Christmas

14 December 2012, 100 Jane Street, West Village

With a newly decorated Christmas tree in our apartment, Diane and I decided to have some friends over for the holidays to celebrate. Nicole, Elliott, Pedro, Christina, and Manoj came over for appetizers and wine:

The Lineup

The Lineup

The food during the night was (in no particular order):

  • Cured meats and cheeses – my favorite cured meat in the world is the Jamon Iberico from Spain. Nearly impossible to find in the US, Murray’s Cheese typically carries some and is where I usually load up. Our favorite cheeses including the clothbound Cabot cheddar and aged manchego also made an appearance.
  • Mini cheese-burgers and portobello-mushroom-burgers – the beef was from our local butcher, Florence Meat market with minimal seasoning and American cheese. The mushrooms were marinated in a balsamic vinegar sauce. Both cooked in the oven broiler.
  • A few assorted desserts  – cookies and ice cream

I spent a fair amount of time planning the progression of wines and thought it worked out fairly well:

  1. *** NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rose – my go-to rose Champagne. Reasonably priced and delicious with food or as an aperitif. Floral and fruity with a lighter body, I like drinking it out of a white wine glass to allow the bubbles to dissipate and wine to warm a bit. It gives me a better sense of the aromatics and freshness. $80
  2. ** 2010 Copain Chardonnay Tous Ensemble – as I mentioned before, the best value wine I had on my trip to California. Completely unoaked and an old-world style wine. This was served at the same time as our next white wine to compare it against. $28
  3. ** 2007 Martinelli Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard – a classic example of a well-made California style Chardonnay. Plenty of oak and vanilla and a much heavier mouthfeel than the Copain. While most enjoyed both wines, the majority preferred the Copain (at less than half the price!). $60
  4. *** 1999 Bruno Giacosa Barolo – the Azienda Agricola (non-estate) bottling, this was sadly my last bottle of this great value/entry level Giacosa Barolo. Still young and powerful, I decanted the wine for 6 hours and it still had plenty of sweet red fruit and smooth tannins. This wine was served at the same time as the next red to compare. $95
  5. ** 1981 Il Colle Brunello di Montalcino – not as aromatic or open as the last time I tried this wine a few months ago. More tar and leather than fruit in the aroma or palate; I was a bit disappointed compared to what I tasted the first time I had this at dell’anima. The opinion here was split but more people preferred the Giacosa. $85
  6. * 1969 Hugel Traminer “Hugel” Reserve Exceptionelle – a wine we tried more to explore than anything, the bottle was in surprisingly good condition for its age. On the palate a bit disappointing, well past its prime, it was barely clinging on to the fruit and acidity it probably once had and just retained its residual sweetness. $80
  7. ** 2010 Domaine des Bernardins Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise (375 ml) – great wine for the price. Lots of sweet stone fruit and honey, medium body for the sweetness and well balanced. Great after dinner digestif. $15

Dinner at Anthony and Jennifer’s

16 November 2012, 222 Park Avenue South, Union Square

Before the holiday season got into full swing, Anthony and Jennifer invited Dan, Sul, Diane and I over for dinner at their place. As part of their wedding registry, they had several wines they chose at New York Vintners and they opened several of those bottles they received from us for this meal!

The Lineup

The Lineup

  1. *** NV Krug Champagne Grand Cuvee – a perfect aperitif paired with some cured meats, this champagne was light, floral and crisp. We quickly went through two bottles before sitting down for the meal.
  2. *** 2007 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino – from one of my favorite producers in Tuscany, this wine was drinking surprisingly well at a relatively young age. The wine was decanted for many hours before the meal and had the typical leather and tobacco aromas of a well-made Brunello. Smooth tannins and very strong fruit on the palate. Great to drink now and I think will continue to develop for over a decade.
  3. **** 2001 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque – allegedly the middle child among the three great Guigal wines of Cote Rotie (La Landonne and La Mouline being the others), this wine typically has a small percentage of Viognier for added aromatics. Huge fruit, big body but with a lingering but somehow light finish. Doesn’t leave your mouth coated or blown away like most California Syrahs – much more elegant and refined.
  4. *** 2008 Chateau Rieussec – my first time having this Sauternes, delicious, young, vibrant and a long life ahead. I don’t have much experience with Sauternes but this was the closest in balance – acidity, mouthfeel and sugar – that I’ve ever had when compared to d’Yquem.

As is always the case when they have us over for dinners, the food at Anthony and Jennifer’s was incredible. I took no notes but vividly remember each course today, over two months after the meal:

  • Assorted cured meats: my favorite meats were the jamon and bresaola – an air-dried, salted and aged cured beef.
  • Tagliatelle with white truffles: the most decadent dish of the night, fresh pasta with butter, an egg yolk and shaved white truffles – an unbeatable dish for the Fall/Winter.
  • Roasted leg of lamp: seasoned with garlic and spices, a perfect main for the big red wines we had lined up.
  • Mixed green salad with a mustard vinaigrette
  • Cheese course: I had my first taste of an incredible cheese, Mont d’Or. This rich, creamy cheese (only available in winter months) is held in an oak encasing. Anthony told me you typically leave it on top of the oven to heat up and serve slightly warm. Made from cow’s milk, this  is incredibly rich with a woody taste imparted by the encasing.
  • Assorted cupcakes and banana cream pie from Magnolia