Dinner at Semiramis.
Great place, always love it, always feel clean afterwards, has spectacular Arabic coffee and trying to figure out a wine to go with the food can be brutally annoying.
We had a Pinot Nero last time that did nothing for the food but I have fond memories of that wine by itself. Before that, I believe it was an Edna Valley Pinot Noir. Meh. Before that, a Syrah, I believe. Meh-meh. All three were tasty wines. All three didn't do much for/with the food.
We gave white a go this time.
Food: Hummus, Fattoush, Falafel and Dolmas
See the menu for descriptions. Best hummus in town. Best dolmas I've ever had (I've only had four different ones so...), solid, if not great falafel but they basically served as the "meat" in our small-bite visit this time and the fattoush is just so clean and good. It's open Monday (straight through), it's BYO, has a charming little atmosphere and we love the hell out of it.
Wine: NV Gaston-Chiquet Brut Tradition ($26 - WDC) and 2007 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur ( $28 - Red & White)
A great value Champagne along with being a pretty great little wine by itself, the Gaston-Chiquet will be the benchmark to work from for Champagne when and if we start getting into Champagne. Maybe a wee bit less complex than the last time we had it, this was still quite pretty. Loads of green apple and yeasty notes with nice finesse and tiny, tiny, mouth-saturating bubbles. Soft and round with a pleasing acidity. Nobody wouldn't like this.
The Domaine Guiberteau was a bit of a revelation, though. Very lithe and dry. Graceful notes of lanolin, beeswax, nuts and some sort of spring flower dancing in the background. Just an insanely intriguing wine. Everything was there with a fine finish I hated to see go away and it was nothing like the chenin blanc from Vouvray we're used to. The body was much more slender. Saumur has intrigued us. More will be bought soon.
Pairing: 86 Hit and miss EXCEPT FOR THE HUMMUS!
Saumur and hummus! Saumur and hummus! Well, this Saumur and hummus anyway. The hummus intensified with the wine, picking up a nutty note in the wine, making it taste almost like peanut butter was mixed in in the best way. The wine with the hummus was glorious, letting all the flavors pop out so pure and defined with exceptional balance. Tasted like liquid gold and the hummus tasted like hummus on steroids.
The fattoush, while not the best with the Champagne (which was good but never great with the entire meal - more of a "bring it for the bubbly fun" type of thing), made the sumac-laced juice stick in the lining of my mouth in a great way. The dolmas turned the Saumur a tad weird, bringing out more of a motor oil quality. The falafel was D.O.A. with both wines. Overall, good enough for us with one spectacular bite and sip.
So...what did we learn?
Saumur is good. Saumur and hummus is great. Semiramis continues to be awesome.