Last night, our good friends Chris & Molly invited us to their home in Palo Alto. Maybe the excuse was Easter, or the Passover, or the Spring, or the debut of the iPad, or just too many wines that need drinking and too long since the last time we let loose and just enjoyed.
The menu? "Surf & Turf" - expertly prepared high-quality ingredients that would pair perfectly and easily with some nice wines whose time had come. Chris had pre-announced the parameters: "wine $50-100/bottle... but don't want it too $$ as I want the night to be more casual and less wine geeky although I am sure there will be plenty of that." Since everyone in the crowd was a francophile, I decided "what the heck! I should bring a Cali cab!" I pulled out a 2003 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "SLV" - the very wine (different vintage of course) that had won the epic Judgment of Paris.
In my fantasy, I am with but a couple of profound wines - I caress them with my eyes, then with my lips and tongue, get to know them throughout a meal, see how they reveal themselves layer by layer in the course of several hours, with different dishes, through different states of my consciousness... But when you get us winos in one place, how you can stop the rain from falling down?! Of course, everyone brought something really nice.
The wines (from right to left):
1. Raveneau Chablis 2007.
2. Gilbert Picq Chablis "Dessus La Carriere" 2007.
3. Joseph Drouhin Beaune "Clos des Mouches" Blanc 2002.
4. Andre Ferret Condrieu "Chery" 2007.
5. Thierry Allemand Cornas "Reynard" 2006.
6. Massolino Barolo "Vigna Rionda" Riserva 2001.
7. Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux Grand Cru 2001.
8. Mount Mary Vineyard Yarra Valley "Quintet" Bordeaux Blend 2001 (very Chinon-like).
9. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "S.L.V" Cabernet Sauvignon 2003.
10. Peter Michael "Les Pavots" Bordeaux Blend 2002.
Drouhin "Clos des Mouches" white burg was the best match with the Cyrus-inspired succulent lobster appetizer. The greenness and creaminess of avocado and pesto, and the sweetness of the lobster and mango were just right with the medium-ripe, but not thick-textured nor opulent Clos des Mouches, right at the peak of its drinkability.
When it came to reds, my wine of the night was Pichon Lalande - perfectly balanced between fruit, root, wood and vegetable, subtle, complex wine with hints of graphite, reminding once again that no one makes Bordeaux blends like they do in Bordeaux. It edged out the #2 (for me) Stag's Leap SLV (!!!) the wine of considerable charm, smoothness, and balance - quite a surprise for everyone.
Naturally, all other wines were excellent - the pure oyster-shell Raveneau, the seductive Condrieu, the intensely white-peppery Cornas, the bright and tart bursting with cherry laser-focused Vigna Rionda and so on, just not as ideal with the gorgeous rack of lamb and picture-perfect fillet mignon that Chris had expertly worked up on his grill.
The key to not getting drunk is to pace yourself, sip a little at a time, not be afraid to dump the unfinished wine (and not think how much it'd cost in a restaurant), and drink plenty of water. We were all an experienced bunch, and so by mid-night after clearing 10 bottles, all of us were in good shape, slightly buzzed, ready to play with the cool new iPad and even do a little "So you think you can dance" without anyone getting too embarrassed.
Let the good times roll!