A Delicious Spring Progressive

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 
Steven has done it again!  Another wonderful meal at Tastings that included not only great dishes, but some great wines as well.  For all those who didn't show up, I have to say thank you because our portions were a bit larger, which left my stomach very happy!

Aperitif - Cherry Blossom Cocktail
Pink in color, I sipped and was immediately reminded of cherry 7-up.  The fizz, the flavors, it all was light and refreshing with that slight imitation flavor you sometimes get when using flavored products.  It was made of vodka, sake and Nuvo - a good sipping beverage.

First Course - 2009 Folonari Soave served with Asparagus Crostini
The wine was clean and crisp, perfect for the crostini that we were served.  A lightly toasted baguette had the perfect crunch, and was topped with a homemade ricotta of TPC whole milk and goat cheese.  The creamy cheese was the perfect accompaniment to the thinly shaved asparagus.  The perfect spring vegetable was dressed in lemon-mint vinaigrette.  I loved the sweetness of added honey with the asparagus.  Simple, refreshing, perfect.

Second Course - 2009 Dom. Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier served with Salmon Nicoise
I loved the bottle - it had braille on it which we learned was for a family member of the winery.   Sharp, berry smelling and tasting, it was paired with cured Atlantic salmon.  A dijon mustard-cured salmon was slightly salty, but creamy on the palate.  Served with deeply roasted green beans and gold potatoes.  The earthy potatoes were paired perfectly with a subtly salty olive vinaigrette and shaved manchego cheese.

Third Course - 2009 Renato Ratti 'Ochetti' Nebbiolo d'Alba served with Basil Crusted Duck
What my friend Rachel dubbed as a 'friendly' bottle, this was a sweeter red that both red-wine lovers and non-lovers alike could share.  The duck fat was rendered before being finished in the oven to a perfect medium rare.  Crunchy panko was mixed with basil and covered the duck for a perfect crunch and smooth texture.  This was served on a creamy sunchoke puree.  Sunchokes are similar to the sweet taste of a parsnip, which was great with the chanterelle jus, rich in rosemary flavors.  Even my friend Melinda, who had never eaten duck before, finished her dish wanting more.

Final Course - 2009 Dom. de margui 'Vin De Pays Du Var' Rose served with Rainbow Sorbet
The wine wasn't memorable, but the kumquat sorbet was.  We were served three different sorbets: lime, kumquat and raspberry.  The raspberry was sweet, the lime tart, and the kumquat just right.  Perfectly cleansing, I really enjoyed the flavors.  These were served with shards of an almond-sugar cookie, both crunchy but soft, thick with the almond extract flavor.

A great evening with many flavors.  I loved the variety: some cheese, seafood, protein and a dessert.  Everything was light - exactly how Spring should be in dishes.  Thank you again for a wonderful evening Steven and all the staff at Tastings!