An old friend was about to celebrate an important birthday. In years past, we have spent time together in Provence but since this year that is not possible Michele and I decided to create a Provencal menu at home.
We began with a thin slices of duck sausage, olives and breadsticks to accompany a Champagne toast.
Deutz Champagne “Amour de Deutz” Rosè 2008 Made from 64% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and Bouzy and 36% Chardonnay from Avize, Chouilly and Villers-Marmery. Traditional vinification in stainless steel takes place. The base wine is fermented at a low temperature and malolactic fermentation takes place. It is blended with a still Pinot Noir. Discreet fruit, floral notes, creamy strawberries, a touch of pastry.
Our first course was Poached Giant Shrimp with a basil, garlic and lemon mayonnaise sauce.
Saumur 2012 Parnay “Clos Romans” Domaine des Roches Neuves Thierry Germain made from 100% Chenin Blanc from 8-year-old vines on a 0.3-hectare vineyard that is a clos, surrounded by a wall built 300 years ago. The soil is sand, clay, and senonien limestone. Fermentation is in 400 liter barrels for 2 months. The wine is aged on the lees in 400 liter barrels for 9 months. The wine has hints of citrus fruit with a touch of apricot and honeydew and a touch apple. This is a very impressive wine and it went great with the shrimp.
Vegetable Tian — Michele made this beautiful vegetable gratin, called a tian in Provence, with sliced potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes baked on a bed of onions and topped with grated cheese.
Along with the tian, our main course was Breast of Duck with Fig Sauce garnished with fresh figs.
These are the fresh figs Michele used
Chinon “Les Picasses” 1989 (Loire) Olga Raffault” Made from 100% Cabernet Franc. The soil is limestone and clay. The mid slope vines are at least 50 years old and are worked organically and harvested by hand. The fruit is destemmed and whole uncrushed berries are fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation and maceration lasts for 25 to 30 days depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 2 to 3 years in oak and chestnut foudres of 30 to 50 HL. There is more aging in tank and bottle before release for about four years. This is a full bodied, structured and complex wine with hints of cherry, red and dark berries, a hint of smoke and a touch of meatiness.
Dessert was Plum Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream. With it we had a dessert wine.
Muscat Beaumes de Venise “Le Pèche d’ Emilie Alain Ignace Made from 100% Muscat petit grain rouge. The grapes come from 60 years old years old vines in lieux-dits Binquillon and La Tuillere and the soil is Miocene marine molasse. The bunches are destemmed and there is a cold pre fermentation. Fermentation lasts for 15 days and fortified with marc. It ages for 12 months in barrel. The wine has hints of cassis, strawberries and lychees. This is only the second time I had a Red Muscat Beumes de Venise.