Monday, December 8, 2008

Holidays Begin

The Christmas holidays began in earnest last night with a dinner at a relative's house about ten miles from here. It was a group effort on both cooking and wine.

The evening had more or less an Italian or Mediterranean flair to it so it began with a Ca' Tullio Prosecco and appetizers. Light and almost colorless the wine fell somewhere between frizzante and spumante, or between slightly fizzy to bubbly. There was good acid, a small does of residual sugar and only 11% alcohol. Good wine, but Proseccos aren't really my favorites. It was paired with some spanikopita , phyllo dough triangles filled with spinach and cheese and some asparagus and arugula rolled sushi style in overlapping slices of prosciutto.

The main course was my doing and it was half a turkey breast, butterflied and stuffed, then rolled and tied to make a roast. The stuffing was made from sourdough bread, onions, celery, thyme, sage, eggs and white wine. Ther were three other ingredients, a cup and a half of toasted pecans, a half cup of sun dried tomatoes and a generous cup and a half of parmiggiano regiano. What didn't go into the turkey breast was baked alongside. The aroma of the herbs, the turkey and the pecans and tomatoes roasting together was nearly a meal unto itself.

There were two wines with dinner. The first was a 2001 Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva and the second was a 1995 Beringer Napa Valley reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The chianti was the star between the two wines. Sharp and tart cherry flavors in both the nose and taste, there was body and acidity to carry through the richness in the stuffing. The tannins were mild but the finish was long and sweet. the wine lasted throughout the meal and never faded. The Beringer was a nice wine at the start with dark fruit, cherries and currants foremost in the nose. The wine was dark and full bodied with good fruit on the taste and good, gripping tannin. It did seem a little low in acid but it went well with the main course for the first few bites. The fruit then began to fade and the tannins became more pronounced. By then end of the meal the wine was a little harsh.

Dessert was a cranberry mousse and dates stuffed with goat cheese and pecans. The mousse was a bright, holiday pink and the tartness in the cranberries kept it from being too sweet.

There were both turkey and stuffing left over so everyone took home a small amount, and some of the extra stuffing will wind up topping Scott's dog food over the next day or so. That will make him a happy dog.

1 comment:

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