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Ellen and Brian brought some nibbles to accompany the Agrapart Champagne...home grown asparagus wrapped with Prosciutto and some Dolmas from the Mediterranean place across from Weimax.



Ellen also had mushroom caps stuffed with Escargot...

And we had some oysters and prawns, too!

The table was set and we were ready to go!

Henry took care of opening the magnum of Agrapart Champagne...

 

 


We then hoisted a glass and toasted everyone...


The Moores and the Tolmachs.


Sandy's Mom, Grandma Sally, was doing well and delighted in hosting such a lavish dinner party.


Bob was enjoying the Agrapart Champagne and he long been a fan of funghi and snails...



The Great Bread Baker!

A bunch of Birthday cards were assembled for later...

Meanwhile, Sandy and Paul got busy in the kitchen...




Paul lit the candles and soon the first course was on the table!


Lobster!  
Paul and Sandy even cut the little bread crostini to resemble a lobster claw...


The bottle on the left is Pedralonga 2010 Albarino.  Its label depicts a stone and this was extremely stony on this occasion.  The wine was markedly minerally and fairly crisp and dry.

The Edmond Jacquin "Marestel" from the 2010 vintage was fairly stony when tasted on its own (and we've done that on a number of occasions).  Alongside the Pedralonga, this was nicely fruity and almost a touch floral.  Dry, of course.

But the bottom line is both wines were delicious with the Lobster!



Back in the kitchen, Sandy has three pans full of vegetables from the morning Farmer's Market...



As Sandy and Paul were busy in the kitchen, Bob began serenading the rest of us with show tunes from the 1940s.

Bob sang a Gershwin tuned called "Funny Face"...

Ellen was wondering where she left her ear plugs...

...and Alexia was happy she's deaf in one ear, so she only had to listen to half of Bob's singing.

Meanwhile, the Kitchen Crew was busy...


The two Chardonnays were as far apart as their appellations!
Both were 2004 vintage wines.
The Comtes des Lafon was still a youthful and tight wine.  It showed a nicely stony, minerally quality...probably another 5 to ten years away from blossoming entirely.

The Aubert 2004 Chardonnay was certainly Californian in style and it was nicely mature.  Alexia mentioned the wine was sweet and alongside the Lafon this became quite apparent.

The plate featured a Socca cut into pieces at the top of the plate, with various vegetables from that morning's fabulous Mountain View farmer's market.  Paul and Sandy had been treasuring a small bottle of well-aged Balsamic vinegar and they shared it with us.


Henry then decanted the 3 Cabernets from the 1968 vintage.

And in the kitchen were two pots full of Cassoulet.


But first we had a palate-refreshing Mint Granita.

And then we got to taste the three Cabernets.

The Gemello bottling on the left has a Lot 2 designation and was noted as a "Never Oak" aged wine.
I found beautiful Cabernet fruit notes to this and a woodsy complexity which reminded me of nicely aged Bordeaux.
It was perfectly balanced and a stellar bottle of Cabernet by any measure.

The Heitz 1968 Napa Cabernet was amazing.  I recall hearing that it had a good percentage of Cabernet from the fledgling Martha's Vineyard.  The aromas were stunning and lively.  It had the classic sort of minty notes and brown spice tones for which Heitz wines are so highly prized.  It was in remarkable condition and the wine was thoroughly delicious!  To imagine that wine was made as the Johnson Administration was coming to an end and Nixon was campaigning to be the next President...
Many people pegged the Heitz as their favorite and while it was stellar, there was something alluring about the first Gemello wine, too.
I'd say they were tied for my pick as the best.

The third wine was a Gemello-Filice wine.  Mario Gemello had sold the winery to the Filice family and they bottled the wine with their name on the label.  It was noted as a "Saratoga Ranch" bottling and was bottled, we suspect, later than the other Gemello wine.  It didn't seem to have the fruit or life of the Lot 2 Gemello bottling.  Henry suggested that Mario Gemello knew precisely when to bottle the first wine and the second may have simply been bottled when it was convenient rather than when it should have been bottled.
The wine was still quite good, though, but it was in the shadows of the two giants alongside!





Sniff, sniff, sniff...


Duck...Sausage...Beans...
Spectacular!


We then had a pair of 1993 Clos de Vougeot wines.
Paul & Sandy had visited the cellars of Guy Coquard back in the 1990s when they were making wine.
This was a light, faintly cherryish Pinot Noir which seemed to have a mildly cidery note which I associated with it being a bit old.
The Mongeard Mugneret displayed darker fruit notes and a lightly bacony fragrance and flavor.  It was the deeper, more complex wine and still quite alive.

Alexia had provided a couple of cheese platters...

Jonathan's breads were fantastic, as usual.


******************

Then Sandy and Paul served their Genoise cake...

And they even had Candied Kumquats as part of this delicious dessert!



Alexia applauded as Bob easily blew out the candle...


Paul had been saving a nice bottle of German Riesling...a 1976 Beerenauslese from the Von Schorlemer estate.

I wasn't sure a 1976 would still be in good condition, but this wine, despite its mature-looking color, was excellent.
It offered a nicely honeyed character and some dried apricot notes.  It was quite sweet, but the acidity was crisp and balancing.
The pairing of this wine with the kumquats was remarkable.


A quarter of a century ago, Sandy and Paul hosted a birthday celebration for Bob.  We were out in Half Moon Bay along Highway 92.  At one point in the evening, Paul flipped a switch and had everyone look out the window and a giant number "50" fashioned out of lights was illuminated.
On this evening, Henry wondered "What's with that blue tarp outside...Do you think there's a 75 in lights out there?"

And, voila!


Bob Gorman is 75 years young!

Here's a shot of the old codger...



Then we opened some birthday cards...





And with that we adjourned the fest as it was past the bedtimes of most of those in attendance.

Thanks to Sally, Sandy and Paul for hosting and to Alexia, Henry!, Jonathan, Lucy, Bob, Ellen and Brian for participating.

 

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