We often entertain at home and I cook the meal. But I rarely provide the wine. Guests who come for the food often take care of bringing the wine. And in some cases, with serious enthusiasts, we get some phenomenal wines, even though I have to admit my taste buds for wine are not as developed as they should be. For a recent sit-down dinner, several of the guests, including the birthday celebrant, were major wine enthusiasts… so we had to take some extra effort to find some interesting wines to pair with the menu…
As soon as the celebrant arrived and was surprised to find a dozen friends over for dinner, champagne corks popped on several bottles of bubbly, including Moet and some Bisol, a proseco. A few toasts later and multiple bottles of champagne were quickly wiped out. Thank goodness dinner was about to be served…
With the tuna tartare course, we served a 2005 Antinori Cervaro della Sala, which was a nice white wine made up of predominantly chardonnay grapes. Rated a 93/100 by some, it was a pleasant match with the tuna. However, when I asked diners about the wine later, they had less to say about it than the tuna… so it couldn’t have been that memorable over all. For the second appetizer of Seared Foie Gras with Figs, we served a 2004 Carmes de Rieussec Sauternes that I personally thought was brilliant. It was sweet but not cloying and a nice match for the duck liver.
With the roast beef, there was a choice of two very good reds, first a 2001 Antinori Guado al Tasso a deep ruby red predominantly cabernet sauvignon wine from Italy. This was very very nice. But I couldn’t decide if it was nicer than the 1996 Les Ormes de Pez, which was also great with the beef. It was interesting that one guest had been to the vineyards of Antinori, while the other had been to the Chateau Les Ormes de Pez and there was a lively debate between them as to which wine was indeed more appealing… In the end, I had a glass of each with my prime rib.
Finally, we had an extremely intense 1986 Carpineto Farnito vin santo with the creme brulee, and a sweeter and more intense wine I have not had in ages… Superb in small doses and wonderful with the creme brulee, this is not something I plan to indulge in often… it was just a bit too over the top for me.
For this dinner, Mrs. MM asked friends at Bacchus to suggest some wines for the party and I must say I was a bit concerned in the beginning that what arrived seemed like an odd mixture of Italian and French wines, some of which I had never tried, but they seemed to work very well with the menu. For a guest list of 12, we managed to go through 11+ bottles of wine and champagne, and 3-4 guests didn’t drink much at all… :)