A Great Meal and 3 Wonderful Wines — 4 Winners in Total

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Saturday night’s dinner was a smash hit! Started out with an Alaskan salmon appetizer. Pan fried in butter, olive oil, garlic, bourbon, white wine, minced purple onion and capers. Served on sliced baguette, half toasted in olive oil/butter and half just plain. Added cream cheese, capers and minced purple onion. Also a bacon smoked Gouda cheese and crackers were plated.

Served with a 2013 Léal Vineyards Cabernet Franc from San Benito, the Popescu Terrace Estate Vineyard. This area is located in California’s Central Coast AVA in San Benito County in the Uvas Valley that is inland from the coast.

The wine was dark violet on the eye and medium viscosity. On the nose, cherries and a hint of cedar. On the mouth a wondrous blend of blueberry, plum and chocolate. The 2013 Cabernet Franc had mild tannins and strong oak but was exceptionally smooth and silky with a long lasting finish. A great pairing with both the salmon and Gouda bacon cheese.

Next up was the entrée of carne asada. This was similar to the recipe about ten days ago but more Habanero peppers were used with the seeds (4).  Cooked in a cast iron skillet, the skirt steak was prepared with fresh squeezed juice from both a lime and orange, soy sauce, garlic, cilantro, Habanero peppers and Chipotle peppers in an Adobo sauce put into a plastic bag and left to marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The bag and meat were turned and shaken frequently.

Accompanying this was a very spicy shrimp dish with garlic. The jumbo shrimp was prepared with olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, seafood seasoning, fresh lemon zest and juice.

With the above two entrée dishes, three sides were served. The first was Mexican Street Corn off the Cob. This was cooked in a cast iron skillet and prepared with unsalted butter, corn with kernels removed, mayonnaise, freshly grated cotija cheese, smoked paprika, chopped green onion and a small amount of salt & pepper. The other side dishes was a 7 layer fresh garden salad. Grilled garlic French bread also accompanied the meal.

 A fresh baked Meyer lemon pie was served for dessert. Unfortunately it was eaten too quickly to take any pictures!!!  Seriously that is how good it tasted!

Two wines were served for the meal. The first was a 2012 Crocker & Starr Casali Five from Napa Valley. This was a blend of 82% Malbec and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. Typical of Pam Starr’s Casali, the percentages change yearly, but all are always on the eyes a dark purple coloration and medium viscosity. On the nose and palate, raspberry, dark plum and floral aromas abound. The acidity was mellow and the tannins were rounded and silky smooth. The current release will be “Casali 12” and will be out in April 2021.

The other wine served was from Castillo de Cuzcurrita and it was their 2015 Señorío de Cuzcurrita Rioja from Spain. This has become one of my favorite new wines. On the eyes, a dark ruby red color with medium viscosity. On the nose aromas of blue and black fruits that open up in the mouth as blueberry with strong hints of toasted oak, cocoa, minerality, toffee and licorice. The finish is powerful but still elegant and flavorful.

Both wines were equally excellent with the meal. So after some three and half hours the evening dinner and conversation concluded with the four of us “stuffed to the gills”.  It was a wonderful meal and three spectacular wines. Special thanks to Susan Kelly for preparing an exquisite meal!








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