Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
I'm always happy when a customer/friend sends me a note describing how much they enjoyed wine's I've helped them select. I received one of those emails last week from friend and fellow wine fan Seth Pariser who shared the following description of their weekend dinner party (and gave me permission to share it here)...
"My wife and I had some friends over last night for some whites & reds. We started with the '07 Melville Viognier, the '07 Calzada Ridge Viognier, and the '05 Clautiere Viognier. Then we moved onto the '06 Pisoni Pinot Noir Gary's Vineyard, the '06 Siduri PN Pisoni Vineyard, the '06 Loring PN Pisoni Vineyard.
By all standards, a fabulous evening. The winner was Siduri by popular vote with more Raspberry notes mixed with Burgundy-style spices, but to me The Gary's is so awesome...more Cinnamon than berries but a classic wine. With the soundtrack of Sideways in the outside speakers & torches lit, a brilliant summer evening. Love to share those moments with people who 'get it'.
Thanks for sending that, Seth. Such wine-filled evenings with friends are the reason we were attracted to wine in the first place. I'd like to share one of our own, and encourage you to send additional contributions if you have the time.
My wife and I enjoyed an evening with friends last weekend. We'd gathered some wine industry folks from the Anderson Valley, where my wife and I broke out several favorite cookbooks for a quick review of successful pulled pork (recipe to follow in our August club shipment of Miles Pinots). From behind a stack of open books, we developed our strategy.
Saturday's meal preparation began on Friday with the purchase of an 8 pound "Boston Butt" (oddly enough, a shoulder cut) kindly provided by Danny and Donna of Abbey-Harris Vineyard. We applied the rub that night so it could absorb the flavors.
I started our grill at 11:00 AM on Saturday, using the "Low and Slow" mantra critical to successful indirect roasting, we started with a relatively small cluster of coals and cooked the roast over drip pans, placed under the roast on the top grill. We kept this low, indirect heat going by adding a handful of coals every hour until about 5:00, finishing it in a 300 degree oven for the last hour until achieving the desired 190 degree internal temperature. We then wrapped it in foil to sit and cool and absorb flavors before donning the yellow rubber gloves to pull it from the bone.
When served on soft buns with coleslaw and a vinegar-based sauce, it was a perfect accompaniment to my family's favorite Three-Beans-and-Pork (slow cooked since that morning - recipe to follow) and the pasta and shrimp salads Danny and Donna contributed. And we reaffirmed that pulled pork is much enhanced by many bottles of pinot, but then, what isn't?
The favorite wines were almost too varied to mention, though it seems fair to say we all brought our own cellar palate to the table:
Doug Stewart of Breggo Cellars loved his Donnelly Creek Vineyard pinot (perhaps the consensus winner by a nose, though the crowd also enjoyed his Ferrington Vineyard, with its distinctive pencil-lead and forest floor and red fruit, as well as his attractively priced 2006 Anderson Valley Pinot) and the Black Kite pinot brought by...
Peter and Heidi (of Cerise and Demuth vineyards) leaned towards Lazy Creek's memorable 2004 Estate Pinot Noir, R.P.B., which they had also contributed. The crowd had enjoyed one of Lazy Creek's famed Gewurztraminer's during the cheese course (yes, being American, we eat our cheese BEFORE the meal!) Josh Chandler, the multi-talented owner of Lazy Creek (past chef at Auberge du Soliel, landscape architect and a Napa grape grower for many years) has been a force in the Anderson Valley, lending a hand to new growers and producers, such as those around our table.
Danny and Donna deservedly loved the Anthill Farms pinot from their own Abbey-Harris vineyard. The talented Anthill Farms trio manages this small vineyard for their own exclusive use, which produces a miserly couple of barrels of wonderful pinot. Webster and Anthony have both been generous with their knowledge during the hours we've volunteered in the vineyard - both for harvest and trimming duties.
And then there was me, whose favorite pinot of the evening leaned towards the Au Bon Climat 2005 Los Alamos Vineyard pinot from our pinot portfolio at Tastes of the Valleys. This vineyard was the original source of fruit for ABC's Jim Clendenen, some 25 years ago, and is one of his Historic Vineyard series - the vineyards that put Central Coast on the world wine map. At just $35, it is an impressive bargain as well.
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