Food, Wine & Friends Page 271
On Christmas Day we gathered at Chateau O'Poon in sunny San
Bruno, California for a holiday feast.
We brought a magnum of Ruelle-Pertois Grand Cru Champagne and
Mark took care of pouring this.
Our little Elf was delighted to help host such an event...
There were some nice 'nibbles' to pair with the Champagne.
Foie gras and some Pate with Truffles...
Connie's folks joined us from Pleasanton and Mark's folks made
the trek from Wisconsin.
Since it's early in the season for Dungeness Crab, I brought
"fixin's" for a little salad...
We had two wines from the 2012 Vintage:
Pierre Yves-Colin Morey Meursault "Les Narvaux" and Vasse Felix
Both wines were exceptional.
The Vasse Felix started out with a beautifully smoky, toasty, leesy sort of
character...reminiscent of good Pulignys from Domaine LeFlaive. The wine
shows some stony notes and maybe a touch of green apple...it's quite complex and
full-flavored, while maintaining crisp acidity.
The Meursault was beautifully ripe in terms of its fruit...pear and a hint of
peach with creamy notes and some toasty oak. Dry...good acidity...full and
complex despite its youth.
Ellen thought the Vasse Felix started faster but with time the Meursault
Both were thoroughly delicious and paired nicely with the salad (which has but a
mildly vinegary quality).
For the next course, a Mushroom Risotto, Connie took care of opening the two
bottles of Barolo.
The first bottle was a 1991 Gaja "Gromis" Barolo, a wine they
"inherited" when they bought the vineyard and cellar in La
Morra. The vineyard site is in the famed cru called Cerequio and we had
experience with wines from the previous owner. I recall one bottle,
probably back in the late 1980s or early 1990s, which was a ringer for good
It had been said that Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir shared a kinship of sorts and that
bottle was a very striking example.
The other bottle to pair with the Risotto was a Viberti (Eraldo) 1995
Barolo...another La Morra producer.
Meanwhile, we served up the Mushroom Risotto.
Carnaroli rice, as usual.
Portabellas, Chanterelles, Champignons, Poppini, Matsutake and dried Porcini.
The Gaja was from a modest vintage, 1991. We have had good wines from
1991, but producers will tell you it was a challenging year.
The Gaja was actually beautifully elegant on the nose and showing some earthy
tones. It was quite smooth, in fact.
The Viberti was moderately tannic. Good nose, too. Still youthful on
the palate and it can probably grow a bit more with additional cellaring.
Both bottles were excellent and enjoyable.
The main course was a Boeuf Bourguignon and Connie and Mark
utilized a slow cooker to prepare this.
We opened two bottles of young Burgundy to pair with this dish...
A rare red wine from Michel Niellon, a Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru "Clos
What a delicious wine!
It's teeming with red fruits and sports just a touch of wood...classic Burgundy.
Alongside was a wine of even greater magnitude...a Robert Chevillon "Les
Pure Pinot Noir...deep, bright on the nose and long on the palate...Very fine
and this will continue to grow for many years.
Shortly after the main course, a bunch of holiday gifts were
Then a cheese platter was passed around the table...
And so we opened another bottle of Barolo, a 2001 Damilano.
This was well over-shadowed by the preceding bottles...perfectly pleasant
Barolo, but this needs more time (even at 13 years of age) to really hit its
This was tight and yet quiet.
A late-comer to the festivities was Rachel Candelirious...
The little elf made his way around the revelers, asking for an
interesting morsel of something good to eat.
For dessert, we had several options.
Ellen made a Crustless Apple Pie and there was a wonderful Chocolate Cake making
We brought a wine for Ellen's exceptional Apple Pie...
1985 Moulin Touchais.
This is a Coteaux du Layon and the estate is famous for its long-lived Chenin
These typically have great acidity, thanks to an early-picking, followed by a
I tasted through a number of vintages of Moulin Touchais and was struck by the
(We used to see their wines many years ago and we have fond memories of vintages
from the 1950s, especially the 1959!)
The 1985 is still somewhat youthful, too.
And as this was a school night, I noticed I was nodding off to Dreamland...a
result of the past month of long-days.
We adjourned the proceedings at this stage and some of us trundled on home!
Many thanks to Chewie and his folks for hosting and to Ellen
for the exceptional dessert.
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