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Food, Wine & Friends  Page 177

 

SANDY OBESTER'S 2009 BIRTHDAY FEST


Henry opened the Champagne, a wonderfully toasty bottle of 1997 Alfred Gratien.


San Daniele Prosciutto wrapped around some Italian Grissini...


Olives, a Parsley-based dipping 'sauce' for the carrots...Dolmas and Marcona Almonds.


Jonathan bakes some breads and we had a truffle terrine.


Bob told us some stories of his Parisian adventure...he's just back two days ago from France.
Bob, Sandy, Henry, Lucy and Jonathan.




We sat down at the dinner table and began the proceedings with some seared sea scallops and Lucy & Jonathan's salad greens...


Both white wines were excellent.  The Fieuzal had a great nose, showing some toasty notes but deep Sauvignon Blanc-like citrusy elements.  Delicious!
The Colterenzio wine shows a bit more herbal, almost grassy sort of qualities and had less oak or influences from wood.
Both wines were delightful and complex and they paired well with the citrusy/mustardy vinaigrette.


Paul


Lucy


Bob


More Bob

While the risotto was soaking up the mushroom broth, I decanted the 1967 Oddero Barolo.

You can see its mahogany-like color...


The Carnaroli rice took about 35 minutes to "arrive" at a toothsome al dente.  Jonathan brought some fresh chanterelles and oyster mushrooms and i had portabellas and porcini in the pan, ready to mix with the mushroom risotto.

The 1967 Oddero was a good "old wine."  I might have not decanted it properly or stood up the bottle for a sufficient length of time as it was a bit hazy in appearance.  The nose was good and typical of Barolo...a bit earthy and mildly

 leathery.  On the palate the wine was crisp and a bit sharp...dry, palate-cleansing and still have a touch of tannin.  The combination of Barolo and Mushroom Risotto was delicious.

Next came a palate-cleansing granité, made with 2009 Nouveau Beaujolais...

The main course featured two 1994 Cabernets, but the Forman bottle was "corked", so we decanted a 1977 Page Mill Cabernet from fruit grown by Volker Eisele in Napa.
This was paired alongside the 1994 Chateau Montelena...

As for vittles....

Grilled Polenta...


Lucy's Chiffonade of Brussels Sprouts with some pancetta...


Oven-Roasted Cauliflower...


And Braised Lamb Shanks with carrots, onions and parsnips.


Paul had been talking about recently hosting Dick and Ome Stark, founders of the Page Mill Winery, so I decanted this nice old wine.  The alcohol level was modest (12.5% on the label) and there was still a nice woodsy quality to the wine with a mild hint of caramel (oak intermingling with the fruit, I suspect).  Medium bodied and old...


The Montelena displayed a youthful vitality by comparison...dark fruits dominated the nose and palate.  It's a big wine, but not over-the-top...
Very fine.  I suspect this can be cellared for still another decade and beyond.


While Paul selected a lamb shank, Bob was hailing a Cab...the 1994 Montelena, apparently...



Henry got busy and opened the two Burgundies...

 

Jonathan's breads were outstanding and much in demand...


The 2002 Drouhin-Laroze Chambertin "Clos de Beze" had a cherryish and smoky nose with a hint of bacon...very fine on the palate.  It's young and mildly tannic, but was quite good.  Elegant.
The 2004 Château de la Tour Clos Vougeot was a worthy companion, too.  It was a shade more open than the Chambertin and a bit more charming.  The tannins were mild and the wine had lovely oak and great fruit.
Both Grand Cru wines worthy of their lofty status...


Bob was transported back to Paris with the selection of French cheeses...


Alexia sang a wonderful rendition of "Happy Birthday..."

And then we had a wonderful Italian Rum Cake from The Cakery in Burlingame...

 


The Casa Blanca Banyuls was very good...moderately sweet and having a nice balance...

Still jet-lagged, Bob caught a quick snooze...

Then it was time for a birthday gift, or two...




Jonathan and Lucy presented Sandy with a lovely wooden board...

...while Bob brought back some Parisian Chocolates.

 


And as Paul was nodding off, we concluded a wonderful evening of vittles, vino and good friends.


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