Location: 7131 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia. 215-242-6470
Date: Nov 24, 2010
Cuisine: Modern American
Our traditional family feast, which we could dub the Thanksgavin, begins with the Wednesday night forefeast (to borrow a term from the Greek orthodox). In 2010 it was at an American place in Germantown outside of Philadelphia, called Umbria. Curiously the name might lead one to believe it was an Italian restaurant, but no. regardless, it was very good. There were 14 of us.
We really don’t mess around with the wines at these dinners. For the white lovers we had a brand new “2009 J.J. Prum Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr SpatleseFrom the sultry bouquet which exudes saline minerality, bounded by a medley of baked pear, raspberry, and lime skins…to the sweet, succulent attack of white fig, lemon and lime skins, and orange cream…to the mid-palate laden with pepper and dark blueberry and candied Meyer lemon flavors…I think that you can get the picture. Namely, this rich, vibrant wine is one of the most complex I have had the pleasure of tasting in 2010! Lithe minerality is present on the back palate and rich lemon ice notes reverberate on the 75+…yes, more than 75 second…finish. Pure ecstasy in a bottle? Quite possibly so!”
Next up. Parker gives the Nuits-St.-Georges 93 points, “An assortment of candied cherries explode from the glass of the 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges Les Perrieres. This seductive wine’s character is drenched in black cherry syrup, rocks, and earth. Medium-bodied, it has outstanding depth, concentration, and a long, expressive finish that reveals copious quantities of ripe tannin. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2018.”
Then the 91 point “2004 Brunello di Montalcino is a fresh, vibrant offering bursting with dark cherries, violets, underbrush, minerals and sweet toasted oak on a medium-bodied frame. The wine reveals terrific balance in an energetic, focused style, with firm yet ripe tannins. The finish is long, clean and refreshing. This is a gorgeous effort from Loacker. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019.”
And then the 94 point, “2005 Shardana is an awesome Carignano endowed with exuberant dark fruit, smoke, licorice, sage, rosemary and tar. This is a fairly big, masculine wine with great intensity, depth and roundness. It needs another year or two in bottle for the tannins to settle down. The Shardana is formidable, though, and a terrific choice for hearty cuisines. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2021.”
The menu tonight.
The room, or at least half of it.
“Roasted butternut squash ravioli, sage hazelnut and wild mushrooms.” A fall take on an italian classic.
“Mixed green salad, asagio cheese, balsamic vinaigrette.”
“grilled fennel sausage, sweet and spicy fig sauce.” Wow! Wow! The sausage itself was amazing, and the sauce was basically what you would get at a thai or vietnamese place for fried spring rolls. Wow! The combo was amazing, with the sweet tangy goodness against the rich meaty sausage.
Special “crab and wild mushroom soup.”
“Filet of salmon, cedar roasted, maple glaze.”
“lump crabmeat, fresh herbs, extra dry vermouth.” This emphasized the crab, without a lot of added fat or butter. It worked.
“Pork loin chop, apple bourbon grilling sauce.”
Grilled swordfish special.
Beef short rib special. The meat was seriously falling from the bone here, with a wonderful smoky flavor.
Hmmm. Not sure. But it was a white meat or fish 🙂 This might have been the swordfish, and the above the chicken. Hard to remember.
For the deserts, it was time to bring out the big guns — sweet wise — the motor oil vicous PX. Pure sugar in a bottle. Yum!
Carmel almond sundae. Wow! This was amazing too. The nuts toasted into a praline like whatever, and the homemade carmel with a bit of sea salt.
Pound cake with fruit.
Classic “creme carmel.” Good, and I love flan, but not as divine as the sundae.
Wednesday night dinner