Food, Wine & Friends Page 176
A FALL DINNER ON A CASUAL TUESDAY
A dear pal from the "North Coast" stopped by the
shop Monday and had a little gift for us...a package of fresh abalone!
I called some local friends and we had a little soirée Tuesday night...
To wet our whistles, we began with a nice bottle of Alfred Gratien's Non-Vintage
Brut Champagne...this was a crisp, nicely 'edgy' bubbly...chalky, dry and a bit
Then we sat down at the table for an informal feast, beginning with some steamed
We opened a bottle of Movia's Lunar, a white wine made of Ribolla Gialla.
Movia is a darling of the "natural wine" folks...this is a wine made
of Ribolla Gialla and it's a wine made with minimal cellar treatments.
Some of these wines are considered "Orange wines."
We found it to show a lightly stony note on the nose, but less expressive than,
say, the Ribolla Gialla of Girolamo Dorigo. It was a perfectly simple,
drinkable white wine, but I can't imagine customers in the shop being thrilled
at having this wine for $40-$45 a bottle.
(( The next day I brought the wine in for the staff to taste and they were
unimpressed. A sales rep who has a good palate and a sharp tongue asked if
the wine was "aged in the butt of a goat." I wondered how he
would be so familiar to come up with this description, but I resisted the
temptation to ask. ))
I got busy in the kitchen dealing with the abalone...and these are a snap to
prepare...flour, an egg bath and then bread crumbs (I used panko)...
The Michel Niellon 2006 Chassagne-Montrachet "Clos de la Maltroie" was
a delight. Mildly smoky, nicely appley, crisp, dry and far more
interesting than the Lunatic wine...
And the abalone was fantastic.
We had a little palate-refresher after the abalone...
And then we had a rib-sticking main course of Umbrian lentils
with sausages and lamb chops...
We had a 2005 Château Petite Village from Bordeaux's Pomerol
region...this was spot-on. Merlot based, the wine was deep, showing
dark fruit aromas and a nicely cedary tone from its maturation in oak. A
Lucien LeMoine 2006 Gevrey Chambertin was perfectly pleasant and of good
quality, but it was not especially compelling at this stage.
We opened a bottle of a rare South African treat from Klein Constantia, a 2004
"Vin de Constance."
Connie, as you can see, was delighted.
Fresh berries and Pound Cake.
Thanks, John, for the Abalone!
I know...it's East Bay, but with so many fine food places
Eats Bay seems appropriate.
I trekked to Berkeley in rush-hour traffic to dine at the wonderful Lalime's
I made my first trip traversing the Bay Bridge's infamous "S Curve"
and headed north to Gilman Street.
My dining companion was already there (she's an East Bay resident) and had the
waiter decant her bottle of Bordeaux.
We perused the menu and were presented with a little amuse bouche...
We both began the meal with Lalime's Tuna Tartare...a nicely presented dish that
the servers start mashing and mixing...
And, here's the end result...
What it lacks in presentation, it makes up for in flavor.
We ordered a glass of two different white wines.
A Hirsch Grüner Veltliner was suggested by the waiter after I asked for two
pours of Basa, a Rueda Blanco from Spain.
The two white wines were quite good, though we both preferred the minerally and
slightly more austere Spanish vino.
For a mid-plate, we chose a preparation of Sonoma Foie Gras.
The "Duet of Sonoma Foie Gras," Chilled Foie-Sauternes mousse and
seared Foie "steak" with wild Strawberries.
I asked if there was any sort of Sauternes available by-the-glass and we ended
up, instead, with a lovely pour of Château Pierre Bise 2007 Coteaux du Layon
Chaume, a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc that offered nice honeyed notes with some
orange tones and crisp acidity.
It tasted quite sweet on its own, but after a bite of the foie gras, this was a
Valery had brought a lovely bottle of 1990 Château Pichon
Baron. This was a delight, showing classic Pauillac aromas and
flavors. The wine was still mildly tannic and nicely cedary.
We then selected two main plates to pair with the red wines...
Hickory smoked pork shank and Tarbais beans!
Cordero al Chilindron, a Navarran-styled stew with a couple of chops from a rack
I handed the server a bottle in a bag to decant and this wine was a delight, as
1964 BV Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
This wine is incredible...still showing wonderfully woodsy American oak and
bright fruit. It's from an era when Cabernets from California weighed in
at a mere 12 to 13% alcohol.
Two terrific wines!
For dessert we had a small pour of a ten year Tawny Port and a nice little
What a delightful evening!
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