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FOOD, WINE & FRIENDS Page 188

ALEXIA MOORE'S 39th BIRTHDAY.
Again.

We convened Chez Bob on a summer Sunday to celebrate Alexia's 39th Birthday.
Again.



As the guests convened, Bob, I think, was showing the the fact that he had installed new batteries in his hearing aid.

Paul brought a favorite vintage of Uncle Mario's Cabernet, a wine from a year when Alexia was just hitting double digits.

Meanwhile, I poked around to see what was cooking...

Home made pasta.


Jonathan's baguettes...




Henry poured the Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis Champagne.
This was a magnificent wine...beautifully toasty, very elegant and intense.  It's a deluxe bottling, their top-of-the-line and very impressive.


We toasted the Champagne Queen.


Jonathan.

 

 


Lucy pitched in to help present the nibbles to go with the Champagne.

 

 

 


Sometimes you can help and other times the situation is "beyond help."
Not sure what's happening here.


Artichokes Milanese.


Jonathan shows off his home-grown beans.

At this stage Bob was getting ready to roast the chickens which he'd seasoned with some just-arrived Italian summer truffles.


This is the "before" picture.


As we worked on devouring the appetizers and making the bubbly disappear, Bob was busy in the kitchen preparing his crab remoulade.

Brian and Jonathan compared heights...


We paired the Crab Remoulade with a pair of Okanagan Valley Pinot Gris wines from the highly-regarded 2009 vintage.
Red Rooster was a magnificent, fresh, fruity, dry white, while the Burrowing Owl had some allspice tones.

Everyone hoisted a glass to toast both the birthday girl and our host.


 


Back in the kitchen, Bob and Paul were working on the mushroom sauce for the pasta.


Onions, Black chanterelles and some white wine...then cream added at the end...





Plating the pasta.

Ecco!

Querciabella's "Batar" is a wonderful Tuscan white wine made from particularly intense Pinot Bianco blended with Chardonnay.  The name, as you might suspect, comes from "Batard Montrachet" and the wine is worthy of comparison with a lofty white Burgundy.
The 2006 was superb, toasty and full on the palate.
Next to this we had a Morey Coffinet Batard Montrachet, a wine from a favorite domaine in Burgundy.  It, too, was smoky and toasty and quite complex.
The Chanterelles were delicious and the combination of these two wines and a lovely plate of pasta was sublime.



 

After presenting the beautifully-roasted birds, Bob returned to the kitchen for some culinary surgical maneuvers.

While Doctor Bob was busy there, I took care of decanting a couple of well-aged Bordeaux.


The 1966 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild was quite "old" and at its end.  The wine was a bit brown in color and showed some dusty notes and tobacco.
The 1967 Latour, from a lesser vintage, was deeper, darker and still alive and kicking.  It was still showing somewhat of a ruby tone to its color and had nice fruit and some power and vitality.

Lurking in the background, though, was this wonderful bottle...


Winemaker Mario Gemello is probably not known to most wine drinkers these days, but in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s he made wines amongst California's best.  His 1960 Cabernet is legendary and if you ever have the chance to taste it, you'll know why.
His 1973 Santa Clara Zinfandel was another amazing, top tier wine.
The Gemello name was a "cult" brand in the late 1960s and early 1970s...not bad for a winery situated behind a bowling alley along El Camino Real in Mountain View!

After the main plate, Bob brought out a couple of cheese boards...and we opened a couple of little Burgundies.

The Andre Cathiard Romanee St. Vivant was a good expression of Pinot Noir, but it was overshadowed by the Emmanuel Rouget 1990 Vosne-Romanee "Cros Parantoux," from a vineyard owned by Rouget's uncle, Henri Jayer.
The 1990 Cros Parantoux was lovely, with sweet fruit and some sweet oak notes...certainly perfectly evolved and with some brown spice tones.


Henry!


We had several desserts.
Ellen brought a fruit tart featuring home-grown berries.

 

Bob had berries from his backyard and he baked a pie.

And Alexia treated us to another dessert...

1950 Chateau d'Yquem.
This was brassy in color and fully developed, with a faintly nutty note and nice honeyed tones.
It was sweet, but not syrupy.  It may not be a grand vintage, but it was quite good and it paired wonderfully with both desserts.

Next, Alexia had some birthday presents to deal with.

Paul and Sandy gifted Alexia with a Le Creuset pot...

Jonathan and Lucy gave her a nice bag with some goodies inside, including some wonderfully fragrant lavender.


Bob gave Alexia a nice little cookbook.


Ellen presented the Bubble Queen with a deluxe Cava from Juve y Camps...


Huh?  What?  WTF?


The Wine Rack, a bra you can fill with your favorite Chardonnay!
Talk about keeping abreast of the wine scene!!


A "perfect" gift for Alexia!
She can make sales calls with her reps and ask accounts "Can I taste you on my new Zinfandel?"

Brian then explained how this thing works...


Paul was wondering how the 1960 Gemello would taste out of this contraption and Ellen was curious to know if the Cava would be okay in it or if it would explode while she was wearing it.




At this point in the festivities, with the various bottles emptied, Alexia began singing along with Bob's show tune music from the 1930s and 1940s.

And thus, we concluded a magnificent evening of gastronomy!

Many thanks to Chef Robert Gorman for hosting.


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