It`s always great to share Thanksgiving with family and in the case of this recent one, extended family. We were invited to spend the day [and the night] at one of my best friend`s ranch.
We joined some other good friends and new friends for a day of thankfulness and celebrated in style. Our host is not only a world class winemaker, but a world class chef. He prepared all but a couple of dishes including all of the traditional ones in his world class kitchen using mostly organically grown ranch property herbs and produce.
This kitchen has been graced by some of the best chefs in the world including, but not limited to local stars, Frank Ostini, Michael Hutchings, James Sly and Chef Rick Manson as well as Emerald Lagasse, Charlie Trotter, Michael Mina, Roy Yamaguchi and Bobby Flay.
The views from the ranch overlooking the valley below were uber spectacular on this crisp, clear, brilliant blue bird day. These views along with the classy ranch house ambience and positive energy from all of the people there, contributed to the completeness of a day filled with compassion, love, joy and gratitude.
Three of us contributed to many wines enjoyed throughout the day and evening. To prepare us and our palates for our feast, we started off with a magnum of:
NV BILLECART-SALMON BRUT ROSE- 1.5L; this was a good bottle of the bubbly much adored previously by some of the folks here; it had the requisite really pleasant red fruit treats of strawberry, raspberry and red cherry aided by a slight hit of spice; as usual, it is beautifully balanced with medium weight and a long fruity finish complete the deal.
We plated our own food from the buffet style set up and paired up with a flight of 4 white Burgundys that were all very extraordinary:
1998 DOMAINE MICHEL LAFARGE MEURSAULT- showing light yellow color, this had a taste profile to match in that it was on the mild, light side albeit to a graceful and elegant extent; it was so easy on the palate and had wonderful kiwi lime notes to satisfy; this is a feminine side of white Burg that I`ve come to love and appreciate; I look forward to another date.
1998 MAISON LEROY MORGEOT CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET 1ER CRU- this was fantastic; it had perfect balance along with bright acidity and a smooth lush mouthfeel carrying fresh apple lemon notes to the back end with charm and elegance; it was just so consistently delightful from the nose through the tail with the hallmarks of elegance and sophistication highlighting the experience.
2004 DOMAINE RAMONET CLOS de la BOUDRIOTTE CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET 1ER CRU- this fabulous wine displayed wonderful balance along with mild but definitive flavors of spicy mineral infused citrus flavors with especially lemon notes coming in late; it was clean and refreshing and had that perfect blend of perfume, taste, mouthfeel and lasting energy; the best of the 3 whites so far and they are all really good.
2005 DOMAINE des COMTES LAFON MEURSAULT- GOUTTES d`OR 1ER CRU- we may have just had an even a better white Burg with this one showing so exceptionally well; the hallmark in this case is the creamy rich texture containing freshly buttered light toasted green apple and pear as well as nice citrus fruit; again, it`s a nicely balanced wine with some depth and complexity along with youthful exuberance; this is a bigger expression than the more elegant ones previously tasted, all winners.
To coincide with the transition on our plate where we are moving through the vegetables, potatoes and dressing into the white and dark meat of the 22 lb. bird, we had 4 magnums of fine red wines to enjoy:
1997 FATTORIA di FELSINA RANCIA BERARDENGA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA- 1.5L; 100% Sangiovese; nice, fruity dried cranberry, blackberry, cherry and berry notes abound with a touch of chocolate; by mid palate, the astringency takes over and is more prominent in finishing off the wine.
1998 DOAMINE du PEGAU CUVEE RESERVEE CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE- 1.5L; this bottle of a red Rhone blend had a bit too much Brett for me that overwhelmed the somewhat sweet black fruit character which had a tinge of leather, spice and smoke peaking through.
1999 PODERI ALDO CONTERNO BAROLO RISERVA GRANBUSSIA- I got a lot of weird notes out of this bottle from the aromatics on; I have to think it is definitely a bottle variation knowing the credibility of this producer; there is some decent fruitiness with licorice infused black cherry and black currant, but it is joined by a wild dry kind of funky odor and taste; after time I went back and still got more of the same and moved on.
2000 DOMAINE de la JANASSE CHATEAUNEUF du PAPE VIELLES VIGNES- this had some exotic notes of smoky, briary chocolate covered blackberry and blueberry that prevailed from the nose on; it had enough character to please and I enjoyed a second visit; it was mentioned, but not labeled, that it was made from Syrah, Mouvedre and Grenache.
With the triple dessert courses including white birthday cake, pecan pie and fresh pumpkin cheese cake, we had a fine Riesling:
2004 DONNHOFF OBERHAUSER BRUCKE SPATLESE RIESLING- this mildly sweet wine had plenty of nice grapefruit and orange fruitiness that was joined by a slight touch of flint and minerality; it had a pleasing oily texture and good length.
There were many other wines on the counter from previous events and I sampled a few which included:
2000 ICI/LAS BAS LES REVELES MONTINORE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR- really tasty cranberry and red cherry flavors abound in this fruit forward wondrous Pinot; it`s long and rich and full bodied and at the same time offers some elegance.
2010 BARHAM MENDELSOHN SONOMA COUNTY RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY ESTATE CUVEE PINOT NOIR- ripe, fresh red fruit jump out of the glass and keep going; it delicious and just in an infancy stage, but demonstrates a backbone that can hold this up for many years to come during its evolution; nice Pinot and one to revisit in 4-5 years.
I`ve long held the thought that every day should be Thanksgiving and the last Thursday in November is the one day we go up another level of gratitude. I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for including times like this one.
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