Monday, January 24, 2011

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year! I trust you have had a great start to 2011 even if we have had a touch of rain in the last day or so. What did you do on New Year’s Eve? I don’t know about you but as I get a bit older I am over going into town and working on a headache; I would much rather have a quiet night around the dinner table.
Now a quiet night doesn’t mean boring, Sari and I use it as another excuse to dip into the cellar to select some older wines to plan a menu around. This year we shared dinner with our favourite dinner companions, Phil and Anna who love wine and food like us and appreciate some of the gems we find in the dark depths of the cellar. They also have some great wines in their collection so it is always a treat to see what they come up with.
Of course you should always start a celebration with Champagne and our choice was Bollinger. This is one of our favourite treats (rich, luscious and so very elegant) and we save it for special occasions. We decided to head to Europe for this dinner so we paired the succulent and juicy Dr Loosen 2000 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese (plenty of rich flavour, luscious residual sugar and stunningly well balanced acidity) with a goat’s cheese tart. Now if you don’t like goat’s cheese because it is too ‘goaty’ then you have to try the soft cheese made by Meadowcroft Cheeses in Golden Bay, it is rich and creamy without any of that feral goat flavour.
Phil and Anna brought a 2003 Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay to enjoy with the main course and we opened and decanted a bottle of 1996 Chateau Canon-la-Gaffeliere Saint Emillion Grand Cru. Both wines were outstanding and complimented the smoked beef steaks with garlicky potato dauphinois perfectly. The chardonnay is a fully oaked style with enough acidity to liven up the taste buds while the Saint Emillion (merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon blend) was silky smooth and bursting with huge plum and blackcurrent characters.
We probably didn’t need dessert but we had a non-vintage bottle of Domaine du Mas Blanc Banyuls (a fortified red dessert wine from France very much like a Port) begging to be opened so we had a super-rich chocolate pot with it. Only one of us (not me!) managed to get to the bottom of the cup the dessert was served in and there were mixed reactions to the wine. Personally I loved it but for a couple of our diners it didn’t really work, never mind – more for me!
While we sat in the big comfy chairs and digested dinner midnight rolled around and that of course meant another bottle of bubbles. A hugely decadent night of fine food and great wines shared with good friends, for me the perfect way to welcome the New Year.
However you celebrated I wish you a healthy and prosperous 2011 and don’t forget to get out and enjoy the treats our local wineries have to offer this summer, including live Jazz on the lawn at Woollaston Estates 12 noon to 2.30pm on Sunday. Free admission and bring your own lunch.

I have been drinking
Lindauer Rose
This is a light, fun summer fizz that is perfect late in the afternoon. Pretty salmon pink in colour the wine is medium dry and crisp with full fresh cherry and peach flavours. Once again Lindauer proves they can deliver a quality wine at a fantastic price.

No 1 Family Estate Shooting Star - $22
There is something about sparkling sauvignon blanc that just doesn’t quite work for me, I just can’t get my head around a champagne style wine that tastes like bright fresh and vibrant Marlborough sauvignon. However this one is a very well made (you would expect nothing less from the remarkable Daniel Le Brun stable) and if you love sauvignon blanc then give this a go it does what it says on the label very well.

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