If I could have luncheon with anyone at Downton Abbey (it’s always luncheon, never lunch), it would be the Dowager Countess. When I grow up, I want to be the Dowager Countess. The woman is wealthy, witty, and very, very wise. Everything that comes out of her mouth is brilliant — especially so when she gives her boy, Robert the Insufferable, a good verbal whacking. And let’s not forget the hats — no one wears a hat like the Dowager Countess wears a hat!
And, just like every American fan of Downton Abbey, I’ve been wearing Internet blinders for months, anxiously awaiting the premiere in America. My girlfriend and I knew (for various and sundry reasons) we wouldn’t be able to sit down and watch Downton without interruption last night, so we decided to record the premiere and watch it today over luncheon . . . and wine! I bought the Downton Abbey wines for us several weeks ago (and good thing I did, since wine.com is now sold out) . . . and my girlfriend did all of the cooking from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.
Lady Mary’s Crab Canapés
Creamless Steak au Poivre
Mrs. Patmore’s Easy Roasted Parsnips
Baked and Buttery Balsamic Asparagus with Sea Salt
Creamy Chocolate Truffles
(The Dowager Countess loves a good mousse)
Downton Abbey Bordeaux Blanc 2012
Made in France, this is a blend of 70% Muscadelle and 30% Semillon Blanc. A very Sauvignon Blanc like nose — grapefruit and flint with an herbal edge. Very lightweight with flavors of lemongrass and green apple. Easy-drinking and uncomplicated. And I love the Mrs. Patmore quote on the back of the bottle: “You know the trouble with you lot? You are in love with the wrong people!” 12% ABV. $17.
Downton Abbey Bordeaux Claret 2012
A blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec. A beautiful ruby color in the glass. A faint nose . . . maybe plum, and a hint of banana. Flavors are more toward currant and lingonberry. Can’t find much else in there. Weak across the palate with almost no finish. Ordinary. And now that I think about it . . . really more of a downstairs wine. 13% ABV. $17.
Bottom-line: I wanted to love these wines because they’re Downton Abbey wines. But they’re meh wines. They aren’t bad wines — they’re completely drinkable, but . . . meh. My girlfriend and I both agreed — the better of the two wines is the Bordeaux Blanc.
A word about our menu . . . my girlfriend outdid herself. And I’m not just saying that because my luncheon usually consists of a handful of M&Ms and a piece of stick cheese. I do 99% of the cooking at my house — I love to cook. But it’s a real treat when someone else makes me such a terrific meal.
Feast your eyes . . .
Everything was delicious . . . I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the roasted parsnips. Parsnips don’t get enough love in the veggie world. For sure, they will be making an encore appearance on my dinner plate throughout the winter.
I was glad to see Mary wearing purple by the end of the episode, but I still haven’t forgiven Matthew for abandoning Downton in my time of need. Stupid Matthew.