Last Saturday, Kelly & I had dinner with our friends Jeff & Kristy. It all started a few weeks ago when we had the snowstorm. Jeff & Kristy both said "See, it isn't too late for cassoulet!" (referencing a previous post of mine on this blog). They invited Kelly & I over for cassoulet, my favorite.
Saturday night we arrived to a full on french style spread of olives, pate (2 kinds) & some delectable cheeses. J&K started us off with a lovely refreshing Hendricks gin martini. I looooove Hendricks gin. I never particularly cared for gin much. Kelly is the gin guy, I usually go for vodka. But Hendricks is something else entirely. After the first martini (or was it two?), we moved into the vino. First up was Caymus Conundrum 2005, which is always fun. It is a fresh, fun white blend from California that emphasizes fruit without sacrificing acidity. The next wine served was my last bottle of Robert Sinskey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2006 (thank you to one of my customers who gave me a bottle after I turned him on to it. I wish I knew his name!) This beautiful rose so eloquently masquerades as a Provencal rose. The color even looks just like Domaine Ott! It has bright acidity, luscious black cherry & strawberry & a round texture. We then moved to the dinner table & popped open a Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004. This predominantly sangiovese based wine has the rustic earthiness expected of Italy & a bright beam of acidity. Next it was time for a pair of Chateauneuf du Papes!! The first was the J. Vidal Fleury 2004, a medium bodied CDP with notes of black plum & lavender. The second was Chateau Mont Redon 2003, which was laden with graphite, wild herb & black raspberry. Both were a perfect match for Jeff & Kristy's cassoulet. For those who have never had this dish.....I have almost nothing to say to that except go find or prepare some now! The temperature outside was perfect for this hearty rustic dish, almost 50 degrees! What else needs to be said except, duck confit, smoked ham, white beans, garlic sausage & DUCK FAT!! Life doesn't get much better.
But thats not all the Peltz' had up their sleeve. Over some french press coffee they served us a super bright meyer lemon tart with a light layer of bittersweet chocolate.......& a '98 Chateau Roumieu Sauternes. Superb.
There is nothing more I love than eating fabulous homemade food & drinking outstanding wine with good friends. Throughout the meal we talked about food & wine, Julia Child, restaurants & literature. You know you're having a good time when everyone has something to say & they say it with gusto.