Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken, Risotto, Baked Herb Encrusted Fish Loaf, and a myriad of wonderful wines
On the week of August 19th we were so happy to host really good friends of ours who were doing a west coast vacation. They are friends that go back far in my life, and it is always great to see them, because they are really cool people and because they bring back memories of my childhood. So, we tried to make some risotto work, but once again, Risotto as a Friday Night dish, can take the place of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde in any good 50s black and white movie. Sure enough Hyde showed up Friday Night, it was OK, but the Risotto was mushy instead of perfectly cooked – sad! The already patented Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken was killer, and was mostly consumed, while the Risotto was just OK.
Getting back to script, the meal started with a lovely baked herb encrusted fish loaf, we paired it with black and green olives, hummus, and eggplant salad. We opened a pair of lovely white wines with this course. I have tasted these wines a few times now, and each time the wines show off lovely honey and tart fruit characteristics. Though this time the unoaked wines showed off better. Yes, I said unoaked wine – what is that? Really? Are we that jaded? Most of the entry level wines that we do and don’t enjoy are not oak infused or modified. Instead, we have all become so jaded that if a wine is not oak influenced, it is not a nice wine. That cannot be farther from the truth! Some white wines are better without oak or malolactic fermentation (malo), because the fruit can either stand on its own and make the wine cleaner, or because the wine is so bad that adding in oak would cost money that is not warranted. So, it was a real kick to taste two Chardonnays that were separated at birth (or must – fermented grape juice), with one going to a home of rich oak, while the other went to live in a clean but plain steel home. The wines notes will show my precise feelings, but in short, the non oak laden Chardonnay was far more bright, evocative, and attention grabbing.
We then moved to the Mr. Hyde (Risotto) and some lovely Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken, along with a nice green salad. The Chardonnays paired nicely with the dishes, but we also enjoyed some Sara Bee, and some nice Hagafen Merlot. The Merlot went well with the cholent and cold cuts on the following day as well.
The wine notes follow below – many thanks to my buddies for swinging by the house – it was a real KICK!
2009 Binyamina Chardonnay Reserve Unoaked Galilee (Israel, Judean Hills) – Score: A-
The nose on this straw to light gold colored wine has stayed fairly consistent between the two times I have tasted this wine, some 6 months apart. The nose explodes with rich ripe and tart summer/tropical fruit, pear, kiwi, lychee, honey, grapefruit, ripe lemon, apple, and floral notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is super rich with explosive fruit that follows the nose, peach, lemon, apple, kiwi, lychee, and grapefruit. The mid palate flows off the mouth with super rich and tart lemon, honey, apple, and mineral almost yeasty. The honeyed and spicy finish is super long with crazy tart fruit, lychee, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, floral notes, and mineral. The wine is super enjoyable with more than enough attention getting fruit, minerality, and floral notes. The lack of oak is a benefit with this fruit and makes one wonder whether oaking this wine is such a good idea!
2009 Binyamina Chardonnay Reserve Galilee (Israel, Judean Hills) – Score: B++
The nose on this light gold colored wine started off muted and not nearly as bright as its unoaked brother. The nose opened to a rich and deep honeyed nose, oak, smoky toast, floral notes, grapefruit, lemon, yellow apple, and mounds of caramel and butterscotch. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich with honey, oak, pear, kiwi, grapefruit, lemon, and apple, all rounded with a tad of oak which seems to dull the fruit. The mid palate is oaky with toast, cut grass, and butterscotch. The finish is long and richly honeyed with butterscotch, oak, kiwi, lemon, melon, and grapefruit. Honey coated butterscotch candy along with ripe grapefruit, lemon, and melon linger.
2006 Hagafen Merlot (USA, California, Napa Valley) – Score: B++ to A-
The nose on this purple colored wine is filled with rich cedar, black cherry, raspberry, fig, herbs, vanilla, chocolate, cloves, and smoky notes. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is classic Hagafen, with a soft plush mouth of rich cedar, plum, raspberry, fig, cherry, and nice mouth coating tannin. The mid palate is balanced with nice acid, chocolate, more cedar, and nice tannin. The finish is long and spicy with cloves, cinnamon, cedar, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, plum, herbs, and tobacco. Herbs, cinnamon, chocolate, cedar, vanilla, and tobacco linger long after the wine is gone.
