Fear not, I will not tell a tale of my cooking, rather I will discuss the culinary arts of a fellow wine blogger Oliver alias The Winegetter. Oliver and I have gotten together twice already, once with our Brides and once just the two of us for lunch. We bandied messages back and forth to set up a date, before he was off to Alaska, and he said that he we should go to their place for dinner. This is the dinner I discussed in an earlier article about Boeuf Bourguignonne, and I said that I would bring the wine since he was doing the catering. Oliver even liked my leather wine carrier, that I can usually get two bottles of wine and if necessary, I can also get a dessert wine in there as well, plus I have the necessary accoutrements for enjoying the wine, but I was not worried that Oliver would be lacking a corkscrew.
Oliver and Nina are gracious hosts and make their guests feel perfectly at home, and may I say that the home smelled wonderful that evening from the dinner that he spent most of the day preparing. Of course, my Bride and I found out that we were being used as guinea pigs; as Oliver had to alter the recipe to accommodate the changes required for Nina and her new food regimen plan. Whatever changes Oliver may have made to the recipe; I could notice no difference to the rich flavor of the dish. The only difference that was discernable was that three of us enjoyed the dish served on mashed potatoes, while Nina had her’s on pureed cauliflower.
Oliver has discovered that he really enjoys being a blogger, and has made it a point to meet with other Bloggers that he follows and they in turn follow his articles. This information came out, because I said that I was glad that John, The Food and Wine Hedonist did not destroy the building after the party he had there, while Oliver and Nina were in the Far East. Then he went on to talk about Jeff, The Drunken Cyclist and a fine night of wine tasting that they shared. Then Oliver looked at me and asked if the letter “J” was the proper letter for first names of Bloggers from Michigan.
We started the evening off with a bottle of sparkling wine. I had gone to my cellar to grab a bottle of something sparkling and realized that most of them were domestic and rather heavy, and I was thinking of something lighter. Then I found a bottle of Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux Brut 2008. This is a soft bottle made in the Methode Traditionelle and has its own Appellation Controlee of Blanquette de Limoux, which is for sparkling wines made in the Southern French region of the Languedoc-Rousillon. This wine is also made from a varietal that may be new for most readers and Oliver can add another one to his list for the Century Club; the varietal is Mauzac, and is also known as Mauzac Blanc. The wine had a very light nose, a dark straw color and very small bubbles. Even though it said Brut, I thought it was more Demi-Sec as it was not the Brut that is usually encountered here domestically. It was a simple wine that I thought worked well as an aperitif for the dinner that was coming.
For our entrée, the Boeuf Bourguignonne, that had been cooking all day, I had originally thought of naturally a Red Burgundy. Alas, I had no Burgundy wines left in my cellar, and I really have not been shopping for them, as I must confess they have become too dear in price. I know that does not sound like a true wine lover, but one must be realistic. So I went looking for a quality alternative, which led me to my section of Pinot Noir wines. I decided to take a bottle of the Tudor Tondre Reserve 2007 that I had wrote about, that we received not as ordered, but we took delivery of. This is a single vineyard Pinot Noir wine made by a firm that knows how finicky this varietal can be, and they have been very successful with it in the Santa Lucia Highlands. I didn’t think that this wine needed decanted as it was still young, though we did uncork it at the same time that we opened the sparkling wine. There was a good Pinot Noir nose; even traces of terroir could be appreciated just from the scent. The color was good and firm, and the taste was what we all were hoping for in a good Pinot Noir, and the artistry of the winemaker was apparent as we could all taste the “dirt.” There was a good aftertaste as well, and this was a perfect pairing for the entrée, as it was so evocative of a good Burgundy wine.
I will discuss the other wines in the next installment.