So Friday evening Amy and I briefly discussed meeting out for a drink but big plans for early waking Saturday morning, for her husband, (whom has asked to be referred to as Sexy Bitch rather than Mr. Amy here in this blog…sigh) who had to play a round of golf with the mucky mucks of his fancy pants company had us all staying in but I got this email: “Sam, have to stay in tonight but why don’t we dinner at my place Saturday night after the tasting? I’ll roast a chicken and grill some veggies and we can drink some Rose.”
Sounded like a plan to me, although I was a tad worried because as many of you know, Amy’s house is The Vortex of Evil…a place where all good intentions go to die and where many of us have had some of our less than shining moments… my hubby was flying out to Indiana early Sunday morning, that and I was also working Sunday. The Vortex in one night and having to rise early the next morning is more often than not a recipe for, “Oh My Gawd, why did I ….?!” but I agreed and offered to bring Carl’s humus and my salted cucumbers to accompany the grilled yummies.
Amy and I sipped our way through the Sauvignon Blanc tasting and bailed as soon as things were all clear at The Wine Country. I headed home to pick up the hubby and Amy ran home and got her chicken roasting, Ronnie, (our Italian/Spanish/Bordeaux and Portugal buyer) accepted an invite to join us, so he too shot home to pick up the spouse….but not before he purchased a magnum of 1999 Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs, (a wine that I almost made my Wine of the Year last year, yeah, it’s that good).
Got home, fired off a few emails, tasted the hubby’s humus, “perfect as always” changed out of my binding work clothes, gathered our goodies and headed to The Vortex. “Hello Samantha (kisses) can I get you a cocktail”…(here goes) Sexy Bitch asked. “I think I had better start with wine” I responded and pulled one of the 5 bottles of Rose, that we got to taste with all the grilled goodies, from the fridge and poured myself a long glass of frosty pink stuff.
The house smelled glorious with the smell of roasted chicken hanging thick in the air, while I thinly sliced my cucumbers Amy and I discussed the food; roast chicken, grilled sausages, (3 kinds of course) green beans, humus, cucumbers, pita, roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, fiercely garlicy aioli, and new preparation of asparagus that Amy was dying to try….yeah, I think that’s it. Amy and I quickly drained the first bottle and laughed at how even a last minute dinner with us tends to be a “production”.
We kept checking our watches wondering where the Pierre Peters, I mean Ronnie was…we were getting pretty hungry so we started picking at the green beans, plunging them deep into the garlic goo and washing them down with icy cold Rose…fantastic!
With the first bottle of Rose, 2008 Saint Pierre ($15.99) we marveled at the soft, plump texture of the wine, faint minerals and light as air finish but with more and more garlic mayonnaise aggressively attacking our palates we thought it might be time, (plus the bottle was empty) to move on to something with deeper fruit. So while Amy par boiled and shocked the asparagus I opened a bottle of 2008 Ojai Vineyards Rose, ($14.99). Our thinking was that being from California it would have more upfront fruit, but one look of the pale, just barely pink color and I began to wonder if we had made the right choice. Amy prepared her station, 3 trays, flour, egg and seasoned breadcrumbs mixed with finely grated Parmesan and cranked up the sauté pan, coating the bottom of the pan with a mixture of olive oil and butter.
“Hey guys? Do you think you could step away from the Playstation long enough to start the grill?” Amy shouted into the living room, a call that garnered a couple groans and “but we’re playing Tiger Woods” I watched Amy’s brow tighten…a sign that it was time to intervene. I walked past the piles of food on the kitchen counter and made my way into the living room to find our very smart, damn successful hubbies sitting there, slack jawed, heads cocked upward towards the television, thumbs slapping away at the controllers….they were worshiping at the altar of Tiger Woods Golf….I didn’t know whether to plan an Intervention or poke them with a stick. I went the only thing I thought had more mind control than Tiger Woods Golf….girl. I leaned over my hubby’s shoulder, let my nails run across his shoulders and purred in his ear, “you look so cute…I’m so happy you guys are having fun but…we could really use your help getting the sausages grilled” like a charm, it worked like a charm, the hubby was up and in the backyard in less than 5 minutes! Boobies trump Playsation…hooray!
