Posts tagged ‘wine’

Wine Weekend – part one

Two weekends back, before the craziness of Thanksgiving took over my life, there was a weekend involving lots of wine tasting.

I met M and his two sisters at Renaissance Wine Shop (located at Orenco Station in Hillsboro) for a tasting of wines imported by Small Vineyards.  We all had a great time, for which I am very thankful.  I like them both very much and was a bit concerned things might be awkward after relationship situations changed.  I got met with hugs and giggles and support.

Small Vineyards comes to Renaissance a couple of times a year and I always try to catch their tastings.  They import small production wines from Italy (sometimes the wines are produced in lots as small as 100 or 200 cases) and often they have some very interesting and delightful wine at reasonable prices.

We tasted:

Tenuta Ponte, Coda di Volpe 2008, 100% Coda di Volpe (800 cases produced, a white which I failed to take tasting notes on, and didn’t end up buying a bottle [$17])

Fattoria Bibbiani, Treggiaia 2006, 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cab and Canaiolo (1200 cases produced, a slight raspberry nose, earthy currant flavors with medium tannins [$11])

Podere Ciona, Montegrossoli 2007, 95% Sangiovese, 5% Alicante Bouschet (290 cases produced, raspberry and strawberry on both smell and taste, light tannins [$17])

Antonion Sanguineti, Caruso 2007, 15% Corvina, 5% Rondinella, 20% Nero d’Avola, 50% Sangiovese, 10% Syrah (500 cases produced, this unusual wine has grapes from the vineyards of several friends of the wine maker.  Raspberry and cherry are found in the nose, to which a lemony note is added, high in the mouth, when tasted.  Light to medium tannins. [$20])

Tre Donne, d’Arc Langhe Rosso 2006, 40% Barbera, 30% Pinot Noir, 20% Dolcetto, 10% Freisa (400 cases produced, my favorite wine of the evening.  I had never had freisa grapes.  They lend a lovely floral nature to the wine.  Slightly floral strawberry nose, floral, peach, pear, almond, clove, and rosehips or hibiscus once tasted.  I tried to buy some of this, but they ran out of it about an hour into the tasting. [$17])

Eugenio Bocchino, Tom Langhe Rosso 2007, 70% Barbera, 30% Merlot (200 cases produced, velvety nose with temple flower notes, flavors of raisin and plum with a full mouth feel and medium tannins.  I bought a bottle of this, since the Tre Donne was not available. [$22])

Perazzeta, Rita Riserva, 100% Sangiovese (250 cases produced, smells like cherry cream soda, flavors of cherry, apple, mango [$34])

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December 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm Leave a comment

terribly behind with posts

Eeep.  It has been one of those spaces of time where everything is busy, everything is rushing, and there is tons of food, but little time to say anything about it.  There was a weekend of wine a little over a week ago, and then there were three Thanksgiving dinners, none of which I have had a chance to say a thing about.  I promise posts on both wine and holiday food in the near future.

November 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

Tabla Mediterranean Bistro

My best friend and I ended up at Tabla last night for his birthday based on M’s suggestion.  M didn’t say anything about the restaurant really, other than to suggest it when I said Sel Gris was unavailable.

They offer a 3 course tasting menu which lets you pick an appetizer, pasta, and entree dish, or you may choose al a carte.  We both chose to do the tasting menu.  I also opted to order the set of wine pairings to go with mine.

My appetizer: beet and buckwheat salad with ricotta di capra, succulent greens, tarragon

Rounds of cooked and slightly sweetened beets were then layered with thin, similarly sized buckwheat crepes and then topped with leaves from a succulent and ribbon like curls of cheese.  The succulent I wasn’t actually able to identify, not being the world’s most plant savvy person.  The salad was slightly sweet (beets), slightly earthy (buckwheat), a little milky (cheese), and brightly green in flavor (succulent leaves).  The textures also bridged a variety of categories.  The beets still had a nice solidity, the tiny crepes were  tender, the cheese was creamy, and the greens….  The succulent was the most intriguing and surprising thing about this dish, both in appearance, flavor, and mouth feel.  They were firm and crisp, slightly furry, and your entire mouth exploded with juicy green flavor when you bit into one.

