Friends that live a few blocks away invited us over for dinner. They had talked about having at least part of our meal in their garden, but an outdoor heater they had ordered had not arrived. The temperature was in the 40’s and so the plans were changed.
It was a chilly night so I was very happy to have dinner by the fireplace.
We started with a rabbit pate and cornichons from a local cheese shop.
There were also fresh figs wrapped in prosciutto.
We drank Veuve Clicquot Brut NV made from 56% Pinot Noir, 16% Pinot Meunier and 28% Chardonnay. This is an easy drinking Champagne, toasty with black fruit aromas and flavors.
For the main course there were slow cooked lamb shanks with white beans and gremolata, a recipe from Michele’s book, The Italian Slow Cooker. Served with sauteed broccoli.
Rosso del Conte 1981 Tasca d’ Almerita Nero d’Avola 90% and 10% Perricone. Production area Palermo, Sicily. The soil is fine clay slightly calcareous. It is at 650 meters with a south-west exposure. The training system is bush and espalier, with short spur pruning. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the harvest is in October. Traditional red wine fermentation in stainless steel and maceration for 25 days. The wine is aged in large chestnut casks and then 6 months in bottle before release. This is a very impressive wine with hints of cherries dried red fruit. herbs and a touch spice and tobacco.
25 years ago, Michele interviewed the late Marchesa Anna Tasca Lanza, whose family owns Regaleali, for an article in a wine magazine about Anna’s cooking school. At that time, we visited the winery along with this evening’s hosts. They had saved the Rosso del Conte so that we could have it together and drinking it brought back many fond memories.
After the lamb, we had a salad of crisp greens with pears and walnuts.
And a cheese selection, including a perfect Vacherin
A goat cheese, and a blue.
Chateauneuf du Pape “Vignobles de la Lerriere” 2006 Beauchene made from 65% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. The terroir is a mix of galets and sandy soil. The wine is aged for 12 months in used French oak barriques. This is a medium bodied soft round wine with ripe red fruit flavors hints of raspberries and red cherries and a touch of spice. The wine has a nice aftertaste and a long finish. It was a pleasure to drink
Dessert wasn’t really necessary, but Michele had brought some freshly made Biscotti Regina, Sicilian sesame cookies, so that we could finish the meal on a sweet note.