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Wine, Food & Friends Page 275

After a long day of visiting a number of German wine cellars on my first full day of being in Europe in 2015, we arrived back to "home base."

I noticed the lights were off in the house and rang the bell.

Gaby and Norbert buzzed me in and as I got to the second door in their house I noticed Claus and Elena were hesitant to step inside.

"Uh oh," I thought.  "Something's fishy!"

And I stepped inside and there was a loud chorus of "Happy Birthday to you...Happy Birthday to you..."

This was a remarkable shock.

Here I'd thought celebrating a large-numbered birthday would be a low-key affair.
(I'd brought a bottle of Barolo from home to celebrate the occasion, not ever expecting it would be enjoyed by such a large throng of friends.)

 


Norbert opened some bottles of Albet i Noya Cava...Brut Reserva.

We had visited the winery in 1995 and have fond memories of our tour and tasting there.

And soon we all hoisted a glass and had a toast...

 



Gaby then brought out some homemade nibbles to pair with the Cava...some Anchovy-flavored and others with Black Olives...Dangerously Damned Good!

Meanwhile, Tim shows his old man how to bust a move on the dance floor...

The theme of the evening was "Spain," as it was some thirty years earlier I'd met Gaby and Norbert in a wine shop in Spain's Rioja region.
This meeting was purely by chance...and it has been a great 30 year friendship!
We've visited wineries around Europe and the West Coast...have shared numerous great bottles...gone cross-country skiing in Europe...and now have had a few good birthday surprises.

There was a marvelous buffet of Spanish-styled Tapas to start.


Norbert procured some Do Ferreiro Albarino to pair with the starters...a good match!
There was also a rather nice dry Rosado from Bodegas Ismael Arroyo:  Mesoneros de Castilla from the Ribera del Duero region.

And what a wonderful plate of flavors!

Meanwhile, this little fellow was about to turn into a pumpkin, as it was past his bedtime.


There was a humongous Paella awaiting in the kitchen...



 

We enjoyed a CUNE Rioja with the Paella, but I had carried an old bottle of Barolo to share with our friends...so, while it was not in keeping with the theme of "Spain," it was appropriate in terms of the theme of "old" or "well aged."

A bottle of this age was best decanted...



The cork was easy to extract using the Ah-So cork-puller.  As you can see, it was in very good condition.


We set up a small light to help decant the bottle...






"Now this is an old bottle of wine!" said famous wine geek, Matthias Wooge.






Even Gunhild was interested to have a sniff and a sip of this old wine!


A pair of '55s!

 

End of the bottle...


So we needed to decant another bottle...this one, a Port from the year we met!

 

And to accompany the Port...a magnificently decadent Chocolate Cake!


Elena and Anette.

The cake was disappearing quickly...

 

Norbert then brought out a special Spanish Brandy...



At this stage of the evening, everyone was fatigued and ready to head home...

A big VIELEN DANK to Gaby & Norbert for organizing a wonderful surprise and for putting together such a great menu with lovely wines and best friends!!!

It can be a real challenge to pull off a "Surprise Party," but this one was a total surprise as nobody leaked a peep about this.

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