We started off the Christmas weekend by visiting Nancy’s mom in Modesto on Christmas eve. We did not have any wine there but we still had a very nice time visiting. We had a crab salad Nancy made for lunch and then a pumpkin pie for dessert she had also made. Later that evening when we were home, we made crab crostini and drank a split of Canard Duchene Brut NV Champagne with them. It was a very nice Champagne, very light in color and on the nose it was a little yeasty and metallic. The flavor had toast and yeast, green apples and a little steeliness. There was a lot of acid and the finish was very clean with green apples.
On Christmas day we went to my sister Yvonne and her husband Chauncy’s for our traditional seafood and chicken gumbo. There were quite a few of us, with my other sisters and their kids and several friends. Also, Chauncey’s mother was there too. My sister Yvonne is quite a chef and also recently bottled her second vintage of home made wine.
Last year she bottled a Pinot Noir and a Viogner. This year she is making a Syrah/Cabernet Franc blend and a Chardonnay. She gave us a couple of bottles of the her 2009 Empty Nest Syrah, which has been in the bottle for a couple of months, but recommended we wait a year to open it. She did open one of her bottles for us to taste, however. It has a very intense nose, you could smell it just getting near the glass. Very typical Syrah nose of dark fruit, smoke and bacon fat. I was surprised because the grapes are from Morgan Hill and I would not usually expect that kind of nose from Syrah grown in the warmer climate. There were light tannins and good acid and flavors of green pepper (the 20% Cab Franc influence), smoke and bacon fat with a hint of vanilla. The body was light and there was a nice complexity in the flavor of this wine. It had a moderate length finish with the bacon fat flavor.
The Chardonnay was still in the tank and she was having trouble getting the second (malolactic) fermentation going. She did have a sample in the refrigerator for us to try however. It was pretty good, great acid as you would expect from a Chardonnay that hasn’t gone through malolactic fermentation. The nose was very floral initially, I would have thought it was a Viogner. The flavor was very much the Chardonnay grape, citrus with some mineral that you get from a good unoaked Chardonnay. She will be aging some in oak and bottling some unoaked when it is ready. It will be interesting to taste the two styles together. Hopefully the hot pad she put on the tank will warm it up enough to get the secondary fermentation going soon.
I brought a couple of bottles of the 2006 Clos Mimi Petite Rousse Paso Robles Syrah. One of my sisters name is Mimi, so I thought it would be a nice addition to our party. I had purchased two bottles, one to have at Christmas with everyone and one for Mimi to take home and have later. Unfortunately the bottle we opened was bad. Strong smell of volatile acidity , acetone, ascetic acid. The flavor was much the same and basically pretty undrinkable. While this wine is unfiltered there was way too much sediment on the sides of the bottle and in the glass for a 2006 vintage wine. Mimi took the other bottle home and said she would let me know if it is also bad when she gets around to trying it. We were really disappointed since this wine has such great reviews. I bought this online and had it shipped, so I won’t buy any more until I can get to the winery and taste it there.
I always make the roux for the gumbo and Chauncey was checking up on me until I had it the shade of medium brown he wanted. While I was cooking, to make up for the poor wine I had brought, he opened a 1998 S. Anderson Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (S. Anderson is now owned by Cliff Lede Vineyards). It was great! Beautiful nose, rich dark fruit and spice which carried over into the flavor. A very complex wine with well integrated tannins and good acidity. The finish was a little short but the flavor well made up for that. It made great company while I made the roux.
When the roux was finished we added the trinity of vegetables (onion, bell pepper and celery) along with some garlic and spices. After they cooked in the hot roux a little we added them to the turkey stock Yvonne had made. Later, after it had simmered long enough and everyone had arrived, we added some BBQ’d chicken and three types of sausage. Just before it was ready to serve we added clams, crab and oysters. This makes a great gumbo we serve over rice with some nice crusty bread on the side. For dessert there was a sweet potato pecan pie and an apple custard pie. Nobody came away from the table without enough to eat. Now to savor the memories of family, friends and good food and wine for another year.
An update on the 2006 Clos Mimi Petite Rousse, my sister took the other bottle home and had it a few weeks later. Her bottle was not spoiled, she said it was quite good and she enjoyed it very much. I had emailed the winery about the bad bottle but did not even get a response. Pretty disappointing but happy my sister got the good bottle.