WBW #66 & SHF #62: Lillypilly Noble Blend Paired with Chai Apple Galette

Here’s the truth: If I’d known how incredibly wonderful, how complex, how fascinating this Lillypilly 2002 Noble Blend was going to be, I wouldn’t have been so selfish and opened it tonight for Wine Blogging Wednesday #66, , hosted by Jennifer Hamilton, The Domestic Goddess who asked us to think about dessert FIRST. Read her blog post,  Your Tenderest Twosome.

I also wouldn’t have opened it had I known it would cost me $40 to replace it–if I could find it at all. (I do admit I have a 2006 which has a $13 price tag).

I should have suspected it would be outstanding. After all, I bought it at a Grateful Palate Imports Warehouse Sale on the advice of Dan Phillips, and just about everything I’ve had from those sales has wowed me.

This wine was the 12th and last bottle of a case that Dan Phillips, owner of the Grateful Palate, helped me pick out. I had said I wanted something sweet but not too sweet, that I liked ports but wanted something a little different, maybe something white. Dan said he knew exactly the wine for me: it wasn’t out on display, as part of the sale, so he sent Tim Coles to find a bottle for me in the back.

Tim came out with a Lillypilly 2002 Noble Blend. I don’t remember exactly how much Dan charged me for it; I do remember thinking it was a little more than I wanted to spend for a 375 ml bottle of a wine I knew nothing about except his recommendation (and at that time, I knew nothing about what his recommendation meant!) My guess is I paid around $15 because if it had been more than $20, I would have said no, and if it was less than $10 I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

But before I get more deeply into the wine, let me address some of the parameters of the prompt. Jennifer argues that while most meals end with a dessert and coffee or a dessert wine, the pairing often comes as an after thought, without as much care as the rest of the meal.

Obviously she’s never been to dinner at our house! We like dessert, we like ports, we like late harvest wines, and recently, I’ve discovered fine sherries and madeiras. Not only are we fond of dessert, but I love to bake and create simple, easy yet memorable desserts.

I was definitely up for the challenge and devoted a significant portion of my day to shopping and preparing our meal and dessert.


Although I wasn’t sure what the wine would be like, when I went to figure out my menu, I hoped it might be similar to Bonny Doon’s 2008 Vinferno, a blend of grenache blanc and rousanne, which I adore–and not just because of the name!

I suspected it would be interesting with Continue reading

Wine Blogging Wednesday #66 Meet Sugar High Fridays

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday host, Jennifer Hamilton of The Domestic Goddess offers a first dual event between WBW and Sugar High Friday which has been going almost as long as WBW: 66 months vs 62.

The Domestic Goddess suggests the following theme: Your Tenderest Twosome:

“Most meals end with dessert and coffee or a glass of liqueur. The focus on the meal is long since gone, as is the wine. Guests are getting sleepy, hosts are getting antsy about the clean-up ahead of them and no one is paying attention to what they’re eating or drinking anymore. I think this is shameful. Every once in a while, dessert deserves the attention given to a main course…

The proper pairing of a sugary confection with a good wine is a difficult thing to maneuver. I have seen it done a few times in restaurants, once or twice at dinner parties and maybe done it once myself – and I almost certainly managed it by accident. Do you go sweeter with the wine than the dessert or match it? Do you go red or white or ice? Do you try to harmonize regions or go completely off the map (so to speak) with your choice…?

Shf_logo You have the chance to decide all this and more for yourself this month with the first ever joint SHF-WBW Dessert-Wine Pairing Event! All bloggers (food, wine or otherwise) are welcome to participate. Post your entry on Wednesday, February 24.”

So what will I taste and write about? You know I love my ports…and I just received a bottle of Twisted Oak Pig Stai in a recent wine shipment. And then there’s that bottle of Kachina Port on the shelf that I got at the Wine Bloggers Conference. But I have a few other ideas up my sleeve…like a 2002 or a 2006 Lillypilly Noble Blend from AUS which I picked up at Grateful Palate Warehouse sales on the advice of owner Dan Phillips and would be a new wine and a new winery for me. Or I could go with a familiar and local winery, Old Creek Ranch Winery, and try their ice wine, a typed of wine I’ve never had before.

So what will I be in the mood for? Something familiar? or something brand new? Guess now I need to do some research in the dessert department to figure out what I want to pair with what!

Thanks, Jennifer, for offering us a challenge!

P.S. I Love You Presents “Dark & Delicious”

Tonight P.S. I Love You, a Petite Sirah advocacy group led by Jo Diaz, presents “Dark & Delicious” to Petite Sirah and foodie fans who can get to the SF Bay Area tonight,  Friday night February 19, 2010.

I am one of those Petite Sirah fans who thought she could get there. But alas, no. Life intervened–my husband had a major accident and that will curtail our travels and activities for the next three months.

And so instead of joining Petite Sirah fans up there to taste PS from 45 wineries, I will join them via cyber space, tasting and tweeting PS I Love You and a blog post too tomorrow. I pulled from my cellar a Twisted Oak PS 2006 from a recent Twisted Few shipment and winemaker Michael Meagher gave me 2007 Napa PS from Old Creek Ranch Winery for the occasion. (Hmmn, I know Twisted Oak is a member of PS I Love You and I bet El Jefe himself will be there tonight; I wonder if Old Creek Ranch Winery is a member yet?)

And instead of trying all those fabulous foods from the amazing restaurants represented at Dark & Delicious, well, since we can’t leave the house because of that injury to my spouse, the plan is to bring food home from Main Course and Prime Steakhouse.

Oh and if this post makes you want to attend, unless you already have tickets, you’ll have to go with me next year because it sold out a week ago.

Live Twitter Tasting Focuses on California Cabernet Sauvs Thurs. February 11

Rick Bakas has organized a tasting of California Cabernet Sauv’s using 140 character comments on twitter for Thursday February 11. From 5-5:30pm, participants will taste and tweet first about cab wines from the southern  portion of the state (Paso Robles and down) from 5-5:30pm, taste and tweet about cabs from the middle region of the state from 5:30-6pm, then taste and tweet about cabs from the northern reaches from 6-7pm.

He encourages us to live it up and open, taste and tweet about wines from each region. I’m not sure whether I will do that; I do know that I will tasting and tweeting about wines made by Michael Meagher, winemaker for Vino V and Old Creek Road Winery. I wish I could make it to the Old Creek Ranch Winery,  and do this tasting with him,  but I’ll be here doing it at home. Next time!

Will you be joining in the fun? If so, use the hashtag #CaliCabs. You might also want to do a search and column on that hashtag so you can see what everyone else is tasting and saying.