Monday, September 21, 2009

Autumn is Close

The first of the winter squash hit the market this weekend, at least the first I've seen. It's a sure sign of fall which officially starts tomorrow. Pictured above is one of my favorite squash, Delicato. We hacked it in half, scooped out the seeds and roasted it.

We also picked up a locally raised Cornish hen. It was stuffed with fresh lemon thyme, a little ginger, a clove of garlic, fresh sage and a quarter of a lemon. It went in the oven alongside the two squash halves which were seasoned with a squeeze of lemon juice and a very light grating of fresh nutmeg. The house smelled like fall while the birds and squash baked.

It was time for a special wine so we opted for a 2005 red burgundy. The wine was a Ladoix, La Combe from Jean-Luc Dubois. When the cork came out it smelled like wet earth, wet leaves, and fruit. With a swirl or two it began to open a little and the fruit became tart cherries and other red fruits. There was quite a jolt of acidity to match the medium body and more than enough tannin to keep the thing going. We let the wine breathe for half an hour while the food was roasting in the oven.

By the time the food was ready the wine had lost the smell of wet leaves, the cherries were glowing and the dirt and earth were singing. It was nearly as much pleasure to sit and smell this wine as it was to drink it - almost, but not quite. The fruit filled the mouth with both sweetness and acidity and never let either of those things dominate. The tannins were still there but only added complexity without beating one over the head. The finish on this wine was quite long and pleasant and left a taste of both fruit and earth in the mouth.

When the 2005 burgundies hit the local market a couple of years ago I bought a half case that included two bottles of this wine. The intent was to drink this wine as a guide as to how its bigger siblings might be doing. If they are doing half as well as this wine I will be more than pleased when the time comes to pull the cork on them.

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