2008 Clos de Nouys Vouvray Moelleux (France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray) – Score: B to B+
This was a disappointment. Rogov predicted this one was going to last, but when we opened it, the wine was a shade of its previous self, which we tasted a year ago. The wine had much of the same fruit, but lacked the very grace that a good Chenin Blanc should have and that is ACID! No zip, nor in the middle or the end. Truly sad. The nose on this straw to gold colored wine is rich and honeyed, with wet grass, floral, green apple, honey, guava, pear, and citrus. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich with honey, floral notes, green apple, and tropical fruit. The mid palate is semi-sweet with almost no acidity, plain and old with a touch orange peel. The finish is medium with honey, floral notes, tropical fruit, vanilla, and citrus. A nice wine that has lost its ay, the zip is gone and so is the enjoyment in drinking it. DRINK UP!!!
To start, Friday Night was not Rosh Hashanah; I just put Rosh Hashanah in the title of this blog posting because it came right after it, and to be true I could not come up with a better title 🙂 There were six meals in total eaten during the three day holiday time, and we had guests for two of them and ate in for the rest. It all started with the wonderful meal and get together on Wednesday Night, as described in my previous post. The next meal we had with guests was on Friday Night. Sandwiched in between them were three meals on our own, where I enjoyed wine from the first night. Thursday and Friday afternoon we enjoyed brie, fresh vine ripe tomatoes, and avocado. Thursday Night we had some more simanim, along with a sneak peek of Friday Night’s main course, along with some Roasted Fresh Green Beans, sliced onions, and a fresh salad.
Friday Night started with Lox and Boiled Eggs, along with Benyoganoush. Benyoganoush is Benyamin Cantz spin on Babaganoush. I call it a spin, because until we enjoyed the dish at Benyamin’s house, we were used to only store bought Babaganoush that is normally roasted eggplant submerged in a pool of mayonnaise – Yuk! However, Benyamin taught us that the recipe is truly as simple as it comes! The main course consisted of Tri-Sausage Stew, Brown Rice, Parve Spinach Kugel/Soufflé, and a fresh green salad. The Tri-Sausage stew consisted of three different sausages, as the name suggests; 12 oz of Merguez cut into chunks, 12 oz of Italian Sausage cut into chunks, and 12 oz of Tofurkey Kielbasa sausage. The rest of the Kielbasa Stew recipe stands (pretty much).
One of our guests brought us a Bordeaux, while I struck out with a so-so to bad bottle of Segal Fusion and a not so bad bottle of Vouvray, which is a Chenin Blanc wine that turned out to be quite nice.
The meal was a joy, because we got the chance to stretch our legs from the grueling Rosh Hashanah services that were long, and well worrisome. It is after all the Day of Judgment, with Yom Kippur being the day our judgment is sealed. We sang some lovely Shabbos songs, spoke about the week’s Torah portion, and just kicked back a bit. It was a wonderful meal, with a lovely group of friends, along with nice food and wine. Again, may God seal us all for a year of life, success, joy, and health – Shana Tova and Gamar Chatima Tova!
The wine notes follow below in the order they were served:
2007 Segal Fusion (Israel, Galilee, Upper Galilee) – Score: B
The nose on this purple colored wine shows clear effects of mevushal, the nose has cooked plum, blackberry, raspberry, black fruit, loamy dirt, spice, and oak. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is spicy with black pepper, cooked blackberry, plum/prune, and dirt. The mid palate is balanced with oak, nice tannins, and tobacco. The finish is long and spicy with cooked black fruit, raspberry, loamy dirt, and licorice.
2008 Clos de Nouys Vouvray Moelleux (France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray) – Score: B++
The nose on this straw to gold colored wine is rich and honeyed, with wet grass, floral, green apple, honey, guava, pear, and citrus. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich with honey, floral notes, green apple, and tropical fruit. The mid palate is semi-sweet with bracing and balanced acid and orange peel. The finish is long with honey, floral notes, tropical fruit, and citrus. A nice wine that has just enough complexity to get your attention and keep it, but not for long enough. This is pairs nicely with spicy food, medium to hard cheese, and rich white sauces.
2005 Château Le Bourdieu (France, Bordeaux, Médoc) – Score: B to B+
The nose and mouth on this wine starts off very slowly and can definitely use some air, but it is also a wine that is at its peak or a bit behind it, so it is a very careful balance that you need to keep an eye out for. The nose on this browning garnet colored wine has cherry, raspberry, currant, a hint of plum, along with coffee, smoke, bell pepper, and mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has raspberry, currant, plum, and cherry. The mid palate is acidic with oak, almost integrated tannin, and oak. The finish is spicy and long with mineral, acid, coffee, and vegetal notes. This is a wine that works well with light meat, chicken, and medium cheese. The wine is one that can is medium weighted with enough to get some attention, but not enough to make it worthy of must have wine. Open it an hour in advance and then start enjoying it. Also, it is really nice chilled down to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.