FOOD, WINE & FRIENDS PAGE 249
Kareasa and Ralph had booked a flight at 1 in the morning to
make tracks for a little vacaciˇn
We had the day off, thank you, so we put together some vino & vittles to
send them off in style.
Kareasa opened our bottle of La Ferghettina Brut, a delightful Franciacorta Brut
We toasted their trip and Ralph was busy taking a "selfie,"
We had a small assortment of nibbles as there was much "work" ahead of
The Ferghettina Brut is primarily Chardonnay with about 5% Pinot Nero. Two
years aging on the spent yeast, so it's mildly toasty. I detected a spicy,
almost peppery note, but that may have been the influence of the dolmas...
We found a magazine for Kareasa to read on the plane...
And she was thrilled that her "friend," Guy Fieri, was on the cover.
"What a coincidence," she said, "We are heading to Flavortown,
(El Ciudad de Sabor! Oaxaca!!")
We sat down at the table and began our little marathon...
Homemade bread with a fair bit of whole wheat flour...
I prepared a little mesclun salad and dressed it with a vinaigrette using our
late colleague Bob Gorman's homemade vinegar.
The terrine was from the Fatted Calf in San Francisco.
We accompanied this with a crisp, stony little white wine from Italy's Val
d'Aosta, a wine from the tiny estate of Ermes Pavese.
PriÚ Blanc is the grape...delightful as a starter wine!
The next course was a fresh pasta from Italy. I tried to replicate a fantastic
pasta I'd had in Toscana at the home of Anna & Piero Masi.
Anna had prepared a massive amount of fresh clams and I'd seen a pan full of
these with parsley and garlic.
Well, this was good, but I don't think I nailed Anna's rendition.
Brokenwood's ILR Semillon, a new release from Australia.
The 2007 was magnificent and beautifully smoky, with some waxy notes and a hint
of green apple.
We thought about some of the California wines that get attention these days for
being "lower in alcohol."
This wine is 11.5% and unlike some of the Californians I've tasted, it's
That is, this wine has flavor all across the palate and it's a profound wine
without hitting you over the head with oak, alcohol or sugar.
I'd had a Fatted Calf duck roasting in the oven...stuffed with Farro and Figs.
And it was ready to serve, so I brought it out to show the crowd before I hacked
Our little pal Chewie was hoping I might drop a piece while carving the duck...
While I was in the kitchen, the wine was flowing at the table...
Duck with Farro, Figs, Hazelnuts and Sausage!
Chioggia Beets with Thyme and a batch of Farro with Hedgehog Mushrooms, Black
Trumpets and dried Porcini.
We had a couple of red wines of totally different styles...a 2006 Barbaresco
(which was corked, darn it!) and a Bordeaux from 2001.
Connie, though, had brought a 1999 Barbaresco and she immediately decanted it
The Chateau Branon 2001 was a very good bottle of wine, but this costs more than
Bordeaux from top, famous estates. It was polished, bright, still youthful
and nicely oaked...very fine. It can probably cellar nicely for another
10-15 years, in fact.
The Albino Rocca 1999 Brich Ronchi was much "older" and more
developed. It was a bit rustic, showy an earthy tone, with a mildly dusty
quality. There was the classically 'tarry' quality one finds in
aged, mature Nebbiolo of grand stature, though. And the wine still had a
measure of tannin...
The Duck came out nicely and the dish of Farro, infused with mushrooms was
good...so were the Chioggia beets!
I'd baked some breads to accompany a cheese platter...
One board of truffle-enhanced cheeses and one of "normal," small
Connie was intent on stabbing or bludgeoning the cheeses...
Mark looked over the choices...
Chewie appreciated both the breads and the cheeses!
We opened a bottle of Joseph Roty 2007 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Les
It was a beautiful bottle...lots of dark cherry notes with a touch of sweet oak
and plenty of fruit. There was a faintly smoky element to the wine, as
well. A hint of bacon, more dark fruit...delicious!
Mark baked a "Snake Bite Cake" for dessert...this features Guinness
Stout as part of the cake batter and then there's pear cider as part of the
cream cheese 'frosting.'
After dessert we played some curious game with cards featuring
topics and potentially silly responses...
But Kareasa and Ralph had a plane to catch, so the flew of to Oaxaca after
And with that...
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