|Larry's Market, Brown Deer Village|
|Larry, with his signature beret.|
|The James Gang; our cousin, right, at the end.|
|1860s Brunswick mahogany bar, Blue Eye, MO|
|Tobin James Wine Tasting Room|
"Lagrein is an ancient grape variety that finds its home in the sunny vineyards of Trentino-Alto Adige in northeastern Italy. Its wines are strong and full bodied with plum and wild cherry flavors, and the variety is particularly well known for the deep, dense color it imparts on wines. Lagrein has a characteristically north-Italian fresh, acidic structure and a slightly astringent finish, making it best paired with food.
The grape is most probably native to the region, and is thought to take its name from the town of Val Lagarina in Trentino. It has certainly been grown in this area for hundreds of years, and is first mentioned in texts that date back as far as the 16th Century. Other theories give Lagrein a Greek origin, suggesting that it is closely related to wines that were once made around the city of Lagaria in Greece. DNA testing has suggested Teroldego as a possible parent, supporting the theory that the variety is native to Italy's Alpine northwest." A description on line reports that this ancient and little known grape is being grown in the New World, especially in Argentina and in California.
It is quite interesting that Lance Silver and Tobin James have tried very unusual wine varietals in the past. I wrote at this site in the past about a Tobin James varietal wine, called Refosco. See the following link: http://renraeretire.blogspot.com/2012/05/exciting-wine-new-to-me-but-not-to.html
As an interesting aside, the Lagrein grape comes from a similar area as the Refosco grape. Trentino, an area in northern Italy, is named in both of their origins.
|A grouping of Tobin James wines with the famous logo.|
Getting back to our dinner party: Tobin James makes a late harvest Zinfandel, I believe, every year. It is called "Liquid Love." I have purchased a lot of bottles of this wine over the last few years and there were still a couple bottles left from our "James Gang" club orders. This was the perfect sweeter dessert wine to serve with Larry's Market Chocolate Decadence Cake. At that Tobin James tasting bar, a few pieces of semi sweet chocolate are placed on a napkin when Liquid Love is poured. I believe it is unusual to make a 'late harvest' zinfandel, though since so much zinfandel is grown in the Central Coast of California, there are a number of late harvest zinfandels bottled. I just have learned that the typical "Liquid Love" vintage can be 35 brix at harvest; this is a lot of sugar. Yet the wine is not overly sweet and is often classified as a semi-dry wine. That is because it is made in a style that ferments most of that sugar to alcohol, reaching often over 17% alcohol, making it very Port-like. Our guests certainly enjoyed the Liquid Love.
Here are a couple photos of our Saturday night celebrations:
Our sons gave my husband a very nice birthday present: a gift certificate to Sanford's, our favorite restaurant in Milwaukee. I guess after 49 years of marriage, I deserve to get to go along for a wonderful dinner, on my husband's actual birthday evening.
|The intimate Sanford Restaurant, Milwaukee, East Side|
|Intimate Interior of Sanford Restaurant.|
|Hard salty and spicy breadsticks welcome on every table.|
with Happy 80th Birthday written in frosting with some whipped cream and a candle at the end. So we really had 9 courses -- that is 9 different plates of food. The first of the seven courses was a goat
sausage with goat cheese yogurt drizzled with apricot honey and sprinkled with toasted walnut pieces, served with a Spanish sparkling rose wine. Cindy, I bet you could smell that goat even from
Indianapolis. The second course was a sea scallop with some veggies and a mole sauce served with a German Riesling; which was my favorite course. Then there was swordfish with sauteed baby fiddle head ferns; served with a Vouvray chenin blanc wine from the Loire Valley which was my favorite wine; then a grilled piece of quail with heritage potato pieces with salmon roe and an Argentinian malbec wine. Last savory course was grilled tenderloin with mashed potatoes and finely slivered
carrots and other root veggies served with a very nice Sonoma Zinfandel. Then there was a palette cleanser -- a sweet coconut soup with a dollop of lime sorbet floating in it. The dessert was an
espresso chocolate cake with coconut sorbet, chocolate sauce and roasted peanuts., served with a sweet bordeaux white wine. Then came Amos' Happy Birthday plate. Then coffee. It was a very fun evening. The surprises on the palette were fabulous. And many people around us were also trying the Surprise Menu so one could share the tastes. I thank our sons so much for this wonderful evening. We enjoyed it very very much.
|Goat sausage with goat milk yogurt, apricot honey and roasted walnuts. Yummy!|
|Swordfish with ferns and apricots.|
|Quail with salmon roe and veggies.|
So now my husband is 80 years old and we are completely satiated. Wonderful!