Thursday, November 29, 2007

A memorable Thanksgiving dinner

We spent Thanksgiving in Tahoe with our dear friends Catherine and Pierre and their children. The weather was sunny and cold — no snow — which was perfect for early afternoon hikes and the rest of the day dedicated to various activities including cooking, knitting, reading, playing games, and eating of course. Actually, cooking was the main activity of this extended weekend and our friend Catherine being an awesome cook, I can tell you that everything that came out of the kitchen was incredibly delicious. She was the one in charge of course, the rest of us helping with basic tasks such as slicing, dicing, and mincing.

The turkey in its citrus flavored brine

The roasted turkey

A sampling of turkey, cornbread stuffing, and side dishes

Our friend Pierre had brought the wine: a 1997 Beaune Premier Cru Les Teurons Domaine Germain that they had bought at the Château de Chorey while vacationing in Burgundy. The domaine includes a renovated castle with five chambres d'hôtes and one suite, as well as several Beaune Premier Cru vineyards mostly planted with old vines. Les Teurons is a 21.04 ha premier cru vineyard known to produce elegant wines which are round, rich and balanced. The wine had a clear light red color with a fragrant nose of floral and fruity aromas. On the palate, it was well-aged, balanced and harmonious, leaving a light smoky note on the finish.

After the turkey feast, we went for a walk, in order to make room for the dessert: a very yummy pear tart tatin that my daughter had made.

The pear tart tatin: seems crumbly but was actually very yummy

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WBW #39: a wine from Silver Burgundy, the 2005 Viré-Clessé Maison Chanson

Can you find a good Burgundy at a reasonable price? Yes, says the Brooklynguy, who is hosting this month's 39th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Just consider the wines from Silver Burgundy, the southern part of Burgundy that includes the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais.

If you're a Burgundy lover, you may know that the Mâconnais is one of the best sources of good value Chardonnays. The 2005 Viré-Clessé Maison Chanson comes from that region. Created in 1999, Viré-Clessé is one of France's newest appellations. It is made of two villages, Viré and Clessé, located about 15 kilometers north of Mâcon, and previously part of the Mâcon-Villages appellation. The terroir is good with south-east facing slopes and soils of clay and limestone. Only white wines are produced in the area as Chardonnay is the only varietal allowed in the appellation.

The producer is the Beaune based Maison Chanson, a négociant house founded in 1750 and now part of the Champagne Bollinger group. The domaine owns premium vineyards around Beaune, Savigny-lès-Beaune, and Pernand-Vergelesses. While a quarter of the production comes from estate fruits, the rest is being sourced from selected growers.

The wine is from the 2005 vintage, which was exceptional in Burgundy. The growing season was characterized by a cold winter, a rainy spring followed by a hot and dry summer. During harvest, the grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and in perfect health. The wine shows a light golden color and toasted nuts and pears on the nose. On the palate, it is fresh and creamy with a mineral finish.

Overall, it is a very nice wine and a good accompaniment to fish. Try it with Poached Fish with Lemon and Capers.

And thanks for hosting Brooklynguy!

Previous WBW posts:
•  WBW #38: 2001 Periquita Classico
•  WBW #37: Hello Teroldego!
•  WBW #34: 2002 Stella Maris Red Columbia Valley

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

2005 La Dame Blanche du Château Kefraya

This wine was a silent auction item that I bought at my children's school, graciously donated by the Lebanese restaurant Illusions Fayrouz in Palo Alto. I had been curious to taste it since the day I won it at the auction, so the other night, I felt that it was time to give it a try.

Lebanon is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Viticulture was established in the Bekaa Valley — the country's main wine producing area — about 6000 years ago. Located 30 kilometers east of Beirut, the Bekaa valley is has a Mediterranean climate with wet winters and dry, warm summers, and an average altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. The Château Kefraya is the second biggest winery in the Bekaa valley. It is a 300 hectares estate with terraced vineyards planted at an altitude of 950 to 1100 meters on clayey, limy and stony soils. The wine production is mostly red but includes two whites: Casta Diva and La Dame Blanche

The 2005 La Dame Blanche du Château Kefraya is a blend of Mediterranean varieties including Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, and Clairette. It has a straw-yellow color and a nose of floral and honey aromas. The palate is round and full with some good acidity and a nice finish of garrigue herbs. The wine strongly reminds me of a Coteaux du Languedoc and will work well with many Mediterranean dishes. I recommend it with a Provencal style Baked Fish.

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