I haven’t done one of these grab bag roundup posts in a while, and watching a variety of people devouring this puff pastry tart with all manner of wines and cocktails at a Golden Globe viewing party got me in the mood. It was an annual potluck affair, and I basically rolled out a sheet of thawed puff pastry, filled it with what I had on hand, baked until golden, and watched it disappear in seconds flat at the party. Puff pastry is good that way, and it made me think that some of you might need the reminder for an upcoming Super Bowl party.
I did a layer of caramelized onions, then some goat cheese that I seasoned with honey and cracked black pepper, a few slices of butternut squash, and sprinklings of slivered sundried tomatoes, fresh thyme, and grated Parmesan. Almost too easy. The next time I do this, I’ll cut the butternut squash a little thicker, and maybe add the sundried tomatoes about halfway through cooking so they wouldn’t get quite so dark. (Or I’ll just use whatever I happen to have in the kitchen that day.) If anybody’s interested in more exact details on how I made this, let me know and I’ll write up the recipe.
As for the wines, I stuck with Chablis much of the night. But this would work with just about any wine, I think — making it a great potluck choice. So here’s the roundup of wines I’ve tasted and enjoyed lately. Cheers!
William Fevre 2010 Chablis Champs Royaux ($25). Tart and lean, not the most complex Chablis ever, but bracing and refreshing. With racy lemon acidity tamed with green melon, and plenty of mineral notes on the brisk finish. Ready to drink now and over the next couple of years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Trimbach 2009 Riesling Alsace ($25). Just loved all over again. Crisp, harmonious, “of a piece” — with smooth pear and apple fruit, pretty tangerine peel aromas and accents, and a smoky, stony mineral note through the lightly spicy finish. Ready to drink now and over the next 3-4 years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Chateau Ste.-Michelle-Dr. Loosen 2010 Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica ($20). Loved, loved, loved — so much bang for the buck here. Delicate, nuanced, but just completely easy to enjoy at the same time. Offering bright pear, lime and white peach flavors on a silky frame, with accents of smoky mineral and white flowers emerging through the finish. Off dry and perfectly balanced with juicy acidity. Ready to drink now and over the next 5+ years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Trimbach 2007 Gewurztraminer Alsace ($25). I found this bottle recently at my local Whole Foods, shoved in a low shelf corner, clearly a straggler that had been passed by and overlooked for years. I hesitated over the vintage, but shouldn’t have. I loved it. Still offering loads of heady aromas and classic flavors, including crystal clear white peach, citrus zest, spice and floral notes, all folding together on the lingering finish. Lovely. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Pine Ridge 2011 Chenin Blanc-Viognier California ($14). A tasty little white, plush peach/tangerine/citrus flavors, ripe, aromatic, lightly sweet mid-palate, but then crisp on the finish. A cooling match for a spicy Thai curry. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Mayacamas 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Mt. Veeder ($25). Very nice – showing the pretty side of Sauvignon Blanc without losing a step on acidity or crispness. Lime, pink grapefruit, blood orange and mineral notes, with grassy notes through the finish, and not a trace of the pungency that seems to overwhelm many Sauvignon Blancs these days. It was an excellent pairing for a grilled flatbread with garlicky white bean puree, grilled shiitakes, and sun dried tomato and roasted shallot relish. Ready to drink now and over the next 2-3 years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Round Pond 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford ($24). Even in the midst of a big wine dinner/tasting, I kept going back to this one. It stood out for its deftly balanced citrus/grassy notes, with a core of smooth melon and Asian pear, and a long, polished finish. Pretty stuff. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Domäne Wachau 2011 Gruner Veltliner Wachau Terrassen Federspiel ($15). An enchanting little wine at a great price, with elegant orange blossom aromas introducing juicy citrus, stone fruit, pear and lime peel flavors. With a racy finish. A tasty match to a thai-spiced crab cake. Ready to drink now and over the next 2-3 years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Clayhouse 2011 Adobe Pink Central Coast($14). One of the tastier California rosés I’ve tasted lately, with silky, bright red cherry, peach and cranberry flavors laced with smoky mineral notes and finishing crisp and clean. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Buehler 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Papa’s Knoll ($45). Concentrated berry fruit — red and black — is accented with meaty aromas, sweet earth notes throughout, and mineral, cedar and minty/briary accents through the finish, along with plenty of grip. Walks a nice balance between rustic and polished; should please a wide range of people. Ready to drink now and over the next 8+ years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Chapoutier 2008 Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Domaine de Bila-Haut Latour-de-France Occultum Lapidem ($30). Aging so nicely, with complex layers of smooth red berry and cherry fruit, rich chocolate, warm brown spices, and touches of dried currant, smoke and roasted herbs through the pretty finish. Absolutely delicious now, but should hold on for another 3-4 years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Murphy-Goode 2010 Pinot Noir California ($15). My favorite of three similarly-priced California Pinot Noirs I tasted one evening. It’s light in body, flavor and alcohol, but it’s tasty. With black raspberry, cherry, and a touch of spice. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Tenimenti Angelini 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva San Leonino ($29). Okay, I enjoyed this a little bit too much, frankly. Drinking more than my share of the bottle. But its concentrated black raspberry, cherry, black tea, mineral and roasted herb notes were just too enticing. Medium-plus bodied, with nice structure, and a focused finish. A perfect match with a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano. Ready to drink now and over the next 5+ years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Toad Hollow 2009 Merlot Russian River Valley Richard McDowell Vineyard ($13). An easy, uncomplicated, everyday red. Offering supple red fruit flavors accented with smoke and baking spices, and a moderate finish. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.