Thursday, January 20, 2011

A winter wine dinner

[All photos courtesy of Meg Kassabaum. Thank you Meg!]

Last month, just to make sure everybody was properly warmed up for the holidays, we put together a full-on bring-your-A-game wine dinner. 5 courses, 5 wines, all original recipes. And I believe we can safely say it was a success...

We fed 14 people that evening, more than we have in the past, but it went off without a hitch (well, with a couple minor hitches, but none that guests ever had to know about...).

We started off with a number of small finger foods for people to snack on while everybody arrived and settled in.

There were farmer's market radishes with salt and butter.

There were boquerones (marinated Spanish white anchovies) and marinated mushrooms.

There was smoked salmon.

And there was Galician canned pulpo.

All of this with plenty of Cava AvinyĆ³.

Off to a good start, we sat down to a spicy roasted tomato soup with garlicky NC shrimp (from our friends at Core Sound Seafood).

For wine, we drank Do Ferreiro's Rebisaca, always a winner with shellfish.

Up next, fresh whole wheat homemade paste made by Lindsey. It's topped with blanched strips of locally-grown Tuscan kale, and Turkish-spiced ground lamb.

Here we moved onto to reds, in this case the fresh, vibrant, yet powerful Garnatxa 2009 from Joan d'Anguera.

Then, it was time for some medallions of roasted pork tenderloin along with garlic brussel sprouts. The sauce is made from cashew cream, (dairy) cream, ancho chilies, and oloroso sherry to produce a deep, rich flavor.

Which of course required a deeper, richer, wine, one which could also handle some spices. For this we turned to an older Rioja, the 2005 Monje Amestoy from Luberri. I'm happy to report the wine was up to the task.

The oloroso sherry in this sauce with the pork provided the transition into our final course, which was paired with the Sangre y Trabajadero oloroso from Gutierrez Colosia.

On the plate were dried dates stuffed with a blue goat cheese, then wrapped in bacon and broiled until crispy. They sat atop a bed of spinach topped with a light and simple balsamic vinaigrette.

People had different opinions about which was their favorite dish of the evening, and which was their favorite wine, but it was pretty much unanimously agreed that this was the killer pairing.

We are already scheming about the next one....

Until then, cheers!