Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Night at the Opera...

...with Walter Clore.

It had been a couple of weeks since the time was available here to really work on a meal. That changed yesterday. For the first 3/4 of the day it rained as a front system was moving through, and that meant the time to wander through the local markets.

The first result is pictured above. There were some heirloom, cherry tomatoes at a farmer's market so we brought home a pint of them. We added some fresh basil, some 8 hour old mozzarella, some sea salt and a little extra virgin olive oil. The plate was as good to look at as it was to eat.

I had a wine picked out that was on special in this area and I wanted to try the wine while it was still available in case more was needed. The wine was Columbia Crest, Walter Clore, Private Reserve Red Wine from the 2004 vintage out of the Columbia Valley. According to the winery site the wine must not exist since they are currently touting the 2005 vintage and the past vintages end with 2003. The blend is usually more than 50% cabernet sauvignon, less than 50% merlot, and a little cabernet Franc thrown in, but there is zero information available on the 2004 vintage.

The nose was dark red cherries and a plum or two with some vanilla and oak overtones. The taste added some cassis to the dark cherry tastes and there was a hint of cinnamon and chocolate in the mix. There was good depth of flavor and a nice profile as it fill the front of the tongue with fruit, then the sides of the tongue filled in with some acid and tannin and the back of the tongue finished with more fruit and a touch of soft oak tannin. This was a very well balanced wine and not overdone in any way. It's listed at 14% alcohol on the label. List price on the wine was $35, though it was on clearance for $20. I ordered two more bottles.
The meal was meant for a cabernet / merlot wine. Pictured at the left is duck confit with shiitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, onions and cardamon garnished with fresh mint and served over a mixture of whole wheat and regular penne pasta. It was topped with Pecorino Romano cheese. the mushrooms, duck and cardamon accented the fruit flavors in the red wine and the mint gave it a little zing. The tannin and acid remained and cleaned the palate after each sip of wine.

The combination of flavors was wonderful.

Just after cleaning up from the meal, and just prior to dessert the old Marx Brothers Movie, A Night at the Opera, came on TV uninterrupted by commercials. It was as hilarious as the previous times I'd seen it, but this is the first time I'd caught it without commercials.

Dessert came during the movie and was very simple. The first of the locally produced mini-watermelons were at the farmers market along with the tomatoes, so there was a slice of that for dessert, properly cooled and refreshing. Scott is happy as some of the skin and fat from the confit found its way into his dog food this morning.

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