Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rosé Wines, Cheese Galore and Tasty Treats c/o McCrossen's

In mid-May, just a little while back, I joined up with LW, CP, CY and C for another round of McCrossen's special wine and cheese pairing event (with food). This time out, the wine focus was European rosé wines. We started with a welcome sparkling version from Spain, the Cava Brut Rosé c/o Conde de Subirats. Here you can see LW enjoying it. It was bubbly, and a nice rich raspberry color. 
Next up was another Spanish wine, the Txakolina Rosé "Rubentis." At first sip this wine had a bit of a bite to it, which was slightly surprising, given its relatively mellow color (surprising only as far as aesthetics...many a white wine can have a bite and be as pale as can be). A little back-jaw clench. Though that clenching effect was softened once you alternated your sips with the Robiolo Bosina cheese. I enjoyed how the two complemented each other.
Boquerones were once again on the menu, which was all right by me. This time they were larger fillets compared to the previous event, and served on toast instead of a croquette. The menu says it was served with fava beans and basil pesto, but I don't really recall the beans. LW, however, does...so it happened. I  enjoyed the julienned radishes as a finishing touch. And I think there was perhaps a little paprika action going on as well? 
The next wine came from Austria. The Blaufrankish Rosé, Tinhof. Honestly I don't remember much about it. On the other hand, the Blue Ledge Farm's Lake's Edge goat cheese did linger in my mind. Similar in some ways to a Humboldt fog, but more whipped in texture...almost like a heavy mousse. It was delightful and more complex than many a mass market goat's cheese.
The food pairing for this course was a broiled Blue Point oyster with garlic dill butter. I expected something more 'Rockefeller' in appearance, and was surprised by the delicate nature of the oyster. Broiled might not be the best descriptor, even if it is the technique used. It was more like a poached oyster still in the shell, bathed liberally in a mix of the oyster's natural liquor and the garlicky, dill butter. The best of both worlds in a way, the oyster retained much of its brine and texture, but the difference in temperature made for an overall experience unlike that one might typically have slurping an oyster from its shell.
The next cheese was quite a bit divisive at the table. Its rind, especially, had a certain piquant quality to it. I picked up tobacco/smoked notes to it. It was the Jasper Hill Farms Winnimere, and it was paired with a French Ventoux Rosé "In Fine," Raphael Trouiller. The wine softened some of the smokiness of the cheese, but I don't think anyone was clambering to get themselves to a cheese monger and pick up a wedge.
The food portion of this meal was Rabbit Pot au Feu with tarragon and breadcrumbs. The gravy/sauce that this dish included was thick and salty and rich. Three good things.
The next cheese  was a Bleu de Basque (from France, of course) and was paired with yet another Spanish wine: Tempranillo Rosado "Monte Castrillo." Good stuff.
The last course was Roasted Hudson valley Duck Breast with stone fruit, foie gras and Saba. This was fantastic. The duck was still a little pink. The fruit and foie nice contrasting textures and tastes to the heartiness of the fowl.
We were all in good moods upon the concluding wine, a Rosé d'Anjou, Monmousseau. LW, CP and I stayed a bit afterwards, enjoying a little more wine and a few rounds of darts.
CP actually got her first out shot. I took a photograph, but it didn't do any of the people in it justice.

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