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FOOD, WINE & FRIENDS  PAGE 249

Kareasa and Ralph had booked a flight at 1 in the morning to make tracks for a little vacaciˇn in Oaxaca.

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 from Italy...


We toasted their trip and Ralph was busy taking a "selfie," apparently.


We had a small assortment of nibbles as there was much "work" ahead of us!

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, Mexico!"
(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 "complete."
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.
Bravo!

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 it up.

 


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 for us.


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 production offerings.


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 Fontenys."
Stellar!
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...
Much fun!

But Kareasa and Ralph had a plane to catch, so the flew of to Oaxaca after dinner.

 


Congratulations!
Buena Suerte!

 

And with that...

 

 

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