Friday, January 2, 2009

Friends, Food, Fizz

The Saturday before Christmas I got together with about 12 of my friends for Champagne tasting. We have made this event a holiday tradition and the only rule is you have to bring at least one bottle of Champagne (the real deal). Beyond that initial bottle you can drop in anything you want. I love throwing in a ringer to see if we know what we are doing. To make this a bit more interesting we go ahead and either bag or in this case we put foil around the outside of the bottles so we can blind taste the wines.
Normally getting together in Portland, Oregon for the holidays is no biggie, you just put on a rain coat and head out the door. The weekend of December 20th there happened to be 12" of fresh snow on the ground and Portland was in the midst of what news channels were calling: Arctic Deathwatch, or was it Artic Thunder or maybe even Artic Shock and Awe? Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but the weather was really crappy and a foot of snow in a 12 hour period anywhere will put a crimp in your day. I was glad I lived only about 6 blocks from our hosts Tom Harvey and Andria Shirk.
The house was gorgeous (complete with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree) and the food was amazing.

A Hickory smoked turkey, Portuguese pork roast, smoked salmon, sushi rolls that my friend Heather (from Gild the Voodoolily), spiced pecans, cheese puffs stuffed with olives, assorted cheeses, a charcuterie tray and a cheesecake and chocolates at the end of the night.

We tasted through 11 wines and you if you are interested you can take a look at my notes (above). In general this group of wines showed the more acidic and citrus side Champagne and sparking wine. The wine of the night was the Tattenger-earthy, yeasty and great balance. The suprise of the night was a bottle of NV Domaine Meriweather that I brought. This Oregon wine showed a lemony citrus edge with a bit of earthy character and at $15/bottle this wine rocks. Oregon is producing some great sparkling wines and if you are looking for a good domestic wine that is a little exotic check out Domaine Meriweather or Argyle.

The ringer of the night was a 1996 Dom Perignon. My friend Gretchen threw this into the mix. This wine divided the group right down the middle. Some thought it to be "a bit off" and others said it had classic earthy/yeasty components and it needed a little time to breath....too bad we finished this off in about 20 minutes.


Heather said...

Ha! Arctic Deathwatch is pretty much it, but Shock and Awe is also a contender.

Gretchen is such a hottie.

Ooh, my captcha is "substrat". It sounds like a line of bagged potting soil from Ikea.

Brittany said...

One of about a million reasons why I wish I lived in Portland.

Can't seem to tear myself away from Seattle. I think at least a vacay down south is in order.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Can I come next year? I'll stay with Heather. And bring some grape!

Foodycat said...

I love the sound of that turkey! What a great event.

Norm Schoen said...

Heather-I needed to pack on some extra lbs. for the winter

Brittany-You need to make a trek to PDX for a foodie weekend!

Catherine-You are welcome any time ; )

Foodcat-I wish I had a shot of the Turkey before I carved it....too much Champagne!