It was paired with a glass of 2008 domaine rochette, gamay rosé, beaujolais, france.  The wine was a rosy pink in color.  It smelled of strawberry and lemon and added apples flavors when you sipped it, having light sweetness.

Z’s appetizer: delicata squash flan with brussels sprouts, maple brown butter, crispy prosciutto, walnuts

A small flan shaped delicata custard perched atop a bed of thinly shaved brussel sprouts done up with brown butter and walnuts.  A crispy long piece of prosciutto was decoratively place on top.

My pasta: mushroom and sherry agnolotti with pickled chanterelles, sorrel, parmigiano-reggiano

This dish was the prize of the evening.  Everything was delicious, but this pairing was so perfectly matched I would have eaten it all night.  Agnolotti are tiny little pocket like pasta that are a bit like ravioli and a bit like flattened tortellini.  They were about the size of the first joint of my little finger and oh so delicate.  I believe that they were filled with something similar to what was served mixed in with them, pickled chanterelles and strips of sorrel.  I have never had a pickled mushrooms before, but now may have to look into how to do that.  It added this light flavor which would have been hard to identify if you hadn’t been told.

It was paired with a pinot noir, and I had selected to have a glass of their wine special of the evening instead of the usual pairing.  I believe what I had was the 2007 Evesham Wood, Le Puits Sec, Eola-Amity, though it is possible I am wrong.  It is the only thing present on their online wine menu that sounds like the description I got verbally and I didn’t end up calling back last week to check.  I think that this might have been the best wine pairing I have had, definitely the best one in a really long time.  The pinot noir was lovely, very fruity nose, with plum and raspberry scents, with cherry and currant flavors once you tasted it.  It was lightly sweet and had a mild level of tannins, but enough to give the wine body.  And it tasted ten times better when you took a sip right after a bite of the agnolotti.  I am pretty sure that it had something to do with the pickled mushroom flavor, though I am afraid I can’t put my finger on just what.

Z’s pasta: tajarin – thin housemade pasta, truffle butter, grana padano

This was also very lovely.  The pasta texture was walking that lovely zone between tender and al dente, the truffle butter added some lovely deeper notes to the flavor of the sauce, and the grana padano was a creamier tasting version of Parmigiano Reggiano.

My entree: pan-seared sea scallops, fall vegetable scafata, celery root, salsa verde

Once upon a time I disliked scallops, but I had never had them done right.  They have in recent years become a favorite if I am going for seafood.  Tabla knows how to do them right.  They were seared the right brief amount of time the salsa verde on top was lovely with them.  The scafata and celery root I believe were both served pureed (though I am behind on posting and it has been a few days now) and I wasn’t quite as keen on the flavors there, though it was certainly unusual.  I think that perhaps the scafata was just slightly more earthy than I wanted it to be along side the scallops.

This was paired with an unoaked chardonnay, 2007 domaine de montlaville, mâcon-villages, france.  It went nicely with the scallops.  It had hints of grapefruit, pear, apple, and lemon on the nose and added some peach and apricot flavors upon tasting.  This was Z’s favorite of the three wines.  He isn’t much of a wine person, so it was nice to discover one that he liked.

Z’s entree: the special on offer, a of rack of goat, to which I am afraid I have forgotten the sides

His description of this dish stuck out in my mind.  He mentioned that he really loved the unadorned flavor of the goat.  The way the dish was prepared, the goat was resting on an artistic presentation of the accompaniment, and the sauce was to the side, which allowed him to use sparing amounts according to taste.  Apparently goat is often served with strong sauces or marinades which obscure some of its natural flavor (or this is what I gathered from him, still haven’t been truly tempted yet to find out myself).

We glanced at the dessert menu, but were both quite full.  So instead we opted to head home for cheese cake and raspberry coulis, as it was already in my fridge and the travel gave us some time to digest.

November 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment