Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Mrs. Vinotas

The Table is Set

It's Mrs. Vinotas' birthday, so time to open a birth-year wine and cook some yummy things. Plus, it's been a great week work-wise, I managed to get two more wines (my Cotes du Rhône and my Minervois) into the biggest market in the US: New York, baby! If you can make it here, well, you know the rest...

As per the wife's request, I picked up some lamb chops from the local butcher, some tiny potatoes from the nearby farmer's market, and some spinach from, well, let's face it, I'm lazy, the nearest store.

The lamb chops are ready

The menu was pan-seared lamb chops with herbs, steamed spinach and baby potatoes roasted in duck fat with garlic, shallots and onions.

What's the best way to start any nice dinner? Champagne! To satisfy our need for bubbly, I picked up a bottle of NV Champagne Gonet Medeville Blancs de Noirs, a producer I'm not familiar with. This 100% Pinot Noir was quite nice, with peach, sour cherries, dark toast notes, and hints of licorice. The acidity was quite nice and the wine was big enough to hold its own against seared lamb chops, an impressive feat.

1973 Paul Chanson Corton Grand Cru

When I met her, I turned my wife to the Dark Side that is Burgundy, and now that's all she wants to drink. To say the least, I am thrilled. So as I cooked, I popped, or tried popping, a 1973 Domaine Paul Chanson Corton Grand Cru. The cork was stuck, and all the corkscrew kept doing was dig up cork. Frustrated, I finally had to push it into the bottle, at which point decanting was essential, unless we wanted to chew our wine. So what to do? Usually, I'd cover the opening with some cheesecloth and decant the wine. I couldn't find any cheesecloth, so I just decanted it, at which point of course my wife found the damn stuff. So I covered the top of the decanter to filter any cork bits that might try to intrude into my glass.

And how was it? Not bad, not great, it slowly breathed and opened up, and certainly seemed to develop with the lamb. Lots of sous-bois, as you can imagine (that's that lovely forest-floor aroma), with soft, dark cherries, leather, hints of iron, a soft mouthfeel, and a somewhat unbalanced frame that ended in a short, slightly sour finish. While this wasn't dead, it wasn't great. Then again, 1973 wasn't a very good year in Burgundy (or anywhere else except maybe Champagne).

Dessert was semi-homemade vanilla ice cream (what's semi-homemade? It's ice cream I bought at the store near the house but served at home) in a fresh crêpe. No dessert wines as we have an early-morning flight for a weekend of vinous depravity.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

No comments: