Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas Feast

Christmas dinner is always a time to gather with friends and celebrate, this time was no exception! We have been menu planning and anticipating the week around Christmas and New Years, and it's finally here. Even though you spend the whole day prepping and cooking it all seems worth it, when the moment finally arrives and the partaking begins. We started off the evening with a couple whites, 2005 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay and a 2003 Rochioli Rachels Vineyard Chardonnay

Then it was time to get busy with the eating! So we started with American Spoonbill Caviar(Paddlefish) with Buckwheat Blini, Egg and Red Onion. Washed down with some great Champagnes including a 2000 Dom and a (99?)Perrier-Jouet Cuvee Fleur de Champagne. What can you say about Champagne and Caviar, one of life's little pleasures, obviously enjoyed by all!

Next we move on to the "salad" course. With our group being a bunch of red wine drinkers, salad gets lost in the shuffle, so I have figured out how to move it to the forefront.... put meat in it! We did a Quail Confit Salad with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Brioche Croutons and a warm Sherry Vinaigrette over Curly Endive. We paired this with a 2000 and 2001 Montiano and a 2002 Barnett Spring Mountain District Merlot, what a pairing this dish was with the merlots, it was harmony in the mouth, the Italians really showed that they were meant to be paired with food.

So now we moved on to the true meat course, we wanted to drink a bunch of older California Cult Cabs, so we needed a dish that would stand up to those. Well, Steak au Poivre with Foie Gras Sauce and Roasted Fingerlings was just what the doctor ordered. The Swinery Ribeye's were amazing, great flavor and the pepper just brought out all the great "beef" qualities, the Hudson Valley Foie Gras sauce, paired great with the meat and wine, how can shallots, cream, chicken stock and Foie not work, delicious! So for the wine line-up; 2003 Insignia, 1995 Araujo Eisele Vineyard, 1995 Dalla Valle, 1999 Blankiet Estate Paradise Hills Vineyard( a Helen Turley Wine) and a 1996 Opus One. Not a slouch in the bunch, each one brought something different to the mouth in the pairing. This was an unbelievable course and pairing.

Dessert brought time for reflection on the meal and pairings, and a little Pecan Pie with Chocolate Ganache and a Salted Caramel Ice Cream. What a great dinner to share with friends. Memorable for sure!

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