Wednesday, September 28, 2016

495 Wine Varietals Tasted

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Was invited to a informal dinner at friends. They had a couple bottles of wine that had odd grapes in them and I brought two that I had not opened yet.  Their two bottles gave me 3 more grapes and I officially added my bottles to the mix. I had counted the grapes but had not tasted them yet.

Good dinner  "al fresco".  Evening was perfect. Plus I now have 495 varietals tasted. My goal right now is 500 plus a few extra for good measure. I will then submit them to get my 500 certificate.  There are a few people that have 600 Certificate and that will probably be my next endeavor.

Oktoberfest Beer Dinner at Delius

Saturday, September 24, 2016
 Had this dinner on my calendar for months.  Showed up at 7:00 for 7:15 seating. Dave at Delius,,  greeted me at said the dinner was Friday night. They had changed the date but only noted it on the reminder with the menu. Since I had the date already noted it was not something I was looking for change on.  At least I was not the only one. There were 4 other people .  So Dave sat us in the private cellar room. We had the same menu and beers that were served the night before.

We started out with a Apple and Celery Confit with Belgium Endive and Chevre Salad and Apple Cider Vinaigrette. Nice clean , crisp dish with loads of flavor. The beer was a Schneider Weisse Hopfenweisse, Light beer, wheaty and paired well with the salad.

Second course is a Cambozola  and Nutmeg Spaetzle (so good) with Mushrooms and Fine Herbs. My favorite dish of the night. The beer was a Flensburger Dunkel. Again the beer paired really well with the dish.

Next up was a Pretzel and Mustard Crusted Mahi-Mahi with Pickled Okra, Brussels Sprouts and Brown Butter Balsamic Drizzle.  Great flavors and the beer was a Hofbrau Oktoberfest. A light wheat beer. 

Main course is a a Caraway Braised Brisket, Caramelized Carrot Puree, Cipollini Onions, Seared Red Cabbage.. Good German flavors. Paired with a Weihenstephaner Doppelbock. My favorite beer of the night. Dark, chocolate, my kind.  I am partial to Porters and Stouts so this was right in there.

Dessert was a mixed bag. Roasted Kabocha Squash and Pepita Bread (toasted). On the sweet side but not what I would pick for dessert. Maybe toast in the morning with butter. On top was a scoop of Bock Infused Cream Cheese Ice Cream. To die for. 

A good dinner, nice dining companions. That is what life is about. 

Wine & Cheese at Total Wine

Thursday, September 22, 2016

9 of us attended a wine & cheese pairing at Total Wine in Huntington Beach . Don't have too many comments. Wines were decent, cheese also. But the person leading the seminar had no clue of what he was doing. Cheese's were cut in large chunks with no knives to make them smaller. So it was eitherr bite them or try to break a piece. Not the best way to handle it. I really wish they would bring back the person that was doing the seminars before It's really bad when I know more about the cheese, wine and regions that the clueless dude.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dim Sum with a Couple of The Boys

Monday, September 19, 2016

Thought it might be only Henry and I today. Seems everyone is not in good shape lately. Terry is still in the hospital. Steve is not feeling well, A couple of others had issues. So it was nice to see CJ at the table. He has been on the sicky side lately also.   He did not drink anything and ate very little. 

Henry brought a 2013 Michael Davis, Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon and I opened at 2010 AP Vin, Rosellas, Pinot Noir. 

Food was are normal selections. Nothing new.  Hope we get a healthy group next month. I am craving a lot fs seafood.

Stan's Cellar Cleaning

 Sunday, September 18, 2016

Time to clean out the cellar again. Stan does this once in awhile to pare down the numerous bottles of wine he has.  I did not keep track of anything. But the majority of the wines were in the 1990's and only a few were over the hill.  I am sure that after I left he brought out a few more bottles. That is how he does things.

It was good to see Phil again. He was heading back to France later in the week. Need to visit him someday. He lives in a cave near the Loire.  Charles showed up. He has been missing for awhile. Seems his son was in an accident and Charles has been taking care of him.

Turned out to be a nice day and a small group. My preference these days.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dinner at The Playground with Paul Wasserman

Wednesday, September 14, 2016.

Sold out dinner again at the 2.0 room at the Playground .,.

