Savored…Our unconventional tradition of Sparkling with Duck

It turned out that this might be a good post for the #14 Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #MWWC14. 

wine-stain1-2If there is a month that is jam-packed with events and gatherings for me, it will be December, every year. Lets see…there are five birthdays (three kids and two adults), at least two important wine related dinners, a handful of reunion dinners and lunches before, during and after Christmas, New Eve parties and one wedding anniversary, the most important because it is mine.

This year in early December, hubz and I celebrated our 16th years of marital union. It didn’t seem too long ago when I received a proposal from this man at the House of Blue (in Hollywood, CA). He wasn’t exactly on one knee, but was holding a cigarette in one hand and a glass of Bourbon Coke in the other, and I said yes. It was unconventional, definitely not traditional but always and forever memorable.

So the proposal was unusual, the annual celebration should follow suit don’t you think? I am not sure how or when we started this tradition, but it has become something that we look forward to every year. We might have missed it a few times due to our busy schedule, but somehow we always managed to make it up. We remember and celebrate this special day with lunch of Peking Duck with Sparkling or Champagne at a local Peking Duck Restaurant. Just the two of us, one Peking Duck with all the sides, a couple of extra dishes and one bottle of Sparkling or Champagne. It is obviously a lot for two, but then it is our tradition. This year, we brought a bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc to witness our anniversary luncheon feast. We deliberately arrived at the restaurant (which is within a swanky shopping mall right in the middle of town) earlier than our reservation to have the restaurant chill the bottle (already chilled actually) and hubz could squeeze in a quick hour of gym time while I window shopped, another typical tradition. After about 1.5hour, we met at the restaurant and the feast began.

Sparkling with Duck

Going by the traditional belief that white wine with white meat, red wine with red meat, we are so not adhering to it. Sparkling and Champagne have always been viewed as a celebratory drink or an aperitif to go with simple light nibbles, definitely not something one would consider to go with duck. Personally I thought it paired well. Maybe a Blanc de Noir might be better for some structure of Pinot Noir. But the firm acidity of the Blanc de Blanc cut through the fattiness and richness of the Peking Duck like hot knife through butter. But then again Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc has always been quite different from others in the similar category. This Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc acidity was notably firm but not biting, there were good fruit notes, vibrantly youthful, that stood up to the duck brilliantly, laced with delicate fresh-baked bread nuance and toasted creaminess in the finish.

We were thinking we would be able to handle another bottle, it was that delicious. We probably would not have any problem sitting there drinking and nibbling on duck till dinner time. We left with leftovers of the duck, mildly intoxicated and thoroughly satisfied. So our anniversary was not a typical candle light dinner, bouquets of flowers, evening slow walk in each other arms or exchange of expensive gifts. We were never really into the typical and predictable, so we created our own tradition. The only thing we will probably change is to bring an extra bottle with us next year.

Happy and Prosperous New Year to one and all. CHEERS!

Savored…Bedrock Bar & Grill, Singapore

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I have a love hate relationship with technology, specifically computer for the past week. I will not go into details and the most important thing is that it has been fixed….for now. But I may MIA again because I am considering migrating to WordPress.org. What do you think?

A small group of friends and I decided to plan an early 4th of July dinner gathering last Saturday, savoring some good steaks and older California wines. There were 9 of us and we had 3 whites and 3 reds. Today, i will share with you the 3 whites.

We started with Schramsberg J Schram 2001. The “Dom Perignon” of Napa Valley. Schramsberg is in Calistoga and it is indeed a good location for them. It was crisp, elegant, delicately Brut, and flavored with lemon peel, hints of apricot, and white flower. We thought it may still be young because Schramsberg Sparklings are well-known for being very age-worthy

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Right after that, we moved swiftly to Ridge 2005 Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay. I love the nose of this wine with notes of crispy lemon peel, butter but not too overwhelming, hints of pear, spice, and flora. It tasted brilliant being 7 years old with notes of delicately smoke oak, elements from the aromas echoed and the finish was lingering. Very memorable.

The next bottle came closely. Kistler 2006 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay, Carneros. This is where Kistler impresses. A good example on the ageability of their quality of Chardonnay. It showed aromas of apple/pear note, and hints of smoke. There is a sense of coolness, a strong silent type in style, but still quite showy on characteristics. I would love to have it aged a few more years.

Spotted…Peter Michael Winery, Calistoga

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I was very thrilled when I learnt that I will be able to visit Peter Michael Winery in the Northern part of Calistoga. Coming out of Petrified Forest Road, it was a really nice drive further north on Hwy 29. There were less cars, road not too winding, and I got to see Knight Valley. Morgun, the host of Peter Michael, met my group and took us on one the most scenic drive through the Peter Michael vineyards. This was taken at the very top of the vineyard looking down on the Knight Valley floor. As Calistoga edge into Summer, the heat was making itself known.

Morgan is clearly ready for the heat in cool Calistoga style with white capri, classic shades and stylish sandal.