Saturday, October 9, 2010

End of summer impromptu wine & steak night at friend's house

Is there anything better than dinner & wine at a friend's house? If there is, it's hard to remember what it could be when you are there. It really is the essence of fun and the good life.

A couple of weekends ago, good friends Linda & Bennett had us over for what started as an initial idea of watching the Swedish movie "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," since we have been obsessed with the Stieg Larsson trilogy, read most of the three books, and heard that the movie was graphic and worth watching. Of course, mostly we heard it was worth watching from folks that had not read the book, so we didn't hear much "the book was better," which I'm sure is what most people say most of the time about good books..... but anyway, movie night on Sunday night turned into dinner, with Bennett firing up the grill and putting on delicious Chateaubriande slabs onto the hot grill along with autumn squash. But first, before that, we tucked into a delicious bottle of Rose that our friend Derek had left us, from a producer in Washington State we had never heard of.
As it happened that it was a rare hot day in this summer, we downed this puppy pretty quickly, the 2009 Barnard Griffin Rose of Sangiovese. It was juicy, round, fruity, not too alcoholic, and fit perfectly with the weather and the home-grown tomatoes, savory dry salami, and addictive cured olives we were munching on.

Next up, we opened the red wine we brought, the 2007 Burrowning Owl Meritage that my sister and her hubby painstakingly brought back for us from the winery in Oliver, British Columbia (that's in Canada, just north of Washington State!) This is a region I have not visited, but plan to do so in the near future. In fact, my plan is to do a driving trip through the Washington State wine regions (Walla Walla, and others) then drive up to Oosoyos (hottest town in Canada) and Oliver and do all that area. I think that would be quite rugged and fun. Especially now with all the wineries there (I'm sure the area was considerably more rugged back in the day when the winery craze had not yet hit).

The Burrowing Owl Meritage (Bordeaux-style blend, which, if I recall correctly, had all 5 of the Bordeaux grapes in it: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Admission: I didn't remember exactly, and I wasn't sure if Petit Verdot was a masculine ou feminine, so I cheated and went to the Burrowing Owl website, and man, are those pictures of the winery stunning. I mean, if you like that sort of thing - nestled in the mountains, gently sloping vineyard, pristine interior of B.C. type scenery... if I learned anything in my recent weekend in Las Vegas, it is that appreciate more and more the look and feel of nature (I even admired the mountainous backdrop of Las Vegas more than I admired the neon and the gambling - new for me).
Anyhoo, I do plan to go there sometime. A driving trip sounds like a nice adventure, especially combining it with a jaunt down to Washington State, whose vineyards I have yet to visit as well.
Oh, the wine: I found it oaky; perhaps it needed more time in the bottle to integrate its oak, but the fruit was fantastic, and it went terrifically with the steaks that had some terrific char on the outside and juicy middles. I have had Osoyoos Larose, another somewhat well-known B.C. wine from this general area, and I also found it to be on the oaky side - again perhaps I need to age these wines a bit longer before I will like them. But I do think definitely that these wines from B.C. see more new oak than French wines that I like, but perhaps they are as oaky as Napa wines? Perhaps that is more the model? I don't know. I haven't tasted too many Napa cabs as of late, but maybe I will soon...
(From the website's tasting note, it indicates that this wine is aged 22 months in a mixture of French, American, and Russian oak, of which 25% is new. Perhaps what I taste is American oak, which I find stronger.)
Next time, perhaps I will lay a bottle of Burrowing Owl down for a few years, or who am I kidding? Maybe I will try to source an older bottle that someone else has had the patience to lay down for a few years! :)

After the Burrowing Owl, we moved on to something from Bennett's cellar - he stayed with the Pacific Northwest theme and pulled out a wine I have never seen before: 2000 Cayuse "Camaspello." This is a Bordeaux-style blend with three Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
I really liked this wine, perhaps because it was a 10-year old.... not only am I starting to like nature more, I'm starting to like older wines more. It seemed complex and layered (those are things that come with age in good wine)....aside from that I don't have any more accurate tasting notes. I felt that it was old world in style, but my host thought it was quite a big wine, so perhaps I wasn't really tasting at that point, just enjoying.
Later, Bennett told me he is selling this wine - he had a couple of bottles - if I was interested, and I was - in fact, we're going to a wine tasting at someone's house tonight and the theme is new world Bordeaux varieties (and I think we are tasting some 2000 Bordeaux too), so I thought this 2000 Cayuse would be kind of fun to open. So I got one from Bennett!
I don' have any more Burrowing Owl Meritage at this time (I have a Pinot Noir left) but if I did, I would bring that too.
Wine - what fun. I look forward to an exciting tasting tonight as well, and I'll try to take some good notes and pics.


SixBalloons said...

Nice! Glad that you liked the Burrowing Owl. The vineyard is indeed gorgeous and worthy of a visit!

Sara Louise said...

Those tomatoes look divine!
I'm a late comer to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I'm only halfway through it at the moment, but already have the next two books ready to go, love it!