Saturday, August 05, 2006


Last night, we had friends over for dinner. This dinner was part of a series of Christmas gifts to coworkers and friends. The idea was for the wife and I to work on our hospitality. We had taken a spiritual gifts inventory at our church a few years ago and on a scale of 0 to 5, 0 being least hospitable and 5 being most hospitable, I scored a zero! Therefore, I had some work to do, and figured that during the process of improvement we would get to have some good meals, with good drink, in good company.
For the wife and I, this was the best dinner of the series so far. The meal felt the most complete of all that we have prepared, with various dishes complementing each other nicely, as well as great ale and wine to match. We served hickory-smoked ribs grilled in a dry rub the wife made and that I cooked on our charcoal grill for the better part of the day. Additional dishes included a barbecue macaroni salad, corn with zucchini and thyme, Asiago cheese bread, and a green salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and feta cheese. The ales were St. Peter's English Ale and Deschutes Brewery's Brush Fire Summer Ale, both of which were great accompaniments to the ribs.

The star of the night, however, other than the ribs, had to be the wine. Being less than a novice wine drinker, I have relied upon the knowledge of Puyallup's local wine shop, Corkscrew Cellars, to provide the fine wine for our dining pleasure. They have recommended wine for each menu of our dinner series. When I mentioned the ribs they sent me in the direction of their Spanish wines. I went home with the 2002 Oristan Crianza (70% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet, 10% Shiraz) from Juan Ramon Lozano vineyards in the La Mancha region of Spain. I didn't have any wine with dinner, but after our friends left I figured I should see what this wine entailed. I like my beer. I have never been much of a fan of wine. This crianza was some good stuff, though.

Which brings us to this evening. I figured that since we were having leftover ribs, and since there was about a third of the bottle left, I should really try to enjoy it with dinner and forego any beer. As per the recommendation of Corkscrew Cellars, the crianza was a wonderful partner to the ribs. The spiciness of the ribs was echoed in the wine's flavor, and the flavor held in my mouth long after drinking. I won't even pretend to talk about the bouquet of the wine, or the complexity of its flavor, or its various notes (because I would be making most of it up), but I could definitely become more of a wine drinker if they were all this good. This was by far my best wine experience to date. Thank you again Corkscrew Cellars.

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