Two Nights in Fineview
Eating and sipping seemed to be the thing to do to try to end 2020. With the help of one of our guests, Steve Fisher here is a run down of the really magical two nights.
We convened on Thurs, Christmas eve, for the feast of the seven fishes that it has been our ritual to do for many years now. We started with the traditional fried smelts, accompanied by the Principessa Gavi that was nicely aromatic and flavorful. That was followed by a cold platter of shrimp, lobster tail and calamari. The shrimp and calamari were grilled and the lobster was broiled. The tendrils were tossed in Portuguese olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar with lemon rind. We had a classic cocktail sauce and sauce vert in which to dip the others. This was accompanied by two bottles of chablis, the Louis Jadot Fouchame via Herr Anfang (our other guest) and Sequinot Bordet Chablis Vieux Vignes from Dreadnought. Delicious. Next came baby clams with pasta, I used the Giuseppe d Cocoa pasta from PA Macaroni, my favorite dried pasta!
Then came the entrée of sautéed salmon with a beurre blanc sauce and two seared scallops with a vanilla infused cognac sauce. Heavenly. This was accompanied by a Patricia Raquin Chassagne - Montrachet, which was excellent. So fun to taste three white Burgundies in a row and experience the differences. Following a salad and cheese course, dessert was served with a Domaine des Baumard Quarts des Chaume Loire Valley 2014 , a botrytis Chenin Blanc from the Loire. This wine brought me back to my WSET Level 3 in wine exam, where one of the short answer questions was about the Loire Valley and the dessert wines that come from there. A very delightful memory and wine. The dessert consisted of fruit tarts provided again by the aforementioned Herr Anfang, and a Buche Noel from La Gourmandine, furnished by Candice and Fred, who were with us in spirit. A wonderful, wonderful dinner. We were beginning to appreciate the small gathering of diners rather than large groups.
Christmas day was too snowy and icy to venture out so we passed on Christmas dinner with our friends. Mike and I ate seafood leftovers all sauteed with a tomato sauce over leftover pasta. Just Yum! Sipping on the leftover Gavi from the night before. Saturday, which is known to the English as Boxing Day, brought a newfound desire and hunger. We convened for an English dinner consisting of standing rib roast with roasted root vegetables and Brussels sprouts. Thanks to a Champagne class that I had just done a few days earlier, the fridge was full of open bottles of very good bubbly…….so, after finishing the remains of a carefully preserved bottle of Duménil Pescherine champagne, we started our repast with the always delightful chestnut soup. It was accompanied by an Austrian Riesling that Doc Mueller, another friend with an amazing cellar, had given Mike that day and said he didn’t care for because it was too sweet. A lesson on residual sugar ensued and we all decided that it wasn’t sweet, and was delicious with the soup. Next came a surprise course of salmon quenelles that were a delicate intro to the thunderous entree that was to come. The salmon, left over from the 7 fishes, was ground and folded into a Pate a Choux, poached, then recooked in a red wine sauce.
The beast was a modest two ribber that nevertheless provided five giant slabs of juicy rare prime rib which was accompanied by a rich sauce served in elegant silver sauce boats. The vegetable medley (carrots, parsnips, onions, potatoes and the aforementioned sprouts) were roasted in duck fat and were magnificent. This course was accompanied by a 1988 Calon Segur, which was in perfect shape (having laid quietly in Mr. Gonze's cellar for decades). A hush fell over the party as the first sniffs and sips, then gave way to huzzahs and hurrahs, as all sang it’s praises as one of the best Bordeaux’s in memory. As we finished this bottle (which had been decanted ), we also opened a 2015 Prieure Lichine to drink in contrast to its older brother from down the river (Gironde). It was indeed young, but had that unmistakable Bordeaux character that is just perfect with a roasted beef rib. Being stuffed to the gills again, we decided to pass on the salad and cheese course and head directly to dessert (and a good thing as the guests were starting to groan and list in their chairs). This time, Mr. Anfang delighted the group with berry topped chocolate mousse cups, and wowed the crowd with an Austrian Trockenbeerenauslese. We all acknowledged that none of us had ever actually had a “Trocken”, so we sipped and savored its delightful essence until we all passed out (just kidding). What a night ! What a fantastic doubleheader to end an otherwise terrible year.
To top all of this, I spent hours setting the table with gold reindeer and bronze and gold balls all atop an old tapestry that was given to me by a great friend. Wood placemats, left over from my niece's wedding that were made from a tree on her dad's property, Old European flatware from Mike's mother and an array of dishes and other "table toys". Of course we couldn't have the table remain the same for both meals so a quick switch over on Christmas day was possible since we took a day off from formal eating! See the pics accompanying this! Note the server for the roast, a find in Syria during our previous travels. We will continue to eat within our pod of four and remind ourselves how delightful it is to have close friends to dine with and share stories from the past.