Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September Wine Dinner

Three months ago when my buddy Dee-trane and I were talking about how we wished for more opportunities to taste wine together, our monthly wine dinner was born. Last night was our third installment.

We served hors d'oeuves of farmers market smoked bluefish and creme fraiche on crackers, and home-made olive bread twists. I cracked open a bottle of NV Egly Ouriet Brut to go with the bluefish. I have never tasted this champagne, and after reading several good reviews from the last Wine Blogging Wednesday at the Becks & Posh blog, I decided to give it a go. It was deep golden yellow with strong aromas of bread, flowers, and something like golden raisins, and it was really fruity and powerful. People seemed to like it more than they liked the bluefish bites. Even though I sprinkled lemon zet on them and served them on my wife's beautiful blue enameled platter, they were barely half gone when we sat down to eat. People are clearly prejudiced against bluefish, and I, for one, think it stinks.

Our menu:

Fall root vegetable salad with mint and parsley pistou
Braised short ribs with herb salad and chestnut flour baguette
Shortbread with fresh whipped cream and raspberries

Mike (who couldn't be there at the last minute) and Jess brought a 2001 Morellino di Scansano from Moris Farms. This wine was just delicious, my favorite of the night. It was deep purple with well delineated smells and favors of plums, tobacco, and leathery earth. It had a smooth velvety texture too with very fine tannins. That said, it was a big wine and it was not a good pairing with the fall vegetable salad.

Dee-trane brought a 1999 Le Gode Brunello di Montalcino to pair with the shortribs. Now this is an $80 bottle of wine, and Dee-trane went through great lengths to get it (more on his story about buying stolen wine from the criminal ex-manager at Esca another time). But we all agreed - there just wasn't much happening for us with this wine. No fruit to speak of, nothing on the nose. Completely innocuous. Maybe a bad bottle or a dumb phase, but completely unimpressive.

Adam and Tyrie brought a 2002 Durigutti Reserve Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. Everyone liked this wine, and why not? Dark purple and intense, scents of dark fruits, some vanilla, and some spice. Velvety texture, and a sweet, young fruitiness that complimented the rich shortribs.

I opened a 1996 Chateau Pierre-Bise Coteaux du Layon Chaume with dessert. I love Loire Valley sweet wines. They are complex with flavors of baked pineapples, creme brule and toffee, spices, citrus and honey, and they can have wonderful acidity and minerality too. This one was no exception - beautiful round flavors, scents of savory spices like mace, and a racy acidity that lingered on and on. For a great piece on Chateau Pierre-Bise check out thewinedoctor's.

Interesting wines and great company - what more could you ask for? I'll tell you what - no more bluefish.

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