catch of the day at the local fish market.  Coming from a large Italian family, many of our relatives and friends that join us for holiday meals bring along a dish to add to the festivities. This year I am making a dish that was introduced to me many years ago by an uncle that lived most of his life in Spain. This creation is in the style of many of the dishes that come from Spain’s coastal regions, this one from the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona. With its simple preparation any beautiful plate appearance, this dish could easily become one of your family’s new favorites.


Two 3oz. portions of fresh cod loin per person.  Dip each piece in flour, then egg wash then in seasoned bread crumbs. Pan Fry each piece of cod in a shallow pan with a small amount of oil, till crisp on all sides. Place in warming oven till sauce is made.

Sauce preparation…Use same pan, pour off oil, and reheat on medium flame. Start by browning a small amount of chopped shallots along with 2 chopped garlic cloves.  Add in 12 oz. home cooked marinara sauce, a splash of fresh chicken stock or white wine, season with S&P, crushed chili flakes and a bit of ground oregano.   Finish sauce with 1 tablespoon of small capers in their juice, some fresh chopped leaf parsley and ½ tablespoon of whole butter.  Plate presentation…..Spoon sauce on to plate, top with 2 crisp pieces of the fully cooked Cod, garnish with more chopped parsley, serve with crisp oven potatoes, and maybe some French green beans.

For many years this hearty, healthy entrée has been one of the signature dishes on the menu at a past family restaurant. During the years we owned the restaurant regular customers always asked for the recipe, which never was given out. It did slip out recently when some great friends asked to include it in their family’s “Most favorite dishes book” that they were putting together.  I figured they paid for it already with many so return visits to enjoy the now famous Cod Barcelona. What I didn’t tell them was that I was going to write this BLOG and tell the whole world… so I hope you enjoy…

Click here to download a printable recipe of Cod Barcelona

Albe Galotta Chef,  Cellar Master and Chef