This past Friday night (September 18th, 2009) was the first night of Rosh Hashanah 5770. My friend was very kind to invite us over for the New Year and as usual the hospitality and cuisine was out of this world. The meal started with the requisite tradition called – simanim, that we brought over along with a bottle of wine. The simanim are a play on words and are a very basic Jewish tradition of using word play to bring out symbolism and actual changes or good tidings. The ones we brought over are part of what one may call the “base package”, while in recent years folks have been adding on premium channels and special language channels. The seder’s menu is as follows (according to Ashkenazi tradition):
- Sweet apple dipped in honey (along with the requisite blessing over fruit of the tree)
- Broad Beans coated with a mixture of olive oil, cumin, and garlic
- Leeks – prepared masterfully by the host, sautéed in margarine and spices
- Beets – boiled plainly and then cubed, with orange juice applied on top
- Sweet Butternut Squash – sliced butternut squash, sprayed with oil and covered with honey, then baked in an oven set to 400 degrees.
- Pomegranate seeds
- Fish head – salmon head baked at 350 degrees
After that we had a lovely tomato and potato soup with a nice quaffing wine – the 2006 Gedeon Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet was nice, but the soup was better. The soup was followed by a plethora of food that started with braised brisket, potatoes, Thai chicken, and assorted vegetables. The dinner was fantastic. We had the 2002 Haut-Medoc with the dinner, and it was truly slow to open. However, once it did finally open a few hours into the meal, it was a fun wine that matched the brisket very well.
Many thanks to our friends for hosting us and serving us such a wonderful feast. The wine note follow below:
2006 Gedeon Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: B
It is a nice quaffing wine with a basic nose of red fruit, raspberry, cherry, oak, vanilla, and tobacco. I must say that the mouth on this wine is nice. It is soft and not complex in any way, but the red fruit is evident and the acidity in the mid palate balances out the fruit forward mouth. The finish is average long, but may well be the best part of the wine with a smoky tobacco, nice oak, and toasty vanilla. The wine is a simple and nice quaffer, and Mevushal to boot.
2002 Barons de Rothschild Edmond Benjamin Haut-Medoc – Score: B+
This bottle starts off dead at best for a few hours. We popped the cork on this puppy at 9PM and it finally found itself at around 11PM, give or take a few minutes. The nose on this purple colored sleeping giant started off dull, but opened to black cherry, black plum, raspberry, oak, chocolate, and a dollop of vanilla. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine filled out nicely with mouth coating tannins that lifted the wine, though not in a subtle way. The mouth starts with black plum, cherry, raspberry, and tannins. The mid palate is balanced nicely with just enough acidity, along with tannins and oak. The finish is long with nice black fruit that is carried through to the finish line with acidity, wonderful dark chocolate, and vanilla. The finish is great, the chocolate and black fruit meld in an almost magical manner. Give this wine enough time and it will deliver. This is less complex than it is wonderful, which is not bad at all.