Well, you only turn 41 once, so I decided to celebrate with one of my favorite meals - braised lamb shanks over soft, cheesy polenta. This time I decided to up the ante by smoking the shanks over hickory wood for about 30 minutes before nestling them into a warm bath of Chicken stock, wine and aromatics for a few hours. The shanks were, of course, delicious. Fall-off-the-bone tender with just a subtle hint of smoke.
The owners of the wine store where I work were kind enough to let me pick out a bottle to take home for my birthday so I splurged on something I've had my eye on for quite a while now. The 2006 Tor Kenward ROCK Cuvee Cooper Judge Family Vineyards Grenache, Bennett Valley has a fantastic color, slightly cloudy, and obviously unfiltered. It starts off with a lot of Bourbon/American oak on the nose that gradually surrenders to copious amounts of sweet raspberry and herb. There are also lingering notes of freshly cut fennel bulb and a meaty/salami quality. Roasted meat, earthy raspberry and Provencal herbs on the palate. Moderate tannins, acidity. Ready to drink now. This is a delicious wine, but I can't help but think it's a bit overpriced at $60.
The other wine we enjoyed over dinner that night was the 2007 Rosenblum Reserve Zinfandel, Monte Rosso Vineyard, Sonoma Valley. I know I drank through quite a few Ravenswood Monte Rosse Vineyard Zinfandels in the mid-late 90s, but I think this was my first experience with Rosenblum's Zinfandel from this vineyard. Crazy blackberry (bordering on over-ripe), cake spice, vanilla and latex dominate the nose. Wonderfully rustic blackberry, spice and brier on the palate. Obvious aging in American oak. Low acid, tannins. A definite early drinker. Hold on - it's a wild ride!