Friday, July 31, 2009

Special Occasion

So with the impending doom that is Amy leaving for Texas….Jesus, Texas of all places…we have decided to destroy both our little wine fridges, drink everything before she goes, then start all over again. Buying new things and tucking them away to share with one another on visits and when, (notice I didn’t say if) she comes home. I was so down for this idea, at first because her little fridge is far better stocked than mine, I just got mine, and because I save these wines for just these occasions, sharing them with people that love them, that I love and that love me. Sure I had all these fantasies about fancy meals, the hottest new restaurants…I’m all about absolute indulgence but something about this plan…seemed even more so.

The idea occurred to us, well her, the night we had a real talk about her leaving. We had been boozing it up all evening and went back to her place to feed the dogs, that’s when she said it, “I’m going to open that Dagueneau Silex in my little cellar” I tried to stop her, “Dude don’t, you’re all buzzy, we’re all pretty lit, save it” she looked at me with that face of hers and said, “Save it for what?” I didn’t have an answer for her. We sucked back the Silex and she returned to the fridge to grab a bottle of Dagueneau Pur Sang, really tried to stop her this time, but she wasn’t hearing it, we were to drink that wine, that night, after all that we had already consumed…her answer to each protest, “Who else am I going to drink these with?”…Good point.

So that night after a meal of chicken wings, French dip sandwiches, Gin & Tonics, Martinis and shots of some kind of Irish Whisky we drank a bottle of Dagueneau Silex and half a bottle of Pur Sang, the only occasion being our love of remarkable wines and one another. What I first saw as, “wasting” I now saw as the way it should be…an appreciation and celebration of friendship, wine and how one brought us the other, perfect.

So last night was “date night” and this time our Merzie, (Merritt, the adorable girl in the middle of the Sam and Amy sandwich at the beginning of my last post) was able to join us. When we first started our little ritual she was always there, but a second job keeps her tied up on Thursday nights so last night, well it was a rare treat. We were heading to a favorite Chinese place in Monterey Park, a place we all love and has been rotation for years. I grabbed some Rose before I left the shop, tossed them in the fridge and waited for the girls to close the shop and head on over. I poured myself a glass of Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc, ($8.99) appreciating it for its simplicity, soft, plump almost sweet fruit and a clean finish, not complex and not trying to be…love it for that. I started thinking about how much I freaking love this less than noble grape and of course from there my mind shifted to the Loire, from there to Didier Dagueneau, how I wished I had gotten the chance to know him a little better….Sauvignon Blanc, friendship, Loire, Dagueneau…cellar!

I dug around, (dug around makes me sound like I have a bunch of wine in there….so not true, I basically I “picked” over my 12 or something bottles) and found a bottle of 2002 Dagueneau Buisson Renard, ($ idea, it was a gift but the last vintage was around $75.00) and popped it in the fridge with the Roses I had intended to take to dinner. Returned to the couch and my glass of Pomelo, feeling even more excited about date night. The girls were on their way, I had Sauvignon Blanc in my glass, the hubby was beaming…he loves it when he has his 3 girls, makes him feel all pimpy, Dagueneau in the fridge, now this….this was an occasion, an occasion worth pulling out the very best.

I was feeling genuinely happy for the first time in days, just then my unbearably cute neighbor came out to play. He was sitting on his stoop, big red fire truck at his side, chatting at his Mom with the big voice of his…sigh, slapped a little more happy on me. I went out to talk to him, got to hear all his trip to the fair, the rides, the games, the fish he won….melt, melt, melt. Amy and Merritt had arrived and were making their way back to our apartment, (we live way in the back) so I had just enough time to conspire with my cutie pie neighbor, I wanted him to give Amy a very specific greeting, he agreed to help. As the girls rounded the corner their faces lit up, they adore him too, and I said to Tyler, “Tyler, what did you want to tell Amy” he stood there, looking coy at first, “oh no! He’s not going to do it” I thought but he turned to Amy, big blue eyes directed at her, he opened his little mouth and in his biggest Tyler voice said, “Texas Stinks!” ….awesome.

