As I have stated over the years, my Bride loves to invite people over for dinner. She always is concerned that if they are a widow or a widower that they are not eating properly. The Mother Hen syndrome, I guess you can call it. It is fine with me, because she gets to stretch a bit with the culinary skills, that if it is just the two of us, she might decide to go with an easier dish.
We started off with an assortment of hard and soft cheeses with crackers. We had s Smoked Jarlsberg and a Smoke White Cheddar with Horseradish; the horseradish must have taken lessons from Wasabi as it really cleared the sinus cavities and caught everyone’s attention. She also baked Brie with a Caramelized Onion topping. Just some easy to enjoy munchies. The Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir Rose Michigan 2020 is a “dry wine made in a fruit-driven style.” Pinot Noir is the red varietal that the winery has had the most success with, which is interesting as it is one of the fussiest grapes around. This wine I can venture to say was completely done with Stainless Steel, as they were going for the classic fruit flavors of strawberries and ripe cherries, with a trace of terroir and a bright finish. It was very refreshing even during the Christmas season, as I think that it is a fun wine with appetizers and conversations.
We started off with her Caesar Salad, which is always a winner for me, as well as for anyone that has a chance to try it. One of my favorite aspects is that instead of using croutons, she pan-fries bread crumbs to use as a topping. She made a Pork Tenderloin that she marinated in olive oil, garlic and rosemary and then roasted it, along with some garlic-smashed potatoes. She finished off the meal with some fresh baked Christmas cookies, along with a tin holding more cookies to take home with for our guest. With pork dishes I tend to go back and forth between red and white wines, depending on my mood. I know that doesn’t sound authoritative, but it is just the way I am. I opened up a bottle of Azienda Agricola Ottella “Lugana” DOC 2020. In 1964, the family discovered a book about a winery in the region that grew Turbiana at the turn of the last century and they really got into the project and by 1967 Lugana DOC was created with the local grape Turbiana. This was also the period that the winery was growing and creating their own brand. The name Lugana refers to the clay vessels that the winery that they read about used for aging their wines. Verdicchio is probably the most planted white varietal in Italy, and there are wineries that are striving to restore the honor that the grape has lost in the past fifty years. Some of the other names that will be used instead of Verdicchio is Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano di Lugana, Trebbiano Valtanesi, Marchigiano and Turbiana di Lugana. The wine uses soft pressing of the whole bunch, and some with gentle destemming by oscillation. Then temperature-controlled fermentation for five months on fine lees. This wine had the straw color, with the telltale marks of quality Verdicchio, which is notes of almonds, honey and marzipan and high acidity with a touch of lemon and grapefruit in a crisp, dry finish. I thought it was utterly charming with the dinner, and I guess our guest and my Bride did as well, as that wine disappeared or evaporated, I am never quite sure.