Saturday, January 24, 2009

Burns Night Opening Round

For anyone with any Scottish ancestry or even interest in things Scottish this is a very big weekend. Tomorrow, January 25, is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. That means lots of parties, and they started last night at some friends' house.

The meal was simple, just some pan seared steaks, but the steaks were a little special. They were Kobe beef style Wagyu rib eye steaks. Full of marbling the thick steaks were pan seared and then finished in a hot oven and left un-sauced except for some crumbled Maytag blue cheese.

There were four wines. My contribution to the evening is pictured above, a 2006 Patricia Green Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir from Oregon. The color was a true pinot and not an artificial or over ripe dark color. The nose smelled of semi tart cherries with some dirt and minerals underlying the fruit. The cherries in the taste were of a darker variety than those in the nose and there was even a hint of some strawberries. There were soft tannins on the side of the tongue and a long and lingering finish with great acid. This was a very nice wine and paired well with the steak, though it did fight a little with the cheese. At 13.5% alcohol it was imminently drinkable

The first two wines were siblings. They were a 1998 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet and a 1996 version of the same wine. The '98 was more fruit forward and lush with lots of dark fruit and cassis. Fully mature it still showed some tannin and acid for longer aging, but it was a delicious drink. I preferred the 1996 wine. There was slightly less fruit, but there was tobacco and herbs mixed in to give it extra little nuances. Drier and with a little more tannin it seemed the more balanced of the two wines. It was also great with the beef, and this wine stood up to the cheese as well.

We finished the evening with a glass of Churchill 1994 vintage Port. Sweet and still young, it coated the mouth with a wonderful viscosity. Nice wine.

We're taking tonight off and the the party will continue here tomorrow night for the official Burns' Birthday meal. No - we're not doing haggis but there will be some very nice wines.

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