The “nom de plumes” of this blog, seem to be growing, and though some are not as colorful as one would encounter from Damon Runyon or Dashiell Hammett we recently had a Christmas dinner with “The Raconteur’s Apprentice.” This name was chosen by a young man who is near and dear to mine, as well as my Bride’s heart; and he chose this name when he asked me if he could write a guest column, of which I was honored and agreed to.
We went to his home, and he and his charming wife made dinner for us, and they were excited as this was an adult dinner, as his parents had taken their two children out to a Christmas party at their club. We started off with a pastry puff of baked Brie with apricots, along with crackers and sliced apples. The dinner was a properly seasoned roast chicken with a Brioche and onion stuffing and haricot verts. This was followed by coffee and a charming Sugar Cream Pie that his wife claims is very popular in the part of Ohio where she comes from; and I have to admit that it was delightful and I am not the sweet eater that I used to be. After dinner was completed his parents as well as their two children showed up and it was wonderful to see them all again. After his parents left, we gave the children their Christmas presents, as well as exchanging gifts with our hosts.
We started off the evening with a bottle of Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV. This is the signature sparkling wine from the Mumm group in California, and it is a true California wine, and not a clone of their famed French Champagne. The wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and it brought a smile to us, as we remembered our trip to the winery during our holiday week in Napa. My Bride also mentioned that while we were there I ran into a customer of mine in the tasting room. As I was not sure what the dinner was going to be, and I thought that it would be gauche on my part to ask, so I brought a bottle that I thought would be safe with most any entrée. I grabbed a bottle of a wine that I thought might be new to them, and one that had some maturity to it, the proper name of the wine is Herederos dei Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2000, but most of the time it is just referred to as Marques de Riscal and it has long been a favorite wine of mine. This wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo, but the Marquis de Riscal actually has official dispensation to include Cabernet Sauvignon in their wine, if the desire. This winery is located in the Rioja Alavesa, which is the smallest of the three sub-regions of Rioja, and this is a famed Rioja winery, of which I have read that they still have hundred year plus bottles of wine at the estate that are still fully drinkable, as the wine is very long-lived and the joy of this wine is that I can always taste some terroir. We gave them a bottle of a Meritage style red wine that we enjoyed at a wine tasting, and bought some for our own enjoyment, and the wine was new to them. My gift was a bottle of Diego Zamora Licor 43, and I do hope that I did not take the wind out of his sails, when I showed him a picture of this liqueur on my cell phone; as I think he had hoped to have found something new for me to try and to enjoy. All in all, it was a great night from some charming hosts that we are proud to have as friends.