Boy’s Night – Indian Themed
How many times have you worked yourself into a frenzy preparing for a special dinner or large dinner party only to be let down by the whole affair? Last Thursday was Boy’s Night and despite all the careful preparation, it just didn’t measure up to my expectations, well, at least the food portion. A couple of people couldn’t make it and I cooked too much food; 5 different dishes and nearly enough to feed twice as many people. Such a waste. Without my wife (dishwasher, prep wench, taste tester and cheerleader) around to help me out, I didn’t have time to really serve up the food with a nice presentation as you can tell from the picture above. And to top it all off, a few of the recipes just didn’t turn out right. Way too bland. Lessons learned from this are:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Don’t try untested recipes on anyone except yourself and your spouse.
Great food presentation makes the food more appetizing.
That doesn’t mean that the wines weren’t great. They were fantastic despite the challenge of pairing them with spicy Indian food. The 2007 Dry Stack Rosé of Syrah was a great starter with fresh dry flavors of grapefruit and a nice mineral finish. We paired this with a variety of cheeses to start. To cleanse the palate (as if we needed to), we had a 2004 Giaconda Chardonnay, Victoria. Initially tight but eventually revealing notes of butter and a hint of honeysuckle followed by flavors of spiced apples and a touch of citrus. It was rich yet understated and it paired well with the hummus and pita bread that Khaled brought. I know, hummus isn’t Indian, but it was damn good.
I opened a bottle of 2003 Weingut Karlsmühle Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Spätlese to go with our dinner. Strong diesel and floral aromas really let me know this was a good German Mosel Riesling. The dinner wasn’t that spicy but the delicate honey-like sweetness of ripe fruit combined with good acidity and long mineral finish was refreshing nonetheless. It brought out the flavorful Indian spices in the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Lamb Curry. The 2008 Abeja Viognier, Walla Walla Valley was also great with the food. Almost as heavy on the palate as the Riesling, its spicy springtime floral perfume and crisp citrus, pear and apricot flavors complemented the Saag Paneer and the lentils as well as the outdoor season.
Following dinner, our dessert was a 2005 Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. So much better than I remember from my tasting at the winery. A big mouth-filling wine that was almost a meal in itself. Dessert is a good description with all the aromas and flavors of mocha, dark cherry, black currants with big oak vanilla. Not overpowering oak but nicely balanced and well integrated with a long lingering finish that reminded me of the Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabs. It’s easy to see how this received a WS 94 rating. Firm tannins suggest that I should wait a few more years before opening the other 3 bottles I have, but it could be difficult when it drinks so nicely right now. If I had paid $70 to $85 for this when released, it might have been a little disappointing, but at $42.50 a bottle, I’m thrilled with this wine.
I hope that despite the food, Steve, Megan, Marvin and Khaled had a good time. Special thanks to Dr. Maxood for bringing some of the wines. I’m looking forward to the next Boys Night.