Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day Wrap-Up and Wine Snob: Wine as Old as Me!

As I mentioned in a recent post, Servius cooked dinner for Valentine's Day. It went over quite well, actually. He used my Chicken Marsala recipe. This was actually a good test for the recipe: someone like Servius who cooks infrequently cannot make the types of judgments that my recipe requires: salt and pepper "to taste" and deciding when the sauce has reduced significantly. This reminds me that I am not a particularly precise cook-- I fuss, fiddle, and taste. In future, I will try to add a greater degree of precision to my recipes in order to allow someone with less experience to cook them more easily.
Servius cooks!

The dinner was lovely. It was accompanied by a wine given to my mother by her brother for her birthday. This is the oldest wine I have ever tasted. Unlike me and my complete lack of wine knowledge, my uncle is something of a connoisseur, specifically of California wines, and has the ability to pick obscure wines that are fabulous. This was no exception.
Label [1].
The wine was wonderful. Bottled in 1988, it was the oldest wine I have ever had (I think the earliest wine I had tasted up until this point was a 1998). It was a lovely, fairly light Cabernet Savignon from Newlan Vinyards & Winery in Napa Valley (which I believe no longer exists). The wine was a dark, rich ruby red; it was almost a mahogany color, but lit up with streaks of bright, glittering red where the light hit it. The smell was light (although my allergies have been acting up) and Servia thought she detected a hint of leather. The taste was smooth but complex with a pinch of garam masala and white pepper and a light smokey finish. The smokiness reminded me of Laphroaig (although it was only at the end) or the smell of smoked ham. I have never tasted a wine with a smokey finish like this-- only scotches-- and I thought it was quite lovely. Overall, the wine was stunning. It was perfect with food like chicken marsala because it held its own against the marsala sauce, but not so light that it overpowers it. Perfectly balanced with many flavors. Simply lovely.

The one problem with the wine was that the cork broke when I was pulling it out and we had to push it in to the bottle and strain the wine. My decanter (which doubles as a vase) was in the garage, so Servia had to find something. She was given a wonderfully eccentric silver and glass decanter by a friend, so we used that. The decanter is fabulous, outfitted by pictures of Dionysus and cherubs playing.

We then laid out the table while Servius cooked.
The table before the food.

  1. As (almost) always, my photography is for the purposes of illustrating or demonstrating, not for being pretty.

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