Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.
Robert Mondavi

Monday, August 31, 2009

What a night, what a meal!

A group of us got together this past Saturday for an incredible night of food, wine and camaraderie. A couple months ago I proposed having a wine dinner, during which the meals prepared would be pared with a wine to show each other off. I have been doing these Wine Extravaganza dinners with some other friends and was hoping to show how this concept really makes for a special evening with this group.

As a group, we are truly lucky (in terms of culinary experience) to have a chef and a truly gifted cook. You add these two knowledge-bases together and it is a recipe for something memorable. The wines were certainly showcased, but the dishes were equal in imagination and flavor.

The menu was the result of two very talented chefs. Jason Berkman (pictured to the right, executive chef at Legal Sea Foods, Burlington) and Chris Baker were the ones responsible for creating the dishes that paired with the wines I selected.

The result was nothing less then extraordinary. We had great food, great wine, great conversation and to cap it off, a great cigar.

Below is the menu with wine pairings (with tasting notes and ratings). If you have a chance, you must try a couple of these dishes and/or wines!

Maine Oysters
Jalapeno Relish, Lemony Cucumbers, Watermelon Gazpacho

NV, Nicolas Feuillate, Brut Rose Champagne
Epernay, France
- Perfect clarity with watermelon juice color. On the nose there was a healthy amount of strawberry and raspberry with faint yeast. The palate was of super dry strawberry and raspberry with a nice pomegranate aftertaste. Terrific acidity and very well-balanced. ES - 90

Salmon Confit
Creamed Leek and Cannellini Ragout, Fennel Salad

2008, Nobilo Icon, Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand
- Wonderfully young straw/greenish hue. Nose shouted pineapple, green apple, and grapefruit. The palate was lively and crisp again showing pineapple, green apple, and grapefruit with some nice minerality at the later middle palate. Terrific acidity and balance paired the salmon perfectly. ES - 93

Spiced Rack of Lamb
Fingerling and Avocado Mash, “Bounty” Rum Compote

2006, Domaine Drouhin, Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon
- Nicely concentrated purple hue. Nose and palate of complex black cherry with hints of oak and the palate continued with a slight trace violet. Very well-structured, nicely complex and elegant. ES - 94

Braised Beef Short Ribs
Oven Roasted Sweet Beets, Charred Belgian Endive, Crispy Onion

2005, Justin Isosceles, Meritage
Paso Robles, California
- Star wine of the night and I am not surprised. It was extremely dark purple, almost black in concentration. The nose was of blackberry, black pepper and oak. The palate was intense and rich, offering blackberry, currants, leather and smoke. The tannins were wonderfully supple. Overall this wine offered a lot of flair and panache. The Braised Short Ribs could not have been a better pairing! Decanted for an hour. ES - 95

Chocolate and Caramel Peach
Vanilla Ice Cream

1999, Chateau Pajzos Aszu 5 Puttanyos, Tokaji
- Very surprising and delicious. This wine had a brilliant golden hue. The nose was of honey and apricot which were mirrored on the palate along with some caramel. It had a beautifully viscosity and was sweet, rich with intensity, balance and character. ES - 94



  1. What a fabulous night it was. Now even more people have seen what a great experience with friends the Wine Extravaganza's can be, thanks to you!

  2. Hopefully this was the first of many with them. I still cannot get over the menu that was put together to compliment the wines. Amazing!