This year there will be no Duck Taco Night, because we are not going to be home the night before Thanksgiving. (Our alarm system will be on, however. ;-) It covers the basement where the wine is, FYI.) That and missing out on the Snooth NYC dinner made me want to cook my own ducks and invite my favorite couples over for a night of Pinot and conversation. We're political junkies, too, so there was an election to discuss. I've been called "officious" by one of our friends for my wine tasting protocols, but everyone soldiered up and brought a bottle of Pinot, and I provided two. This all went off last night, November 11. Hurrah for the three day weekend. (We're all employed in ways that gave us today off if we chose. We chose.)
I'm sure GregT is heartbroken that he missed out.
We started out by drinking them bagged. My older child put stickers with number on the bags after I bagged and opened the wine. Everyone had 4 pinot specific glasses. Here's a photo of the line-up (plus the "back up" bottle of Sean Minor that our friends brought that I didn't think we'd need--it's maybe 1/3 full now):
That's, L-R, the 2009 Sean Minor Carneros, 2005 Vincent Girardin Vosne-Romanee, 2009 Roar Garys' Vineyard, 2009 Talley Arroyo Grande Valley, and 2010 Peter Paul Gravenstein Highway RRV. (Wow, a different appellation for each of the Cal wines!) Only the Sean Minor was left out of the blind tasting.
We opened them in the kitchen and continued to drink them with dinner, making the table pretty crowded. I had planned to plate the dinners in the kitchen anyway, and the kids had their own table, so that worked out fine.
Dinner was two Ginger Garlic ducks with Montmorency sauce, a recipe from Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible, pureed parsnips, scarlet runner beans with rabbit/duck sausage, and apple streusel for dessert. (My friends described the beans as "deconstructed cassoulet," which is exactly what I was looking for, a duck-centric version.) I hadn't even heard of Raichlen until earlier this year when I sat next to him at a restaurant and struck up a conversation, but I've had lots of success with his recipes since then. The only thing I would do differently next time is shorten the cooking time a little to keep the duck a little rarer, but I heard no complaints. Cooking duck on the grill is great, because it's so fatty it makes a mess and smells really strongly if you cook it inside.
Definitely the Talley and the Peter Paul were the sweetest tasting, verging on that cherry cola flavor that some criticize in Cali Pinot. The Girardin was immediately obvious to me as a Burg, tasting a lot like the oak it was stored in. It was also unexpectedly hot with alcohol. It was okay but still hasn't convinced me that Burgundy is the end all and be all. My wife liked it quite well, although she also spotted it for a Burgundy right off the bat.
The Roar is a high wire act. It's a big, rich Pinot, which doesn't always sit well with me. It was a bit hot on opening, and a little prune-y. That blew off, but it's almost a signature of this larger-than-life wine. It developed really nicely, and was my WOTN. Probably would have taken half the votes if we had put it to a vote. I also spotted it right off the bat while still bagged--not surprising, since I have had it before and drink more Roar than pretty much any other single pinot, certainly more than any pinot at that price.
Over the night, the Talley developed a richer nose and deeper flavors. I liked the Peter Paul--there wasn't a bad bottle in this lot--but it was simpler. Still, I was reaching for it again and again, just like the others.
Bring a Pinot Night
- Reply by EMark, Nov 12, 2012.
Fun night, Fox.
I love dinners where the wines are served blind. Typically, most players try to bring very good samples. So, as you indicated there is usually not a bad bottle on the table. The other thing I enjoy is how your perception of a wine changes over the course of the evening--my favorite on the first taste is rarely stays my favorite as the wines aerate, and as I have more tastes from the various courses to compare and contrast with each of the wines.
- Reply by GregT, Nov 12, 2012.
Fox - why would you make your friends drink Pinot Noir?
You might want to read this book before your next dinner.
Just a suggestion of course. BTW, it comes with 2 day shipping, so you can get it right away.
- Reply by JonDerry, Nov 12, 2012.
Good stuff...just one burg, but at least it was well spotted ; )
- Reply by napagirl68, Nov 12, 2012.
Hey Foxall, I would be happy to house sit for you! Um, where were those Huets again? Hmmmm
- Reply by outthere, Nov 12, 2012.
No Duck Taco Night eh? OK I see how it is ;)In light of that I decided to pop a wine in your honor tonight Fox. Though not a Pinot I know it will make a small impression. Even more so if it turns out to drink nicely. Notice the sediment, yum! Well, here goes nothin'...
- Reply by Richard Foxall, Nov 12, 2012.
GregT, when you talked about "pushaways" being the best exercise, I had to ask my father if he had any illegitimate children from Michigan. He assured me he did not, but after this Dale Carnegie business, I will have to subject him to "enhanced interrogation." I.e., under the influence of Pinot Noir. But I'll take your advice
OT, there will be a duck taco night next year, guaranteed. As I type this, my wife is rendering the duck carcass for stock after making duck chow mein for dinner. But thanks for opening the Syrah in my honor. That's really from the golden age of Jade Mountain, IMO. They were a little too under the radar, I think, but made really good wines, which I only discovered as they started selling at a serious discount--I think that was around 2006. The 2004s are already throwing a lot of sediment so that's going to need a careful decant. Given that the '04s seemed to need a little time even this last year, I bet that turned out to be quite good.
NG, I've got a guard who will be watching over the Huet. Here's a video of him in action. As long as I have a few crickets around, he's loyal and pretty ferocious. Anyway, hands off my Huet if you want an invite for next year's DT night, when that Vouvray will be juuuuust entering its drinking window.
- Reply by napagirl68, Nov 13, 2012.
Foxall- You've got GregT watching your wine???? Really?? I think I could convince him to let me part with a few Huets ;-)
Seriously, that video is GREAT!
- Reply by shsim, Nov 14, 2012.
Hahah yea seriously just feed him some crickets! I doubt you can escape from his huge eyes though. ;)