Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Match made in heaven

Another month is upon us, where does the time go ?

We received this brief with plenty of notice to research and track down  selected wines, well some of us anyway, some I am sure grabbed what they could at the last minute, we'll mention no names, well actually we will of course, name & shame...

The brief from the hosts:
Since it’s the day after Valentines day we thought you should all come loved up. 
We provide the menu in advance and you bring a partner wine,
made in heaven for the food.
So here’s the menu and who will be challenged to find a perfect partner for that course. No need to wrap them. Then we can compare  the wines with each course and decide which is the perfect partner for each course. Hey presto loved up wine.
Valentines wine club menu
Twice baked cheese souffle
Boeuf bourgignon with potatoes and veg
French apple tart with vanilla ice cream
This gives you a couple of weeks to decide which wines will be a match made in heaven.

I thought this was a good idea but it had the potential of a serious hangover on Sunday, with such a variety !

...Saturday evening...

13 of us tipped up at Karen & Terrys all in high spirits, for the bright sparks out there you will notice we have gained a another wine lover, Brian has returned to the flock and welcomed by all.  We all crowed into the kitchen until it all got too loud and we were ushered out into the lounge, whilst the hosts put the final touches to the meal. (Well I think thats what they were doing, they could have been hatching an escape plan for all I know.. ie what the heck are we doing catering for this rabble, lets make a run for it).

Now I sat next to Brian, who himself could give Terry a run for his money in the cooking stakes but I as you know, I couldn't, anyway or anyways as our American friends always liked to say, we were both very impressed with the cheese souffle not only incredibly tasty (& very cheesy) but making 13 of them, wow, Brian and I said we wouldn't even tackle one, as their tricky reputation proceeds them.

With these delicious cheese souffles we tried three white wines:

The Chablis although very 'nice' and the second most popular, it was generally felt that the flavours were too subtle with the cheese souffle (Brian & I said bland but Steve corrected us and said his Chablis was subtle not bland). The most suited was the Saint Mont which paired perfectly, so well done Karen & Mick.  The third was quite different but still very drinkable (as proved by Brian & Jackie). Sorry can't see the name from the picture.

Then the Boeuf Bourgignon with potatoes and veg arrived to be complimented by two red wines, both Piniot Noir, our favourites (not).

Jacqui's last minute purchase - (I think this is up there with men rushing about Christmas Eve thinking grab something expensive & it will be fine, theres a lesson to be learnt here) We tried the Saint Aubin that cost more than a Sunday Roast (Jacquie & Nick were going to have sausages, although Jacquie tried jazzing it up for Nick to Cassoulet !).

Personally and the thought was shared by 'others', Jacquie should have saved her money and bought the roast.  Remember the medicine your Mum used to make you take well the menthol fumes from this weren't far off (in my opinion) wow, it was a bit.. searching for the right word now... nope can't put my finger on something that describes the wine that reflects the cost.

So heres what the label says:
Saint –Aubin 1er Cru ( Domaine du Pimont) 2008- Burgundy 13.5%  – A captivating red with delightful scents of hedgerow fruit & roasted chestnuts followed up by a juicy sappy flavor profile that shows great harmony and finesse. These Pinot Noir vines grow on a well drained hillside overlooking the famous Chassagne Montrachet appleation in Burgundy .

The vineyard is farmed using environmentally friendly treatments such as organic compost instead of synthetic fertiliser and the fruit is notably slow- maturing, making for complex and elegant flavours . Wine maker Guy Barrois aged the wine in French oak for 15 months to give extra complexity and textural roundness.

Such an intense and refined wine is tailor made for rich savoury dishes such as pheasant casserole or Boeuf Bourguignon.

Mmm not quite how I'd have put it, even if I could have found the right words !

Should you ever rush out a buy a very expensive bottle of wine you may need this, the recipe to Poor Mans Cassoulet !


Next up something that came from Mark & Lindas 'cellar', someone said it had been cellared... Then Mick (Mr Malbec) asked what did cellaring actually mean - Read & Learn:

When a wine label reads “cellared and bottled by,” it means that the company whose name is on the label did not make the wine (if it did, the label would say “produced by”). It’s not unusual, and it doesn’t mean the wine is bad, it just means that someone else made it

This 2006 from Louis Jadot was thought to be a good pairing with the beef.

It surprised me to see that these two wines were only one point apart, with old Louis just beating St Aubin.

Now onto the desserts & dessert wines (yummy yummy on both counts), you'll notice that I said desserts, yep, not only superb french apple tart but also an unexpected tarte au citron (thats a lemon tart, mate)

If you shy away from dessert wine because you think of them as sweet and sickly, you must try the Chateau Les Sablines 2012 £9.99 from Waitrose. It breaks the mould -

A delicious pudding wine, designed to be drunk young, with a rich purity of honey & citrus flavours which give it a lightness you wouldn't expect. Ripe Sauvignon is blended with late-harvest SĂ©millon and a little Muscadelle in a classic mix to produce this lovely honeyed golden white wine.
The Three Bridges 2007 or the marmalade wine as we called it, was also very good but much heavier and sweeter we all agreed that this would go well with something as rich as Christmas Pudding (so make a note for December).
Heres some info on The 'Marmalade Wine'
Bill Calabria is one of the most colourful characters in wine Down Under, made a Member of the Order of Australia for his charity fundraising. He was a champion boxer and something of a rock star too, making up the local band with other cellar hands from the Riverina region. Now he gives all his attention to the family winery.

Bill took over Westend Estate over three decades ago and has an awesome track record of producing superb wines - winning hundreds of awards and many friends along the way.

His premium dessert wine is made like a top Sauternes - from botrytised Semillon painstakingly picked by hand over several sweeps through the vineyard. With intense honeyed lemon fruit, it's delicious with blue cheese, foie gras or tarte tatin.

Two Tarts

Mark would I am sure like me to say that he was a dab hand with the ice cream scoop.

..watch this spcae, waiting for photo from Jacqui
Now Geoffs favourite drink of the evening. .He made the mistake of having three, those that know him as a light weight drinker, would know the third one always pushes him over the edge & gives him a wicked hangover the next day - his cure this time was a walk followed by pizza at Prezzo washed down with a Peroni.. hair of the dog and all that..  Personally I think Nurophen works just as well !

Peroni Nastro Azzurro is the best-selling Italian premium lager worldwide,
with its distinctive, intensely crisp and refreshing character.
Alcohol content:
Alc 5.1% ABV
Tasting notes:
An intensely crisp and refreshing lager with an unmistakable touch of Italian style
brewed in Italy to the original recipe conceived in 1963.
Crisp and lightly sparkling, its unique taste is refreshing and dry with
a clear-cut, clean character.
Just to finish off with a thank you to, firstly our hosts, the crowd for their usually rowdiness, Geoff for standing in for the regular photographer who forgot his camera (phone) apart from the picture of Geoff & Mark that was taken by Jacquie. ( I nearly wrote sausage eating Jackie, then I thought..mmm.. that might be mis-construed, so I won't write that.. so good job I didn't )

I think I should stop now, all this talk of sausages is making me hungry 

Time to stick a cork in it.

Bye S x


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