Grilled lamb in good company!

Great dinner last weekend at Chris & Molly's (our dear friends) - Chris is a master griller and he impressed once again with his lamb chops! (pun intended). Serious winos in attendance contributed a tasty array of wines. While most of the wines delivered, the consensus seemed to be that the 1996 Clape Cornas stole the show with the lamb. I especially liked the 2002 Beaune-Greves 1er Cru burgundy from Michel Lafarge, even though it was perhaps a bit too bright and delicate for the lamb, but so satisfying, complex and charming like only an aged burgundy can!

Here are the wines and dishes to salivate over:

Champagne starter.

Fascinating wine - a 1987 Corton-Charlemange white burgundy from Mommessin, the producer of the famous Clos de Tart grand cru - who knew he had a white grand cru! Silky texture, copper tones (color and palate), unfortunately over the hill, with oxidized notes. Still a rare treat.

The '97 Brunello Poggio Alle Mura from Castello Banfi was in good shape. On its own, it would have been attention grabber. Nicely mature, it seemed it should continue to drink well for at least a few more years.

Oh the mouthwatering, perfectly medium-rare, herb-crusted lamb - probably the best, tender-most grilled lamb I had ever had - what a treat! The Ottolenghi rack of lamb recipe can be found here. The exquisite quality fresh Napa lamb came from Draeger's Market in Menlo Park.

Sides to go with the lamb. The ham and gruyere cheese seeded brioche from Manresa Bread Project was a special treat.

This 1996 Cornas from Clape was the crowd favorite - a wine with tons of character and complexity. Brown sugar / tree bark and porridge notes, iron, savory meat, olives, exotic (green) peppercorns, relatively lean, briny acidity went well with the lamb. Tasted prior to the lamb, it seemed quite austere. But with the lamb, it sang!

Pavillon Rouge 2000 Bordeaux - a very good second wine from Chateau Margaux. This would make a great dinner all on its own!

2008 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili. Young but already elegant, red fruited, near silky, great acidity, with great potential. I really like the 2008's and this Giacosa Barbaresco was a knock-out. Similar to Lafarge though, perhaps too light and elegant of a match for the lamb, but a great great treat!

And here we go - 2002 Beaune-Greves 1er Cru was like coming home - this wine made me smile and relax - Burgundy - there is just nothing like it! Elegant red berries, perfectly mature, great acidity, silky and charming. From the master of Cote de Beaune - Michel Lafarge.

Dehlinger has got to be one of the most satisfying new world producers of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Maybe it's because it's one with the most old-world sensibilities in their wines. Russian River Valley based, they make wines that taste real, unforced, from the land. Claret is the second wine of their Cabernet Sauvignon, made in a slightly lighter style than their top Cab. No fancy facade, just vivid wine with good acidity, inky, sleek, with earthy elements. It is perhaps because of their absence of flamboyance or flash, that they don't seem to get very high critics' scores, but the wines are highly respected among wine geeks, and I highly recommend them if you can find them. At 14 years of age, this claret was dense and very youthful.

Both the 2006 Raveneau Chablis Monts Mains and the 2006 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc were in great shape!  The Raveneau was quite substantial for a Chablis. The Beaucastel blanc was weighy and dense, with notes of honey and hazelnuts.

Top sparkling rosé from Italy - Ca'del Bosco Franciacorta 2004 "Annamaria Clementi". 100% Pinot Nero (Noir). Very serious wine - hints of citrus, raspberries and grass. Definitely a worthy Italian answer to Champagne. Great way to cleanse the palate at the end of the meal.

Great dinner!


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