As predicted, the wine club theme was just a jumping off point, and while everyone asked about the theme when they arrived, we all quickly settled into eating, catching up, and deciding which wines were our favorites.  I had four to compare – a burgundy from France with a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, and a French Bordeaux blend with a Napa Valley Cabernet (see the end of the post for details on the wines*).  I think the California wines won out, but there were a few girls pulling for the French terroir. There were also a few favorites among the recipes.

Here’s the menu –

~ miso-glazed bacon wrapped asparagus (From Tyler Florence’s book, Family Meal, which I picked up for 20% off at our local Borders store that’s closing) – everything’s better with bacon, right?

~ sauteed Brussels sprouts with carmelized shallots, pecans and lemon zest (my own recipe)

~ “pigs in a blanket” – mild italian, spicy italian, and spinach & feta sausage with tarragon mustard (Also from Tyler’s book.  We’re on a first-name basis now, you see.)

~ macaroni and cheese with swiss chard (From Bon Appetit) – this one ended up being much better the next day, and the next…

~ jamaican banana bread – an old favorite that is, surprisingly, a Cooking Light recipe.  Not so surprisingly, I prefer to make it with real butter instead of margarine, real rum instead of extract, and about twice the amount of topping.

~ bittersweet chocolate pecan tart with bourbon whipped cream – from  I made it with pecans and Sharffenberger Semisweet Chocolate (62%).

The definite winners were the Brussels Sprouts, the Banana Bread and the Chocolate Pecan Tart.  The other big winner wasn’t edible or drinkable, it was our new sweatshirt!  Our “Director of Apparel” (we’re trying to come up with titles for everyone) came through with our new hoodies.  I must say, they’re so soft and comfy, I’ve already worn it several times.  Thanks R!  And thanks to all the girls/ladies for being what really makes wine club so great.

*  Here’s the list of wines:

1)  2008 Domaine Chicotot Bourgogne Rouge, $16.99

2)  Cazar 2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, $18.99

3)  2008 Reignac, Bordeaux Supérieur, $18.99

4)  Textbook 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon “Fin de Journee”, Napa Valley, $18.99

I bought all of them from K&L Wine Merchants here in San Francisco.  The gentleman there was SO helpful and very knowledgeable  – he could rattle off the details of just about everything in the store!  I explained what I was trying to do with my theme, and he had my wines selected within minutes – all while the power was out!