Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bless British Bovines

Saturday night's dinner was good, but after dinner was exceptional. There was a 2000 Gould Campbell Late Bottled Vintage Port, a just ripe pear and a magnificent wedge of Stilton cheese.

The cheese was cut from a wheel earlier in the day at the local market and was just off the plane from England. Sweet, tart, creamy and pungent all at the same time it was just the thing for a cold night. The pear wasn't the best I've had, but the port was more than adequate. The cheese was just exceptional.

The port was most interesting. There was remarkable acid in this wine that sat in the dead center of the tongue for the longest time. It was sweet and viscous, but the acid was so pronounced that it killed some of the sweetness. It was a match from heaven for the cheese which was exceptional work from British cows.

Dinner was a porchetta roast. This was a pork loin covered in garlic, rosemary and sage and then rolled into a section of pork belly. The entire thing was tied into a cylinder. We pan seared it and the popped into an oven to render the fat. It came out pink and juicy in the center and crisp and crunchy on the exterior. It was Delicious with a blend of white, brown and wild rice held together with some Gruyere cheese and toasted almonds.

The wine was a new vintage of an old friend, a 2006 Vina Alarba Old Vines Grenache. The 2003 vintage was the house red for almost a year when it was plentiful in the market. The 2005 made a very brief appearance but wasn't nearly as good. The 2006 is a worthy successor to the 2003. Full of ripe, but not overbearing fruit, it still had some acid in it to clear the palate. It was all about bright red cherries and raspberries. Very good wine at $9 a bottle.

The severe weather missed us on Saturday, though it is snowing as I type this early on Sunday morning. The temperature stayed just above freezing until this evening. Lows this coming week are expected to be in single digits (F). The third and fourth weeks of January are historically the two coldest weeks of the y ear in this area and it appears that 2009 will not be an exception. The port will drink well over this time period.

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