Friday, December 26, 2008
Christmas Fish and a French Sancerre
Christmas Eve always means seven fishes at the Oliva's. For as far back as I can remember we have been keeping this Italian tradition. Why seven fishes? It's unclear why seven fishes rather than any other number but many feel the number seven represents the seven sacraments of the Church or possibly the seven days of creation in the Book of Genesis. Whatever the reason, it's a great way to celebrate Christmas Eve with the family. As you can see from the photo, one of the dishes was a beautiful bowl of steamed muscles in a red sauce. To compliment the muscles, I served a 2006 Benton Lane Pinot Noir. I had served this at Thanksgiving with a tremendous result. See my past post. This 2006 Pinot is a particularly good vintage in that the growing season in Oregon was extremely hot. This added an amazing lushness and depth to this already excellent wine.
The next dish Mary served was a large bowl of vermicelli and home made clam sauce. To go with this, I served a French Eric Montintin 2007 Sancerre . I didn't go with our usual New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I wanted to test Eric's last post in which he highly recommended the French Sancerres over the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. We were all happy we followed Eric's advice. Dave's fiance, Angela, said she "had never tasted a wine quite like this." Mary agreed that it was superb. It had a strong but not overwhelming bouquet of citrus with a pleasing color and a smooth, well-balanced body. It was dry and had citrus hints (mostly grapefruit to my taste)up front with a long and pleasing finish. The rest of the meal consisted of Alaskan Salmon, Fillets of Sole, Shrimp, and Crab and Cod cakes. We unanimously stayed with the Sancerre! A testament to its superior quality.
Christmas Eve dinner was a great success thanks to Mary's superb culinary talents, Eric's wine suggestions and great company. To learn more about Sancerre go to this site: The New York Times.
According to the Novovino Wine Company "Eric Montintin Domaine is located in the small town of Savigny-en-Sancerre, just 10 km north from Sancerre town. Eric started very small 10 years ago after returning from s stint as a wine buyer at a UK wine merchant. Today he owns a small 1.5 hectares vineyard in Sancerre and a couple more in Quincy and Menetou Salon. His Sancerre vineyard is entirely farmed organically and every grape from that vineyard was picked per hand."
Thanks Eric and on to New Year's Eve!