Not that we need a special occasion to enjoy wine, but a sunny, four-day herald of Spring is a good excuse to celebrate. My mother-in-law picked up a bottle of Robert Mondavi 2007 Proprietor's Reserve Pinot Noir to have with my 40-cloves-of-garlic leg of lamb on Sunday. I did this recipe last year with good results; this one turned out even better, with my first successful attempt at gravy (you know, that stuff that comes from pan drippings, flour and wine ... not out of a package). I had to take a moment with every bite: the meat was moist and flavourful, riddled with roasted garlic cloves, while the savoury gravy was stick-to-your-ribs delicious. Who knew I could pull something like that off?
All this was crowned with that lovely pinot. I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. Robert Mondavi, in my mind, is kinduv on the same level as Jackson-Triggs: mass-produced, over-manipulated and generic. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this wine most definitely was not. Soft, round tannins, well-structured and overflowing with bright, ripe red berries. Silky mouthfeel, plush finish. Being a warm-climate pinot, it didn't have the same earthy/barnyard/mushroom-ness as its cool-climate cousins. It was a solid representative of the Californian style, and something I will be purchasing again.
(MIL kindly educated me on the difference between bottles bearing the proprietor's name and the company's Woodbridge line. The former are considered higher-end, while the latter is more of the all-purpose variety. I wish Jackson-Triggs did the same, there are a great deal of hidden gems they produce that unfortunately get stuck under the same label as their plonk.)
It was also a great weekend for white Burgundies from my fave producer, Bouchard Père et Fils. We enjoyed a 2006 Mâcon-Lugny Saint-Pierre with Hubby's best Beer-Can Chicken ever, and I pulled out a 2007 Pouilly-Fuisse that went stunningly with brunch on Monday (leftover lamb and chicken, with refried potatoes, a mixed deli platter, and warm croissants.) Truly, this is the way Chardonnay should be: subtle fruit, hint of acid, and pleasant on the palate.
We also quaffed a few of our favourite stand-bys: what has affectionately been dubbed a "keg" (1500 ml) of Ruffino 2007 Orvieto Classico, as well as a Marques de Riscal 2008 Rueda. In retrospect, it would have been wise to have the Rueda before the Orvieto; the former yields a lot more tart citrus and light body than the latter, which is a bit more subtle and medium-bodied.
Us grown-ups were more than happy with our libations. For the Doodle, she was content to chow down on gads of Lindt eggs, the ears off a milk chocolate bunny, and cupcake icing rich enough to make your pancreas ache. Hubby and I made the executive decision that the Cadbury and Turtle eggs she scored from E.B. at Sunday's brunch were far too rich for such a little girl. So we ate them last night. It's hard work, being a parent. Some of the sacrifices you have to make to protect your offspring are quite taxing ...