- posted 12 years ago
So once again I was responsible for dinner Friday. I had defrosted a big thing of some very good ham we had saved a couple months ago, and was trying to think of a plan. Somehow I started thinking about potato salad with ham in it, though I never remember eating such a thing (sounds straight out of a Garrison Keillor church potluck). When the Cooks Illustrated weekly email arrived that afternoon with a recipe for "French style potato salad, " I decided to give it a try. It turns out that adding ham to this recipe (with green beans and a mustard vinaigrette) works pretty well. Ham and mustard both suggest Riesling to me, so I went with the 2004 Willi Schaefer Estate Riesling. Bright and light, citrus (lime) fruit dominates, but little hints of apple and mineral. Fairly sweet, but the acidity totally balances it out, it goes down quickly without the sweetness standing out at all. 9% ABV, perfect summer quaffer. Not complex, but delicious. B++
Saturday we had some good friends over for dinner. Betsy made a James Boyce recipe for tomato/lobster/corn salad as first course, and we had the 2002 Donabaum "Spitzer Point" Gruner Veltliner Smaragd. Much more open than previous bottle of this, there's broad yellow plum fruit with a touch of green pea. Some pepper and ginger notes, there's a mineral/flinty base, but more fruity than earlier bottles. Good acidity stands up to the tomato and citrus zest in the salad, but the texture is broad enough for the lobster. B+
Main course was grilled strip steaks over an arugula/caper/horseradish salad, with a side of "zucchini carpaccio' (mandolined strips of zucchini in a marinade with avocado and pistachios). With the wine internet contretemps re ESJ this week, I thought it a good time to open the 2001 Edmunds St. John "Wylie-Fenaughty" Syrah. A bit tight (and a bit light) when first opened, luckily I had allowed a couple of hours before serving time for aeration. Perfect for the steaks and the piquant salad. Dark berry and cherry fruit, some smoke and earth, a little herb. Medium-framed, but mouthfilling. Good acidity, the fruit balances it out nicely. Tannins are present, but ripe and supple. I really enjoyed this (as did others). But then I've always been a bit low brow (I like the Rocks and Gravel, too). Fantastic deal at $16. A-
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.