A dinner with The Wine Raconteur (Sr.) and Jr. and the two lovely brides, and some cameo appearances by the children. It was the perfect setting for a Christmas season dinner and we were happy to be squeezed in to his busy schedule. There is just something special about a quiet dinner to catch up on what is going on and to relax. As for me, I can think of times, both with my Bride and without having fun and some great food at their house. We met years back when I basically hired him to work retail, while he was a student at a university and let us say that was a few years ago.
Most people have a dinner party and they make it as easy as possible on themselves, but not our hosts. For starters, they even roast their own cashews with a mixture of spices for a truly unique flavor. They even individually wrapped Brussel Sprouts in bacon, which I could not stop eating. The dinner that most people would serve would be a roast or steaks, they created a Beef Wellington that was cooked to perfection, and yes, I was proud and envious at the same time; it was just a stellar dinner. We had cookies for dessert that looked like they had raided several different bakeries, because of all the different types and the intricate decorations on them. I mean she must have baked for a couple of weeks straight to get the variety that was being offered, and who doesn’t like cookies?
After having that 1992 Gallo North Sonoma Chardonnay, I am glad that I had grabbed another winner for dinner. I had no idea what the entrée was going to be, but since I am such a pain in the rear, I figured that they would go with red meat, I just didn’t expect it to be such a special dinner. I had brought a bottle of Pasqua Amarone Della Valpolicella DOC 2007 and I was informed that it was our hostess’ favorite type of wine. Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine is an Italian estate that specialized in the wines of the Veneto. It is known for its Valpolicella, Amarone, Soave and Prosecco wines. The estate was founded in Verona in 1925 by the Pasqua brothers. It is still a family owned winery and the family has expanded the vineyards, a bottling facility and finally the construction of a new winery in Veneto. The classic vineyards for Amarone Della Valpolicella are known for the clay and gravel of the soil. The grapes are hand harvested and laid to rest on drying racks for about three months, where the grapes lose almost a third of their weight and the grapes are fully concentrated. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in Stainless Steel vats for almost a month under temperature-controlled settings and continuous punching down to extract as much color and tannin as possible. The juice is then transferred to French Oak where the malolactic fermentation occurs which brings out the softness and the richness of the wine. The wine is then aged for eighteen to twenty months, and then also is aged in bottles for an additional four months before being released. The wine is a blend of sixty-five percent Corvina, twenty-five percent Rondinella, five percent Corvinone and five percent Negrara. The wine had a nice rich deep red color with a nose promising dark red currants and cherry, spices and vanilla. The wine requires some good chewing to appreciate the velvety feel and how the tannins had become silky in texture with a nice long lingering finish of black cherry. It paired perfectly with the rich taste of the Beef Wellington. Our host brought out a special dessert wine, as he has been doing some business travelling to Germany. We opened a bottle of Kessler-Zink Eiswein Silvaner Rheinhessen 2018. Kessler-Zink was founded in 1953 as a private wine cellar and was acquired by the present company in 1989. The Rheinhessen is the largest wine producing area in Germany and goes back to the Roman Empire. The Silvaner is a grape that is a crossing of the Traminer and an Austrian local grape, the Osterreichisch Weiss and found its way to Germany in the 17th Century and later into Alsace as well. The Eiswein or Ice Wine as it is known in North America is a very famous wine that requires some gambling on the part of the winery. The grapes are harvested several different times, and each time the sugar is more concentrated in the surviving grapes than from the last harvest selection, until the grapes of at least Spatlese quality have actually frozen on the vine and the quantity of grapes has diminished of these over-ripe grapes. This wine was very lush and silky, and is known to be viscous in nature, because of the residual sugar. There was a soft flowery nose, as Silvaner is a more low-key grape compared to the Riesling, but there was a nice marmalade feel to the wine with a nice lingering finish. The perfect way to finish an evening, until we can meet again for more good times.