The DC8, it's our secret society whose rites and rituals are devoted to the pursuit of the perfect pairing; innovative food combined with artisanal wine and spirits, and not to mention mostly silly and sometimes engaging conversation. The members remain nameless so as not to suffer any negative consequences for acknowledging their membership or to jeopardize their reputations as serious wine professionals and enthusiasts.
February's meeting added a new addition (+1) to the group, we'll call her Lavern to keep her identity hidden, who flew solo as her partner was unavailable that night. Little did she know, Lavern's continued membership was tenuous as she missed the first meeting, an inexcusable act according to the unwritten rules. But even after arriving late, she has given the nod of approval with her efforts for the "all food must be yellow" theme.
Having been assigned the cocktail and an amuse bouche, Lavern and her absent partner created an electric yellow cocktail offering a refreshing eye opener to Mardi Gras weary participants with the combination of Galiano, Gin, lemon juice and simple syrup garnished with fresh lemon slice. The amuse, a Parmesan frico of roasted fennel, crab meat, yellow heirloom tomatoes and yellow bell pepper was gone in seconds, which is why there is no photo, and was paired beautifully with the cocktail.
The cold started course, Oysters Yellow Two Ways, was an unexpected delight of freshly shucked oysters, one topped with a yellow heirloom tomato cocktail sauce and the other with a yellow pepper salsa drizzled in raspberry champagne vinegar minuet served with a fresh slice of blood orange. Accompanied by what we call, in very technical industry lingo, the "crazy wine" by Abe Schoener, whose wines are known for pushing the envelope. The Scholium Project Prince in His Caves, is an enigma in itself. An unfiltered, skin fermented Sauvignon Blanc that is aged in new oak fills your glass with a cloudy yellow, viscous juice that looks more like a Belgian beer than wine. It opens with aromas of pink grapefruit juice, but as it hits your palate there are complex notes of honey, minerals and spice with a dry and "tannin-like" astringency at the back end and a finish that never ends. A true wine geeks wine, it was my favorite white of the evening and a close tie for best wine of the night!
The warm starter by couple #3, was Spiced Crab and Corn Bisque with a blend of fresh jalapeno and red bell peppers, and garnished with lime and yellow tortilla chips. A beautifully creamy yellow color with a rich texture and the perfect spicy finish, this soup worked very well with both wines provided. A Chardonnay and Semillion blend, Betsy's Backacher Blonde from Spann Vineyards offered enough weight and fruit to balance out the cream and spice, while the acid and saline backbone of the Martin Codax Albarino was a great compliment as well.
Our hosts provided the entree, a Braised Short Rib Ravioli Au Jus topped with Wilted Rainbow Chard, which although the saffron did not add enough yellow color to the pasta, was my favorite dish of the evening. Big meat filled ravioli swimming in the light beef broth, when washed down with the amazing 2004 Sette Ponti Crognolo from Tuscany, melted in your mouth finishing with the crunchy texture of the wilted chard. The wine was my favorite, a refined, stylish blend of Sangiovese and Merlot that combines lush, concentrated fruit with a palate of ripe wild cherries, black fruit, leather and vanilla with silky tannins. Delizioso!
We were assigned the dessert and wanted to stay away from the usual yellow suspects of lemon or banana, so we decided on Pina Colada Panna Cotta, a coconut milk panna cotta swimming in a puree of roasted pineapple, topped with toasted coconut and a dollop of creme fraiche. To complete the Pina Colada theme, we served with a aged Caribbean rum in our hosts' elegant cordial glasses. I was happy with the outcome, and the clean plates, empty bottle of rum and looks of contentment made it the perfect finish to a perfect evening. We are having way to much fun with this!!
We decided that Lavern is a keeper, as she created awesome yellow dishes and was able to demonstrate the secret handshake with one attempt. However the next theme may present a challenge to the new comer as "Classic Rock" is on the books for the DC 9 March meeting!