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Corinne and Philippe come visit their daughter in California annually, trekking here from the south of France where they reside in Nimes.

They invited me to come dine with them one night earlier this year when I was in France and we enjoyed some good food and terrific wines from Philippe's cellar.

I extended an invitation to them, along with their daughter July Raynaud and her husband, Professor Paul Mekis.

They routinely come around Thanksgiving and we made plans for dinner just after Turkey Day.

The table was set and we had the kitchen preparations ready as the guests arrived.


A few nibbles were ready to pair with the bubbly.
(There's a great source of fabulous bread in town...Kitchentown is the venue on Howard Avenue in San Mateo and the brand name is Pain.  Very fine.)

Paul was able to deftly open the bubbly.

The 2007 Roederer Estate L'Ermitage is outstanding!

52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir
Four percent of the blend is a reserve wine coming from the 2004 and 2005 vintages.
Very fine.  Quite dry and nicely toasty and crisp.
Philippe was pleasantly surprised to find such a good bubbly from California.



We had a toast before enjoying the toasty notes of this well-aged sparkling wine.

I had some polenta on the grill as we had a small Alba white truffle and I wanted to share this atop some braised mushrooms.

We had a bit of polenta shaped like a partial sun with a polenta star adjacent.
Then there were some braised Portabella Mushrooms and some Porcini, topped with finely shaved bits of an Alba White Truffle...nicely pungent and aromatic!

As it was then time to sit down for dinner and "get serious," everyone discovered a little "cadeau" at their seat under the dinner table.

Everyone had their own "La Reine/Le Raynaud" Apron!

To start, we made one of our little Mixed Green Salads with some Arugula and other bitter greens, bathed in a mildly garlicky vinaigrette.

This was topped with a few morsels of Smoked Trout and accompanied by a nicely aged bottle of Tatomer Riesling from Santa Barbara.
This was a delicious bottle of 2009 "Kick On Ranch."
It's still young, but had a measure of development.

Dr. Valery poured the Ramey Chardonnays.

We had two vintages of Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay.


The two Ramey Chardonnays were quite good, mildly toasty and woodsy but with a certain stony aspect to them.
The 2009 is aging handsomely and is not at all "old."
The 2013 is still young and needs a bit of time to develop and blossom.




Some of the guests immediately got to work on the crab cake!


Others had different priorities.


Now...getting to work on the 1994 Cabernets!

Paul immediately decanted the 1994 Bryant Family Cabernet.


But before the main course, we enjoyed a little palate-refresher.


We made a Lemon Sorbet, enhanced with a bit of Cilantro and Mint.



The main plate featured a Lamb T-Bone, grilled.

We had some Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes with Braised Okra & Mushrooms and some Oven-Roasted Cauliflower.

The two Cabernets were excellent.
The Araujo "Eisele Vineyard" wine from Calistoga was a bit fuller in body and showing a core of dark fruit along with a bit of a hard edge to it.
The Bryant Family wine, coming from Pritchard Hill in Saint Helena, had a brighter fruit tone.  The wine seemed to show a mildly floral note, too...maybe a touch of rose petal?
It was the more open and ready of the two wines.  Both, at 22 years of age were magnificent and can probably be held another decade or two!


Dessert featured the 2005 Dolce Napa Valley Late Harvest wine...


Meanwhile...for dessert with the Dolce we had a couple of dolci in the kitchen.

An Apple Crisp...


...and some Cinnamon Gelato.


The Dolce is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, along the lines of a Sauternes or Barsac from France.  It's quite good, showing rich, unctuous honey and dried apricot notes.
The acidity balanced the sweetness, so it's not syrupy or heavy.

Finally it was time to adjourn the proceedings...


Paul and Philippe "high-fived" it.

Everyone made tracks for "home."

And the next morning I finished the clean-up!

Much fun and great to be able to host everyone!

Thanks for coming to all...

 

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