Food, Wine & Friends Page 213
After a long month of non-stop holiday business, we headed
south on Christmas Eve, dropping off one last gift box for a customer and then
driving to the Sicard residence.
We found Aviva busily putting the finishing touches on her kitchen
artistry...and so we opened a bottle of Dorigo Spumante from our friends in
We all hoisted a glass and toasted to everyone's good health.
Felix then got busy as he cut the cheese...
And we opened a nice bottle of Rudi Pichler's Gruner
Veltliner, which paired beautifully with the Gravlax...
We understand that a centerpiece of the French Canadian "Réveillon"
is roasted turkey.
Pierre took care of carving the turkey...
Another traditional item on the menu for this meal is a Tourtière.
I had purchased a bottle of a new Pinot Noir from The Eyrie Vineyard in
This was a much more modern-styled wine than usual for The Eyrie Vineyard.
We enjoyed the dark cherry fruit framed in some sweet, vanillin oak.
Dinner is served!
Clementine was so happy she began singing Christmas Carols at the dinner table!
As she sang, I poured...
For dessert, Aviva brought out the most marvelous
confection...some sort of Maple dessert...
These don't look nearly as good as they taste...
They are terribly addictive!
And as it was getting late and my eyes were closing, I made tracks home.
Many Merci Beaucoups to the Sicards for hosting such a lovely dinner!
Christmas Day found pleasantly clear skies and cool weather.
And we found our way to Woodside for a meal Chez Moore...
Hmmm...wonder what they're planning to serve for dinner???
The Table was set at awaiting the arrival of all the guests...
Brian was delighted to have been invited and able to attend...
And then Anne, Harlan and Sarah arrived...
...with some nibbles to go with the Champagne!
There was a nice platter of Crab Cakes, for one.
And there were two platters of crudités...
Henry! then got busy pouring the Lancelot Pienne Champagne!
Grand Cru...Blanc de Blanc...Thoroughly delicious and very 'fine.'
The Sommelier for the evening then poured the Chardonnays for the first
To start, we had steamed mussels in a Thai style...Cilantro
and some spice!
The Ridge 2004 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay had a lot of woodsy notes and
this stood up to the heat and spicing of the mussels.
The 2004 Dehlinger was excellent, too, showing a more classic, creamy Chardonnay
Both wines, to their credit, were very much alive and still rather youthful.
Few California Chardonnays show well at 7 years of age.
More hoisting of the stemware, then...
Part way through the first course, Alexia heard something
about diving for mussels and she dove under the table, looking for more...
I'd never seen such effort...
Harlan, meanwhile, was equally busy...
We then poured a couple of Alexia's Pinots...2003 Dehlinger
and 2003 Keller Estate.
Ellen enjoyed a brief snooze between courses, apparently.
Both Pinots, though, were delightful.
Anne surveyed the dinner plate...
Ellen prepared Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert...
Alexia and Henry decanted 1995 Graham's Malvedos Porto to pair with the
dessert...a good combination!
And then it became late and we adjourned the proceedings until next year!
Many thanks to Henry and Alexia for hosting, sharing the cellar and
cooking...and Ellen, Brian and the Halsey Family for providing some of the
A few days later we hosted a small holiday fest...
Things got off to an uproarious start when Connie opened the Champagne and it
sprayed all over the room...
Much better, though, when the Lenoble was poured into
Chewie mentioned he was happy to have not been showered with
Lenoble 2002 Gentilhomme Brut was quite good...dry and mildly toasty, but with a
nice level of finesse.
Chewie dressed for the holiday season, wearing his Christmas colors.
The first course was some "Blackened Abalone".
This was paired with the second wine of La Mission Haut Brion and Haut Brion,
labeled as "Les Plantiers du Haut Brion." The 2008 is the last
vintage to wear this label. It's a rather elegant wine and it was very
pleasant, but I thought a bit expensive for what's in the bottle. Of
course, its affiliation with two great estates makes its price tag seem quite
The Venica 2010 "Ronco delle Mele" was very
expressive Sauvignon Blanc...mildly herbal and grassy. Ellen identified it
as being "very Italianate." I liked its herbaceous quality and
the citrusy undertones.
A granite of Drouhin's 2011 Nouveau Beaujolais was a lovely palate cleanser...
Braised Lamb Shanks for the main course...
We had Umbrian Lentils, Braised Baby Artichokes and fresh beets to accompany the
La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion was paired with Pichon Lalande's Reserve de
Both wines were from the 2008 vintage.
The La Chapelle was fairly soft and showing elegant red fruit aromas and
flavors. It was another pleasant and elegant wine, seemingly more
"Merlot" than Cabernet.
The Reserve de la Comtesse was even more Merlot-like, showing a supple texture
and lots of red fruit notes. It's another perfectly pleasant Bordeaux, but
given both of these retail presently in the $70 range, I think I'll pass.
Chewie, meanwhile, when not hanging around his Uncle Gerald to have a bite of
lamb, was relaxing near the dinner table.
For dessert we had a nice Mocha cake from Burlingame's The
We then had a small holiday gift exchange...
Ellen had a couple of new Smurfs arrive...
And she was overjoyed...
After all this excitement, Chewie was ready to head for home
with his Mom and Pop...
Thanks to one and all...
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