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We had a simple, relaxing evening with Henry! and Alexia in Woodside, California.


Henry! opened a magnum of Mumm Napa's "21st Century Cuvee."


The French lobbied diligently to prevent producers of bottle-fermented sparkling wines made in Europe from using the term "Methode Champenoise" on their labels.
Yet Mumm, French-based, uses that designation when it comes to marketing its own non-Champagne bubblies!

The Halseys brought some shrimp as part of the "nibbles" assortment.

In the kitchen, Alexia was showing off one of her new toys, something called an "I Pad" or "I'm Mad" or "I Fad."

Ann Halsey, CJ, Sarah Halsey and Alexia as she shows off some of the features of this new gizmo.


Sarah and Alexia.


Harlan and Ilene discussing the prospects for the San Francisco Giants in the upcoming 2011 season.
Ilene says she's excited by the April 1st season opener versus the LA Dodgers.


Ilene then explains to Ann that the Giant's Cactus League opener is less than two months away!
"They play the Diamondbacks on Friday February 25th!  I can't wait."

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Alexia was cooking up a storm!


Voila!  Salad.

At the dinner table, Ilene mentioned she was contemplating getting a San Francisco Giant's tattoo, which caused some of the guests to giggle.


"I kind of like one with the SF initials and barbed wire." Ilene explained.


Harlan then dropped a bombshell, explaining he was thinking of getting an SF Giants' tattoo, also.
"Fear the Beard, Alexia.  Fear the Beard."


Ilene confided to Ann that she's a bit upset with Juan Uribe signing with the Dodgers.
"I'm hoping Lincecum knocks him on his ass the first time he faces him." she explained.

As they were presenting the main course of this "Southern" meal, Alexia started speaking with a drawl, y'all.

Henry! showed off the various condiments to enhance the Pulled Pork Experience.

 


Ann said "You know, I think these here Taters remind me of the Black and Orange!  Go Giants!"


We opened a Nichol Vineyard St. Laurent, a nice light red with a mildly fruity character to pair with this meal.
The Poplar Grove Cabernet Franc was decidedly more complex and fuller in body.  It displayed a bit of dark fruit and a moderately woodsy tone.
Both wines hail from Canada's Okanagan Valley.


Some were attracted to the warning:  hot hot hot 

 

Dessert was Alexia's increasingly famous spice cake along with some Egg Nog Ice Cream.

And then it was time for a quick ride home as I was all bumfuzzled from a busy and hectic month of holiday season work at the shop.

Thanks All Y'All for some mighty nice fixins and some purty wines.


I was hosting Malena and Corey from L'East Coast and Sylvia from So Cal the next day.

I was busy preparing all sorts of victuals...
Including an attempt at Apple Pie.

We started the festivities with some nibbles and bubbly...


The Juve y Camps Gran Cava from 2000 is stellar...it's perhaps a tad less fizzy than a young bubbly, but the complexity level is high.


Malena, Corey and The Sylvia.

We began with a salad of Mache, Arugula and Smoked Trout.

The Von Simmern Riesling is rather dry, a 2007 Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen Kabinett Trocken wine.  Very fruity and a beautiful accompaniment with the smoked fish.


Next up we had Saffron Fettucine with vegetable confetti seasoned with saffron and some rock shrimp and prawns.
The wine was a current favorite, the Wm. Augustus 2009 Viognier-Marsanne from Oregon.


Corey and The Sylvia.

We asked people to pick their favorite white wine.

The Sylvia, apparently, had two.


A palate-cleansing sorbet...

And then we opened three old bottles, hoping to find something drinkable.

The 1969 Mayacamas Cabernet bottle was a low fill...the wine was mature and a bit tired, certainly past its prime.


"It's my favorite, so far." The Sylvia announced.
She shares a special kinship with this bottle.

Then another elderly bottle was opened and decanted...

This was still alive and showing the red fruits it's always displayed....The wine was medium-light and a far cry from today's over-the-top, pedal-to-the-metal fruit bombs.

And the third bottle on the hit parade was a 1972 Burgess Cellars Cabernet.

This was the first release from Tom & Linda Burgess and their winemaker Bill Sorenson.
Bill is still with Burgess today and we still find their Cabernets to be of interest, since they have not sought to pander to the taste of some of the critics who prefer ink to wine.


The main plate was a rack of lamb, braised artichokes and some Toasted Israeli Couscous and Mushrooms.

For dessert we opened a bottle of Ca del Baio Moscto d'Asti.

And Malena showed off her surgical skills is carving up the pie.


We paired the pie with some homemade Killa Vanilla ice cream that had a pinch of cinnamon  added to the mix...very nice!

Then we had a small gift exchange...


La Donna Selvatica Asti Spumante for Una Donna Selvatica!


"Yahoo!"

When The Sylvia placed The Placecard on her head, Malena & Corey thought it might be time to head to the hotel.

And so they all departed after a splendid little soiree....






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