Monday, December 19, 2005

Holiday Mixed Bag
I put together an interesting tasting last week that revolved around the theme of holiday selections. The response was super positive so here it is for blogsterity (all wines are available at the saq).

Vin Mousseux, Chandon Blanc de Noirs, Carneros ($25...saq)

The classic mix of Pinot Noir and Meunier and Chardonnay, I was surprised by this fizzy Cali wine done by the folks at Chandon. Very toasty but with remarkable finesse and very fine ‘bullage.’ One of the better under $25 vin mousseux that I have tried.

Vin de Pays de Côtes-de-Gascogne 2004, Premières Grives, Dom. Tariquet ($18...saq)
I have reviewed this wine a number of time on this blog. Great on it’s own, fantastic with hors d’oeuvres and can handle the mixed cheese plate, the blend of sweetness and acidity make this a great holiday ‘go to’ wine. You should have a bottle in the fridge at all times.

Salmon Entrée
Tokay-pinot gris 2001, Steinert, Alsace grand cru, Pfaffenheim ($28…saq)
A very good Tokay with a hint of residual sugar, it worked wonders with a salmon-scallop tootsie roll mousse that used strips of seaweed to separate the layers. Too strong to be drunk as an aperitif, it would also work with sushi or strong, hard cheese.

Boeuf Wellington
Friuli 1999, Carantan, Marco Felluga ($53....saq)

Check the previous review.

The cheese
I did a little wine and cheese tasting in between the main course and dessert that attempted to debunk the port-cheese myth that ruins so many wine and cheese parties. Here’s three quebec cheeses with some classic, and not so classic, wine matches.

Fromage- Riopelle
Chardonnay 2002, Sonoma County, St-Francis ($22.30…saq)
A big buttery cheese requires a big buttery wine. The St. Francis still had enough of that oaky bitterness to handle the hazelnut notes of the cheese. Brie and Camembert could replace the Riopelle.

Fromage- Baluchon
Moulin-à-vent 2001, Château des Jacques, Louis Jadot ($27...saq)

While I tend towards white wine with cheese because of the salt factor, this match was interesting. The Baluchon was perhaps a touch too creamy for the Beaujolais, but it worked. Any semi-firm, not overly salty cheese could work here.

Fromage- Bleu Benedictin
Pacherenc-du-vic-bilh 1999, Novembre, Brumaire ($27.05...saq)

Once you’ve gone Pacherenc, it is hard to go back to port with blue. Save your port for the sofa in front of the fireplace, and go white on blue. Hailing from France’s Madiran region, the corbu, ruffiac and petit manseng are assembled into a wonderful sweet wine that has both the texture and taste to outlast the most nasty of blues.

Dessert- Chocolat
Banyuls 2002, Mise Tardive, Mas Cornet ($22.75...saq)
Another alternative to the overdone tawney port with chocolate match, Banyuls bring the torrefied chocolate to the table in a much more elegant fashion. 100% Grenache Noir, I find Banyuls less sweet and with a better acidity than the majority of tawneys. This one is muted directly through the lees and has thus and even richer flavor.

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