Made my way back to the kitchen where Amy was dredging and sautéing the asparagus to golden brown, they looked delicious….poured us each a glass of the barely pink Ojai Rose and snagged a still piping hot, super crispy spear and dunked it in the cool, thick aioli…damn. The Rose was delicate, not as fruity as one might suspect, as a matter of fact it was freaking gorgeous. Green melon, racy citrus rind, a stony quality and the perfect amount of acidity, we both took a sip and looked at each other like, “what the hell?! This is from California?” an absolutely perfect Rose that I plan on stocking up on.
Lost in our humbling Rose moment Amy and I hadn’t noticed that Ronnie and his wife had slipped in the front door, we did however notice the second we saw that giant dark colored bottle with its gold flowers and lettering….”Pierre Peters is here” Amy blurted, “oh and hi Ronnie” she recovered…nice Amy, nice. “Hello’s” all around and it was time to pop that stunning bottle of Champagne, we were practically vibrating with excitement. The Champagne was everything I had remembered it to be, deeply rich on the palate but not in that graham cracker kind of way, it has more of a roasted fruit in a butter crust flavor, with a serious floral quality, the wine almost wraps around your palate, the texture is astounding. The bubbles, delicate, tiny little explosive spheres that seem to carry all that flavor effortlessly across the tongue. We all just sat there, this time it was us worshiping at the altar of Pierre Peters.
It took a minute to shake the, “Holy shit that is astoundingly beautiful” before we got back to the food, everything cooked, carved, reduced (I insisted that I make a sauce from the chicken drippings…chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic and thyme then roasted on a bed of sweet onions…it had to be done) and in the case of the salted cucumbers..and us, slightly pickled we got down to plating our food and making our way to the dining room. Still a bit stunned by the Pierre Peters we almost forgot to pop the remaining Rose, it took only one bite of garlic goo smeared chicken washed down with the bubbles to remind me, “Ewe, not so tasty”.
I jumped up, grabbed the frosty pink bottles from the fridge and grabbed a few more glasses, dumping it all in the middle of the table. I poured myself a glass of 2008 L’Hortus Rose, ($13.99) a darker in color but still bone dry Rose that I have been having a little love affair with since it got to the store, one sip of that and my palate was back on track. I sat there watching Ronnie and Amy take a bite of food, dunk it in aioli, take a sip of Champagne and then kind of push the glass away….that wine, with that food…so not good for either! It was a perfect case of two astonishingly delicious things that had no business being on the table at the same time.
I poured my bubble loving friends some Rose and it was like were recharged, forks flying, glasses being refilled, (with Rose mind you) the noise level creeping up with each emptied glass and that magnum of Champagne went untouched for the rest of the meal. Awe, kind of sad no? No matter how lovely the Champagne was it just didn’t go with the aggressive food, Rose was what was needed and 4 bottles of Rose we drank, the Ojai being the star with the L’Hortus closely following.
Don’t feel too bad for that magnum of Pierre Peters, we “handled” it and I found something deliciously wicked about drinking Pierre Peters out of magnum with the smell of garlic creeping from my pours while watching the “queef” episode of South Park. Once Amy’s eyes began closing I knew it was time to head home, dropped into bed and didn’t move until the alarm went off the next morning. Once at work I got a text message from friend and customer Vicki, “If I brought in a bottle of 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet would you share it with me”…um, duh!
Thankfully the store was slowish on Sunday, my back was still not healed and I was moving as slowly as one might suspect after the night I had….it also gave me plenty of time to sit, sip and chat over a bottle of 2006 Vincent Girardin 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet…wish I could remember which 1er Cru, but….the wine was too young and really started to flesh out after it had been open for about an hour, once it did it was bursting with almost sweet fruit that reminded me of a 50/50 bar, like oranges and cream. The longer we spun it the more complexity we found, more nutty flavors and super ripe pear, the wine seemed to grow in the mouth which led me to believe it needed more time to show its full potential, no matter we killed it and it was delicious…thanks Vicki!
I was so ready for my day to end, just to go come to a quiet apartment, veg in front of the television and let my liver regenerate for one night. At a quarter to six I was practically aching, we would be closing in 15 minutes and I could be in my jammies in less than an hour…Beep-Beep-Beep, a text message. “Sup, we are at Tracy’s having cocktails, wanna join us when you get off” it was Sexy Bitch. I sat there weighing jammies against an icy cold Gin & Tonic with friends, thinking, “a smart person would just ignore the message and go home”……sigh.
"What can I get you?"...."Gin & Tonic Please"