Benefit Dinner & Wines.

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Benefit Dinner & Wines.

Postby Noel Ermitano » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:11 am

A benefit dinner was held by Tita Bella Yuchengco at her residence night before last, the 8th August 2013, for a good friend who is bravely fighting the good fight. Fourteen friends got together for the very good cause.

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The table setting, as usual, was elegant, understated, and in excellent taste...

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...much like the ever generous, svelte, and chic hostess herself.

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The evening's reds lined up for service...

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...carefully opened by Rene under watchful eyes...

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...were: 2010 La Sirène de Giscours (2 bottles from Rene), 1999 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti La Court, & 1999 Prunotto Barbaresco Bric Turot (from me). The 2009 Mission Hill Legacy Series Compendium (from Jim) was saved for a later Mamou meal.

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For cocktails was Bugey Cerdon Caveau de Mont St-July -This amiable, very accessible non-vintage sparkling rosé is from the Cerdon AOC, a.k.a., Bugey-Cerdon, located in far eastern France's Ain department (bordering Geneva, within the Jura region) - composed of the area's gamay and poulsard grapes, the spontaneous fermentation of which is halted in order to leave enough sugar for a charmingly festive off-dryness.

This isn't locally available, I brought these in as part of a batch for the IWFS Ladies as a favor. We quickly went through 3 bottles last night. The abv% is quite low, so no danger of getting hit too fast before dinner. One could drink this all day at the beach.

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Pre-dinner conversation...

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...and bubbly.

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Migs' eyes are really hopeless under flash photography.

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Catha, Maite, Nena, Mayette, & Katrina...

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...here photo-bombed by Enki.

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The Menu.

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This substantial amuse bouche of "Shrimpcargot" was an instant and unanimous hit. We all loved it. Thankfully, as always, Tita Bella had extra helpings for all. From the first bite, I said "I can eat at least a dozen of these". Most all of us got second helpings. Lucky Jim managed to get a third.

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Tita Bella personally helps serve...

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...the second substantial amuse bouche: a refreshing and cleansing Chilled Cucumber Soup with Lemon Oil, in tandem with a delicious, precisely executed Cauliflower Purée with Caviar. With this, we had already started on Rene's 3 bottles of fresh, racy, zippy, minerall, slightly off-dry 2011 Dönnhoff Riesling Qba - a bit fuller and riper than past vintages of the same I've had, but still a reliably nice and versatile wine with lip-smackingly bright acid balance.

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My 2nd helping of the Cauliflower Purée w/ Caviar.

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The first of two appetizer courses was an earthily indulgent Pan-Seared Foie Gras, Caramelized Mushroom Tart. Oh my, so very good, but I stopped at only one serving as I had to make it through to dessert. The 2011 Dönnhoff Riesling Qba Riesling faltered a bit here, needing to have been a spätlese at least, but, not a problem.

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With the second appetizer course of Mussel Soufflé with Chardonnay-Saffron Sauce - an addictive, heavenly sauce on a heftier, more substantial kind of soufflé, we started on Alex's 2 bottles of 2009 Thevenet Domaine Émilian Gillet Quintaine Viré-Clessé. The chardonnay producing Viré-Clessé AOC (since February 1999) lies within the Mâconnais district of the Burgundy region. Relatively recently gaining fame, its vibrant, minerally, well-crafted wines are comparatively reasonably-priced alternatives to the whites from the Côte de Beaune. The subject wine is medium-bodied with clean lines and fair balance, in a subdued, minerally style which somewhat reminds me of a cross between a young village Chablis and a young village Meursault.

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A tender, honest, hearty, deeply flavored Wagyu Veal Cheeks...

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...with Rissoni & Horseradish Gremolata.

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With this honest, rustic treat, I paired mainly the 1999 Prunotto Barbaresco Bric Turot, the savory, mature flavors and typical acidity of which made for a nice counterpoint to the veal cheeks' earthy richness. Alex also favored this wine for pairing with the main dish, while Catha & Rene preferred the fuller, fruitier, richer, riper, more oak-enriched 1999 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti Nizza La Court.

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Dessert was a delectable Layered Mousse atop Strawberry Soup. In a word - wonderful - especially for chocolate-berry dessert fans such as I.

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Enki had a second serving of dessert. He's been dieting lately, but I reassured him by saying that strawberry is fruit anyway, and chocolate comes from cocoa beans, so the dessert qualifies as healthy fare. I was too busy enjoying myself, chatting with everyone to remember to take my usual, closing toast group shot. Anyway, it was a great dinner for a worthy cause. Thanks, again, Tita Bella! Loved the dinner! Until the next!
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Noel Ermitano
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Re: Benefit Dinner & Wines.

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:52 am

Dessert qualifies as healthy fare...

Words to live by.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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David M. Bueker
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