Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rare Treats

Friends called early yesterday and offered a dinner invitation. They were trying a new recipe and wanted some other opinions. We accepted and it was a great meal.

I found a couple of bargain wines while out shopping in the morning and decided to try them. First was a 2007 Three Blind Moose Columbia Valley dry Riesling that was on sale for $5.99. We opened it as an aperitif. Clean and crisp with some peaches and petrol showing in the nose. Those flavors carried over along with a hint of lime. There was just a hint of residual sweetness. For the price it was a very good wine. With the economy being what it is I'll be adding more of this wine while the sale lasts. Just a very easy wine to drink without requiring much thought. The other wine I bought on sale was a Dow Fine Tawny Port for $12. We deferred that until after dinner.

Dinner was indeed a treat. It was a whole tenderloin butterflied stuffed with an onion and mushroom mixture that had been sauteed in butter and thyme and Madeira. The meat was then rolled and tied, sauteed in a skillet and popped into a very hot oven. When it came out of the oven it was spread with a sauce of garlic, butter, thyme and Dijon mustard and allowed to rest.

While the beef was in the oven we opened a 1995 Chateau Lafon Rochet. Clean leather and dirt in the nose, the wine was medium bodied and had thrown some sediment onto the side of the bottle. After some swirling some cherries and tobacco popped out and the wine began to open up. Good acidity and smooth tannins and ever increasing fruit made for a nice wine. Just as the beef came out of the oven the wine was finishing with a hint of chocolate covered cherries. There was a decent finish length and for a St. Estephe it was a very good effort. Nice wine and we saved some for the meal.

A second bottle of Bordeaux magically appeared on the table so we opened it as well. This was a 1998 Chateau Pichon Longueville, Baron de Longueville, a second growth Paulliac. The nose hit you with currants and cassis and dark cherries with hints of tobacco, dirt and cedar. Very full bodied and almost viscous in the mouth it was full of dark cherries and currants. Great acidity, big but smooth tannins and a solid core of fruit carried all the way through to the finish. The finish was lengthy and delightful. An excellent wine and a wonderful match with the mushrooms rolled up in the beef. This was several steps up from the Lafon Rochet and a wonderful treat.

The Dow port was light and easy to drink, though in the glass it looked more like a ruby port than a tawny. It was still a good wine for the price and with cold weather here will be enjoyed over a period of a week or more. There was some just cut Stilton to go with the Dow. One final wine then made an appearance. This was a Taylor Fladgate 30 year old tawny port. This was correctly colored like a dark raisin and just filled the room with its aromas of grapes and chocolate and caramel. Those flavors, along with some vanilla were predominant in the taste along with some English toffee. Throw in a wonderful, lengthy finish and it made for the perfect ending to a great evening.

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