Monday, 18 June 2007

Dinner with a Grandfather

Keda's father came over last Saturday and we had a couple of lovely wines. A 2005 vintage Annie's Lane Coppertrail Riesling was excellent, one of the best young drinking rieslings I've had. It did seem more advanced than I expected but was all the better for it as a young wine - lime, mineral, butter, cleansing and refreshing. The advanced nature exposing itself by the rounder/broader palate (buttery character) and a softer acid finish compared to other 2005s (eg Leo Buring). This bottle was emptied pretty much as a palate cleanser as we hadn't managed to buy or make anything for hors d'oeuvres/entrée, so just some raw cashews and almonds had to suffice. The main was worth waiting for, a duck and shitake pie with a puff pastry lid. Unfortunately no photos of this one but it was a goody, took some time but relatively easy. Roast the bird, discard the skin, pick off the meat and mix with some fresh shitake mushrooms and a master stock style sauce (water, soy, slices of ginger, dried shitake mushrooms, dried chilli, start anise - all simmered for a while, strained and added to the meat). For sides there was a simple green salad with shaved pecorino and roasted carbs (nicola potatoes + parsnips). The carbs were roasted in a combination of olive oil and some of the duck fat that was saved from roasting the duck. A 2000 vintage Pfeiffer pinot noir was provided by our dinner guest. Quite possibly Rutherglen's finest pinot (maybe its only pinot?), this was more a light dry red than pinot, pretty good with the meal but died in the glass after 20 minutes or so. As Keda and her father prefer a cheese course over sweet desserts, that's what we had to finish. All supermarket purchased cheeses but pretty good ones - King Island Roaring Forties (a mild blue), a decently matured Jindi Brie and Yea's Cheddar (Yarra Valley). Since we had no dried fruit to put on the platter I substituted some Arnott's fruit biscuits ('fruit pillows')! To help wash it down a bottle of Penfolds Grandfather Tawny (no longer called Port) was opened and it went down a treat - well, about a third to half of a bottle did, the rest will probably last a month or two! Lovely smooth rancio characters, sweet but not cloying. A couple of glasses and some cheese later, Keda's father was falling asleep at the table - mainly due to jetlag and booze rather than any lack of fascinating conversation! - so we called that the end of the night.