OTBN – December 2009


After rescuing my OTBN choice and its pairings from the confines of my trunk (it’s showing signs of December in New England), I strode purposefully towards Rodney’s house. That is, until I realized I had no clue what number he is. I knew the general location and as I neared where I thought he lived I saw a placque announcing the names of the family I have often heard Rodney mention. And then she found me; Anjou to the rescue. Gleefully announcing my arrival (or maybe protectively barking to announce a stranger approaching) Anjou made it clear: Rodney’s a perfect 10.

The rest of us arrived one by one and soon we were ready to pop the cork. Mine was first in the lineup.

As you might have guessed by the “pop”, it was a sparkling wine. Guesses were flying but this one came with a twist. It was a sparkling wine made from “hand-picked” Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes with a “dosage” of Vidal Icewine which is added when the lees are degorged. Made by Peller Estates, Okanagan Valley, it was the Ice Cuvee VQA Niagara Peninsula. I paired it with some canapes from Trader Joe’s that happened to be made in Canada as well as as their sweet and spicy pecans.

Glenn was next. In his words
Katrin and I had bought a case of Russell Hamilton 2007 Pinot Noir. Due to shipping and bureaucratic complications, the wine took forever to get here from South Africa. Upon its arrival, Katrin opened a bottle and was not pleased! She found the wine to be mean and acidic. So, I just put mine away and hoped for the best. Now was the moment of truth…..The wine had transformed into something quite agreeable. There was black stone fruit, autumn leaves and forest floor and a good dose of pencil shavings; the wine was lean with medium acidity and mild tannins. Since I had the appetizer course, I paired the pinot with a Tomme de Savoie, a simple raw milk AOC cheeses from Savoy, France and a Tomme de Chevre, also from Savoy, a raw goat milk cheese from the affineur Herve Mons. To round out the coarse, I served a pork and chicken liver mousse studded with truffles and aspic coated. The fruit of the wine and the mildness of the cheese were a good match;  the autumnal and earthy elements of the wine was perfect with the truffles in the pate.

Katrin: I brought two robust reds for OTBN due to my indecision. This has happened before, so Rodney helped me by reaching into the wine bag and choosing one.  It was the 2006 Caduceus Nagual de la Naga. This is a big red. Winemaker Maynard James Keenan has been quoted as saying “it will outlast us all.” A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, it did not disappoint.  Steak is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of wine of this style, so I paired it with a marinaded flank steak, which we grilled on Rodney’s fantastic stove. It was served over a mesclun salad with mini red potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber and a traditional chimichurri sauce. Well, perhaps not traditional, since I kind of made it up; there are probably as many chimichurri recipes as there are Argentines, so as long as you have the basics (parsley, olive oil, red vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic) you are safe.

Rodney concluded the festivities: Some time ago I mentioned to Katrin that I became a fan of Tocaji during our time studying at Boston University.  So, for hosting a viewing/tasting of Bottle Shock over the summer, she gave me an incredible 1999 Chateau Pajzos Tokaji (5 puttonyos).  Having stared at it for 6 months in my wine cabinet, I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to share this wine.  But, what should I serve with this sweet and acidic orange nectar from Hungary, I thought?  Luckily for me on a trip to visit family in Montreal, I was just introduced to Quebec Sugar Pie (Tarte au Sucre as my aunt made known to me ;-).  Rest assured, Sugar Pie is not a sweet as it sounds and the acidity of the Tokaji happily balanced the combined sweetness in the wine or the pie.


  1. Wine Review: 2007 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Valley - September 19, 2010

    […] of my reaction, I “found the wine to be mean and acidic.” But seven months later, for our Open That Bottle Night, it had developed into quite an aromatic and palate-pleasing […]

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