Sarah and I had our friends Katie and Stephen over for dinner last night, and opened several bottles. I made a Gigot de Sept Heures, or seven hour leg of lamb. This sounds way more impressive than it actually is. It's really simple, and amazingly good. Preheat your oven to 300. Slice up 2 onions, peel 4 carrots, slice 4 cloves of garlic, and peel 20 more cloves of garlic. Make a bouquet garni. Take a 6 pound leg of lamb. Rub it with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Take a paring knife and the sliced garlic and stick them all into the leg. Put the leg in the dutch oven. Add everything else around the lamb and add a cup of white wine. Put the lid on. You can "caulk" the dutch oven with dough by using one cup flour and one cup water. Bake for seven hours. Now I made a couple of mistakes, which meant that this was a little dry. First, I did not use a bone-in piece of lamb (which is what I should have done), second, I did not use a big enough piece of lamb, which meant that it shouldn't have taken 7 hours(maybe 6?). Third, I have a really big Dutch oven and some of the vegetables scorched around the edges (I'm thinking probably because there was too much space), so I would also add some more wine. Anyways, very tasty, very easy. (Our friends from Oakland were in town too, and Sarah even let me leave the oven on whilst we were galavanting about in Venice with them for 3 hours.) Sarah made a Kugen from the French Laundry cookbook (she's made it a few times before)--awesome--although between the sauce and the cake itself, there are about 2 pounds of butter.
We drank this Bordeaux, which was quite nice. Picked it up at Costco a couple years ago for 20$. Mostly cabernet sauvignon. Sarah's first comment was that it was a "big" wine, and I mostly agree. Typical aromas of cedar, earth, plums, and an herbal edge. Drinking well, it could clearly age a couple more years, and will probably reveal more of itself. Good amount of acidity, and lots of fruit (a reflection of 2005 perhaps). Good balance of everything. Went awesome with the lamb--a great compliment, and very food friendly. B+ We also had a couple of bottles of the Chariot Gypsy (because Katie and Stephen are not into wine, really). Both of them really liked it. When asked how much they thought the bottle was, Stephen replied "30$," and Katie replied "18$." And that, my friends, is why people like the Gypsy. It's punching way above its' weight. They definitely did not think it was a 5$ bottle of wine--until I told them.
Next, we opened the Haven's merlot, which was getting blown out for 6.99$ at K&L. Normally, this wine would have been 20$ or something, which I have to say after drinking this, perhaps might be why he went out of business. At 20$, this is typical, boring, California wine, and not a good deal. At 7$, the equation is a little different. Cherry and tobacco nose. Once it gets in your mouth, this wine tastes over-extracted and has kind of a weird frame. This wine is like Heidi Montag from the Hills. She was just fine before she got all that plastic surgery. She tried way to hard to "look good," and now she looks like an alien. This wine has had some surgery too, despite what I'm sure was probably very nice fruit at the start. At 7$, this is interesting, but not terribly exciting. The Syrah was miles better. C-/C