Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vouvray and Foie Gras

For our anniversary, we went to Chez Leon, a French place in Clayton. (well, we really went to Curacao, an island in the south Caribbean as our anniversary trip, but for the celebratory state-side dinner, we went to Chez Leon) I had ordered a Vouvray before deciding what I was going to have for dinner - we all know I love my Chardonnays, but I thought I'd try something else that night. Now, I will be honest, I don’t often drink Vouvray and its probably been about a year since I had a glass, but I didn’t remember it being quite as fruity/sweet as this one was. The menu just said “Vouvray” (with no reference to body style) so I didn’t even think about sweetness being a factor - I was just thinking medium bodied, slightly fruity, likely food friendly.

Made from Chenin Blanc, it CAN be sweet- maybe not Sautnernes’ level sweetness, but sweeter. Usually the sweetness is noted on the label (Sec, demi-sec, moelleux, and doux –which I’ve never had, but I hear its almost syrup-like) but as I said, in this case, the menu just said “Vouvray” and the bottle was never shown. My fault for assuming, it was significantly sweeter than I expected, but still good and seemed food friendly, which of course, most French wines are slightly high in acidity, so I decided to order the seared Foie Gras with it. I was torn between the Foie Gras and the Escargot, but went for the Foie Gras and I was glad I did. I’ve heard it goes well with Sauternes, so I thought it might go well with the slightly sweet Vouvray, and I was right, it was great with it! (score one for remembering pairing tips!) The Foie Gras itself was fantastic, melted in my mouth!

For dinner we had the duck and the lamb scallopini, both were very good. We brought a bottle of 1999 Gevrey Chambertin with us - I read in the reviews their wine list was a bit limited. We opened it earlier in the dinner and poured a glass while we enjoyed our appetizer and salad. It needed a bit of air, Gevrey Chambertins (100% Pinot Noir from the north part of the Burgundy Region in France) are often blackberry, cherry, slightly earthy - but in a good way, not in a musty basement or barnyard way- the fruit usually dominates and the earthiness adds complexity and depth. In this case, since it was a bit older, the earthiness dominated a bit more than desired when we opened it. It was almost musty- but that dominance dissipated after about 30-45 minutes- the fruit characteristics were a bit darker and richer, and the finish went on for ever. It went fantastic with the lamb, which had a berry sauce/compote of some kind, and very well with the duck, although the orange sauce wasn’t a perfect match – I thought it paired better than Mr. Lush did.

All in all a good dinner! The service was a bit slow, but it was a nice evening, the food was really good and with their Prix Fixe menu, not too bad on the wallet. (although a better deal with our Groupon!) We'll be back!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stock that Cellar at the Grocery Store

As I've mentioned in previous posts, occasionally the grocery stores around here have good deals- exceptionally good deals. Its worthy to note, however, that their "orginal" prices are either inflated just for that sale, or always inflated, so don't take the "Savings of" literally - buy with caution or look it up first.

Today, I was lucky enough to stumble across one. The Schucks off 141 and Clayton and I saw the Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon - not the "Starmont", which is their lower end, but the middle of the road. They had the "before" price of $71 and it was on sale for $32. Now, I know $71 isn't really the retail price, but nontheless, I estimate it at around $55, maybe $60 and determine its a good deal either way and pick up a bottle. I get home, look it up, and am I happy to see that its priced direct from the winery at ..... $65! It recently was rated a 92 by WS, so that's probably why-I do think it retails for closer to $50-55 normally, but either way, it was a good deal, its just now a GREAT deal! Combine with the fact that if you buy a mixed 6 pack, you get 10% off (even if the other 5 bottles are cheapies, you still get 10% each one), it was a nice buy!!

So get thee to the grocery store, check out the good deals. They typically carry rather mainstream stuff, so get a couple prices of a few things, or have your smartphone handy, and stock that cellar!!!