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Friday, January 20, 2012

January 19, 2012: Wine and Dine was really fine!

My hubby is a wonderful man... and a wine snob wannabe. He loves wine and enjoys drinking and collecting it. So we have been enjoying a somewhat regular Knoxville treat, the wine dinner. We are members of the Wine Society of East Tennessee :

They sponsor typically two wine dinners a month. The food is planned by a local restaurant, but the wines are selected by a sponsoring member. We have gotten some of the most interesting wines and combinations at these. There are several local restaurants that regularly or sporadically host dinner, often sponsored by a single winery:
Chez Liberty :
Ross and the gang are not shy about having something elaborate or over
the top!

Bistro by the Tracks:
I loved Bistro when it was this amazing tiny space right next to the railroad track. Now it still has wonderful food, but is in a fancy new
building. I have not attended a wine dinner here but know it would rock.

Naples: This is my brother's favorite Knox-
ville food purveyor. They have great food at reasonable prices. And nice
relaxed, nonpretentious wine dinners. This is one of Paul's favorite restaurants and he frequented it in years past with his dear and now departed friend, Cy Anders.

Last night they had a fantastic menu. It was really one of the very best food menus at a wine dinner I have ever been privileged to enjoy.
This dinner featured wine imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons of New York, a company that has been specializing in European imports for 75 years. They know what they are doing!
Here was our menu:
Naples & Ashes Fine Wines & Spirits

January 19, 2012
Frederick Wildman and Sons Wine Dinner

 1st Course

- White Burgundy

Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops

Crawfish, White Shoepeg Corn Chowder

2nd Course

- Faiveley Bourgougne

Porcini Mushroom Encrusted Scottish Salmon

Chive Marscapone

Porcini Mushroom, Cheese Crepe

3rd Course

- Hecht & Bannier Cotes du Rouissillon Villages

Roasted Veal and Rosemary Meatballs

Three Bean Arosta

Basil Chiffonade

4th Course

- Castello Monaci Primitivo & Alto Nero d’Avalo

Moroccan Seared Lamb

Sicilian Fontina Potatoes

Peppercorn Shallot Reduction


- Churchills 10 Yr Tawny Port

Chocolate Nutella Tiramisu

Here's some photos and notes about WHAT I HAD FOR DINNER!
We didn't really have a wine "opener," but they started us out with a Faively White Bourgogne.

Unlike my hubby, I don't know much about wine. But I do like to drink it and know what tastes good to me. So I am learning about wine. One thing I learned last night is that basically, there are only two kinds of wine from the Bourgogne region of France: chardonnay (or white) and pinot noir (or red). That makes it SIMPLE. I love Burgundy already!

I could give you MY opinion of it (yummy), but why not be more verbose and let International Wine Review writer, Michael Apstein do it?
"I cant speak too highly of the 2008 vintage in Burgundy for white wines. Even at the most basic level, Bourgogne Blanc, like this one, they show character and class. In less good years, this category of wine suffers from under ripeness and astringency. But 2008 gave the wines destined for Bourgogne Blanc added ripeness without sacrificing bracing acidity. Couple that with a fine producer, such as Faiveley, and you have a well-priced introduction to white Burgundy. Not an opulent California Chardonnay, Faiveleys Bourgogne Blanc has verve and an engaging restrained creaminess. Its perfect for current consumption with roast chicken."

So did they serve chicken with it? Of course not. We had sea scallops with a crawfish and corn chowder. This might have been my favorite dish of the night...they were all so good.

The next wine was the Faiveley Bourgogne Pinot Noir (rouge). I really liked this red. I tasted the mineral quality but my wine tasting neighbor said, " I taste the fruit." And we were both right! Apparently wine from the Burgundy region dates back to the Romans. WOW.

This was served with a porcini mushroom encrusted salmon and a small crepe LOADED with chive marscapone. It was all very good. If anything, there might have been a bit more marscapone than your average person missing their gallbladder really needs to eat, but it was all amazingly tasty.

At my house, that would have been THE END of the meal...maybe you would not have gotten that salmon! But not at the house of Naples. Next we had another offering from France: Hecht & Bannier Cotes du Rouissillon Villages
This wine comes from the Langedouc region of France. Robert Parker gave this one 93 points and I could see why. Wouldn't it be cool to be Robert Parker. I wouldn't want to be his liver or his bladder, but him...way awesome. The ultimate wine snob. For me, this was the most complex wine of the night with lots of mineral, fruits, and just a little smoky, salty background. This was paired with roasted veal and rosemary meatballs. I don't really cook veal, so I appreciated that someone could not only prepare it, but do it well. Paul really liked this, but he would eat meatloaf EVERY night if I would make it.

The last thrilling dish, seared moroccan lamb with sicilian fontina potatoes, was paired with an Italian wine and a Sicilian wine. Having recently visited Sicily on the now defunct COSTA CONCORDIA, we were really anxious to get a taste of the Sicilian vintage.
The Italian wine was Castello Monaci Primitivo.
This wine had a great nose and immediately flooded my palate with cherries. I loved it, but then I tasted the Sicilian wine:
This was a VERY complex wine--funky little wine dances kepts happening on my tongue and there were lots of flavors--chocolate, raspberries, spice. This is all from one vineyard on a high slope.

To finish off this marvelous and plentiful meal-DESSERT! And Churchill Port. Thad,from Ashe's wine and spirits has actually visited the Churchill distillery in Portugal.
Wow. What a beautiful place and a much better photo than the BOTTLE! They are not expending their resources on labels! Maybe I will go there? Probably half the people in the room had been to Portugal, including my husband who went in high school and seems to have no memory of being there. (Wonder what HE was doing? Never mind. Let's not ask.)

The dessert was a Chocolate Nutella "Tiramisu." I thought this meal was outstanding and I really truly enjoyed the wines. Which is why I thought the "tiramisu" was a major disappointment. Although I have great respect for the food at Naples, I would highly recommend that everyone skip not only this "tiramisu," but the one on the menu too. They are both a poor imitation of the real thing. Please NAPLES--get rid of the tiramisu or just go buy it at Earthfare. It is not easy to make, so no one will blame you. However, serving something this inferior at the end of a world class meal: Perhaps Gomer Pyle said it best:

What did my baby, the ultimate noser and wine snob wannabe say about this meal?

"Out of this world."
About the wines:
"In this world from France, Italy and Portugal. Great choices. Let's buy a case."



  1. Wow. Sounds like a great night. I think I had a lean cuisine that night. It was surprisingly good.

  2. Lean cuisine rocks and is less fattening!