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On a mid-week evening, relatively the spur of the moment, we gathered at Chateau O'Poon for some vittles and vino on a Summer evening in January.


We opened a bottle of the 2006 Deutz Vintage Brut Champagne...quite good, in fact and nicely dry and crisp.  I'd read it was a top selection of the critics at Britain's Decanter Magazine...but I didn't find it to be quite as exceptional as did they.
We drained the bottle, anyway.

 

The future newly-weds enjoyed a toast...


The wine was beautifully bubbly and nicely persistent...good acidity and mildly toasty...


Connie was busy at the chopping board...

"Mark: Chop, chop!!"

And Mark was busy preparing the Sole...

Ralph poured the first white wine for us...

And then he posed with some nibbles in the manner of our late, dearly-departed friend Bob Gorman...

Bob, you see, would also pose for a snapshot of his latest and greatest culinary creation.
Here we see Ralph posing with Connie's Dangerously Delicious Bacon-Wrapped Dates.

Meanwhile, The Poonster was busy frying the fish...

And what a lovely dish this turned out to be!

The Navazos wine is a collaboration with Dirk Niepoort, one of the leading lights in Portugal's Douro Valley and the Equipo Navazos, a team of Sherry fanatics who prowl the cellars in Jerez and Montilla, looking for interesting barrels or small lots of wines.
The wine is sort of an unfortified Fino to a certain degree.
It, like Fino Sherry, is made entirely of the Palomino grape. The wine spends but a few months in barrel with a light 'veil' of 'flor' yeast on its surface.  The barrels are filled only to 80% (or so) capacity, so there's air space which allows the wine to develop its mildly 'nutty' character.
I found the wine to be nice and interesting to taste, but costing well more than $30 and a bit less than $40, I wouldn't purchase it again.

The Sole was magnificent and Connie did a nice job with her little Green Apple 'Salad' on the side...

As usual, You-Know-Who was hoping to have a taste of his parent's cooking.

We opened a second bottle of white wine, a marvelous bottling from the Alto Adige winery of Franz Haas.

The Franz Haas wine was totally different!
It's an aromatic and fruity blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Traminer and Sauvignon Blanc.  I recall this wine from a few years ago and it showed a moderately oaky quality.  Now they really highlight the fruit and you can find the floral Riesling and citrusy Gewurz and Sauvignon notes.
It was dry and nicely acidic, so it was very showy with the fish...it, too, is in the high $30s to low $40s...a bit costly, but very fine and delicious.


We then opened a 2008 Sonoma Zinfandel...and Mark was busy, dealing with the roast:  From San Francisco's Fatted Calf butcher shop on Fell Street, a Pork Roast with "Pastrami Seasoning."
Connie and Mark had this in the over at a relatively low temperature and roasted it for a couple of hours...

Here's a snapshot of Mark "Doing a Bob."


GiaDomella 2008 Zinfandel was really nice and a mildly woodsy red wine...Sonoma fruit...quite good!

And then we opened a 2010 Pesquera.
This is a marvelous bottle from Spain's Ribera del Duero region...Tempranillo...nice dark fruit and moderately woodsy...beautifully drinkable right now and it even held up to the spicy pork dish!

Connie and Mark roasted some Cauliflower and steamed some Green Beans as sides for the Pork.

You-Know-Who was happy.

Kareasa baked a Cardamom Almond Tart for dessert and brought some homemade ice cream made with Pistachios and Rose Water!


Pure artistry, both in the glass and on the plate.

The wine is from Austria's Feiler-Artinger winery in the town of Rust by the Neusiedlersee.  This little area is famed for its sweet wines and a tasting of Feiler's demonstrates why.
This is an Ausbruch level wine, meaning the grapes are very sweet and will produce a wine which is equivalent to something between Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese if we were speaking about German wines.
In fact, Ausbruch used to indicate a wine where some hugely sweet 'must' or juice was added to less sweet juice.  This process was a bit like that practiced in neighboring Hungary where they make Tokaji wines and would add this intensely sweet mash of virtually raisined grapes infused with sweet juice to produce Tokaji Asz˙ wines.
This wine was produced from an equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, with the fruit being harvested at the end of October in 2005.  Some of the juice was fermented in seasoned barriques and some in stainless steel.  It's a mere 10.5% alcohol and has high acidity to balance the 223 grams-per-liter of residual sugar.
This was delicious and showy right now, but it ought to cellar well for a few more decades (at least!).

The wine was very fragrant and sweetly aromatic with beautifully fruity notes.  It was sweet and balanced by crisp acidity.  The flavors linger nicely, making for a long finish.
And it's somewhat lower in alcohol than most Sauternes, for example.

And at this stage, we were ready for a good snooze, some of us earlier than others, though.

 

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