April 28, 2011

Big wines, simple food

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It's been some time since I last got together with some friends over a few bottles of wine, and once again we gathered at Aroma Cuisine for a casual meal.  I had mentioned that I've been drinking "a little too much French wine" lately and was bringing a "non-French" bottle, and another friend promptly echoed my call and decided to follow suit.

A friend had set up a tasting menu with the chef, and we all ended up sharing everything, family-style.  Food was pretty tasty and decent, although to be honest I was paying more attention to the wines...

Deep-fried calamari with avocado mayo - actually not bad, but I was pretty distracted by the wines.

Baked salty fish with lemon - this was OK.  Not too salty.

Clams with basil & white wine butter sauce - very yummy.  The butter sauce was so rich... and stood up well to the Cali Chard.  I couldn't resist soaking up the sauce with some bread...

Spinach fettuccine with porcini mushroom & shrimp - this was pretty delish, too.  The shrooms were very tasty indeed.

Crab meat & scallop with dill risotto - surprisingly good.  The sauce - with full seafood flavors thanks to the crab meat and scallops - was kinda wet and liquid, but the rice was al dente.  Would have been happy eating this all night.

Four cheese pizza - this was soooo good...  All that cheese...

Prosciutto & rocket pizza - not bad, but paled next to the cheese...

Stuffed pigeon with apple & bacon with Port wine reduction - this was incredibly tasty.  Very gamey, and the bacon fat... OMG.  As buzzed and full as I was, I wanted more of this!

Braised ox-tail with olive & tomato, herb couscous - the ox tail was not bad, but a little on the "stiff" side and not exactly falling off the bone and melt-in-the-mouth.  The couscous was pretty decent and enjoyable.

There was a very lovely chocolate cake that was brought in from Cova.

I was more excited about the wines, of course, and so refreshing that we should have more whites than reds tonight.

Jacques Selosse Contraste (disgorged Oct 27 2009) - a wine that's no longer made. A combination of the 2002 and 2003 vintages, made with only Pinot Noir from Ay and Ambonnay. Color was kinda dark. Nose was classic Selosse... very oxidized and lovely, a little salty with minerals, yeasty, a little toasty. Notes of honey became more prominent with time.

2003 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge - the last time I opened up a bottle of this wine was with this group two years ago. Knowing that this is a big wine, I decanted it about 90 minutes before dinner. Turns out it was the right decision. The wine had opened up well by the time we poured it into our glasses, with a huge toasty nose, lots of smoke, a little popcorn, loads and loads of vanilla, lemon, apricot, and very sweet like marshmallow and nougat. Pretty ripe and sweet on the palate. A monster of a wine that could use a few more years of aging to mellow out a little. Not for anyone who's looking for subtlety...

2003 d'Auvenay Meursault Les Narvaux - a pure coincidence that we matched up two Chards from the same vintage... This was completely different in style. With my first whiff of the nose I thought I was smelling a briney oyster from Brittany... Definitely salty and mineral, with toasty corn and prominent notes of grass and straw. Kinda ripe and hot on the palate, too. I could feel the alcohol (13.5%)... What a treat to taste this together with the Judge!

1997 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - sweet, minty, very lovely nose with a hint of grass, potpourri, lots of fruit and grilled meat. Definitely can still feel the concentration even after all these years. What a great wine! Caymus SS is pretty under-rated these days.

1990 Vega Sicilia Unico - still young after 20 years... Lovely and elegant, with grass, gamey, smoky, minty and exotic spices. Very enjoyable now, but I wonder when it will really develop and reach its peak.

I can't wait for the next time we get together...

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