Before dinner, though, I spent most of the day playing in my first beach volleyball tournament of the year. I was playing with a new partner and it took us awhile to gel but we finished with a couple of strong wins. It was sunny most of the day with a high in the mid-70s. There was a mischievous breeze which wreaked havoc on our sets but kept things nice and temperate.
In our seven-team pool we won two games and lost four. We had a lot of fun, though, and our conditioning was good--we were still playing well while some other teams were sucking wind toward the end. We finished either #5 or #6 out of the seven teams so I'll be looking to improve a lot in subsequent tournaments.
I made it back home just in time for a birthday dinner that Katie was hosting for me. She put together an awesome meal, I chose wine pairings, and we shared the experience with some of our good friends. We began the evening with caviar (black bowfin) and Krug Champagne Grand Cuvee Brut. The Krug was delicious, full bodied with elegant bubbles and lots of green apple.
We then sat down for Katie's now-famous roasted beet bruschetta supported by a strawberry salad. This paired exquisitely with the 2005 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume' de Pouilly, which filledthe mouth with acidity and fruit/mineral notes, then provided a long, balanced finish. It was one of the best whites I've ever tasted!
For dinner Katie had broiled halibut in a spicy red cherry sauce with wild rice and mushrooms on the side. This was as appropriate as fish could ever be with the 2000 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova. We decanted this one for two hours before drinking and it was gorgeous. Lots of cherry, spice, and a long, layered finish. We have two more bottles of this in the cellar and I look forward to seeing how it continues to age.
Finally, the piece-de-resistance: dessert! Katie labored all afternoon to make dark chocolate truffles! She made two batches, one infused with lavender and one with Gran Marnier--both delicious! To round out our meal we opened a bottle of 2000 Gould-Campbell Porto Vintage. This was filtered (Thank goodness! There was a LOT of sediment!) and decanted three hours prior and probably could have benefited from a few hours more. It was rich and syrupy and a great companion for the dark, brooding truffles. Five bottles of this remain in the cellar so we'll see how this one matures over the next decade or two.
What an absolutely fabulous meal! In the middle of all the chaos in the rest of my life it felt so good just to relax and be a little hedonistic for an evening. Great wine, great food, and great company; I truly am blessed!