This week was the end of the financial quarter at work so there were too many hours and a Saturday involved. Thank heaven for friends.
Saturday, after finishing the quarter, we had an invite from some friends to come for dinner.
After seeing that the dogs had their exercise and a good meal we drove about ten miles to what turned out to be a mini-feast. To start the evening there was a 2005 Verget Macon Vergisson "La Roche" as a warm up to pan seared halibut with a quinoa , corn and black bean pilaf. The 2005 Verget mini-burgundies are outstanding and among my favorite expressions of chardonnay. Tart and refreshing with good fruit and only proper oak highlights this $20 wine is a total pleasure and a true bargain if one could find any more of it.
The second bottle was way beyond good. Several months ago I reported that one of my favorite wines at a Rhone tasting was a 2006 George Vernay Condrieu, Terraces de l'Empire. That wine made a reappearance in my life and it was a joy to have more than a taste. It has a viscoscity and mouthfeel that makes one think it is going to be sweet, and then it surprises you by being dry and fruity. There are peaches and apricots and maybe even some lychees in the taste. The finish is remarkably long and pleasant. Truth be told, the $22 Macon was the better match with the fish, but the Condrieu is a wine I could sip all evening and never tire of.
Thanks to to an internet friend and a wonderful blog today was another seafood treat that was a variation on a recipe he published. It was a stew with shrimp, halibut and small steamer clams in a tomato, wine and saffron broth. Add a wonderful 2007 Chateau Noel Saint-Laurent Cote du Rhone Blanc and a couple of slices of crusty bread and it was almost a perfect Sunday meal.
The wine was a blend of viognier and marsanne, and was refreshing with crisp fruit and good acidity. The wine makes no claim to being serious, but it cetainly was perfect with the spices in the stew. At $13 it is a true bargain. After drinking a tremendously upscale viognier wine on Saturday one could pick up the nuances of that grape in this Sunday blend. With a $57 dollar price difference between the wines the choice is obvious. The Condrieu is worth its price and a true treat, but the Cote du Rhone is much more in tune with my pocketbook.
The weather this weekend was spectacular, almost like mid-May or mid-October in Ohio. Clear skies, low humidity and cool evenings are very unusual and very welcome visitors in early August. The weather people tell me that the hottest temperatures of the year (mid to upper 90 degree range) are in store beginning tomorrow and lasting until next weekend when they expect a cold Canadian air mass to hit the area and make things delightful again. That means that tomorrow's dinner will be the leftover seafood stew served over some pasta.