After a full day of work, Lynn and I raced home to make dinner for ten Friday night . . . after a detour to the Spanish Table for some rice, roasted piquillo peppers, sweet and smoked paprika, aged Serrano ham, and then to Ranch 99 from some Manilla clams and beautiful tiger prawns . . . .
We started off with
n.v. Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé (Champagne, France): Is this the perfect Brut Rosé? Well, no, probably not -- but it's damned close! So elegant, so flavorful, so delicious and appetizing, what more could you do but to serve the appetizers?
We began with hors d'oeuvres of sliced fresh red bell peppers and cucumbers, baguette and anise-scented Spanish olive oil crackers, and bowls of fresh-made Romesco and an artichoke-and-Manchego cheese dip, with some Marcona almonds and the aforementioned Serrano ham. And with all this, we moved on to
2006 Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand): Pale straw color, with a light greenish cast; classic NZ SB aromatics and flavor, with good acidity and a clean, refreshing finish. Very fine indeed.
As we moved on to the main course, two pans full of paella -- made with chicken, sausage, clams and prawns - we opened up
2005 Ostatu Blanco Jouven (Rioja Alavesa D.O.C, Spain): Light gold in color, clean and brilliant; the bouquet of this 90 percent Viura, 10 percent Malvasia blend is perfumey and has fleshed out with bottle age, combining aromatic floral notes with golden delicious apples; on the palate, it is medium bodied, round and supple in texture; the fruit is expressive and enticing; the finish long and flavorful. Very fine.
1996 Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Viña Gravonia (Rioja Alta D.O.C., Spain): Produced from 100 percent Viura, estate grown, this is an exceptionally complex and extraordinary wine, with aromas of fresh and dried apple, orange peel, hazelnuts and accented with pipe tobacco and light earth; the wine is very dry, yet not austere, round and supple in texture, and very rich and flavorful on the palate; hte finish is exceedingly long and flavorful. Outstanding!
After this, we moved onto dessert -- a Lemon Meringue pie from Massé's -- and then, with coffee,
n.v. Henriques & Henriques 10-Year Malmsey (Madeira, Portugal): burnt caramel in color, clear and clean; the bouquet combines toffee, caramel, hazelnuts, raisins, dried cranberries and more -- all of which is carried through the palate and into the exceeding long, tasty finish; very complex, sweet but never cloying, a true delight!