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Food,  Wine & Friends  Page 248


We hosted a small holiday gathering on Christmas Day...


I was busy in the kitchen preparing a variety of plates...

The night before I prepped some bread dough...and then in the morning fired up the oven and baked some breads...

And we were going to have some clams...I found East Coast clams from two different sources...

One bag of clams was harvested off the coast of New York State, while these lighter colored ones (above) came from the shores of Virginia.

A couple of days earlier, I'd seasoned some Cornish Game Hens with fresh thyme, rosemary, garlic (of course), lemon, shallots and olive oil.  Did I mention garlic?




The guests arrived and we were ready to start our little holiday fest!



Mark opened the bottle of Champagne, a Francoise Bedel bottling called "Cuvee Dis, Vin Secret."

 


Bedel, we understand, produces this from Pinot Meunier, for the most part.  And it spends an extended period of time en tirage.
I thought it was a good bottle of Champagne, but did not sense it as being exceptionally yeasty or toasty.
The wine was nicely tart and medium-full on the palate, though.  I felt this, retailing in the neighborhood of $70, was a tad pricey.


We all hoisted a glass and toasted the holiday season.

The bread turned out nicely, too.

The baguettes were to accompany the Crab Salad.

 


The 2011 Smith Haut Lafitte was its usual showy self...herbal, mildly woodsy, bone dry, full-flavored...herbal...
Perfect with the salad, which had a mild vinaigrette (I use a bit of lemon juice in place of the vinegar)...


Connie was busy snapping away on her 'smart phone' and Face-booking.

More glasses were raised in toasting to good health and happiness.

 


Brian opened the next two white wines to accompany the bucket of clams.

Connie grabbed the camera and demanded the right side of the table "Say Cheese."

And they did.

The Jingle Pup heard the word "cheese" and was looking to see if their was a piece for him.


No?

Connie then asked the Left Side of the Table to crack a smile...

The Right Side was busy tasting the two Meursault wines...

Good thing I had plenty of film in the camera!



Clams.
These are steamed with Pancetta, Shallots, Garbanzo Beans and Dandelion Greens.
I used the spectacular Engel Pinot Blanc from Alsace as the base of the broth...this was a delightful 'soup.'

And we had more bread, from those round loaves...

...to sop up the broth.


Connie had dressed to match the table setting!
She's stylish, as usual.


We had two Meursault les Narvaux, both from the 2011 vintage.
Both young...
BALLOT MILLOT...lightly woodsy, mildly appley with medium body.  It seemed a bit quiet on the nose and nice on the palate, but not much development at this early stage.
The LATOUR-GIRAUD 2011 Les Narvaux was, for me, a bit more focused and complex.  I found a crisp, bone dry white witrh a touch of toastiness, mild pear-like fruit notes and a hint of wood.

The game hens had spent about an hour in the oven...

I cut these in half and arranged them on a platter with some grilled Italian Sausages.


Accompanying the main plate was some Couscous with Mushrooms...


...and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.


We paired this course with two 2010 Barbera wines from Piemonte.


The Vietti Barbera d'Alba is from their old section of the Scarrone vineyard in Castiglione Falletto.
This was a beautiful bottle!
Deep in color and sporting lots of dark fruits on the nose, there was a nice bit of oak framing this picture.
It's fairly full-bodied and nicely balanced.

Silvia Altare's "Larigi" comes from a slightly younger vineyard in La Morra.  Younger!  Ha, those vines were planted in 1948.
Vietti's Scarrone was planted in the late 1920s!
The Larigi showed perhaps more red fruit notes with some darker tones being struck.  The wood was nicely sweet on the nose and palate, but it was not quite as well integrated as was the Vietti.  Perhaps a bit more time in bottle will allow the wine to strike a balance as fine as the Vietti.
Still, it was a seriously good bottle and we enjoyed it immensely.

 

Ellen is quite the baker and she brought a Yule Log for dessert...
Check out her culinary artistry!

We paired the cake with a Domaine La Tour Vieille Banyuls.
This was a good match!

 




The fireplace was aglow and it was time to open some holiday gifts...


The little guy was ready, too!



Connie found one of her most favorite Kimchis in a gift package!


Ellen is an aficionado of Apricot Jam...

The Jingle Pup was a bit worn out by four hours of sheer excitement and non-stop eating.


"Wait!  Is there any more food coming?  I'm awake for that if there is."


"Okay then...I'm ready to go home and snooze."

And with that we adjourned the proceedings.

Many thanks to all for a splendid holiday celebration.


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