Monday, November 06, 2006

Weekend Wines and Eats II

Some darn good eatin' and drinkin' this weekend, yeah. BrooklynLady and I shared meals with friends on both nights, and had our usual Sunday night cookfest too.

Friday night we made the trip to the Upper West Side of Manhattan to eat dinner with my oldest friend Nick and his wife Mavis and the kids. Mavis said she was making lamb, so we brought a bottle of 2003 Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine, $14. We visited the Domaine during our Loire trip a year ago - one of the highlights of the trip. Not just because the wines are delicious and Henri Baudry, the young and charming son of Bernard, took the time to explain each cuvee and vintage to us, but also because we toured the winery and the caves. I climbed a ladder and stuck my torso into a vat of fermenting juice!

The Cuvee Domaine is a remarkable value in red wine. Made from vines of at least 30 years old, this is an expressive wine full of fresh fruit and the sensation of terroir. Medium to full bodied and lusty, this wine should be placed on a long table on a sunny afternoon outside of your villa, and comsumed with great vigor before taking a siesta with your sweetheart. For $14, what more can you ask? The 2003 was a bit thicker and heavier than usual, but it was great with dinner.

On Saturday night we had a few friends over for dinner and I decided to try out a few new drinks from our bar. I mixed up a couple of French 75's - yum! Sort of like high quality lemonade with bubbles. Two of our friends decided that they wanted cocktails made without hard liquor, so we made them a simple combination of 2 parts fresh pear cider and 3 parts Prosecco with a twist of lemon. There is a name for this cocktail and I cannot find it right now.

We began the eating with a flourish by opening a dozen littlenecks with a few lemon wedges and a simple Mignonette of cider vinegar, Prosecco, a little fresh clam juice, and tabasco. BrooklynLady then served her silky and sweet butternut squash soup. Not the usual curried affair, her's uses ginger to add some spark and lets the sweetness of the fresh squash shine through. We opened the 2005 Dr. Stephan Reuter Findling Trocken Qualitatswein Riesling that our friends brought with the soup. I do not know the price on the wine. It was dry, pleasant, and food friendly.

Because one of our friends inexplicably and foolishly refuses to eat meat, we served fish as a main course (he's a "pescaterian"). I got up early on Saturday morning and went to the farmer's market in time to buy Blackfish fillets. They're usually gone by 8:15 am. I salted, peppered, and seared the fillets and then finished then in the oven. Deglazed the pan with a little of the Riesling and the juice of a lemon, added some finely chopped leeks and fresh sage, and cooked the mixture down until it thickened. A little butter because that's how I'm livin', and voila.

We opened a bottle of 2005 Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling, $25 to serve with the Blackfish. This is a wine I tasted and described a little while ago at Vintage NY, a store where you can taste New York wines. The Riesling was delicious again, but I think I needed to leave it open longer before drinking. Only by the time my glass was almost empty could I sense the same floral aromas and flavors as before. The wine was a great compliment to the fish, though, and I will be more careful about how I serve it the next time.

BrooklynLady made an apple crostada for dessert (a lighter version of an apple pie, and without the top crust) and we opened a half bottle of 1998 Chapoutier Muscat de Rivesaltes, $16. I purchased this wine because 1) I know that Chapoutier is an excellent producer, and 2) I have this problem where I always buy something when I enter a good wineshop, even if I enter just to "browse." This wine was beautifully colored, deep gold with a bit of rustiness. The nose was all orange peels, and that followed through on the palate. Simple and straightforward orangey dessert wine. Certainly pleasurable, but not something to seek out.

Last night we made a whole load of food for the week, including braised beef with turnips and carrots, broccoli rabe with garlic, delicata squash puree, Japanese white sweet potatoes, and bone-in pork chops (fresh from the farmer's market, like the cutlets from a week ago) with sage and olive oil. While cooking, and then eating, we sipped a 2005 Domaine Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers, $19. I was warned by David, my wine guru at Chambers Street to open this a day before drinking, that it needs some air time to fully develop. I remembered David's warning Sunday morning, yet somehow failed to open the wine until 6pm. I can't wait to try the other half of the bottle tonight because last evening was fantastic. Great acidity, raspberries and spices, dusty tannins...just delicious. Note - on the second day the wine is indeed better - vibrant and spicey, very juicy. It is darker than most Beaujolais I've had.

Cheers to a good weekend, and a good week ahead.


Dr. Debs said...

Thanks so much for the French 75s! Never heard of those, but they will be served during cocktails at Thanksgiving for sure as a nice change from gin and tonics. And I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for that Fleurie. Raspberries and dusty tannins, huh? My kind of wine.

Brooklynguy said...

honestly - try one - they're so good. and the fleurie is well worth
it too. enjoy! the french 75 recipe I used was a little different from the one in wikipedia:

3 tenths gin
1.5 tenths simple syrup
1.5 tenths lemon juice
5 tenths champagne or sparkling wine

stir in shaker with ice for 5 seconds, pour in tumbler or collings glass (the liquid should come only halfway up the glass). top with champagne.