New Year’s Eve is one of the most celebrated evenings of the year, a chance to say goodbye to the woes of the past year and look forward to the promise of the forthcoming year. New Year’s Eve seems to be a night when people think that they have to go out and celebrate, unfortunately it tends to make restaurants limit the menu options, and the service is stretched to the max, in an attempt to get people in and out, to make room for the next wave of diners. Another type of venue that I dislike is the one price fits all, usually at a banquet hall, where most people think that they have to eat and drink to make up for the price of admission, which is not a well-thought out plan, unless one has that proverbial hollow-leg that I had heard about especially in my early years.
Consequently, we have a house party that evening, and the revelers are all somewhat of the same age group, as for the moment, most of their children are out that evening trying to create new traditions. It is a little bit of a low-key affair, which works out well. My Bride had settled on making port tenderloins for the dinner, which she marinated, she also made her Bourbon Salmon, as both of these dishes are beginning to be part of her Signature series. There were also salads, Armenian Pilaf, vegetables and all the assorted sides, some of which were brought in by others, including cakes, pies and other desserts. We also had a birthday cake to celebrate all of the January birthdays, some of whom did not make it to their own party.
The wine was flowing from the moment that party started and the appetizers of pate and cheese were laid out. While there was an assortment of wines being poured, some being rather obvious good party wines, two were rather unique for the evening. The first wine was one that I found down in the cellar and it was a bit of a gamble, as it was an older Spatlese wine from Germany, but the more I read and talk with people, the more I realized that these wines have rather long lives. The Langguth Erben Heritage Late Harvest Spatlese 1991 was the gamble. Franz Wilhelm Langguth started his business in wines back in 1789 in Traben-Trarbach, and the family started the Erben wine range in 1964. They are one of the largest selling wines in Germany and from what I can perceive is that they are a popular priced winery even with the late harvest wines. This wine is from the Rheinhessen district, which is the largest wine producing area in Germany. While the leading varietal is Riesling, this wine is a blend of several different grapes, and the other white grapes from this area are Muller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Schuerebe, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Colombard; all of which are grown by Langguth wines. As can be expected there is not a lot of technical information for this 1991 wine. While the cork did not crumble, it did get pushed into the bottle, which alarmed me at the moment, but I decided to decant the wine and see what happens. The wine was a deep golden color similar to the color of Crown Royal whisky, and it had a very subtle nose. There was a trace of sweetness, but hardly cloying, and I offered some to a couple of people that never drink wine and they even gave it rave reviews. The wine made me smile. The second wine that I will discuss, is one that my Sister-in-Law bought specifically for this dinner as she and her husband are big Pinot Noir fans. The Domaine Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice 2011 was everything one could expect from this famed area in the Cote de Nuits of Burgundy. In the Burgundy region Domaine Charlopin-Parizot is a newcomer as they began in 1977 with four acres of vineyards and they now have sixty-two acres in several locations. La Justice is just east of the village and prized for its alluvial soil. This wine spends four to fourteen days in fermentation and then is aged for about eighteen months in new oak. While the color and nose were both delightful, I am sure that several more years in the cellar would have made this wine that much greater. The funny thing about the evening was that I had several bottles of sparkling wine chilling, and the party broke up early, partially for everyone to get home before the midnight hour to avoid the potential drunks on the road, and partially to get home to receive their children when they returned from their night out. Now what to do with all that bubbly?
Happy New Year!
And a Happy New Year to you and yours. – John