Sunny Swedish summer, great company, first game of World Cup 2014, a pile of fantastic meat and some tasty wines, can a day be any better?
I and VicSlic were invited to P&G's beautiful villa in Lidingö and thirsty as we were, we started off on their balcony sipping on 2004 Nicole Moncuit Vieille Vigne from Pierre Moncuit. A single vineyard Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs from Les Chétillons in Le Mesnil sur Oger, same as Pierre Peters use for their prestige wine. The vines that produce these chardonnay grapes are over 100 years old and even though this champagne has started to open up a bit there is still a lot of power left for many years of ageing. At the moment it showed generous notes of toasted bread, ripe yellow plums and citrus with a great length. Very good start of the evening.
After this lovely refreshment we moved inside where I quickly cooked a little starter by using some lovely German asparagus that I found on the vegetable market in town. Topped with brown butter, parmesan and prosciutto crudo it turned out to be a great and simple dish along with our next wine. This chardonnay is made by the family of an old colleague of mine in Burgenland in Austria. 2011 Chardonnay Glaggsatz from Mariell was fairly rich and round with a profile that turned to tropical fruits, with a nice use of oak and still balanced up with a good acidity. Thanks to Katharina and Joachim for the bottle.
Now it was time to grill the meat. I bought some salsiccia and flank steak but the highlight was a beautiful piece of well aged T-Bone that just smelled like the finest pata negra ham you could think of.
Instead of grilling all the meat on the big, outdoor BBQ, the host suggested that we should cook the meat inside the open fire place in their living room. Sounds amazing I thought.
While we arranged the logs we started sipping on our 'pause wine'; 2009 d'Alceo which is the prestigious Bordeaux blend from the great Tuscan producer Castello dei Rampolla. This wine, dedicated to Alceo di Napoli, is based on cabernet sauvignon, lightly seasoned with petit verdot. Only a tiny part of the wine stays in new oak as they like to preserve the freshness of the fruit. This is far from the richer Bordeaux blends you find on the Tuscan coast. Here elegance and finesse is the key with a strong resemblance to the best Chateau's on the western side of Bordeaux. Soft tannins and packed with dark berry and mineral notes, yummy!
After we got some nice caramelized surface on the meat I put the 1.6kg heavy T-Bone in a low heat oven and left it there until the thermometer showed 54 degrees Celsius. I took it out and placed it back on the fire for a few more minutes to sear the surface even further and then we cut it up in slices. Wow! The meat tasted even more intense than it smelled. Hazelnuts and matured cheese came to my mind when chewing on the beast. Sauce Béarnaise, salad, veggies and oven roasted potatoes was served on the side.
We had two big wines from southern France together with the meats; the first, 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes from Domaine de la Janasse. This top wine from the producer is made from old wines planted between 50 to 100 years ago which gives the wine its concentration and endless length. Red, intensive plum fruit mixed with smoked meat and fresh cut herbs. Still with a fresh acidity that kept the wine balanced and firm.
Second wine was way more bombastic and rich in its texture. 2... Saint Jean du Barroux comes from the high mountain Mount Ventoux in the norther part of Provence. Philippe Gimel, who runs the property, used to work for both Domaine de la Janasse and Câteau de Beaucastel before he bought these 10 hectares in Ventoux. The wine is un-oaked to really show the fruit in its purest form. I can't remember if I ever tried a wine that had such a pronounced nose of "garrigue", which is the low growing vegetation in this part of France. Bay leaves, thymes, rosemary, sage and lavender, you name it and it was in the wine, concentrated and intense. The herbal notes were paired with an massive blueberry-like fruit that developed two minutes later into licorice and raspberry. A very impressive wine and fun to try even though I preferred the Janasse. I understand that the wine got high points from Robert Parker.
The game between the host, Brazil and Croatia was accompanied with two more bottles; 2006 Symposium Pinot Noir from Fort Ross in Sonoma Coast and 2006 Château Cambon la Pelouse on Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux.
Both wines went down easily together with the football, and how it went in the game you all know.