Saturday, February 23, 2008
Our monthly "gathering of the winos" was held at my "casa" this month. I always have the same theme, Wines Rated 93 to 100. There were 23 wines brought to this tasting. We did had one , 100 rated wine brought, which was a 1995 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porto.
There were 3 wines that were rated 93 by "Wilfred Wong" of the BevMo chain. If these wines had been rated by another source they probably would have had a 90/91 rating. His ratings are always 2 to 3 points higher that Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast. But since my criteria is a rating from a published source it does fall into that category.
All the wines brought were very good and there was not a fault with any.
There were 2 bottles of the same wine brought , 2005 Bernardus Chardonnay, and it was very interesting to see the difference in the two. And it was a big difference. Stan's always says "bottle variation" and he is right.
As always the food brought was good. Maybe someday when I retire, I will find time to compile a "cookbook" of recipes for some of these dishes that are brought. It's good to have friends that are into "wine and food". Makes for a great "gathering".
This event is one of the best wine tasting events that I attend every year. 45 wineries were represented and a total of 137 wines.
Now there is no way anyone can taste 137 wines in 3 hours. So you just pick and choose.
If you are a cab lover this was the place for you. 42 Cabernet Sauvignon's were poured. Some of the ones that I liked were, Arns, August Briggs, William Cole, Karl Lawrence, Miner , Robert Craig and O'Shaughnessy.
Among the other varietals presented I liked the, Capiaux Pisoni Pinot, Robert Keenan "Mernet", Krupp Brothers "The Doctor", Miner Family "The Oracle", Niner Wine Estates "Fog Catcher" and the Kenneth Volk "Sierra Madre" Pinot.
Bristol Farms put out the food but we had stopped for brunch earlier at The Warehouse in Marina Del Rey, so I did not avail myself of the goodies. The brunch was good and we sat oustide next to the marina as the day was sunny and a perfect Southern California Sunday.
This event is well worth the $75 admission and since it is a fund raiser for LMU scholarship fund a partial tax deduction is given. The event is held every February, usually the week after Super Bowl. Toward the end of the year you can access the website at www.lmu.edu, and click on events for the information.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
We have not had a dinner at Duong Son for quite awhile. With the holidays and other activites interfering it was nice to get back to the "traditional".
8 of us gathered tonight to take in some of the festivities of the Chinese New Year. The streets had been blocked off earlier in the day so that the parade could take place. During our dinner the owner came up to our table to let us know that there would be firecrackers going off and he did not want us to be alarmed. When the crackers went off it wasn't just a few, it was a long string that they hung from the second floor railing. There was so much smoke that it looked like fog from inside the restaurant. Shooting off the firecrackers is supposed to keep the "bad" away. This is the year of "The Rat" which means a prosperous year.
I also found out that the "lazy susan" in the middle of our table was given to the restaurant by one of our group. Henry brought the turntable back from a trip to Hong Kong many years ago for use in his home. When the family grew and moved out it was too big for Henry and his wife so he gave it to "Duong Son". It has a gold trim on in and the restaurant only brings it out for Henry during the New Year festivities. Henry was dining four days in a row at Doung Son during the New Year celebration. Lucky fellow.
We started off with a favorite, "Salt & Pepper Calamari", so much better that the Chinese chain restaurant and followed it with another favorite " Garlic Green beans with Sea Bass".
The next two dishes they only make at "New Years" because they take a long time to prepare. One dish was a marinated chicken that had been pan roasted at a very high temperature and the other was a tofu with a dry scallop sauce and choy sum. (a Chinese green vegetable). I'm not a big fan of tofu, but here they do wonders with it. It is always creamy and very tasty. Some of the others places that serve tofu, overcook it and it seems dry and tasteless.
Following that we were served beef & Chinese broccoli and shrimp with soft fat noodles. These noodles soak up the juice and they are devine.
By this time I was starting to reach my "Full" level. Then they bring out the duck. Need I say more. Then it was the "cooked oysters with ginger and chives". I was beyond full now.
Chinese culture is not big into heavy desserts like my German ancestors. We were served a platter with fresh orange slices, pears, mango and a gelatin made with aloe. Next came a warm liquid with white fungus, lotus seed and red dates.
I have never had a dish at Duong Son that I did not like. The food is fresh, well prepared and and always top quality and fantastic taste.
The wines brought tonight were all good. There was not a "dog" in the bunch. Sometimes at these dinners there are people that bring mediocre wines. Tonight was an expection.
