Anniversary dinner–commemorated with Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label to celebrate the occasion. Always love its crisp peachy goodness and, enjoyed on the patio with my family around me, this one is right on target. The combination is pretty had to beat. It’s a favorite of my wife’s; a smile on her face and a full glass in her hand are all this man needs.
The Veuve preceded Chicken Limone, served with a light pasta and Italian bread, courtesy of Rosario’s. Wish the bubbly had lasted a bit longer but all good things, right?
This year we opted to shake up familiar holiday traditions and decided to embark on a limo ride around Rochester to look in on some of the city’s most festive and “craptacular” light displays. Our three-hour ride took us from North Chili to Henrietta, Irondequoit, Pittsford, and Gates (maybe others too?) as we gazed on lights that were plentiful, tasteful, and tasteless. Secular and nonsecular alike were visible as we cruised in the comfort of our eight footer…
…oh yeah, the libations. What could be better for a limo tour of the holiday lights than Veuve Clicquot Brut? Four of us tackled a first bottle of Yellow Label lightning-quick and savored a second as we rolled in comfort through Rochester’s finest and flakiest displays, noshing on cheeses, beef stick, crackers, and shrimp cocktail.
A new tradition is born?
Special celebrations call for special beverages! This one commemorated both! We chose this bottle out of duress–because our favorite was not chilled when we stopped in to buy before dinner. So Pol it was: with our hors de oeuvers, with our entrees, and right through cappuccinos as well.
Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve, Champagne, France.
The first thing we shared was a delicious, rich lobster bisque. Not too heavy, kissed with sherry, and just an artistic smidge of cream. My wife opted for appetizers…a sampling that enabled her to dabble in all things French. Next up was crusty bread with brie and pate’ drizzled with basil oil and some cranberry. For her entre, my wife had diver scallops in the shell, served with a mushroom fricassee and aged Gouda glacage; her side was a frisee salad with bleu cheese, julienne-style apples, honey-glazed hazelnuts, and an apple cider vinaigrette.
My entre was sliced loin of venison, which they served with potato gallete, veggie (what?!?), and roast shallot jam. I’d never had venison other than in sausage and this one, with a sauce smitane, was amazing. You could cut it with a fork, and it was incredibly juicy and perfectly cooked.
Our Pol Roger stood his ground…a great pinch-hitter that we sampled throughout the sumptuous courses of our meal. We were disappointed when the bottom of the bottle eventually showed but excited for the cappuccino coffees that sent us home with warm, full bellies and smiles on our faces.
The 2008 St. Hiliare Blanquette Limoux, a blend of 98% Mauzac, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc from Languedoc, France.
The second sparking wine that we tasted as we cruised north under the George Washington Bride, circling Manhattan with other cruisers, was this 2008 St. Hiliare Blanquette Limoux – a blend of 98% Mauzac, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc from Languedoc, France. Enjoyable for a variety of reasons, and in no small part because we wouldn’t normally pick up a sparkling or drift to French wines in general. As such, it was a nice change of pace from our domestic proclivities. This was paired with my favorite cheese of the day, a La Tur from the Piedmont area of Italy. The cheese was formed from a blend of sheep, cow, and goat’s milk–it was runny (“oozing” in the words of our host, not a description that I’d usually give to my foodstuffs) around the perimeter with a most, cake-like paste. Its flavor was earthy and full (“like ice cream served from a warm scoop”)–a truly enjoyable pairing.
“The Blanquette de Limoux is probably the oldest sparking wine in the world. In 1531, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hiliare were already producing Blanquette de Limoux, which thus precedes champagne by more than a century. The Limoux vineyards are located at Languedoc, in Southern France, at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. The grapes are selected from clay-limestone plots that capture both the Oceanic and Mediterranean influences. Dry, toasty, smooth and clean it truly captivates with an attractive yeasty aroma and luscious creamy texture. The palate is light and crisp with citrus and apple flavors and the body is just hefty enough.”
And on our tour of the world’s wines continues!
The Szigeti Gruner Veltliner Brut, Austria, NV.
This sparkling brut we enjoyed on a gorgeous Saturday in August, circling Manhattan with our good friends as we set out on a wine tasting cruise. On a hot afternoon this brut and its citrus flavors were a great way to break our thirst. The Szigeti Gruner was paired with a Valency goat cheese from the Loire Valley of France. The cheese had a greyish rind and was very creamy…we sampled before the brut, after the brut, and were even encouraged by our host to taste the two together–all to great result. Some comments on the Szigeti:
“Produced using fruit sourced at a vineyard surrounding Lake Neusiedl; it sits approximately 328 feet above sea level. This Sparkling was made using traditional methods…A hint of lemon zest, followed by wisps of almond are the primary aromas in the attractive and somewhat subtle nose of this wine. The citrus theme continues through the palate where its rounded out by a lovely creaminess. White pepper emerges and leads to the finish, which features brioche and yeast notes.”
Obviously many of those comments are far more nuanced than we can detect but the citrusy aspects made for a great start to the tasting event.
Today we’re embarking on a wine tour by boat, circling the island of Manhattan with a group of fellow passengers ready for some vino. As we steam out of Pier 62 and head north on the Hudson, we’re kicking things off with a Blanc de Blanc from the Brotherhood Winery in New York–just a quick thirst-quencher to get things started. This is the basic sparkling white on which we’ll be layering the world’s wines this gorgeous afternoon!
Happy Valentine’s Day–a day to spend in celebration of that special something that you can’t quite define in words but can cite a thousand examples between the two of you. Our HVD dinner, brightened with fresh tulips, consisted of a homemade lobster macaroni-and-cheese that armies would fight for, delicious asparagus in a lemon and burnt butter sauce, and the best company possible.
A molten chocolate cake – you see it in the photo here – was a featured dessert that my wife could sell in a high=end supermarket. It was a great finish to an evening that began with the Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label, one of our absolute favorites, and plenty of phone calls to our favorite people. Hoping your celebrations and your bubbly were as good!
Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label, of Champagne, France, accompanying our fresh tulips, chocolate cake, and lobster macaroni-and-chees dinner.