Food, Wine & Friends Page 246 Thanksgiving 2013
After a busy Wednesday, we spent Thanksgiving morning in the
shop, re-stocking bins, displays and shelves and helping the many last-minute
customers who need some good vino for the holiday feast.
We closed at 3pm and collected our things to motor down to Woodside for the
annual holiday feast, hosted by Alexia and Henry Moore.
The table was set and The Moores were getting ready for this annual tradition.
Brian was carrying Ellen's homemade Apple Pie.
Connie and Mark joined us this year and brought some nice flowers.
Tom-San Showed off his Ikebana skills in arranging the flowers.
Brian opened a bottle of Pol Roger "Pure" Extra Brut
Champagne to begin the festivities...
And we all hoisted a glass for a toast...
The Pol Roger "Pure Extra Brut" was a nice starter bubbly...it has a
very quiet nose and is light and crisp. The bubbles are persistent and
fine. I know they're striving for a wine of finesse and subtlety...this
might be too subtle, though.
Brian explained to Tom what a "selfie" is and took one of the two of
Henry then brought out a dynamite plate of Biscuits & Ham...Virginia Ham.
And he showed us the proper technique for enjoying these
Our second bottle was magnificent!!!
The 1999 Vintage Brut of Alfred Gratien, a deeper, more toasty, more powerful,
more complex wine.
This was good!
Damn, that was good.
Too bad it retails for $120...
Meanwhile, The Bird made its way to the carving board in the kitchen...
A veritable masterpiece!
Henry then took to lighting the candles...
We were joined by a couple of special guests, too.
...and these guys were hungry, waiting for turkey!
So was this guy...
Alexia prepared a lovely holiday salad with fresh pears and nuts...
Guigal's 2009 La Doriane Condrieu is a bit of a benchmark for the appellation in
particular and Viognier in general. We encountered a mildly oaky note in
the wine along with the peach and apricot fruit character.
We had another "fruit bomb" alongside: Anselmet 2011 Chambave
This is a glorious dry white wine, with a hugely pungent Muscat fragrance.
It is a benchmark bottle for dry Muscat and it was exceptional alongside the
Glasses were, once again, hoisted!
Once the salad course was completed, there was a bit of work
to do in the kitchen and Henry got busy.
Alexia had roasted some root vegetables in the oven.
And Alexia was busy yammering about getting all the side dishes to the table...
We had a couple of different versions of cranberry sauce...I liked 'em both, but
especially enjoyed the one with a bit of horseradish.
The stuffing was also exceptional.
We paired the meal with a couple of 2007 vintage Burgundies from
Mongeard-Mugneret, one of our favorite producers of that region.
The 2007 vintage is viewed as a modest quality year in Burgundy. Warm in
April and then the summer was cool and unremarkable...but warm temps in August
and September allowed the fruit to attain good levels of sugar. Generally
the wines are said to be of modest aging potential and they're often described
as immediately drinkable.
We found both of these Grand Cru wines to be blossoming nicely. The
Grands-Echezeaux had a bit more intensity and was a tad fuller in body, but the
Clos de Vougeot was delicious, too. It had a bit more red cherry fruit,
while the Grands-Echezeaux had a touch of Oriental spice and a faint hint of a
bacon-like, hickory note.
Both bottles were special and worthy of purchase, in my view.
((I bought these specifically to 'taste' and evaluate.))
As it was on Thanksgiving one year ago that our colleague Bob Gorman passed
away, we raised a glass in dear old Bob's honor.
Not a day goes by that we don't miss the old feller...
We then opened another bottle of red, since the first two were
drained (with enthusiasm and good friends, I might add)...
I thought a Syrah might pair well with Henry's! smoked turkey, so Brian decanted
this bottle of 1987 Guigal Hermitage.
And what a lovely wine this was!
Still alive, for one thing, it showed some smoky notes which straddled the fence
between Bordeaux and the Northern Rhone. I found a touch of spice and a
lightly cedary quality. It was definitely an older wine or, at least, a
wine which was fully evolved. I can't imagine it going much farther, but
it was dynamite with the succulent, smoked bird.
Our dear friend Connie, described recently on a Yelp review as a "rude and
cold Asian woman," poured the Hermitage for Brian.
Brian found the wine to be pretty damned good.
Here's Alexia's reaction to the notion of Connie being a 'rude
and cold Asian woman':
It was nearly bedtime for Alexia by this point.
We then put this bottle on the table to taste prior to Ellen
serving her famous Crustless Apple Pie.
With the pop of the crown cap, Alexia, once again, awoke and
was rarin' to go!
The Neige sparkling wine was good, though Alexia disliked it.
We found it very cidery and typical of good versions of French ciders.
They add a modest percentage of their famous Neige Apple Ice Wine to the cider
to give it a measure of residual sugar. It's sweet, for sure, but not
This product comes to us from Quebec and it was another 'taster' bottle I
purchased out of curiosity.
After tasting the Sparkling Cider, we then got serious and opened a nice bottle
of Chateau Climens...
...a 1999 vintage!
Beautifully developed, nicely honeyed with some apricot tones...
Ellen made her famous Apple Pie and I whipped up a batch of a Vanilla-Cinnamon
Ice Cream to accompany it.
Brian was taking some snaphots and then fussing with them on his I-Pod.
Well, at this stage it was time to make tracks for home...so
we thanked everyone and headed out to the wagon...
Many thanks to Alexia and Henry! for hosting us again this year...
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