When Time Stops Enjoying a Good Meal

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(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Last evening a gourmet meal and hours of conversation with good friends. Opened some very nice wines and enjoyed a wonderful meal. Started out with some appetizers and two Chardonnay’s to sip on. The first was a 2018 Hill Family Reserve Chardonnay. The wine was inoculated with X16 yeast and placed in French oak barrels for 8 months. Just before bottling it was placed in stainless tanks for four weeks. Flavors of peach, caramel and toasted hazelnut & almond were noted. The wine is from Yountville in Napa Valley, California. The second wine was a 2016 Montunal Chardonnay from Lugana, Italy near Lake Garda. The Montunal has received 96 points from Decanter. The owner-winemaker Robert Girelli refers to the wine as being full of “white fruits and picking up the minerality of the area”. He uses only indigenous yeast and ages the wine in stainless steel tanks. The results produce lovely herbal qualities that are “intense and compact”. We commented while sipping the layers of flavors during the meal. We then moved on to dinner, taking the remainder of the wines to enjoy with the meal.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Dinner was prepared by Susan Kelly who once again pulled out all the stops! A Mediterranean spinach tomato Feta cheese stuffed chicken breasts. The flavors pulled one to the shores of Italy with the herbs and spices. The dish was first seared in a skillet and then baked to perfection. Ingredients included in the filling and topping of the chicken breast garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika, chopped spinach, sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped shallot, garlic cloves, chopped fresh basil, gluten free panko, chopped fresh oregano and grated Parmesan cheese. Accompanying the meal was a whole wheat spaghetti and a medley of fresh vegetables consisting of Baby Bella mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Brought out two other wines to enjoy with the meal.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The first being a 2020 Prospect 772 Wine Company called “The Brat”. It is a blend of 87% Grenache and 13% Syrah from Calaveras County in the Sierra foothills. The Grenache blend with the tomato, spices and herbs was beyond excellent. Or as the winemaker Ron calls it “seductive, elegant and complex”. The next bottle was a 2015 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru a white Burgundy (Chardonnay) from France from Domaine Jomain.  A quick background on this wine. It is pronounced “mon-rashay” and is considered to produce some of the most exquisite Chardonnay’s in the world. The community of Puligny-Montrachet is in the eastern Burgundy region. Prior to the addition of Montrachet in 1879, the village was known as Puligny. The Mont-Rachet slope is above the community. Mont means “hill” and rache translates to “scab or rash” built near a quarry. In the western portion of the vineyard is the Les Perrieres Vineyard with “pierre” meaning “stone”.  It is entirely planted in Chardonnay grapes, with just 11 acres with limestone/clay mix soils, allowing the wines to provide both a freshness and minerality. Other grapes from the region include red wines from Pinot Noir. In France, specifically in Burgundy, a wine term called Premier cru or abbreviated “1er cru”, is the second highest classification level. Grand Cru is the demarcation of wines better than Premier cru or 1er cru. Wines from Montrachet are dry and are noted for the richness and structure. Good bottles can range from $100 to almost $3,000, with some being even higher. They possess a varying depth of flavors and are exceedingly rich in texture and aromas.

As I started out stating “when time stops”, as we were now some four plus hours into the meal and robust conversations. That is what a combination of good friends, wonderful food and exquisite wines will produce.









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