Tuesday, May 3

Winos and Foodies

sorry about the hiatus...bad Chris, very bad Chris...

It all started with a bottle of wine, and then another...

An elite group held a meeting on Saturday evening. The very first occurrence of our wine supper club. We didn't even realize we were forming an exclusive club until the first interloper broke in. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Three of us were considering going to a 4 course wine dinner at Virginia Tech last weekend. But then we realized it was my nephew Jacob's birthday and we couldn't possibly miss his party! You only turn 6 once! So we decided that we could certainly create a 4 course wine dinner on our own. Each of us would take a course -appetizer, entrée, cheese course and dessert. We decided on a region - The Mediterranean. And we reported to each other what our planned dishes were. At least twice we switched courses. And a proposed 5th course - a soup or salad course was added. Then unassigned (my fault) and then changed. Personally I changed my mind about the entrée 4 or 5 times.

The results were absolutely fantastic. Dinner was held down at the river house (which is actually named Riva Howse - Howse, Howell - get it?) and the setting was beautiful. Carl had just spent the day pressure washing the docks, furniture...pretty much anything that had a surface. And the place just shone in the setting sun. The weather was crisp - but not too chilly.

We started with Belva's wonderful Bruschetta - bread with whole garlic cloves toasted and olive tapenade. And a Sauvignon Blanc. Then I had made (in place of the soup course...that I forgot) Spanakopita - which are phyllo with spinach and cheese. I tried to make a butter and sherry sauce - but I got distracted by a last minute visit by a neighbor - and the sauce broke. Sigh. But hell, I served it anyway - it tasted good...just looked like hell.

Then we opened a bottle of wine from Floyd, Virginia - Villa Appalachia's Toscanello. It is an Italian style red wine, chianti-like. Cab Franc, Sangiovese and Primitivo grapes. And it paired beautifully with the main dish that I had made: Shrimp and Scallop Puttanesca with cheese
Tortellini. Puttanesca - literally in Italian "whore's style". It's a rustic sauce with crushed (not pureed) tomatoes, olives, garlic... And I did good. And I think that is what I will serve for Mother's Day lunch to the church ladies at the beach this weekend: Pasta of the Whores.

We moved on to the cheese course with a second bottle of red - this one a Cabernet Franc from Delfosse vineyard in Virginia. And then I discovered, as we were transitioning from Carl's cheese course to Melva's incredible dessert - I flippin' froze the dessert wine!! What? It wasn't frozen completely and we passed it around the table and warmed it back to a liquid state and still enjoyed it with homemade Baklava!! Melva actually buttered individual layers of phyllo and ground her own almonds and walnuts and it was freakin' awesome.

That brings us to the 5th bottle of wine. And the interloper. Not knowing that this was a highly planned and fairly well structured dinner - my sweet and lovely sister Denise...well, she requested an invitation... We agreed that she could join us and so she brought along a bottle of wine. It had a frog on the bottle. It was a cute frog - lousy wine.

Do all wines with animals on the bottle suck? That may be a good research hypothesis. We shall continue to invite along one bottle of wine with an animal on the bottle at each wine dinner. And we will report the results.

And I think we'll continue to invite more interlopers. The first one worked out well.

Wonder if I can find a wine with a hamster on the bottle...

A Quest!!!

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