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Monday, January 30, 2012
First Saintsbury Society Dinner of 2012 now a matter of record...
The Date and Time: Saturday, January 28, 2012
The Event: Saintsbury Society Dinner
The Venue: somewhere in the East End of Toronto
The Target Audience: Members and Guests
The Availability/Catalogue: Most of the wines were not available as they were older vintages. Our host provided a tasting of Gigondas.
The Quote/Background: "One of the rules is: we cannot ask you back to this location." This secret society, without its robes, appears to specialize in gourmet dinners and old wines at members' houses. Some outsiders get invited to participate. Tonight it was my (and my wife's) turn.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Domaine de Mavette Gigondas 2007 (13.5%), $23.95 Vintages
-Domaine de Grapillon d'Or 1806 Gigondas 2010, Vintages upcoming
-Domaine de Grapillon d'Or 1806 Gigondas 2009
-Domaine de Grapillon d'Or 1806 Gigondas 2007, $31.95 Vintages
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-La Ferme de Mont Cotes du Rhone Blanc La Truffiere 2009, 13.5%
-Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2006, 14.5%
-Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2002, 13.5%
The Food: The food was Rhone/Provence, so the wines matched that theme with grape varieties or regions. We began with sweet and savoury nuts and herbed black olives, followed by water chestnuts wrapped in Rowe Farm bacon. All of these with the sparklers and the Tavel; the latter went best of course. To the table and some hand-cut foie gras and chutney with lovely Muscat Beaumes de Venise, slightly off-sweet here. The Asian pear shrimp salad was lovingly presented with Romaine spears and a Marie Rose sauce in a plastic double Martini glass, very effective. The Cotes du Rhone Blanc offered bracing fruit and acidity for the pear. Out came the main: huge braised Australian lamb shanks and their mirepoix, truffled mash, and roasted parsnips (cut lengthwise). It took forever to consume (they were tender, but they were big), and then we needed the time and space for nine red wines to taste and match. I needed help with extra shank meat, but I got through it before the honeyed figs and pistachio ice cream with biscuit arrived. There was a floral Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc with this course, delightful in its structure.
The Downside: it was a slippery and slid-y icy night, plus there were four other wines that we never got to.