Another Sunday found us awash in amazing food and wine, I feel that on some level I should be embarrassed by the palate riches I am fortunate enough to encounter on a weekly basis but as it turns out....not so much. Amy in full, "I wanna play before I have to go back to school" mode thought it might be fun to cook a bistro dinner for Nancy who was coming over to get sales tips from Amy's husband. She ran the idea by me and being amidst my own, "kid is away at college and I wanna play" mode I signed up to make the coq au vin, a dish I had never made before but not unlike many a white, (yes white) wine braised chicken dish I might make on any given night...just a touch more labor intensive.
Sunday morning I woke early to finish the now late for deadline wine write-ups for the next newsletter and try to find a coq au vin recipe that struck my fancy. Did I crack one of the 200 plus cookbooks I have on the shelf, nah too easy hit up Google and the usual suspects like Chow Hound for tips and ideas. About an hour later my hubby emerged from the hall pulling a t-shirt over his sleepy head, "So what is the plan for today?" he asked as he passed me on his way to the coffee pot. "Oh didn't I tell you, we are going over to Amy's" and before I could finish my sentence he was peaking around the corner from the kitchen with as concerned a face as he could muster so early in the morning. "Don't worry it is going to be a tame evening" this comment was met with a furrowed brow and highly suspicious look, "Sam, I have work to do, I was going to try and pound some of it out tonight so I'm not crunched on Monday" he pleaded. "Well, we don't need to be there until 4:30 and it is going to be an early night. Everyone has to work tomorrow...besides Amy and I" to which he retorted, "Yea and who is it that never wants to stop playing?"...."Amy and I" I confessed.
He poured himself a deep cup of coffee and got to work. I found a recipe, made a shopping list and made us both a big steaming plate of bacon fried rice to hold us through until dinner. I got one call from Amy announcing that she will never make asparagus soup, (her first course) again. She was concerned about it not being as green as she wanted and there were just too many little steps for her liking. After letting her rant and assuring her it was going to be fine we got off the phone and I started thinking about what wines to bring.
Nancy mentioned that she was going to bring the wedding gift that Carl and I got she and Johan, a magnum of 2004 Didier Dagueneau Pur Sang one of the world's best Sauvignon Blancs. I was pretty jazzed about seeing how that was tasting with a couple years in the bottle, so what could I contribute? I had been holding on to a bottle of 1998 Zind Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Gewurztraminer and was looking for the best occasion to whip it out, too sweet for dinner but would be perfect with the piece of Epoisses I got yesterday....gotta bring that, oh and this bottle of 2001 Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Red Burgundy.....I was getting pretty excited!
Got to Amy's and got to cooking! First I cut up the chickens while Amy helped quarter the mushrooms and cut up the bacon. While the chicken pieces browned we peeled shallots and sipped on a little 2007 Francois Chidaine Touraine, ($11.99)
Nancy and Johan arrive just in time to smell the bacon, onion and mushroom mixture getting all browned and toasty in the butter and oil. We popped a magnum of Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs and everyone chatted while I made the roux for the coq au vin. That Champagne is simply superb and has a very special place in my heart as its label was the model for my tattoo. The wine is rich and toasty with extremely deep flavors and a long citrus loaded finish, poor little magnum never stood a chance, we took it down like a wounded gazelle! Chatting was being disrupted by bubble giggles and grumbly tummies so Amy put her soup on the stove to heat it through and add cream while Nancy and I got to work opening that magnum of Pur Sang.
Amy's soup was creamy and fresh tasting with a lovely silky texture and was lovely with the now mellowed Pur Sang. The wine was full and rich in the mouth with lots of minerals and a rich toasty but tangy finish. We continued on with the Loire white through the next course, a salad made with bacon, croutons and poached eggs...Oh My Gawd...so freaking tasty!
We popped the Burgundy in case anyone wanted it with the coq au vin, (pictured at the top of this post) thinking that with all that bacon, mushroom and rich pan juice a red might be in order but I stuck with the Pur Sang, at first. Just out of curiosity I poured a little Burgundy in another glass and took a sip with a mouthful of chicken.....damn. I have to admit that I preferred the Burgundy with this rich savory dish.
We took a breather while Amy assembled the cheese and fruit plate and warmed up a bit of French bread. I got to work popping the cork and tasting the Gewurztraminer, it held up so beautifully. Rich and full in the mouth with a fair amount of upfront sweetness and a sexy, silky mouth feel, we got so into it that we just stood there in the kitchen drinking the wine, scooping away at the gooey cheeses muttering amongst ourselves about how amazing it was.
The night quickly went from mild and reserved to play full and giggly, all of us glowing from an evening of wonderful food and remarkable wines. Nancy and Johan left and as expected Amy and I wanted just one more glass....shocking non?!
Amy pulled from her cellar a bottle of 2002 Comte Vogue Bourgogne Blanc, yea seriously this was one hell of a wine night. The Vogue was still quite youthful with nervy acids and tons of minerals but the finish was toasty, creamy and a touch like buttered toast....sigh, what a night.
And for our final act we snapped a photo of my tattoo and the bottle that helped inspire it......not sure I should share that just yet....whadda you think?