A wine-filled prelude to birthday celebrations
I must admit — I like my birthday! I know some people dread their birthdays and are all hum glum because they are a year older and are showing it, perhaps, in a physical fashion, so they tend be depressed about them. I, on the other hand, look forward to my birthday and, therefore, celebrate it for a number of days or sometimes weeks. Everyone seems to enjoy themselves because it makes that long month of July not seem so endless. So, let the party begin!
On Friday night, Chef Neil really outdid himself in the cooking department. I’m going to describe the event in stages because you had to take breaks between the scrumptious plates of delightful seafood.
We began the evening with a Presto Rosé Brut Spumante (aka Rose Brut Sparkling Wine) (11% alcohol). This lovely light summer wine had a slightly fruity feel with a hint of rose pedal on the tip of your palate. It went beautifully with a plate of fromage from various regions and a handful of grapes to begin our summer soiree.
Next, Chef Neil treated the group to a delicious salmon rillete that he whipped up from the belly of the salmon that became our last course to this seductive seafood buffet. The rillete was accompanied by a super value and damn good, solid, inoffensive white wine Spanish varietal. The name of this little number was Velarde Blanco 100% Malvar 2007 – originating from Madrid, Spain hosting 12.5% alcohol. The Malvar is Sauvignon Blanc in style, but has a full bodied taste similar to a Chardonnay.
Our next course was the ubiquitous “palate cleanser.” We had a lovely little green salad with blueberries, blue cheese and pine nuts and some grape fruity white wine that I have to admit, didn’t get saved. So, I can’t give a full report on that one – you’ll just have to trust me – everyone in our crowd can forego grape fruity white wine.
Next, we moved on to one of the masterpiece seafood dishes of lobster, jumbo shrimp and scallops all poached in butter over a bed of steamed zucchini flat noodles. (This is where the low-cal part of the meal comes in.) I have to admit this was a real crowd pleaser that went nicely with a lovely bottle of Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuissé 2007. What can I say – this classic white Burgundy with 13% alcohol is always a big winner in our house.
Now, the piece de resistance – my favorite – the pan sautéed salmon with the skin on with a red wine compound butter that accompanied it. We had to break out the Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches 2002 for this absolutely exquisite dish. The crew welcomed this delightful red Burgundy from the Beaune region of Cote-D’Or. The 13% alcohol did not overpower the subtle flavors of this rich salmon dish. Since this was the last main dish and all we had was dessert left, we decided to take our time and enjoy our fish over another bottle of Burgundy from the Beaune Region that was not as good as the Joseph Droughin, but was a good buy, les Beaune La Bataillère aux Vergelesses 1er Cru 2006 by Albert Morot. We bought this for $34.99.
All in all, we were stuffed by the time it came to dessert, so we had some broiled figs with a shortbread cookie and a scoop of ginger and honey infused mascarpone cheese accompanied by a small glass of tawny port to top off our first evening of the July birthday celebrations! Until next time – SALUD! K
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