Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lovely French dinner, with French wine and new French friends

Last night, my special lady and I were invited over to our friend Josh's place for dinner with him and his French girlfriend, who is still settling into San Francisco. We all had a great time, and, true to form for Josh and I, it was only our yawning with increasing frequency around 1am which finally broke up the party.

We started with a delicious glass of 2007 Chaussard 'You are So Nice' Cot-Gamay. So much nicer than the last time I drank this! Apparently a customer of Josh's returned the wine earlier in the day and said it was not good. Well, the customer was right, as the wine was not merely good, but really fucking good! Lively dark berry and that delicious iron like minerality that cot seems to deliver in the Loire. The wine was delicious, impeccably balanced, and really persistent. I only wish Josh had received two returned bottles instead of just one.

I brought a bottle of 2005 Jo Landron 'Fiefs du Brueils' muscadet which was so ungiving on the nose, so compact and tight on the palate, that I suggested Josh keep it in his fridge and check in on it throughout the week. It would not have been too pleasurable a drink with dinner. Instead, Josh pulled out a wonderful bottle of 2006 Gramenon Cotes du Rhone 'La Sagesse.' Another natural wine, made with minimal sulphur added prior to bottling, it was richer and warmer than the Chaussard, with a touch of a baked character, but still showing pure grenache dark cherry fruit, balanced acidity and an accesible character. It should improve for up to 7-8 years (I think, there is the whole fragile low sulphur wine thing to worry about if you're not storing these carefully, though). We ate pork chops, sauteed with mustard, creme fraiche, rosemary and mushrooms, with sides of mini buttered elbow pasta and pan fried kale (cooked with a controversial, but unexpectedly tasty, dash of lemon zest thrown in). I love kale, and this version was good for a change of pace.

Pungent Valdeon (spanish blue cheese), really good, earthy/funky Brie and Pierce Point (from Cowgirl Creamery) followed dinner, which was then proceeded by a tasty Pippin apple crumble and then a wee dram of Caol Ila 10 year for me, some bourbon for Natalie and Josh and sparkling wine for Catherine. A really fun evening - thanks to our gracious hosts Josh and Catherine for cooking great food and entertaining us in their new apartment.

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