Happy New Year 2011
As 2010 quickly came to an end, we gathered together a few friends and made a plan how to celebrate the New Year’s Eve. So we started with a home cooked dinner, by yours truly, matched by three wines, some of them tried for the first time, and continued with a little bit of clubbing afterward. That little bit of clubbing turned out to finish much later and certainly more entertaining than initially planned. All for a very good start of the year.
The home cooked dinner consisted in some cold appetizers to go with the Bollinger Special Cuvee Champagne: smoked salmon, goat cheese with cumin on top (these two go so well together – I have to give credit for this to our hosts: Crina and Catalin as they prepared the appetizers), some more types of cheese, filled eggs and red spawn. They all went very well with the Bollinger.
The next dish served with the new 2009 Theia Limited Edition Chardonnay from Cramele Halewood/Halewood wineries was dish I started to like a lot lately: rare tuna steak with asparagus and mashed sweet peas on top. The sweet mashed peas are such a good match for the tuna. The pairing with the wine was not the perfect one, but it was good nevertheless. I tend to serve my tuna very rare and the same thing was shared by the men at the table as well. The ladies preferred it well done. I believe that not serving it rare you get to lose a lot of the nice texture and the taste of the tuna. Nevertheless it is a matter of personal taste. The tuna was bought from Metro Baneasa and I asked for 2.5 – 3 cm thick tuna steaks just to make sure the fish has enough rare meat after grilling.
The final course of the meal was a rare beef steak with asparagus. I found a very good source of high quality beef steaks in Piata Crangasi/Crangasi market, but unfortunately many restaurants did as well and now all the beef is bought directly by these restaurants without any chance for the retail consumers to even see it on the shelves. Good quality Romanian beef is a rare commodity these days.
The wine for this dish was a 2007 entry level wine from La Peira. I already wrote a review of the 2006 Las Flors from La Peira which is a great wine. The 2007 Les Obriers de la Peira went fairly well with the beef as the firm tannins cut nicely through the juicy meat and the buttered asparagus.
Not much time left for dessert as the time was quickly approaching midnight and plus, after such rich three courses meal, there was not much more room left for more food. We just sipped the final glasses of Champagne left and headed towards the Gaia club.
The place was really packed with people but we had a blast night and we ended up going home after 5:00 am, spending a very entertaining evening. Spending quality time, sharing a tasty dinner with friends and a night in a club with good music and nice atmosphere were the ingredients of a great start of a new year for me. I hope your 2011 will be as fun as my New Year’s Eve party.
Here are the tasting notes for the three wines we had with dinner.
Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvee
The wine has a clear yellow gold color with plenty of small bubbles. The nose shows yeast, brioche, some butter, a nice minerality with tar lemon and green apple. In the mouth the wine feels medium plus body, round, crispy, with nice texture that fills the mid palate completely with mineral flavors, lime, apple and a great lifting acidity. It has a classy mouth feel with a fresh medium plus finish. Excellent sparkling wine and great quality for the price. Bollinger is among the very few sparkling wine producers that use oak in the making process and this gives greater complexity to their wines.
2009 Theia Limited Edition Chardonnay
This is a new white wine released recently by Cramele Halewood. The wine is barrel fermented and maturated in American oak. The wine has a deeper gold yellow color than the Bollinger. The nose is tight and very few aromas come out of the glass: butter, nice discreet notes of oak and hints of yellow flowers. In the mouth the wine is off dry, the residual sugar makes it full bodied, with a pleasant round texture, flavors of pear, yellow flowers, acacia and oak build up a nice and interesting Chardonnay. The finish is medium with a fruity aftertaste. A balanced and a Very good wine.
2007 Les Obriers de la Peira, Terrasses du Larzac – Coteaux du Languedoc
This is a blend of Carignan and Cinsault with 14.5% alcohol and it is the entry level wine of La Peira winery. The wine has a deep dark red color. The nose is fresh, with hints of oak, dark cherry, a little bit of green pepper and cranberries. In the mouth the wine is medium plus body, with smooth texture, not very complex but with pure dark fruits flavors, slight hint of minerality and a medium acidity. There is a touch of heat as the alcohol is not completely balanced in the wine. The finish is medium with firm tannins and paired well with the rare beef we had. A Good wine but without any particular complexity. Probably not buying more of this in the future.
There is no shadow of doubt that the Wine of the Night was the first wine – the Bollinger Special Cuvee.
I’ll take this opportunity and wish you a very prosperous 2011 full of satisfactions, good health and plenty of excellent wines.
Thanks for reading!