We made our way inside and chatted over a glass of 2008 Zaca Mesa Z Gris, ($15.99) we thought it was lovely. Delicate, restrained, and pretty elegant. We drink almost exclusively French Rose, all three of us find the domestic versions a tad too fruity for our palates and I’m sorry, but I don’t find any minerals in the domestic offerings. I’m not saying the French ones are better mind you, I just like them better, so we were quite pleased with this little wine…very balanced. We finished our glasses, grabbed the wines from the fridge and headed out to dinner.

When we pulled up to our beloved restaurant my heart sank, a big NOTICE sign on the front door, shit. We walked to the door and saw that their liquor license had been suspended, indefinitely; we were so bummed, both for our dinner plans and for them. We walked in anyway and asked the little guy at the front, “Are you not able to serve wine?” he looked at us, (he had seen us hundreds of times) and said, “Yes, for you we can” and led us to a table off the main dining room. I felt really funny about it, I didn’t want them to get in any trouble, we kept telling him it was fine, not a big deal, we would still have dinner but he insisted and brought us wine glasses. “You know, people drink tea in these glasses too” he said with a grin, he asked me to give him the bottle we wanted opened, I handed over the Dagueneau, he hid it with his tray and took it in the back to open it. He returned with the wine in an ice bucket, covered with a napkin, the whole scene just felt so cool in that Speakeasy kind of way.

The Dagueneau was f’ing brilliant, intensely floral, gentle spicing, it had picked up more weight and texture as it rested, so it spread across the palate like a white Burgundy. It kept evolving in the glass, picking up notes of quince, guava, lime rind and flint…it was sublime, absolutely perfect wine. We didn’t want to pound it and to be honest it was NOT the best match for the food so we asked to have one of the bottles of Rose opened. We sat there, in a semi-private room of one of our favorite joints, glasses of Dagueneau, teacups of Rose, picking at platters of glazed veggies, fried rice, kimchee, and sauced shrimp, an occasion.

We were stuffed the restaurant was now empty, the wine almost gone, basking in the glow of yet another great date, our little wine smuggling friend appeared with two teacups full of water. We were confused, they had never brought fingerbowls or anything before, but as he placed the bowls in front of us he said, “We know you smoke, please stay, enjoy the rest of your wine with a cigarette” jaw dropping. We refused a number of times but he just kept saying, “The sign is off, we’re closed, please stay and really finish your meal”. It was surreal, felt so strange but something about it was just….well, it was just perfect…an occasion.

I sat there, smoking….inside, and finished the last bit of Dagueneau surrounded by three of the greatest people I know, I was glowing, just glowing. Our little buddy brought us glasses of plum wine and went back to enjoying his staff meal and playing cards, we finally had to ask for a check, we tipped HUGE, thanked them profusely and piled in the car. I didn’t want the night to end, how best to avoid that? “So you guys wanna go for a drink?” works every time.

We ended up heading to a bar, a bar where we know the bartender….he’s my little neighbor’s Dad, we walked in, he shook his head, looked at Amy and said, “Texas sucks!” could not have asked for a better ending.


Nancy Deprez said...

Nice on drinking the Dagueneaus! Why not? :D Thanks for sharing the fun.

Nancy Deprez said...

There's really nothing like great wine and food for sharing with friends.

Andrzej said...

Texas sucks!

Benito said...


If you don't have a huge walk-in cellar featuring hundreds of great wines waiting for the perfect year, I think it's a good idea to have a periodic emptying of the stash.


P.S. They do make some decent wines in Texas since the Spanish planted vines there 500 years ago... just sayin'. ;)

Samantha Dugan said...

It's what we do. Amy and I are so that twosome that would be eating gallons of caviar, while sucking up vats of Champagne asking everyone where the after party is...such monsters!

I could not agree with you more.

Never had a wine from Texas but I see one in my near future. Wish ne luck dude.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Sam,

There's just no stopping you. What I wouldn't give to have a friend like you! Beautiful, smart, funny, great taste--oh, no wonder I don't have a friend like you.

That Amy, one lucky woman! OK, that Texas thing aside. And as a committed Francophile you will absolutely hate Texas wines. What do you serve with a Texas wine? Usually a barf bag.

I am so in love with you.
Your HoseMaster