Of wine, food, and friends

We brought back 2 suitcases stuffed with food from my aunt’s place in DC. 🙂 And so, we cooked 4 out of 5 nights this past week. Which is great because I won’t be eating at home much at all the next two weeks!

Monday – Made fried rice with leftover turkey and Vietnamese ham we bought in Virginia

Tuesday – Made banh mi with the Vietnamese ham and my aunt’s delicious homemade chicken pate

Wednesday – Dot was back in town for the week so we invited her and Bill over for dinner. We fried the spring rolls my aunt made (and which Angela wrapped), sautéed the leftover chicken satay we had from last week (served with lotong and cucumbers and peanut sauce), pan fried the vietnamese tofu we bought in Virginia, and made thai basil pork to round of the meal. Dot brought the 2011 Donum Caneros Pinot Noir that we so loved from Bill’s pinot tasting. Bill himself shared some freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil that a friend had just sent him from Portugal, and EIGHT bottles of assorted rieslings and pinot noirs for us to taste. We kept one of the rieslings, the Eroica Gold from Chateau Ste. Michelle (Jeff’s favorite riesling producer) for later, but opened all the others. We also contributed a bottle of 2008 Soter Mineral Springs Pinot Noir to the mix. Amazing wines and fun conversation… although we were quite responsible in tasting (only finishing 1 bottle), going to work Thursday morning was somewhat difficult. Hehe.

Thursday – Jeff had the leftovers from Wednesday while I had my monthly dinner with a couple girl friends

Friday – we had Dot and the Rankins over for a “warming” wines dinner. Made beef short ribs in the slow cooker, and roasted brussels sprouts, asparagus, butternut squash and some mushrooms. We also laid out some cheese and broke out my aunt’s chicken pate. That pate was such a hit! Everyone loved it and now we all want to try making it ourselves, especially since my aunt said she would forward along the simple recipe. We opened up 4 new bottles of wines, but also brought out the leftover pinot noirs to enjoy. We also got a fire going after dinner and settled down in front of it for a competitive game of Ticket to Ride. Such a relaxing and fun evening in.

Quick notes on some of the wines we had:
2008 Domane Wachau Achleiten Riesling ($24)
Beautiful! So so different from the California Riesling (floral) and the Oregon Riesling (bracingly citrus) that we had. This was rounded, grounded, with earth, nuts and honey in the nose and initial mouth feel to brighten up with floral and stone fruit notes as we hit the finish.

2011 Donum Carneros Pinot Noir ($72)
Easily the favorite of the evening. It’s not a big wine in anyway, but has layers upon layers of the subtle notes that make you want to go back to it, to chase them down one by one. Raspberries, cherries, iron, earth.

2011 Chamisal Edna Valley Pinot Noir
Strawberries and cream! In the nose, in the mouth, in the deliciously sweet and long finish. Almost chewy. Not a dessert wine, but it is perfect as dessert!

2008 La Rochelle Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($38)
This wine just kept getting better and better after opening. Initially, I wasn’t all that taken with it, though both Dot and Bill loved it. It didn’t stand out to me like the Donum, Soter, or the Chamisal. Tasted it again on Friday, and it’d mellowed out considerably. But on Saturday, when we finally finished off the bottle (brought 6 bottles of leftover wine to Kayla and Dennis’s to share), the wine seemed at is peak. Beautiful perfume of earth and strawberries that I hadn’t detected before. And the tannins were so soft and smooth. It was with a sigh of content that I tipped the last pour back into my mouth, and kept it swirling for a few long moments, savoring it.

2008 Soter Mineral Springs Pinot Noir ($70)
One of the favorites, both evenings. Gorgeous nose of strawberries and earth. Minerals and just the tad of spice. Silky smooth tannins and a long slow finish.

2009 Etude Estate Grown Carneros Pinot Noir ($45)
Meaty and stinky when first opened – went well with the fragrant (think fish sauce) Thai basil pork and rice. It softened up considerably the next evening when I finished the bottle. Dark red fruit, black pepper. Smooth, silky tannins. Mmm.

2005 Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea ($50)
Dot and Jeff’s favorite Friday evening. Great structure and balance, with spicy notes and fine tannins.

2009 Plumpjack Syrah ($60)
Such a sensual, feminine nose. Flowers, plum. Oh, it was so beautiful. And immediately distinctive. I want a scent like that.

2004 Greenock Creek Shiraz Alices ($78)
Wow. Cream of corn, ketchup! Notes I wouldn’t normally associate with a shiraz, but it was so distinctive, everyone was in concert. Very interesting.

2003 Selene Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)
This was a cab all right! Easily discernible from the gentler pinots. Dark and brawny chewy wine, with notes of leather, earth, cigar smoke, blackberry and currant. Mmm.

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