Monday, December 27, 2010

Boise Wine Club

Sometimes, especially this time of year, Boise feels like it is Restless .... always moving. On December 26, 2010, the Boise Wine Club held their third wine tasting at the Red Feather
in downtown Boise. Tonight the tasting included some wonderful wines from Austria and Portugal.

Usually, there is no charge for this monthly event, just bring a bottle of themed wine to share. But it was decided that in order to have a Waite Person assigned to us by the Red Feather Lounge, we will start to charge a nominal fee of $10.00 per person and still bring a bottle of wine to share. We hope that you enjoy these photos of the evening party and we thank the Red Feather Lounge and their staff for their hospitality. They are always so very gracious and we do enjoy ourselves. Let's start with the wines Robin and I took and some Appetizers.

These are the wines that Robin and I took. The variety of others was great.

Country Pâté
(Pâté Maison Terrine)

Duck Confit

Cheese Plate

Here are the folks that attended. It was good to meet some new ones and see some of the others again.


Jack and Kerry

Adele and Sean


Bobby decants a port while Ted (hidden) and Michelle look on.




Sunday, December 19, 2010

Following up on communion wines and Paris

From my first posting about my first experience tasting wine, I have received information, feedback and comments about the wines served and the personality or lack thereof for the Reverand Mr. Ludlow.

The wines were often Sherries or Tawny Ports, according to my source, who was one of the altar boys. They were never allowed to see the labels as the adults of the Altar Guild filled the glass decanters that were ceremoniously used by the Altar Boys during communion to fill the Chalice. No deep red wines were allowed to be served as representing the 'blood' of Christ to avoid staining the sacred vessels and linens. The main consideration was the price. Often wines were donated by Parishoners. My sister remembers Kosher Concord wines - Manischevitz [Because she saw a bottle in the trash] and that could have been true, as she is 7 years younger than I and they could have taken advantage of some great bargain sales.

A long time friend who also attended St. Thomas, remembers The Reverend Mr. Ludlow as "Staid". In my opinion he had no 'joy' about him; he rarely laughed; he occasionally smiled. Most of the time he looked and acted like a sad bloodhound, down in the eyes and mouth.

From Le Café de Paris, we were delighted to receive a Pâté Maison Terrine and a Baguette from Mathieu - a Christmas gift. Mathieu has since shared his recipe and we may have to work on
perfecting our terrine making. A little more complex and elegant than meatloaf, but very practical daily fare in most of France. Bob has posted the recipe on the Boise Foodie Blog.

Jan thoroughly enjoyed the music - Frim Fram duet keyboard and fiddle/violin. She's thinking about taking lessons after New Years. Her son plays fiddle in a great modern 'pop' group, although trained in classical violin - fiddling seems to be a lot of fun for him.

Barbara gifted us with her latest book, "White Silk, Dark Chocolate, and a Little Bit of Magic." It was her birthday and she enjoys a generosity of spirit, good wine and great food.

Truly a little bit of magic in Boise is the Le Café de Paris!

Friday, December 17, 2010

BienVenue a Bordeaux

In Boise, we are very fortunate to have some marvelous wine friendly restaurants. One of my favorites is Cafe d'Paris. The restaurant owner, Mathieu Choux, is from a Burgundian Hotelier and Restaurant family. He started the Cafe with a bakery / Baguettes and pasteries. From there he added Petite Dejuniers - breakfast, brunch and lunches. Then he opened a night club downstairs and a dinner /wine room upstairs. He has been creating 'theme dinners' including gastronomic adventures from France. Last night we visited Bordeaux in four courses. Le Menu:
Tarte a la Moutarde - puff pastry tart with gruyere, tomato and mustard. As an appetizer, a fun way to kick-start your salivary glands into action and anticipation.
We were given a sample of 2007 Chateau d'Angludet - a Bordeaux Superior from the Margaux commune on the Left Bank of the Bordeaux Region. A vineyard rescued from the 19'th century family apathy by the English wine collecter Peter Sichel. Margaux are gentle, yet sturdy wines - 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot. Floral nose of violets and lilacs with a light dusty rose. Full bodied, chocolate and brioche, lasting elegance at 13% alcohol, balanced fruit and worthy of at least 10 more years of aging. We ordered a full bottle, knowing our friends, Jan and Barbara would appreciate this wine.
Salade Landaise au Foie Gras - Oh, the decadence of silky foie gras, countered by a sharp sherry vinaigrette doused spring mix with croutons and toasted pine nuts. [note to self - does "Landaise" mean Hollandaise without the egg?]
Main Course selection of two Entrees - So for a fun 'Steven Spurrier' comparison, we ordered a bottle of Idaho's Parma Ridge 2006 Reserve Merlot - which I knew Christian had selected to carry in the cafe wine menu. This may have been infanticide! - When I first tasted this wine from barrel, I told Dick Dickstein that I wanted a case - it was soooo good then and had enormous aging potential. Subsequently, it has garnered gold medals and been selected as a "People's Choice" Best Red Wine after bottle aging a while. Compared to the Bordeaux, it is a big fruit bomb - at 15.2 % alcohol and notable Idaho soil - dust in/on the nose with sage, mint and cedar. Delightful with food and a lingering sweetness with full mouth feel. We agreed each of these wines are great ambassadors of their origin of place and will benefit from longer aging. It would be quite educational to compare these each year for the next 10 years. Or a wine from the Right bank, a St. Emillion or Pomerol with more Merlot.
A Choice of Duck Breast with red wine sauce, gratin dauphinois - crisp baked potato cake, and haricot verte - green beans. Lovely ! or Lotte a la Bordelaise - pan roasted monkfish medallions with a tomato white wine sauce, wild rice and green beans. Bob and I ordered one of each and shared. The fish with red wine was a superb pairing, the duck even more so.
Dessert: Grand Marnier Yule Log with a candied orange slice, holly leaf and berry decor. And a great cup of coffee. We were more than satisfied - in body and soul.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

in the Beginning...everyone has a story

Being a certified GrapeNut and Journeyman in Wine, I have lots of little stories aka, Vignettes, about wine - collecting, making, tasting, judging, educating others, describing and personal benchmarks from years ago. It is said that your palate changes with age. Some, who start out drinking soda-pop wines might never evolve to drink and enjoy serious, big, tannic red wines. Their loss, my gain.

I started my rapture in Germany. My first taste of wine was communion wine in the Episcopal Church. Looking back, I can now say these were Oloroso Sherries, Madieras and Tawny Ports used to symbolize the blood of Christ. Easy sipping for a 12 year old - one sip was all that was allowed. I'll have to ask the altar/alter-boys if they ever drank more than the minister. He always emptied the Chalice at the end of each service. He needed it; he was such a dour cold fish. The Reverand Mr. Ludlow.
Back to my rapture in Germany. I was 21 in the summer of 1965. Finishing my senior year of Nurses' training at the Delaware Hospital School of Nursing in Wilmington, Delaware. I was class president and President of the Delaware State Student Nurses' Association. I attended the National Student Nurses' Association meeting in San Francisco as a delegate, the Red Cross Volunteer Nurses Convention in Washington, D.C. and the International Congress of Nursing in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
One of the side trips I took was a boat-ride on the Rhine River from Koln to Koblenz to Bingen. We passed the Lorelei and Rhine wine was presented to everyone. It was a revelation, an epiphany! Wine could be fresh and fruity, complex and intriguing. More to one never knows it all!