2006 Pine Ridge Clarksburg, Chenin Blanc/Voignier
2005 Seresin Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc
2006 Husch, Anderson Valley, Chardonnay
2001 Meeker Four Kings, (blend)
2001 McKeon Phillips BPR Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Roth Estate, Alexander Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Liparita, Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Earthquake, Lodi, Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Alma Rosa La Encantada Pinot Noir
Alvear Solera 1927 Pedro Jiminez
Our first monthly "gathering of the flock" of the new year. This was held at my "Casa" and hosted by another couple. I lend out my abode when people either do not have enough room to host an event of there are other circumstances that prevent it.
Todays theme was "Russian River Pinot Noirs and White Wines". 22 people braved the elements today. At least the rain stopped before the event started. Made for a drier entrance into my house. I was seeing a room full of wet umbrellas, shoes & jackets. Glad that did not materialize. Usually I will have the wines on a table on the balcony but with the high winds and the very cold temperature everything was kept inside. Which made for a very cozy gathering.
Normally when we have a theme that includes red and white wines , there is a small percentage of whites compared to reds. Today there were 10 whites and 14 reds. Not quite even but close to it. Maybe it was because there have been so many "pinot" tastings lately that some people needed some diversity.
As always the food was abundent and good. The hosts had ribs, tri-tip and chicken. They served the sauce on the side which helped keep sticky fingers off the wine glasses. And my white couch survived.
A few of the wines that I liked were;
2005 Hartford Four Hearts Chardonnay
2006 Porter Creek Timbervine Viognier
2006 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc
2004 Stonestreet Pinot
1994 Signorello Martinelli Vineyard Pinot
2003 Joseph Swan Trenton Estate Pinot
Delius Restaurant and Wine Country hosted an Argentine wine dinner tonight. This dinner had been sold out for weeks. Delius really pulls out the stops when it comes to the food dishes for their themed wine dinners.
Being a single diner you are seated at the wine rep's table. This has distinct advantages. Usually better pours of the wines and sometimes additional wines that are not offered to the rest of the mortals. Tonight there was an additional bottle poured but since I did not write the name down and I am posting this 2 weeks later, at my advance age, I cannot remember the name of the wine. I have so many notes off the menu sheet that I'm not sure what they are. I have a name, Garagiste written down, possibly that is the name of the wine., but I doubt it. I also have a note about a wine dinner in the valley in August. Molly Ducker wines from Australia at Leias Restaurtant. Other than that I know nothing. (Which sometimes is best)
Tonights dinner started out the "mini empanadas" served with 2006 Terza Volta Sauvignon Blanc. The empanadas were filled with potatoes and olives. The crust was very tender. Nice pairing. The wine was not too acidic and had a nice light citrus/tropical taste to it.
Next up was "scallops with a leek-pancetta saute and creamy corn sauce". As always the scallops were cooked to perfection. The wine with this dish was a 2006 Terza Volta Malbec Rose. This was an excellent pairing and one of the 2 favorite wines of the meal.
A "wild mushroom soup with parmesan crisps" was seved with a 2003 Maestre de Campo Merlot. The soup was wonderful but the wine really lacked something. I just could not get anything out of it. I felt it was very mediocre. I had them pour me the next wine that was to be served and and liked the pairing much better.
Next wine was 2004 Terza Volta Malbec which was paired with "pork tenderloin on roasted opnion and white bean ragout". Again cooked to perfection and married very well with the ragout. I liked this pairing a lot and as I indicated this wine went better with the soup than the merlot. This was the second wine I realy liked.
The main couse was a "herb crusted rack of lamb with a rosemary red wine sauce" . Louise always shines when cooking lamb or duck. Perfect again. This dish was paired with 2 wines. 2004 Terza Volta Cabernet Sauvignon which I did not like at all. Again I thought it was a very mediocre wine. The second wine as 2003 Bates Red Blend (malbec, merlot, syrah). This was a better pairing and a much better wine.
Dessert was "dulce argentino". A baked dough strip with a sauce and strawberries. It was an original Argentian dessert but left me unimpressed. It tasted good but somehow it just didn't "seduce" me like good desserts are supposed to do.
I looking forward to the upcoming year for the the "themed" dinners. I especially looking foward to the "Stolpman Wine" dinner in April. Stoplman wines are some of my favorites and as I understand from Peter Stolpman there will be some "library " wines at that dinner.