Wednesday, January 22, 2014


The dinner party for 10 last night went off without a hitch, which was no mean feat, considering my relative inexperience hosting large groups for sit-down dinners and wine tastings.

At each place setting were wine analysis sheets, rating the wines' appearance, bouquet, and taste/texture.  We do our wine tasting first, and then share a meal, and since the theme for this tasting was "Big Reds," I served a Prime Rib with Yorkshire Puddings, mapled yams, a large salad, and chocolate mousse for dessert.

One of my neighbors is an enologist for a westside winery, and since he's in our winery's Wine Club, I invited him and his partner to join us for the festivities.  There were some interesting discussions on corks, winemaking, and Old World vs. New World wines, which I found fascinating. The great thing about wine is that, when the conversation turns to "industry talk, " it's still always happy and enjoyable conversation, filled with laughter and learning.

In order to keep strong smells out of the house (essential when doing sensory analysis of wine) I used the propane barbecue outside to cook the prime rib, and luckily was about to get it to a steady 325 degrees and cook it perfectly.  The Yorkshire Puddings were the big hit of the night, I think mainly because people were pleasantly surprised to learn they were not going to be forced to eat actual pudding at dinner.

An the chocolate mousses were devoured as well, including the vegan ones I made for my guests with dietary restrictions (who bought an incredible grains and mushroom casserole as their main course, which was absolutely delicious -- I snuck a bite!).  I actually enjoyed the vegan mousse as well, especially with the coconut milk whipped cream I used as a topping.

And the big wine winner for the night was this beauty:

Unbelievably soft and full-bodied, full of lovely fruit notes but with enough tannins to perfectly balance the wine.  I am not exaggerating when I say this is absolutely, hands-down, the best Pinot I've ever had the pleasure to taste.  Ever.


  1. Oooooh I would love to drop in on one of these wine-people dinner parties. I'm happy to read it was a success! It really is amazing just how much work goes into a party like this. I would also love to try your Yorkshire pudding. It's one of those things you have to make yourself because they are always bad in restaurants.
    And I am now going to search for that Pinot noir. Yumm.

    1. I literally worked all day, but some things were things I just felt like I needed to do (like bathe the dog lol!). But when it all goes off without a hitch -- what a feeling of success when you see everyone enjoying themselves! I will make a little post with my Yorkshire pudding recipe so you have it, it really is divine and so very easy.