I’ve now had a chance to sort through some of the photos from the Alana’s / UE dinner, and it’s been great to re-live it all over again!
Alana’s truffled duck egg salad on brioche (photo courtesy Columbus Foodie).
Muscat scented petit risotto with Toad Hill spinach and Integrated Acre Farms goat cheese (photo courtesy Columbus Foodie).
Terres de Solence, Côtes du Ventoux, “Les Trois Pères” 2004; Domaine des Terres Falmet, Saint-Chinian “L’Ivresse des Cîmes” 2004; and Domaine Roche-Audran, Côtes du Rhône Villages – Visan “Le Père Mayeux” 2004, all from United Estates.
I’m really not sure where to begin. It was a truly delightful dinner: Alana really outdid herself with four different passed hors d’oeuvres (andouille cider vinaigrette with gouda and cabbage shoots; fava bean skordillia with mizuna shoots; the truffled duck egg salad on brioche; and baby quesadillas with oakevale jack and mango salsa), the risotto, the rabbit, the mushroom-and-ramp dish, Blues Creek lamb in the style of Bolognese “with love and spaghetti,” and pear panna cotta with Jeni’s pear riesling sorbet — all told, one course more than the diners had been promised on the invitation. None of it was anything like ordinary; the rabbit, the mushrooms and ramps, and the truffled duck egg salad were particularly breathtaking, and the skordillia and lamb Bolognese were superb. Becke, the Columbus Foodie, was there as well and prepared a much more detailed writeup of the meal, complete with a comprehensive array of photos; click here to read through it.
For their part, Pat and Connie came prepared. They were prepared not just with wine —
- Château Virgile, Costières de Nîmes, Blanc 2006
- Domaine de Barroubio, VDP d’Oc, Muscat Sec 2006
- Terres de Solence, Côtes du Ventoux, “Les Trois Pères” 2004
- Domaine des Terres Falmet, Saint-Chinian “L’Ivresse des Cîmes” 2004
- Domaine Roche-Audran, Côtes du Rhône Villages – Visan “Le Père Mayeux” 2004
- Domaine de Barroubio, Muscat de Saint-Jean de Minervois 2005
— but with a laptop and a projector and a detailed presentation about the producers, the regions, the vineyards, and the terroir that gave birth to the wines that we were drinking. Easily my favorite was the Terres de Solence, which I thought had a really impressive richness and depth, though many of my fellow diners preferred the Domaine Roche-Audran, and my neighbors were more impressed with the Muscat that we had with (as) dessert. I’ve also been a fan of the light, complex, minerally Château Virgile for a while. It’s also worth noting that the Muscat Sec (#2) and the Muscat are made from the same grape by the same vintner, but that the Muscat Sec is a relatively unusual dry Muscat — the bouquet makes you think it’ll be a sweet wine, but it isn’t, and as Pat and Connie pointed out, its unusual flavor profile allows it to stand up to a variety of foods (asparagus, e.g.) that have a way of ruining other wines. Finally, I can’t overstate the value of these wines: if memory serves, not one was selling for more than $20 a bottle.
The best part, though, was the people. I wasn’t lacking for conversation for a moment, and I had a chance to get to know quite a few people. It’s really remarkable how a shared passion for great food and wine can bring everyone together.
It was an unforgettable evening. Thanks to everyone who made it happen and to everyone who came out to take part.