Like most of us this year, our Thanksgiving plans were curtailed by Covid concerns. Michele had been planning a non-traditional yet all-American menu, but when friends decided not to join us for health reasons, the elaborate menu no longer made sense. She simplified the menu to suit just four diners.
It was just last week that I wrote that we rarely eat steak at home. But having enjoyed that one, we decided it would be a good choice for our main course for four.
We started with Selosse Initial Blanc de Blancs, a classic Avize Brut. The soil is chalky marls. There is a long aging in bottle before and after disgorgement. It is an assemblage of three successive vintages from lower slope sites. It is released an average of five years after the most recent harvest in the blend. The dosage is 5g/l. Disgorged Oct. 2008. This is a complex Champagne with hints of melons, dried citrus fruits and a touch of white flowers and brioche. The role oxygen plays is very important and all of the Selosse wines have the trademark oxidation which adds more complexity to the wine. A few weeks ago at a friend’s home I attended a Zoom tasting of the wines of Anselme and Guillaume Selosse. I enjoyed the wines and was happy to taste one of them again.
After a stormy start, Thanksgiving afternoon was sunny and bright and we were able to begin our celebration with a festive toast outdoors on our terrace. To go with the Champagne we had warm gougeres, parmesan cheese puffs.
Fiorano Bianco Vino da Tavola 1980 Azienda Agricola Boncompagni made from 100% Semillon. My favorite red wine may just be the Fiorano Rosso (those produced before 1996). The Bianco I always had trouble with and this bottle, while drinkable, was not showing very well.
Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 1990 Edoardo Valentini made from 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This is a great white wine but this bottle was showing its age and seemed to have off aromas and flavors.
Meursalt-1990 “Perrieres” Pierre Matrot made from 100% Chardonnay. I do not know how this wine was produced since the winery changed its way of making wine in 2000. This is a full-bodied white wine with hints of peach, apricot and a touch of honey. It has a wonderful finish and a long aftertaste.
Our first course was a chestnut soup with whipped cream and grappa, a recipe from Chef Fabio Trabocchi. Because it was so rich and flavorful, Michele served it in small cups. We would definitely enjoy having this soup again.
Mazia-Chambertin 1990 Domaine Maume made from 100% Pinot Noir from 75-year-old vines. The vineyard is .64 ha and the soil is clay limestone. There is a separate vinification of individual parcels. The clusters are 100% de-stemmed. The wine is aged for 18 to 20 months in mostly older barrels and bottled without fining or filtration. This wine was not ready to drink. It was too young and more thean half the bottle was left. Michele and I drank it for lunch the next day and it was wonderful.
Michele’s original menu included a prime rib roast, but with just two guests, she downsized the menu to two thick Angus beef strip loin steaks. With them we had roasted carrots and brussels sprouts, as well as extra-buttery mashed potatoes.
Chianti Classico 1970 Fattoria Santa Cristina- L& P Antinori. I believe the grapes were Sangiovese, with some Cannaiolo, and a small amount of white grapes, most likely Trebbiano. The wine had great color and was drinking like traditional Chianti, with hints of red fruit, cherries, blueberries, leather and a touch of violets. We all agreed it was a wonderful wine and was the wine of the evening.
Rather than pie, Michele made 3 Fruit Crisp, with apples, pears and cranberries, baked under a crunchy oatmeal and brown sugar topping. The tangy fruit was complemented by the pumpkin pie and 4 flavors of ice cream supplied by our guests.
Dessert ready to be served
Chianti Classico 1960 Villa Antinori made from Sangiovese with Cannaiolo and Colorino and the white grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia. They may have also used the governo method (drying 10% of the grapes). The wine was showing its age and was not drinking well.
We finished, as always, with espresso and grappa.