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Food, Wine & Friends Page 203  Goose, Cornas, Syrah, Moutard Champagne
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Chef Kareasa Wilkins invited us for a dinner featuring roast goose....


On a cool winter Sunday evening, we trekked to Wilkins Manor in the east bay/south bay.

The "Welcome" sign was posted, so the place was easy to find.

 

There were a few nibbles waiting to be paired with the Champagnes...

Constance then took care of pouring the bottle of 2005 Moutard Champagne...
This is a rarity, having been made exclusively from a grape called Arbane, a grape which has virtually died out.




The wine was nicely fizzy, but didn't display much yeasty or toasty character.  There wasn't much "snap" from acidity in this Arbane bubbly, either.  Perfectly pleasant, but at close to $90 for a bottle, we were happy to taste it once, but can't say we'd rush out for a second bottle.


Mark and Ralph.



Kareasa and Constance.

 


We opened a second bottle of Moutard Champagne, this one called Cuvee des 6 Cepages, incorporating the usual Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with the unusual Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane.  Though on this back label, the Arbane is spelled "Arbanne."

The 2004 Cuvee des 6 Cepages was far more classically "Champagne"-like.  Snappy, mildly yeasty and dry with bracing acidity.

Meanwhile, the table in the dining room was set and awaiting...

Bob then got busy and was preparing a salad to start...

He brought his home-grown, Gorman Gardens radicchio salad and included some orange sections.

The bowl was such a work of art, Bob whipped out his camera to take a shot...


Then he turned the lens on himself...


Bob dressed the salad, from his own garden, with a bit of olive oil and homemade white wine vinegar.  A bit of salt and pepper and, VOILA!


A 2009 Domaine Duffour white from Gascony accompanied the salad.  This is a wonderfully aromatic white with crisp acidity and it's dry.
You'd never guess this as a wine costing less than ten bucks!

Connie then whipped out a telephone and started taking pictures.
"Ralph, say 'cheese.'"




Apparently someone pointed out that he'd have an easier time eating the salad if he used a utensil...

...and Bob was pleased to see he was able to manipulate a fork.

Ralph was all a-swirl....


Bob brought a load of salad, so we had seconds...

Meanwhile, Kareasa asked Dr. Mark O'Toole to perform surgery on the goose.
And the good doc did a splendid job!

Kareasa had procured a goose of something close to ten or eleven pounds, so she roasted a second bird in case the goose was not sufficient...

And this was beautifully roasted and succulent.

I opened a couple of bottles of Syrah to accompany the goose.

DOMAINE DU TUNNEL 2008 CORNAS
&
QUILL 2007 Sonoma SYRAH

Connie then grabbed some instruments and was working on the chicken.


Mark artistically presented the goose...and Kareasa made a really rich sauce for this, too.


Everyone then got up to serve themselves.

There was a big pan full of oven-roasted root vegetables, too.


We then hoisted a glass to toast the chef.

And the chef was up to her elbows in dinner!


The Cornas from Domaine du Tunnel was delicious.  The aromas were of cool-climate Syrah with a beautiful pepper and spice finish on the palate.  It was elegant and mildly tannic, but not a big bruiser.  I was pleased to see it perfectly matched the food without over-powering,

The Quill had some smoky, bacony notes on the nose.  There's a nice bit of vanillin from the oak and an array of brown spice tones.  It's a big wine, leaning towards 'fruit bomb' but with enough restraint to hold together well.

With 9 people, the bottles were quickly emptied.
So we opened and decanted an older California Syrah...

1989 Bonny Doon Vineyard Syrah...
This turned out to be exceptional!
The wine was still showing plenty of berry-like fruit, some earthy notes and a beautiful spice quality.  It was medium-bodied and elegant, to boot.
--A pleasant surprise!--

Kareasa used to work at the Bonny Doon tasting room...

Connie wondered if it was even legal to make a red wine in California with less than 13% alcohol.

"Are you sure...?"

Brian then learned how to use an Ah-So Corkpuller...

It's a German-made device, so best to learn using a German wine!

And how!

Schloss Saarstein 1999 Auslese...
This was great!
The wine is eleven years old and it's still remarkably fresh and fruity...
The aromas show notes of honey and flowers with a basket of fruit in the mix.
Though moderately sweet, there's zippy acidity keeping it zesty and bright.
We enjoyed this thoroughly as a prelude to Mark's Tarte au Chocolate.


Brian said "Dieser Wein ist wirklich k÷stlich!"


Kareasa's Mom Becky said "I don't care what language you're speaking, the wine tastes even better with this blue cheese!"

Bob seconded that emotion!

Then I noticed Ralph's antennas had sprouted and he was picking up musical sounds from the radio or internet.

 

Kareasa said the wine and cheese were heavenly.


Bob mentioned he grew the radicchio and various salad greens.

As it was time for the Tarte au Chocolate au'Toole, we opened and passed around a bottle of Summers' Charbono "Port."


We like the concept, since Charbono can be so wonderfully fruity and berryish.
This was dominated by the brandy they used to fortify the wine, though.

Ellen made quick work of the chocolate.


Bob nodded off for a moment, dreaming about planting more radicchio and pain de sucre/pan di zucchero.


"Yep, he nodded off..."

But so did Constance for a moment...

....perhaps because Mark was showing anyone who was still awake the proper goose carving techniques.

Someone then showed me the best shot of the night...a display of Kareasa photos.

And once we had that image captured in the Canon EOS, we were ready to motor up the 880 freeway to the San Mateo Bridge and back to Burlingame!

Thanks to Kareasa, Ralph and Becky for hosting us!
Thanks to Bob for growing the Radicchio and Pan di Zucchero!
Thanks to Mark for his Chocolate dessert and to Brian for opening the wines...
And to Ellen and Connie for their navigational skills (from the backseat, no less!)...



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