Wine, food and general warm and fuzzy feelings

Since we are still in the throws of debates, and I, for one, am tired of listening to the political ads, I will skip another week of policy comments and regale you with a marvelous dinner that I attended.

MacArthur Beverage presented and evening with Arcanum Vineyard from Italy and Brasserie Beck on K Street.  The food was mouthwatering – and not the typical Belgian fare that one imagines.  The wine was truly mouthwatering – especially for a red fanatic such as myself.

As nine of us waited for a table, our hostess, Julia Jackson, one of the owners of the vineyard, and with John Blazon, Master Sommelier, from the Spire Collection, served us Proseco to get started.  A second glass was served with bread sticks wrapped in prosciutto while we heard a brief and elegant history from both John and Julia.

The Jackson family bought the Italian property in Tuscany 18 years ago. Viticulturist and Winemaker Pierre Seillon oversees the Italian team where Arcanum focuses on Bordeaux varieties – especially Cabernet Franc.  Julia Jackson and Pierre Seillon share a passion for the estate and they have a vision of creating wines that express the unique qualities of the area.  You can tell that as Julia speaks about her plan to make the best Cabernet Francs in the world.

The way the Arcanum showed off its product was in conjunction with a five-course meal prepared by Brasserie Beck.  We started with Proseco and pan roasted Maine Diver Scallop with pomegranate, rocket, and burnt lemon.  This was paired with Proseco.  Next came a Seared Monkfish with escarole, cannellini beans with fennel sausage.  A 2007 Il Fauna wine was served with this course.  It is 57% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc.  This wine was perfect for the course – slightly berry and dry but with a nice terroir.  It would be a great everyday wine and would go with almost anything.

Then we moved into the next level of Cabernet France blends.  This was 2007 Valadorna which is 64% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was slightly drier and more complex than the Il Fauno and was served with Bob White Quail with wild mushroom dressing and glazed root vegetables. Another wonderful combination!

The next wine was my favorite – 2006 Arcanum.  It was an amazing combination of spicy with a touch of raspberry and a bouquet that one wanted to bathe in.  It was served as we waited for the next course, which would be beef.

We then had the 2007 Arcanum which was a little less deep than the 2006 but was absolutely perfect with the Bistecca Florentina – a porterhouse grilled and served with polenta and rapini with roasted garlic.  Mouth watering and perfect with the Arcanum which is 51% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon.  I immediately bought some it was so good.  The meal was finished with a cheese and grape dish, which went perfectly with the Arcanum so that not a bottle was left at the table!

In Washington, these wines will be available at MacArthur Beverages (otherwise known as Ady Bassin’s) on MacArthur Boulevard within a week.  Outside of D.C., one would have to contact The Spire Collection to find out where else they are being distributed  (  It is worth going out of your way to get these superb wines!

And, if you are in D.C., go have dinner at Brasserie Beck and see if they have some available.  They were planning to carry the label.  Happy eating and drinking!

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