Happy Birthday to Dave!

We celebrated Dave’s birthday Monday night with wine and dinner. George and Gail joined us for the evening. We started the evening with “nibblins” that Gail brought. She prepared sausage stuffed mushrooms and also brought Brie and crackers. They paired these “horses ovaries”, as George put it, with a sparkler, which George made us think about critically, as he does at the Thursday night wine tastings. The wine was chilled and in a cooler sleeve, so we couldn’t identify it. We all thought is had a lot of fruit, good acid, but none of us thought it was a Prosecco. It lacked the sweetness we associate with so many Proseccos. It was a Desiderio Jeio Prosecco Brut and paired nicely with the hors d’oeuvres.

With the appetizers and Prosecco largely finished off, we proceeded on to dinner. I prepared a roasted pork loin with the bone in, roasted vegetables and rustic applesauce. I also prepared gravy, which I usually never do because of fat and calorie concerns. I had asked the butcher to cut the bones off the roast and cradle the roast back on the strip of bones. He tied the roast up and then we roasted it with vegetables. Preparing the roast this way allows you to slice the roast fairly thinly and then slice the bones to serve as well for those who like to gnaw on them! Plus you have a built in roasting rack. I seasoned the roast after a method described by Julia Child in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. I prepared a salt marinade with herbs and spices and allowed the roast to marinate for several hours before roasting. This method always produces a juicy flavorful roast.

We started the meal with a 2001 BV Georges De Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. The color had changed from the usual ruby to a nice garnet. The nose, really a bouquet, was fragrant with dark fruit and spice. The flavors were very complex and tasted of dark ripe fruit and spice. The tannins were smooth and well integrated. The finish was moderately long and the mouthfeel was light. This wine achieved that great combination of light mouthfeel and elegantly complex flavors. Definitely a winner. Pete bought two bottles several years ago for for me at Christmas, as I am an fan of this wine. This was our last bottle and it did not disappoint.

We also served a 2005 La Dame de Montrose from Saint Estephe. The color was very dark ruby. The nose smelled of graphite and rubber tire. The flavors of cedar, dark fruit and spice had a slightly bitter finish. The tannins were significant and rough compared to the Latour. The acid was good and the finish medium in length. This wine was less restrained as compared to the Latour, but tasted very good. I love a flavorful, tannic Bordeaux. Both wines paired well with the meal. If you want to know more about Chateau Montrose there is an interesting article on the bordeaux undiscovered blog.

We finished the evening with a pumpkin flan and a 2006 Chateau Coutet Sauternes – Barsac. Sauternes is one of my favorite wines. I love the beautiful golden color, and the characteristic botrytis nose and flavors. This wine was a medium yellow color, with a big nose of apricot and minerals. The flavors follow the nose and the acidity is very high which produces a clean, very long finish. We have a couple more in the cellar, but won’t touch them for at least ten years. Fall and Winter is usually the time of year we drink Sauternes (and Port). One nice thing about both is that they keep well after opening, so we can finish them over several days or longer.

We had such a nice evening. The food and conversation were rich and lively. We were happy to celebrate Dave’s birthday with him! Happy Birthday Dave!

Things to ponder for the near future:
Watching Casa Blanca on a rainy evening and drinking a vintage Port.
Wine resolutions for 2011 (well not really resolutions, just goals)!

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