Monday, August 16, 2010

Dinner Club at Chez Chasbob

This has definitely been our most consistent year for the Dinner Club. Scheduling with four busy couples can be such a b*tch. There have been times where we've been lucky to fit in two dinners during the course of a year. However, here we are in August and, with Boo and I hosting, each couple will have hosted a dinner in 2010. I love it - not only because of the superb meals that are always prepared - but each dinner is always a a bonanza of wines to add to The List.

For the last so many years, Boo's and my turn to host our dinners has generally fallen around Thanksgiving or December. I'm not sure when we last had summer weather to warm up to. The Lady Di and She Who Must Be Obeyed have magnificently gathered the multitudes a couple of times al fresco on their lush common area and I wanted to try and take advantage of our garden since the opportunity was presenting itself. Moving the dining room table into the back yard was a bit of a task but I think it worked wonderfully.

Themes come and go with the Dinner Club and we decided not to restrict our menu at all. Taking advantage of the outdoor setting, we looked for inspiration from our upcoming trip to South America and to dishes that would match up with outdoor dining. As a tip of the cap to Peru, we served up Pisco Sours for a cocktail rather than a wine. Darn. That's one bottle that I can't add to The List.

562. 2006 8th Generation Riesling (Okanagan Valley)

Pisco's in the late afternoon sun don't last long though, so we quickly went to our first wine - another lovely garden sipper. 8th Generation's Riesling is quickly turning into a "go to" wine for me. Consistently bright, I find it has just the right combination of fruit, acidity and a touch of residual sugar that I like.

2007 Artisan Wine Company Rigamarole White (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Another summer sipper, this "off-shoot" from Mission Hill already made The List last year at Art For Life (#259) - likely because it's an easy drinking, well-made wine at a decent price. As such, it likely sees lots of receptions. A blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and "other Germanic varieties," it's an easy match for the crab and arugula bread pudding.

The fact that it's on The List already makes me think I should require all future guests to check the blog before they bring a wine to our house though. Gotta keep those numbers rising.

563. 2008 Bodega Vistalba Tomero Malbec Rose (Mendoza - Argentina)

It ain't exactly deconstructed - since a salade nicoise wouldn't normally be all mixed up - however, I think it's fair to baptise our second course as rather minimalist. Instead of serving up the nicoise as a full, light dinner, I've wanted to prepare one more as a light appetizer with only a bite or two of each component. I also needed a vehicle to show off the purple potatoes that Boo and I grew this year and the first of our tomatoes.

A salade nicoise screams for great Rose and I pulled out one of the bottles I picked up at lasat Spring's Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival. One of the feature regions was Argentina and Vistalba or Tomero was a producer that I hadn't run across before. They definitely tweaked my palate at the Festival and we're planning on finding a way to visit the winery when we hit Argentina.

564. 1996 Remirez de Ganuza Old Vines Reserva (DOCa Rioja - Spain)

565. 2004 Cellar del Pont Lo Givot (DOCa Priorat - Spain)

As always, The Tyrant delivered with a couple beauties from his cellar. No one else I know was buying Spanish wines back when a '96 vintage would have been available. Ahead of his time and full of surprises, Tyrant's Rioja and Priorat matched up superbly with our take on an asado grill - with beef, lamb and pork belly hitting the grill.

I had never heard of the Remirez de Ganuza before but it is apparently one of the star wines coming out of Rioja (and, therefore, one of the stars of all Spain). It's stature is such that internet wine guru, Gary Vaynerchuk, talked about the 2001 vintage in one of his earliest webcasts and announced it as one of his favourite wines. Almost fully Tempranillo (with some Graciano and a touch of Garnarcha), this was my favourite wine of the night.

The Lo Givot was new to me as well. A blend of Garnaxta (Grenache) (33%), Carinyena (Carignan) (32%), Cab Sauv (25%) and Syrah (10%), it would be nice to have more time to dwell on this wine as well, but suffice it to say that Tyrant remains welcome to bring wine to our home any time he so chooses!

567. 2006 Bodegas y Vinedos de Murcia - Mad Dogs & Englishmen (DO Jumilla - Spain)

Another Spanish blend, this wine takes a different - perhaps a little more modern - approach to production. Whereas the last two Spanish wines are more traditional and aimed at the higher end of the spectrum, this wine is more a creature of the new marketing world of wine. Spanish wine, as it comes of age, in a post-[yellow tail] world.

Its component varietals are Monastrell (Mourvedre) (60%), Cab Sauv (30%) and Syrah (10%); however, it definitely looks more for the big fruit and soft tannins. An interesting contrast to the other Spanish wines - and I daresay many folks would prefer it to the higher end wines due to its approachability.

NV Seppelt Rutherglen Tokay DP37 (Rutherglen - Australia)

We opened one last bottle to go with Boo's peach pie, but we neglected to take a picture of either the pie or the wine. After all our food and wine, taking photos is hardly a priority - blog post pending or not. Turns out that no picture may have just been a bit of unbeknownst foresight because it turns out that we've already added this bottle to The List some time ago as well (#108).

That's two bottles in one night that were simply there for enjoyment. What's the world coming to? I don't think any of the guests minded though. For me, it just tacks another day or two on to my time on this Odyssey.

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