Paul Wasserman was in attendance. His mother writes a column for the New York Times and is a  large importer of wines from Burgundy. 

As always the food was top notch and different. 13 plates and 6 wines.

We started out with glasses of NV Parigot, Cremant de Bourgone de Rose. 100% Pinot to whet the appetite.

A 2011 Don Patrick Charlin, Rousette du Bugey Montagnieu, Savoie, Altesse  was poured.  
 I really liked this wine and it paired perfectly with the housemade grilled whole wheat flatbread. Accompanied by Broccolini Sofritto over Broccolini.  A cappacio of Conserva Artichokes, Salsa Verde with Red Fresno Chile's and a Conserva of Shellfish, Preserved Lemon and Chile Flake. These were all clean your plate dishes. Flavors were great and you kept going back for more.

Third wine was a 2012 Sylvian Patialle, Marsannay Blanc.  Made from a pink chardonnay grape. Another one to add to my list.  The 3 dishes served with this wine were a Ocean Trout Tatare, Nicoise Olives, Tomato Concussed, Candied Lemon Zest and handmade Purple Potato Chips.  A Heirloom Tomato Salad with Roasted Garlic Buratta (housemade). Needless to say I was happy. I even ate the tomatoes. And the third dish of this trio was Lobster, Vanilla Butter and Corn. Some of the best corn I have eaten. Lobster was sweet and tender and there were large pieces in the dish. You knew you were eating Lobster. The Vanilla Butter was unusual but very good and gave a very different take to flavored butter.

Next trio of dishes consisted of Beet salad (fabulous beets) with Faro, Brown Butter Honey Vin, Fennel, Pistachios and Orange. A Charred and Braised Escarol with White Beans. I absolutely loved this dish. So good. Followed by  Fingerling Potatoes with Chorizo and Smoked Egg Vin.  Wine paired was a 2012 Sylvian Patialle, Marsannay 'Les Longeroies" Pinot Noir. Very light Pinot. Very French

Fifth wine was a 2014 Jean-Baptiste Souillard, Crozes-Hermitage "Les Habrards" Syrah . Bigger wine that the Pinot and paired beautifully with the Mole with Masa Gnocchi, Coppa di Testa, TMG. Mushrooms with Fried Shallot Cream, Caper Raisins in Puree and Crispy Garlic. Another dish you could wipe you plate for. Accompanied by a slice of Wagu Rib Eye cooked perfectly.

A palate cleanser of Lychee Sorbet, Strawberries and Lime Zest was welcomed before dessert

Dessert consisted of Membrillo, Manchego, Candied Pecans, Love Cake, Hazelnut Gelato and Poached Sultanas..  The wine was a Caves Jean Bourdy "Galant des Abbesses".  A Pinot based wine. Not too sweet and a good pairing

Beautiful dinner tonight. Unbelievable food. Worth every dime I paid for it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Highlands Wine Tasting

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Seven of us invited tonight for a private tasting of Highlands wines,, .

This is a small production winery in Napa with a total case production of 1,500 cases. Their website gives a detailed story on how the winery started and the people involved. Interesting reading.   Winery began in 2001.

We had 5 wines available to taste. Started with  a  2013 Merlot, Cofrin (?) vineyards.  14.2% alcohol. Good Merlot and I am not a Merlot fan. This I would drink.

Two Zinfandel's were next. Both I liked but the 2012 was a bit softer than the 2013 probably because of the year difference but there was a big difference in the fruit also. The 13 was 14.9% and the 12 was 15 %. The 12 had a bit more pepper and spice on the palate.We all agreed that the 2012 was the bottle of choice. Interesting that they use "Burgundian Yeast" in these wines. 18 months in new and used French Oak barrels. 

A 2009 Laird Vineyard Cabernet and a 2007 Laird Vineyard Cabernet were up next.  Nice balance, good dark fruits, hints of chocolate and mint. The 2009 was the winner in this pair.

I will probably order a few Zinfandel's. I did like them that much.  Merlot is not a favorite, If someone buys it I will drink it but not purchase myself. The cabs are to me overpriced because I am not a cab drinker. I would pay that for a Pinot.

Good tasting, good nibblies and good people to share it with.