Thanksgiving in my family is always an opportunity for epic gluttony — home cooked gluttony at that — hence the ThanksGavin nomenclature. This year we were back in Los Angeles for only the second time in decades, blending cooking and recipes from both my side and my wife’s side in an all around cooperative cooking fest.
Let’s review some of the prep like this rathere hacked Kosher turkey.
The open neck was “surgically sealed” before it went on the BBQ.
We had enough people we needed 2!
The finbished product pre-carving.
And drippings to be transformed into gravy.
NV Demière-Ansiot Champagne Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs. VC 90+. The new release of the consistently excellent non-vintage Blanc de Blancs bottling from Demière-Ansiot was disgorged in December of 2014 and is base year 2011, with a finishing dosage of six grams per liter. The thirty percent reserve wines used here hail from 2010 and 2008. The youthful bouquet wafts from the glass in a classic blend of pear, apple, a touch of fresh almond, incipient notes of crème patissière, chalky minerality, brioche and a topnote of apple blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still youthfully snappy, with a lovely core, excellent mousse, crisp acids and a long, pure and beautifully balanced finish. This is certainly approachable today, but I will keep my bottles tucked away for a couple of years to allow this wine to come forward a bit from behind its fine structure.
2005 Gramona Cava III Lustros Gran Reserva. 90 points. Light brioche on the nose with dried lemons and limes, and ripe pear. Nice dry finish and some minerality but overall palate lacks depth and complexity.
The appetizer hour in the drawing room.
Olives, dates, tomatos.
People then move into the dining room.
2006 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières. VC 92. The 2006 Leflaive Folatières shows even more ripeness than any wine that has come before it in the cellar, with an extravagant and exotic profile on both the nose and palate. The bouquet is a mix of very ripe apples and peaches, honeysuckle, honeycomb and some chalky soil tones. On the palate the wine is a bit fresher on the attack than the nose promises, with good mid-palate stuffing, fine focus and complexity, but some heat penetrating through the fruit on the long finish that closes nicely with a note of lemon oil.
Butternut squash soup. For a long time during “development” this soup tasted too much like boxed chicken stock — but after adding some Remi Martin XO, a bunch of black pepper, ginger, and cinnanom and cooking it down it was redeemed. It came out delicious.
1983 Domaine Robert Arnoux / Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots. 94 points. An awesome mature red Burg.
2004 Cantine del Castello di Conti Boca Il Rosso delle Donne. AG 92. The 2004 Boca Il Rosso delle Donne shimmers on the palate with layers of fruit, mineral, and herbs. Stylistically the 2004 is a much more expansive, generous wine than the 2005, with layers of fruit that radiate with notable energy through to the mineral-laced finish. This fresh, vibrant and impeccably pure wine is a jewel.
Seb brought: 2014 Melville Syrah Estate Donna’s. parker 97. Even better, with more depth, density and ripeness, the 2014 Syrah Donna’s offers overflowing notes of olive tapenade, salted beef, licorice, black olive, peppery herbs and cured meats, with tons of ripe currants, fresh plum and smoked black cherry fruit. Full-bodied, elegant and seamless, with fabulous purity and persistence, I wouldn’t push the aging curve, but it’s a killer wine that will provide tons of pleasure over the coming 7-8 years.
Sweet potato “pie” with walnuts.
Gravy. reduced from the drippings and neck meat.
Spicy cranberry chutney – my favorite.
Spiced green beans and carrots. Great color and a nice crunch.
Spicy beet greens my brother cooked.
Cauliflower with walnuts and raisins.
The annual plate.
Seb brought: 2014 Bodegas Alto Moncayo Garnacha Campo de Borja. 92 points. big rounded Spainish Grenache.
NV Gonzalez-Byass Pedro Ximénez Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Viejo Noé (30 Years/Años). WD 17.5. A 100% PX wine. Caramel, molasses, Christmas pudding on the nose. Rich, oily, toffee sauce style of wine, with nuts and raisins. Really over the top; impressive, but I don’t know if I would actually want more than a mouthful. I suspect it would be really good with ice cream though.
And all handmade my me, artisanal sorbetti. Left to right: espresso, strawberry, and cherry-cassis. The texture came out textbook perfect in all 3 cases. The espresso would be better with milk, but the two fruit ones have amazing flavor.
All in all and extremely successful feast. Cooking was a shared affair between my the whole family on both sides and oodles of excellent dishes abounded. So much good home cooked food! So little room in the stomach.